Obama finds who his friends are
Technical issues aside, congressional Democrats have no business blaming the president for Obamacare.
In a defensive crouch resulting from the disastrous rollout of the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama is mixing apologies with his political attacks on the opposition party.
While conceding that he gave Americans a false impression when he promised they could keep their health plans and doctors if they liked them, Obama has lambasted congressional Republicans for being "invested in failure" of his legislative pride and joy.
But the political reality is that the GOP is not the president's biggest problems; it's congressional Democrats he needs to worry about.
The news in Washington last week was filled with reports of rebellious Democrats who want Obama to do something — anything — to stanch the bleeding.
The Hill reported that House and Senate Democrats are "increasingly frustrated, bitter and angry with the White House" about "the debacle that has engulfed them."
"Increasingly the anger is directed at one person only: Obama," The Hill reports.
Concerns about Obamacare will only grow the closer it gets to the November 2014. That's when the entire U.S. House of Representatives will be up for election along with one-third of the U.S. Senate.
There's no doubt Obamacare has become a sad national joke in the wake of disastrous Oct. 1 debut of a failed website intended to enroll millions of Americans in government-approved private insurance plans.
But the technology issue only scratches the surface of a bigger problem. Millions of Americans who hold individual insurance plans have had them canceled and been offered more expensive plans with higher deductibles in their place. But even that problem is minor compared with what looms on the horizon.
With a wave of his hand, President Obama delayed the employer mandate for a year because of implementation issues. That means in fall 2014 millions of people whose health insurance is provided by their employers will receive cancellation notices.
The American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank in Washington, has estimated that "up to 100 million small and large business policies could be cancelled" because those policies fail to meet coverage mandates established in the Affordable Care Act.
In that context, it's understandable that congressional Democrats are in a panic. What's not understandable is why they blame Obama.
The rollout has been a technical disaster that should appall every American. Otherwise, the law is working as its architects intended.
The legislative goal was to put all Americans in the same health insurance boat and mandate minimum standards established by experts. Obamacare was written to require younger, healthier people to pay higher premiums so that older, less healthy people could pay lower premiums. The clear goal was for the insurance premiums of middle- and upper-income Americans to subsidize free or low-cost health care for low-income Americans.
It is a one-size-fits-all income redistribution program aimed at providing health insurance for the uninsured. The premise, while controversial, is simple.
So why are congressional Democrats upset if the law works as intended? They can't claim they didn't know what was in the bill — unless they didn't.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said she and her fellow Democrats were aware of the consequences.
"We all knew. The whole point of the plan is to cover things people need, like preventative care, birth control, pregnancy," she said.
Some Democrats may say they did not understand what Obamacare entailed, but ignorance of the law is no excuse.
The reality is that congressional Democrats were delighted with Obamacare until they understood that the majority of Americans were not. Now they're seeking to distance themselves from the legislation they passed, and they have the gall to blame Obama for their decision to pass a law that has low public approval ratings.
The president is certainly well-advised to be on guard against congressional Republicans. They are at philosophical odds. Most Democrats are enthusiastic supporters of the Obama agenda. For congressional Democrats to blame Obama for Obamacare is nothing more than an attempt to escape shared responsibility.