In an interview that was, overall, his usually canny defense of the ACA, he urged the president and the Congress to fix the law to keep the clear promise the president made when making the case for the law. Listen:
Perhaps amending this portion – for the individual market – would entail a whole host of other implications. But look: if you made a promise, and it turns out to be empty, you have two options. You can apologize for misleading people, which really does have a corrosive effect on your credibility as president; or you can fix the law so that your promise remains intact. Again, I don’t know what the full policy implications would be – but if this affects only 5 percent of Americans and the issue can be compartmentalized, the politics could help the law, not hurt it.
I’d recommend reading the full context of the remarks and the full video – because it will be distorted by some and the soundbite will be the only news there is. Here’s the summary from the Ozy editors of the interview:
1. The country is better off with the Affordable Care Act than without it.
2. The enrollment website problems are not unlike enrollment issues during the Bush administration’s Medicare drug benefit rollout in 2006. Even though it was less complicated, it was considered a disaster – but in time, it was fixed.
3. People living in states with Republican governors who took advantage of the Supreme Court’s decision to allow them to opt out of the healthcare law’s Medicaid provision are going to experience a bizarre situation. Individuals with incomes between 133 and 400 percent of the poverty level can buy insurance at new, lower premiums, but working people with incomes under 133 percent of the poverty level will have no coverage. This will then stress hospital emergency rooms. Once this becomes evident, more and more states will flip their position and join the program.
4. “If you like what you’ve got, you can keep it.” This is a promise young people heard clearly, and it’s one President Obama needs to keep — even if it requires a change in the law.