Thursday, November 7, 2013

Democrat Senators in Secret Meeting with President Obama
Houston, we have a problem!
1970 Apollo 13 Astronaut Message to Space Center in Houston
This week’s closed door, hastily arranged,  emergency  two hour meeting between 15 Democrat Senators up for re-election in November 2014,  plus Senator  Michael Bennett (D-Colorado) who heads the Senate re-election campaign,  with  President Obama, Vice-President Biden, and other White House officials  reminds me of the troubled Apollo 13 flight in 1970.   
Because of limited power, loss of cabin heat, shortage of water, and the need to remove carbon dioxide accumulating within the space capsule, the mission commander uttered that famous phase to National Space Agency  headquarters , “Houston, we have a problem! “ This remark  has become standard  for denoting  any   problem that needs fixing.
The Senators calling the meeting are growing desperate over their re-election prospects. Their survival, they  think,  as at stake. 

Their problems and and the problem of ObamaCare  is  a crisis in confidence in the credibility, competence, and substance of ObamaCare  implementation.

 These problems are manifested'by:

-- the cliff-hanger governor’s election of Terry McAuliffe, originally thought to be a runaway. lclose largely because of ObamaCare's stumbles ;  

--the uncertain time line for the fix; 

--slow signup rates for the health exchanges, which are projected now to be 800,000 rather than the original estimate of 2.4 million at the end of November;  

--the current , cascading4 million insurance cancellations, which may reach 10 million by January; 

-- early returns from state run exchanges, indicating that 85%-90% of those signing up are enrolling in Medicaid rather than those choosing private plans  who were expected to finance Obamacare expansion;

---the young and healthy  not enrolling while the older and sicker are (the average age of those picking plans is now over 50, with the greatest number in the 55 to 64 age group.
The biggest problems for the Senators are turning this public relations disaster around, showing that the government was capable of fixing the website, persuading the public that insurance cancellations were limited to the 5% in the individual and small group markets, and not the other 150 million covered by their employers; and explaining to the public why President Obama misled them with his repeated promise they could keep thier plans and doctors, not matter what.

No matter what has arrived in spades, as their plans are being dropped, as they can't get on,  can't compare rates before giving out personal information, or they see their premiums and deductibles rise.
How to staunch ObamaCare hemorrhaging?   The consensus of those emerging from the meeting is that the best and most practical solution  would be a delay in Obamacare implementation , perhaps even for a year.  
But President Obama, it is being reported, is fixed in his ideological position  that the progressive show must go on, that plunging ahead  is  the right thing to do to save the uninsured and underinsured beleagured  masses;  that government has the resources to fix the myriad problems,   that  this whole thing  is  the fault of radical  Tea Partiers;  conservative close-minded , cold-blooded Republicans;  and  misguided misinformed  Red State governors who have turned down federal government funds for Medicaid expansion.  
This line of reasoning is predictable, but memories of the 2012 midterms and heavy Democratic losses and the close McAuliffe win, which might have been a loss if the election had been a week later,  haunt Democrat senators up for re-election.   They seek pragmatic answers, not ideological posturing  and empty reassurances.
Tweet:  15 Democratic Senators meet with Obama and WH officials  to seek solutions  to ObamaCare woes to bolster their reelection prospects.

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