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A reason why President Obama's policy message falls flat

As provisions of the Democrats' health-care law phase in, polls show that it's not all that popular, few Democrats are running on their votes for it, and plenty of Republicans are promising to repeal it. Why isn't reform helping Democrats as some predicted it would? And will it get any better for them?

Americans' attitudes toward the law might brighten as they begin to feel some of its popular provisions, including when the government begins to send out subsidy checks. But beyond all the death panel-style misinformation about the law, the policy still has a long-term political problem: Much of the reform is difficult to explain in unqualified, appealing terms. Large portions of the law are meant to avoid future runaway health costs, to bend the curve -- slowing the projected increase in health spending, not necessarily arresting it. You can't fairly evaluate the reform on facts and figures outside of that hypothetical context -- which means that success might be difficult to recognize in coming years, and extolling its future benefits in terms of that baseline sounds like so much Washington speak. So advocates more often talk about the expansion of coverage -- the expensive part -- even as concerns about the national debt rise, making reform sound tax-and-spendy.

This should sound familiar. The president, after all, argues that you have to judge his economic policies, too, not by the raw level of misery in America -- or even his own predictions about the effects of the stimulus -- but by how much worse the economy would be had he done something else, or nothing. This is also reasonable. The same logic instructs Congress to evaluate bills with reference to a revenue/spending baseline. But politically, it's not the most effective argument, since it asks Americans both to recognize that things are bad in a nominal sense and to restrain their frustration. It sounds like the president is trying to avoid blame.

It can be hard to get disquieted voters to think relative to baselines. Ronald Reagan won in 1980 in part by asking Americans if they were better off then than they had been when Jimmy Carter took office. This is an irrational way to evaluate a president. The standard should be: Are you better off now than you would have been had Carter done different things or continued existing policy?

Unfortunately for Obama, his most reasonable defense against GOP attacks requires careful baseline thinking, at least until the economy improves enough such that it is obviously far better than what could have been. Given that recovery from financial panics is quite slow historically, that could be a huge problem. For the health-reform law, meanwhile, with its years of phase-in, Obama's vindication may take even longer. And that presumes it works.

By Stephen Stromberg  | September 27, 2010; 6:31 PM ET
Categories:  Stromberg  | Tags:  Stephen Stromberg  
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Comments

I does nothing to reduce the cost of providing healthcare but forcing everyone to pay for insurance should reduce individual costs (assuming insurance companies reduce premiums rather than increasing profits).

Until then, my premiums will skyrocket to pay for mandates such as no copays for office visits, added children on family plans, and added costs for accepting pre-existing conditions.

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | September 27, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Stromberg offers a -
Completely Ridiculous Absurd Presumption

C.R.A.P. for short

Posted by: pilsener | September 27, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Amazing. The reason only 38% of voters would vote for Obama is because they are too stupid to understand how great he is.

The reason democracy works is not because voters are policy wonks; it's because they instinctively know when things are going in the wrong direction and vote against it. They don't need it defined for them by the political elites.

Posted by: amazd | September 27, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

more and more people are beginning to like the health care reform bill it will get better.eventually it will be single payer which is a winner.

Posted by: donaldtucker | September 28, 2010 12:11 AM | Report abuse

Why was this article even written?
It says nothing...

Posted by: wcmillionairre | September 28, 2010 12:23 AM | Report abuse

I'll tell you what is easy to understand. I used to have to worry about losing my health insurance because my spouse has thyroid cancer. Now, thanks to President Obama, health insurance companies can no longer deny us coverage due to a pre-existing condition. That is a enormously positive change for us, and one of the many reasons I will be working to return our progressive Democratic majorities this November.

www.winningprogressive.org

Posted by: WinningProgressive | September 28, 2010 12:32 AM | Report abuse

Uh...Mr. Stromberg it wasn't popular when it was being debated.

It was so popular Democratic Senators and Representatives were bribed to vote for it.

It was so popular that certain citizens in certain states received much better benefits than the rest of the nation just for their votes.

When the plan finally phases in my current premium of $35 a month will no doubt be hundreds of dollars each month.

I will be so glad to pay for the uninsured down the street, the newly minted citizens from down south, the Trial Lawyers who get to sue for malpractice, and Big Pharma whose profits will be protected.

Thank you Obama and friends.

Posted by: krankyman | September 28, 2010 12:36 AM | Report abuse

The article says: "Americans' attitudes toward the law might brighten as they begin to feel some of its popular provisions..."

Of course those attitudes will dim as they find themselves paying for those provisions.

Now, a lot of people's insurance anniversaries are at the start of the new year, which is after the November elections. But I wouldn't be surprised to see folks get letters from their insurance companies in October informing them of the increase in their premium that will arrive with the new year.

There's no such thing as a free lunch.

Posted by: iMac77 | September 28, 2010 1:07 AM | Report abuse

"...some of its popular provisions, including when the government begins to send out subsidy checks."

Wow. Let's buy support. By borrowing like crazy. So that's how we make laws and get support.

Posted by: eeterrific | September 28, 2010 1:32 AM | Report abuse

Premiums will go up in plan year 2011 because the health insurance reform law didn't go far enough. We are the only country in the world that allows insurers to profit off of rationing people's critically needed healthcare, and the only one that just lets people die if they get sick, lose their job, and have no health insurance. We have an immoral, anti-Christian health care system thanks to hypocritical Republicans who put our lives in the hands of criminal health insurance CEOs. Unfortunately President Obama didn't do want most needed to be done, and that's eliminating private health insurance for essential health benefits, and letting them compete solely on non-eesential care. We can no longer tolerate the Republican rationing of healthcare in this country that is worse than any other industrialized nation.

Posted by: BushMustGo | September 28, 2010 1:42 AM | Report abuse

The Democrats need to make clear the essential central truth of the health care reform bill: that they took it as far as they could given a Republican party bound and determined not to help Americans out AT ALL.

The data show that more Americans thought the HCR bill didn't go FAR ENOUGH than people who thought it went too far. We have the GOP to thank for foiling the wishes of the MAJORITY.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39369615/ns/health-health_care

"The poll found that about four in 10 adults think the new law did not go far enough to change the health care system, regardless of whether they support the law, oppose it or remain neutral. On the other side, about one in five say they oppose the law because they think the federal government should not be involved in health care at all."

Posted by: B2O2 | September 28, 2010 1:44 AM | Report abuse

"The president, after all, argues that you have to judge his economic policies, too, not by the raw level of misery in America -- or even his own predictions about the effects of the stimulus -- but by how much worse the economy would be had he done something else, or nothing." How about how much BETTER the economy would be if he had done something else. Wouldn't that be a reasonable question? Of course that possibility obviously didn't, in fact couldn't, occur to Mr Stromberg.

Posted by: buffndm | September 28, 2010 3:24 AM | Report abuse


You guys should stop complaining because, one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed so give it some time. so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. If you do not have insurance and need one You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price by calling 877-882-4740 or check http://bit.ly/9fDY7U If you have health insurance and do not care about cost just be happy about it and trust me you are not going to loose anything!

Posted by: kerisable28 | September 28, 2010 5:40 AM | Report abuse

Perhaps the author should have addressed the hidden costs to taxpayer for this "reform"? Also, why were so many aspects of this law "phased-in" rather than implemented all at once? Also, why didn't the CBO estimate the impact of adding 12-20 million illegals after they receive amnesty and become legalized?
Our media fails to address obvious problems and issues, yet laments that Americans aren't getting the message about health care reform.

Posted by: jocada | September 28, 2010 6:32 AM | Report abuse

When a government bureaucrat determins if the you can get the care you need if it's doesn't cost to much i would call that death panels, and on the pre-excisting conditions i found out you have to apply for it and you may or maynot be approved, so it's not all it's cracked up to be and that's only the begaining the people that think it's so great don't know what it really is they are just going on what the liers have told them, better wake up America.

Posted by: samuellenn | September 28, 2010 7:16 AM | Report abuse

I just love it when Obama and the dems/libs say how worse off the country would have been if we did nothing. Here are people who can't even predict what is going to happen in the next 5 minutes. And yet, they can foretell what would have happened 12 months ago. There are stupid americans who believe what this administration tells them. These are what I call steppford americans ( like the movie steppford wives). They aren't capable of thinking for themselves, so they rely on what the administration tells them. It is part of the dumbing down of america.

Posted by: lori9 | September 28, 2010 7:46 AM | Report abuse

In the end, this is basically about regulating the health insurance industry which, like the rest of the insurance industry, is a criminal operation. Every state in the union has an "Insurance Commission" because everybody knows these guys can't be trusted. If they succeed in corrupting the Federal effort, as they have many of the state commissions, it will all have been for nothing.

Posted by: DaveHarris | September 28, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

BULL

" .. I used to have to worry about losing my health insurance because my spouse has thyroid cancer .."

I have purchased catastrophic insurance for 10 years.

Now, I have to pay for yours.

Shame on you, for making others pay.

IMPEACH OBAMA!

Posted by: russpoter | September 28, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Well, lori9, the dumbing down of America certainly did not start with Obama. Reagan had a large part in its inception, which accelerated with the second Bush presidency. It continues every day with the large numbers of people who watch Fox News and think it actually is news when it is not. These people do not read the New York Times or watch CBS News or PBS News, the real and accurate sources of news and information. Instead they disdain these organizations. And, of course, there are the people who listen to Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck and take their ridiculous and opinionated pieces of trash journalism as the truth. Obama did not start nor accelerate the dumbing down of America. For that you have to turn to Fox News.

Now, krankyman, who complains about a possible increase in his health insurance premiums. Let me in on what I hate paying for.

First, there is an arguement for providing health care insurance to all Americans. You may not agree with it but surely even you can see some of the benefits. There was NO arguement for invading Iraq. The cost of that invasion is 800 billion dollars to this year, which, incidentally, is more than the health care bill will cost. This cost does not include the one or two trillion dollars of health care costs resulting from the injuries of the men and women who fought that war. Yes, the invasion is a gift that keeps giving, as you and I will be paying for this for the rest of our lives and probably our children's lives.

Health Care. Iraq Invasion. It is too late but which one would you have chosen, krankyman? Which one?

Posted by: nyrunner101 | September 28, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

YAY, COMMUNISM!


" .. The data show that more Americans thought the HCR bill didn't go FAR ENOUGH than people who thought it went too far. We have the GOP to thank for foiling the wishes of the MAJORITY .."

ROB THE WORKING CLASS!

Posted by: russpoter | September 28, 2010 8:10 AM | Report abuse

Obama and his administration are still at it. They are still boasting that if it wasn't for their policies, america would be in worse condition today. Here is an administration who can't predict what Joe Biden will say say telling the american people that they can look back 12-18 months and tell with accuracy that we would have been worse off. I could swear that Obama has a czar on his staff who can predict the past and play what/if games.

Posted by: lori9 | September 28, 2010 8:20 AM | Report abuse

Considering there is no cost control why does anyone consider this reform. The fact is that costs will continue to go up. That is your future I hope you enjoy it. More benefits for everyone. But the future is to cut benefits and as we get more debt which we can not pay for.

I do medical research on AIDS and do know something about the field of medicine. Giving more money to insurance companies is not reform. Yet, you keep calling this reform but to me it is simply more free lunch that people got before this recession. But wait someone is presenting the bill. And you ask what is this?

Posted by: artg | September 28, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Without reform, health care is expected to be 25% of the economy by 2025. That means that your 'precious' premiums will pretty much double just by doing nothing. Or the coverage will be reduced. Or, and in the case of the plan that Ryan has pushed, premiums will increase and coverage will decrease.

Anything that reduces that 25% will be a significant gain. There are already 2 benefits that people will realize by the end of the year: (1) you can question and appeal rate increases; (2) if you have a 21 or 23 year old you can continue to include them in your policy, without increase in premium.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | September 28, 2010 8:35 AM | Report abuse

nyrunner101. You libs must have a rule book. Your comments are always exactly the same. Is it because you can't think for yourselves, or is it that you have nothing new to say? Examples: Fox news isn't news. Then what is it? You have liberal commentators at Fox. Are you saying that your comrads are not newsworthy? The dumbing down started with Reagan? The dumbing down started with our education system and the teachers union. Oh, I guess that is not in you liberal rule book and you are not smart enough to figure this one out. These people do not read the NYT, or watch CBS and PBS? The NYT doesn't know how to tell the truth. Look at all of their retractions over the years, and the questionable people they hire who make up stories and lie in their reporting. The NYT even admits they have a problem. Do you yourself even read the NYT? Sorry, I can't watch CBS or PBS because I fall fast asleep within the first two minutes. They need something to juice them up. I listen to Glenn Beck. I think he is great and tells the truth, which you hate to hear. You must listen to him to comment on him. Right? You know that little red phone he has on his desk connected to the white house. Well, he challenges the WH to call him on the little red phone if he says something that isn't true. The phone has never rung. How come? At the end you say Fox news started the dumbing down. In the beginning you say it was Reagan. Do you mean what you say and say what you mean?

Posted by: lori9 | September 28, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

What Mr. Stromberg and other radical liberal elites fail to understand is that "We the People" are not interested in government handouts. We can take care of ourselves, thank you!
Just get out of our way.

Posted by: rteske | September 28, 2010 8:52 AM | Report abuse

There's no way the healthcare bill will be repealed. Big loss for selfish righties.

Posted by: LifeBeforePrinciple | September 28, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Reform: change for the better.

See, in the definition is the implied notion that things improve.

We all know this at some level.

All the "change" in healthcare "reform" is not really for the better. It is just shifting dollars around a little.

Same for anything obama has done or said.... with the exception of his profound weakness in foreign affairs: "reset", bowing to saudi kings, giving away missile defense and getting nothing in return..... basically he's a giant loser.

Posted by: docwhocuts | September 28, 2010 9:05 AM | Report abuse

United States has the best schools in the world and the most influential, smart, wealthy people in the planet, but it cannot figure out universal health care for all its citizens. Health care, education and safety should be provided to all: poor or rich. If you want to live in a developed and democratic country, you MUST to accept that these three things health care, education and safety are part of being a first world class nation.

Posted by: lucavalcanti | September 28, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

"It sounds like the president is trying to avoid blame." Well, duh!

Posted by: jcasteele | September 28, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

It's supposed to be our "uniquely American way" of dealing without a public option or a single payer system, as in most democratic governments of the west. Yeah. It's "unique" alright.

Posted by: deepthroat21 | September 28, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

To russpoter

Why do you assume the poster whose husband had cancer did not have any until health insurance until the reform bill? The wording indicated they did and was just worried about losing it. As the grandmother of a severely disabled child I know those fears. Maybe you will live your entire life without knowing fear. But with the lot people like you are about to vote into office, I doubt it. In addition, I also have catastrophic insurance and I resent that I have to pay for the tax advantages of those who get it from their employers. Everybody is paying for everybody else in this country.

Posted by: EFDTN | September 28, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

This has to be the first order of business is to repeal this disaster!!!!!

Posted by: votingrevolution1 | September 28, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

"The president, after all, argues that you have to judge his economic policies, too, not by the raw level of misery in America -- or even his own predictions about the effects of the stimulus -- but by how much worse the economy would be had he done something else, or nothing. This is also reasonable."

Sorry, no.

When Obama's predictive ability is proven through reality to be horrible, we must question any of his rosy predictions. The basic problem here is he is a liberal idealist who thinks all of his rainbow schemes should work out great, but because he has never actually run any kind of business, he has never learned the basic economics a street vendor of hot dogs has.

At this point this miserable economy is direct result of Obama's policy of stimulus, bailout, nanny state and redistributive socialism. He has rewarded those who do not pay taxes at the expense of those who do, and we are spiraling downward under the leeching masses.

Posted by: Wiggan | September 28, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Amen, Amen, Amen thank you all of Americans against this Obamanations !

Posted by: JWTX | September 28, 2010 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Stromberg, no one would accuse you of being and investigative reporter. Get your facts about Healthcare Reform straight, before you dismiss the reality of things as misinformation. First, many experts including the GAO says “And despite assertions to the contrary by the Obama administration, the new health care law doesn't improve Medicare's solvency by much.” Then what will improve the solvency? It’s simple, over time Medicare recipients will be denied access to medical treatment. Decisions to treat or to withhold the treatment of the elderly WILL be based upon medical co-morbidities. A cook book of medical scenarios put together by a “Panel of Physicians” will determine IF treatment is to be rendered to an individual who has multiple medical issues. Second, Americans want freedom of choice. They don’t want something forced down their throats. Third, everyone is wondering how the government is going to pay the tab.

Posted by: Bockscar | September 28, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

lori9: Fox "new" is not a news org, it's an arm of the Repub?teabaggers Party. It is run by Roger Ailes, a repub operative for many years in repub party. The man who owns Fox just made a huge donation to the repub gov's association, with the express purpose of defeating dem candidates for governor. You accuse libs of drinking the kool-aid; what the h#ll are u drinking? Whatever it is, it's way too strong. Wise up, you fool!

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | September 28, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

lori9: Fox "news" is not a news org, it's an arm of the Repub?teabaggers Party. It is run by Roger Ailes, a repub operative for many years in repub party. The man who owns Fox just made a huge donation to the repub gov's association, with the express purpose of defeating dem candidates for governor. You accuse libs of drinking the kool-aid; what the h#ll are u drinking? Whatever it is, it's way too strong. Wise up, you fool!

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | September 28, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

lori9: Fox "news" is not a news org, it's an arm of the Repub/teabaggers Party. It is run by Roger Ailes, a repub operative for many years in repub party. The man who owns Fox just made a huge donation to the repub gov's association, with the express purpose of defeating dem candidates for governor. You accuse libs of drinking the kool-aid; what the h#ll are u drinking? Whatever it is, it's way too strong. Wise up, you fool! Repubs are in the pocket of the Stinking Rich, of whom u are not a member, I'd guess from your rantings

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | September 28, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

The insurers raised rates 20% increasing their profits with no administrative cap (till 2012), and only if they can prove the need to raise rates due to more costs will it be allowed. Insurnce is spreading risk of the few to the many, so the idea of profit by exempting high costs is absurd to begin with in something called insurance. Not having a public option was a terrible mistake on Reid's part and should have been changed from Pelosi's costly venture to a VA run public plan first covering vet families with a 5% profit built in to expand to the rest of the population. Insurers use 20% for profit and admin. while VA uses less than 5% making it more competitive.

Posted by: jameschirico | September 28, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

lori9: Fox "news" is not a news org, it's an arm of the Repub/teabaggers Party. It is run by Roger Ayles, a repub operative for many years. The man who owns Fox, the infamous Rupert Murdoch, just made a huge donation to the repub gov's association, with the express purpose of defeating dem candidates for governor. You accuse libs of drinking the kool-aid; what the h#ll are u drinking? Whatever it is, it's way too strong. Wise up, you fool! Repubs are in the pocket of the Stinking Rich, (of whom u are not a member, I'd guess from your rantings) and don't care about the interests of the middle & lower classes, of whom I'd guess you ARE a member. As such, you are content to vote AGAINST your own interests. The fact that you take Glen Beck's raving at face value (something even he admits he wouldn't do--he is an entertainer!) says all that needs to be said about your addled mind.

Posted by: nyskinsdiehard | September 28, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

The democrats remind me of my mother in law. She bought her first car at the ripe old age of seventy two. Being a widow of less than a year, she decided she wanted a new car, her old car was almost two years old she drove it about five hundred miles a year. My husband told her he would go with her and help but no she did it all by herself. After the deal was done and her son pointed out the mistakes she made, she decided it was ALL his fault that she got taken to the cleaners....sound familiar???

Posted by: independent114 | September 28, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

The Healthcare issue will eventually prove that we needed it. Now ever since I have had health insurance the cost has always gone the wrong way, up. Not once did I get more for less, usually I get less for more and I have a very good plan. I know how can it be good if the costs are going up while getting less? The reason is that insurance companies can do whatever it wants and its protected by anti-trust laws. So competition is taken away from people and insurance companies line pockets of politicians with bribes. Everyone is always whinning about the new law until they get sick and than they will be for it. Now no longer can companies refuse to cover you because you got sick, insurance is for when you are sick.

Posted by: Realistic5 | September 28, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

To summarize: Americans were so dumb they voted for Reagan, those same Americans are now too stupid to realize voting for Reagan was dumb and not liking the job Obama is doing is equally dumb and they must get smarter in how they evaluate a president.

Oh, I get it. This is why we need a bunch of Harvard graduates running things, because only they are smart enough to get all this.

Posted by: kilgore_nobiz | September 28, 2010 10:19 AM | Report abuse

Is Stromberg on the payroll of our community organizer-in-chief? It sure seems so.

If this bill was so good why did it have to be passed before we could know what's in it? Why are some states treated differently than others? Why did so many in congress have to be bribed to vote for it? And since when are 26 year olds considered children? BO is doing his best to kill the insurance industry, which is exactly what he wants. His socialist, third-world wish for America is working bit by bit.

This was not a bill for the American people, it's another nail in the coffin of the USA. The progressives are determined to turn us into a third-world country and they are succeeding right before out eyes!!!

Posted by: Christian1941 | September 28, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

It seems like you're saying the message falls flat because Americans are impatient and mostly stupid. I tend to agree.

Posted by: TwoTermObama | September 28, 2010 10:30 AM | Report abuse

There are indeed some "popular" provisions of the bill. They cost money. There was little if anything done to contain costs. Forcing more people to buy healthcare was about the only provision, thus adding more people to the "pool". The fact is that rationing of healthcare is the only method of control. Rationing exists today, ever heard of pre-approvals? Progressives hate the term "death panels", but that is what rationing is all about. We simply do not have enough resources to provide everyone with unlimited healthcare. There never will be. This whole argument hinges on both sides being loose with the facts because they are ugly. Let's openly embrace rationing and figure out how to do it in the most expeditions and fair way possible.

Posted by: rhino2 | September 28, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

" .. United States has the best schools in the world and the most influential, smart, wealthy people in the planet, but it cannot figure out universal health care for all its citizens."

.. most of whom OVER-EAT, SMOKE, DOPE, BOOZE and "live extreme."

Dear FOOD STAMPS Party -- why is their STUPIDITY, my problem?

Did it ever dawn on you Einsteins that if there were penalties for STUPIDITY -- there would be more $$$$ for cancer, etc. DUH!

The working class cannot fix every STUPID move by the Bwarney Fwrank/Pelosi crowd. Fix your problems, yourselves!

And BTW: Bite Me is a MORON!! Nah, nah, nah!

Posted by: russpoter | September 28, 2010 10:34 AM | Report abuse

As any first year law student knows, there is no way to prove a negative. Claiming that a failed economic policy is a success because it is alleged that we would have been worse without it is simply arguing facts not in evidence. No one knows whether the economy would have been worse without the massive debt incurred in bail out attempts. What we do know is that the bail out attempts were actually spending programs coveted by the liberals who would have otherwise been unable to get them passed. If not repealed, the health care reform act better known as Obamacare's forced insurance program is the cause for increase costs. One can argue that costs would have risen anyway but aside from trends, we likely will never know whether the rate of increase would have been less without 30 million more being forced into the mix. What we do know is that if the people who passed this trash can't explain it, then it should not have been passed. I may not be able fully define stupidity, but I certainly know it when I see it. It appears that a majority of Americans now feel the same way.

Posted by: wantingbalance | September 28, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, but this article contributes nothing.

Posted by: dummy4peace | September 28, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

The Health Care Reform Law is unpopular because Senior Democrats ignored the wise advice of the Liberal Base which fought tooth and nail for a public option. Twenty percent of the country opposes health care because it was pushed through by a Black President. You will never convince that part of the country that this is a good idea. The rest of the opposition comes from the two most odious provisions of the law, the mandate that everyone must be insured, coupled with the elimination of a public option. The Left Wing warned the administration that this combination was an election loser, but the Administration told its base to F’off. They thought that ordering Americans to buy insurance from for-profit corporations so that CEOs could be paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bonuses would be popular. Surprise, it’s not! Now the mid terms are here and Emanuel and Axelrod can’t understand why there’s an enthusiasm gap. There is an enthusiasm gap because Democrats, no matter how much they hate Republicans, just can’t stomach voting for a group of spineless, imbeciles solely because they suck worse the other group of evil imbeciles.

Posted by: codexjust1 | September 28, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Is anyone surprised?

Obamacare lacked popular support while it was being enacted. It's lacked popular support ever since. People's opposition will continue until it is repealed or neutered.

What liberals fail to take into account Obamacare isn't just a typical liberal spending program that people oppose because its too expemsive. Obamacare restricts the ability of people to make decisions about their own health insurance. What kind of policy to buy, what to cover.

Obamacare is politicians telling the rest of us that they don't approve of our decisions about healthcare, politicians know better than the American People and politicians limit our healthcare choices.

This law will not survive.

Posted by: jfv123 | September 28, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I just sat through a small business seminar on the health bill impact - nothing I saw "lowers or bends the cost curve". Almost everything in the bill increases the cost of health insurance for everyone.

Posted by: sarno | September 28, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Stromberg babbled, "Much of the reform is difficult to explain in unqualified, appealing terms."

-----------------------------------------
Sorry, FAIL. I worked for the gov't, investigating insurance companies. I am extremely familiar with the system and cost structure. I have read through this bill. It is an unmitigated disaster. There is ZERO in it that will reduce costs. There is MUCH in it that will and is, causing premiums to skyrocket. There is much in it that will actually ADD costs in the form of regulations and bureaucracy. So, Stromberg, PLEASE tell us, have to read the bill? If so, pretend to be a journalist and give us a breakdown by major provisions and why, exactly, based on your knowledge of the industry, why it is helpful or harmful. Until you can do so, your "opinion" is less than worthless here.

Posted by: illogicbuster | September 28, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Hey nyskinsdiehard - So what if Fox news is run by ayles and murdoch who are republicans. What about CBS, NBC, ABC, CNBC, CNN, MSNBC, PBS. Who are these run by bright eyes, and how come you don't comment on the left wing trash that comes out of the mouth of their commentators? Herr Keith Olbermann and spitz Chris Mathews ar two of the biggest fakes in reporting. Who are dems and libs in the pockets of? Corrupt unions, George Soros, Andy Stern, the communist party, move-on.org, celebs like lady gaga, whoopi, alec baldwin. Oh, sorry I forgot to mention hamas and the PLO. You have one lone network Fox news and you are scared to death of them. Right?

Posted by: lori9 | September 28, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

nyskinsdiehard - Forgot to mention one of your questions, what are you drinking. I drink scotch. It helps me to stay rational and on top of things. I recommend it for you. Maybe after downing a bottle of dewars you will also become rational, but being a liberal you will probably pass out

Posted by: lori9 | September 28, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

This stupid health care bill that Obozo shoved down our throats is going to bite all americans later down the road. It is not saving us anything. What the goof should of done is put a cap on law suits, what medical people have to pay in insurance is absurd! Stop hospitals from charging $5.00 for a Tylenol when you can purchase a bottle for that amount. CEO's have told me they rather pay the penatly of not offering insurance, it's cheaper than covering the employees. Wait, if you make over a specific amount you will be taxed for the portion your company pays for you as a benefit. These idiot dems can't even read their own bill they passed. What a mess this jerk put us in and another 2 years to go? Why don't you go on a vacation for the next two year, you won't be missed!

Posted by: bailey50 | September 28, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Give me a break. Even liberal economists are now saying TARP was more helpful than the so-call stimulus, and that you can't begin to predict with any certainty whatsoever the true costs of the so-called health care reform. More than anything, We The People want transparency and responsibility from the President and Congress. We've heard nothing substantive of the first, and very little of the second. Until we do, all incumbents: 'please except our humble invitation to join the unemployment lines.'

Posted by: JHG_sec405 | September 28, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

My last Blue Cross Blue Shield premium jumped like nothing I've seen before. When this thing kicks in, I fear there will be long lines and rationing. Physicians will retire. Fewer will come into the system. America's better days are numbered. We can thank the Democrats for this. They are single-handedly destroying this nation's economy. I am suffering. My small business is suffering under Obama and the Democrats. Aren't other people suffering?

Posted by: sklein19 | September 28, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I am extremely tired of seeing Obama on TV all time with his worn out gestures attempting to sell snake oil. Time for him to quit and go home to Chi-town with the rest of his radical associates. No need to discuss this disastrous law. It needs to be repealed ASAP. Let the dead beats pay for their own policies!

Posted by: rustynailx | September 28, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

The feds have made a mess of every market they have entered to regulate. Now it's health care's turn and AZ has said no. Arizona is an independent state. We don't like to be told that he have to do anything. So we have Prop 106 (HCR 2014) on the ballot and it will be a vote to remove our entire state from Obama's universal health care plan. If it passes we do too on universal health care. AZ is one of two states with this before it's voters. It is our state's way of telling the feds to get out of health care.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | September 28, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Again:

The data show that more Americans thought the HCR bill didn't go FAR ENOUGH than people who thought it went too far. We have the GOP to thank for foiling the wishes of the MAJORITY.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39369615/ns/health-health_care

"The poll found that about four in 10 adults think the new law did not go far enough to change the health care system, regardless of whether they support the law, oppose it or remain neutral. On the other side, about one in five say they oppose the law because they think the federal government should not be involved in health care at all."

Posted by: B2O2 | September 28, 2010 12:19 PM | Report abuse

The HC bill has nothing to reign in medical expenses. It only shifts expenses from one sector to another.

Not everyone is in denial, here.

Posted by: primegrop | September 28, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

The typical apologia for Obama, offered by one of his knee-pants-wearing sycophants: the problem is the packaging, not the contents!

Posted by: liam358 | September 28, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Wiggan wrote: At this point this miserable economy is direct result of Obama's policy of stimulus, bailout, nanny state and redistributive socialism. He has rewarded those who do not pay taxes at the expense of those who do, and we are spiraling downward under the leeching masses.

None of which is the slightest bit true, but Wiggan, like the rest of the right-wing know-nothings posting on this forum, knows only what he's been told by Fox News and the Republican propaganda machine.

I notice that all those who hate Obama's health care reform offer no alterative solutions. Us liberals don't like the reforms either, we would rather that Medicare been extended to all citizens, reducing the health insurance industry to selling insurance for plastic surgery to the wealthy.

Posted by: Chagasman | September 28, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Just look at the feds record. They got into regulating education. Our education system is now in shambles. Next was housing. Our meltdown in 2008 of the entire financial system thanks to corruption in the housing market should have been a warning to everyone that the feds aren't the best ones to regulate anything. Instead now we have Democrats h*llbent on entering the health care marketplace. We know from past experiences with education and housing how this will turn out. The last thing we need to do is allow this farce to continue.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | September 28, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Unlike political hacks and "writers" like Stromberg, most Americans who do the basics of home economics and personal finance know there's nothing in health care reform that will "bend the curve". Only people who grew up with everyone else doing stuff for them and keeping them sheltered from the dismal reality of economics suffer the delusional aspiration that this health care reform will lower health care costs.

Posted by: jeffreyshovlin | September 28, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Health care costs will continue to soar as long as the for-profit private insurers are holding the reins. Don't get mad at Obama for the rising costs -- get mad at your private health insurance company. At some point, Americans will finally say "no" to this fleecing of America and demand a single-payer system (e.g. Medicare) where costs can be regulated and contained. No wonder we are ranked 32nd in the world for health care.

Posted by: lddoyle2002 | September 28, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: lddoyle2002: "Health care costs will continue to soar as long as the for-profit private insurers are holding the reins."
----------------------------------

I guess that explains the HUGE non-profit HC Ins companies jacking up the rates? ROFLMAO at ignorant, communist kool-aide drinkers.

Posted by: illogicbuster | September 28, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

"The president, after all, argues that you have to judge his economic policies, too, not by the raw level of misery in America -- or even his own predictions about the effects of the stimulus -- but by how much worse the economy would be had he done something else, or nothing. This is also reasonable."

This isn't reasonable, it's opportunistic speculation.

Posted by: longbow1 | September 28, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

change: we are almost all equal.... equally poor.

change: axelrod gone, rahm gone, harvard/berkely economics geniuses.... gone.

change: only one public policy major is left. he got a law degree but never "practiced" it.

believe: he is "practicing" public policy now.

believe: we are better because of it.

Posted by: docwhocuts | September 28, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse


"We lost the elections because The Voters Are Stupid".

- Typical leftist

Posted by: screwjob21 | September 28, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

" .. As any first year law student knows, there is no way to prove a negative .."

FACT: My medical insurance bill just went up TEN percent -- thanks to OWEbama.

FACT: CBO original estimate of Medicare is now 700% higher (in nominal terms) than original estimate.

OWEbama is either INCOMPETENT or a LIAR.

MESS-iah, either quit or be IMPEACHED.

Posted by: russpoter | September 28, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

How much worse would the economy be without the stimulus package is one argument. A few other arguments are how much better would the economy be with the stimulus better managed and entirely spent. How much better would the economy be if it was president McCain not president Obama. How much better would the economy be if Presidnet Obama hadn't "bad talked" the economy and run around like chicken little in order to get elected.

Posted by: Anders5 | September 28, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

In respect to Employer mandates, it appears from www.BenefitsManager.net and www.AHealthInsuranceQuote.com analysis that employers nationwide will be assessed a $2,000 penalty for every employee not offered group health insurance or commonly referred to employer sponsored health insurance. Does this include part time employees that traditionally didn’t qualify or buy health insurance in the first place because of the cost vrs. Hours worked? How in the world is an employer going to absorb this cost? So if an employee doesn’t want to participate in paying their share, the employer is penalized $2,000?

Posted by: mikeoliphant | September 28, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

More and more, coming to the WaPo to read the columns has become an exercise in comic relief.

Try this on for size, Stromberg: the reason Obama's policy message falls flat is because the policy SUCKS. Plain and simple.

Read the last paragraph of this piece: "For the health-reform law, meanwhile, with its years of phase-in, Obama's vindication may take even longer. And that presumes it works."

What on earth would justify the presumption that it will work? The closed-door way in which it was rammed through against Americans' explicit protests? The fact that so many in Congress barely glanced at the bill? The fact that Obama obviously and deliberately fixated on his precious "reform" bill to the exclusion of jobs and the economy which had always been -- by a HUGE margin -- the REAL priority? The fact that it REEKS of totalitarianism? The outright DUPLICITY that has steadily been coming to light with regards to the bill as it was advertised and the convoluted law as it actually is? On what basis should we "presume" anything good about it?

It's not as if history hasn't given us a clue about the pitfalls of radical big-government politics and the mess that comes with "ruling-class aristocracy vs. the rabble" ideologies.

Sheesh, the mealy-mouthed way in which the mainstream hacks dance around the obvious reality, is amazing.

Posted by: finsher771 | September 28, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Everything the 1/2 black muslim is doing is taking the country backward. The vindication you refer to will be ours in 2012 not his after the healthcare fiasco phases in! After 2012 with any kind of luck, all of the deforms this regressive has signed his name to should be on their way to the shredder. Can't come soon enough.

Posted by: dehowejr | September 29, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

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