Obama’s Luck

By on November 16, 2013
Boat

obamaluckObama’s luck held again yesterday when only 39 Democrats decided to join the House Republicans to support a bill that would have allowed insurance companies to go on selling existing insurance policies with large coverage holes and cancellation clauses. Apparently these folks have already forgotten that one of the big fixes of health reform was to sharply reduce medical bankruptcies caused by catastrophic illnesses affecting working Americans, many of whom had some kind of insurance. Sponsored by Michigan millionaire Fred Upton, yet another heir to a large fortune who prefers Congress to the local golf course as a place to hang out, the bill now goes to the Senate which will likely ignore it.

While this is good news for reformers, and especially good news for the president who will not have to veto anything this time around, it is fair warning that he needs to stop making speeches and start making things work. Given Congress’s self-serving work schedule, it is unlikely another significant threat will surface before the end of the year. But, in January when insurance is starting to kick in, he better have solid results to show of people getting coverage and states swelling their Medicaid rolls or he will see greater numbers of Democrats wanting out.

BoatJoe Sestak, a former Democratic member of Congress from Pennsylvania and retired Rear Admiral, said they had a motto in the navy that the president should adopt, “What gets directed gets inspected.” This sounds like good policy to these ears. The president needs to leave his bully pulpit in the six weeks to come, — leave his podium at the front of the nation’s classroom — and get down in the bowels of the ship of state and make sure everything is ready to sail. His reputation and that of health care reform will depend upon it. If it is not ready, he will need then to put his head together with supporters and come up with a fix so that the SS Obamacare does not get torpedoed by you-know-who leaving the harbor in 2014.

He has been lucky this fall. The Republican shutdown made his opponents look ridiculous and stupid. This distracted from his disastrous roll-out and neutered the opposition. Good luck does not hold forever. Just ask Sara Palin.

Tom

 

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