KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Obama Faces Trust Issues As A Result Of Health Law Woes

President Barack Obama -- and Democrats, by proxy -- face big political problems as a result of the botched rollout of the insurance website and the debunking of his pledge that Americans could keep their health plans if they liked them. Recent polls have Democrats and Republicans neck-and-neck in midterm election polls, and Fox News reports that half of voters think the president "knowingly lied" about the health law.

The Washington Post: For Obama, Loss Of Trust Over Health Care Law Poses Major Problems for His Agenda, Legacy
Essential elements of Brand Obama in 2008 were trustworthiness and competence, virtues the candidate used to contrast himself with his predecessor, George W. Bush. Obama promised honesty in foreign policy -- no unfounded claims of weapons of mass destruction to justify a military invasion. He pledged precision in governing -- no Hurricane Katrinas. … But his likability among the general public has fallen sharply in recent weeks amid the self-inflicted problems with implementation of his health care law (Wilson, 11/13).

Politico: Obamacare Decision Time For Democrats: Fight Or Flight
A White House under siege. A signature policy initiative turning into an embarrassing public spectacle. Dissent within the president's own party that threatens to turn into a full-blown revolt. For Republicans, such a moment came in 2005, as the party faced a daunting midterm election under the shadow of the disastrous Iraq War and a presidency in the dumps. For Democrats, the fear now is that the Affordable Care Act’s clumsy rollout -- complete with a botched enrollment website and a debunked presidential pledge that Americans could keep their existing insurance plans -- could produce a similar rout at the ballot box, with candidates dragged down by President Barack Obama’s dropping job approval and dimming public perceptions of the law known as Obamacare (Burns and Glueck, 11/13).

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Poll: Health Care Woes Wipe Out Democrats' Lead
The controversy surrounding the rollout of the health-care law has wiped out the ratings boost Democrats received from last month’s government shutdown, with a new poll showing voters are now split on whether they would vote for a Democrat or a Republican in midterm elections. A Quinnipiac University poll has voters divided 39 percent-39 percent on which party they would vote for in a generic matchup. That's a significant shift from last month, when an Oct. 1 poll showed 43 percent of voters would choose a Democrat, versus 30 percent who would choose a Republican (Ballhaus, 11/13).

The Fiscal Times: How Democrats Could Kill Obamacare
The White House needs to convince 7 million people to sign up for coverage in order for Obamacare to work as intended, according to the Congressional Budget Office. His most pressing task, however, might be convincing Democrats that Obamacare can be salvaged. Millions of voters have lost their insurance, and millions more are expected to lose it in the coming months and years, according to a McClatchy report. They’re letting their displeasure with the law be known, sending shivers up the spines of vulnerable Democratic lawmakers (Francis, 11/14). 

Politico: President Obama's Trust Gap
Six weeks of website follies and anger that the president either misspoke or made a bungled oversimplification of his claims that people could keep health care plans they like appear to have damaged the core of the Obama brand more than Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Mitt Romney or five years of sustained attacks on his presidency ever did (Dovere and Epstein, 11/13).

Fox News: Fox News Poll: Half Think Obama 'Knowingly Lied' To Pass Health Care Law
Half of voters believe President Obama "knowingly lied" when he repeatedly told Americans they could keep their plans under his signature health care law. Obama repeatedly vowed that under the Affordable Care Act, "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.  Period." Fifty percent of voters believe the president knew he was lying. Four in 10 think Obama didn’t know the law would cause people to lose their insurance (40 percent) (Blanton, 11/13). 

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