KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Law Fumbles Threaten Obama’s Agenda

Media analyses argue the health law's rollout problems are endangering the rest of President Barack Obama's second-term agenda as his credibility and job approval ratings suffer. Others see his blunt admission of blame as an effort to improve his public standing and counter a revolt within his own party.

The New York Times: Health Law Rollout's Stumbles Draw Parallels To Bush's Hurricane Response
Barack Obama won the presidency by exploiting a political environment that devoured George W. Bush in a second term plagued by sinking credibility, failed legislative battles, fractured world relations and revolts inside his own party. President Obama is now threatened by a similar toxic mix. The disastrous rollout of his health care law not only threatens the rest of his agenda but also raises questions about his competence in the same way that the Bush administration's botched response to Hurricane Katrina undermined any semblance of Republican efficiency (Shear, 11/14).

Politico: The Obamacare Fumble
It's the cardinal rule of marketing management: Under-promise and over-deliver. If the sign at "Pirates of the Caribbean" says the wait is 45 minutes, and your kids are floating along on the ride in half that time, Disneyland really is the Happiest Place on Earth. So it's little wonder that the glaring contrast between the White House's perpetually optimistic talk about its health care plan -- "Try it! You’ll like it!" -- and the messy realities of its rollout has sent President Barack Obama's job approval ratings to all-time lows, and for the first time left the public with a negative view of his honesty in some surveys (Purdum, 11/15).

The Wall Street Journal: Obama Contrite Over Health-Law Problems
In an effort to revive his standing with Americans and suppress a growing rebellion within his own party, President Barack Obama on Thursday displayed a level of self-criticism he has seldom shown publicly in his five years in office as he acknowledged he "fumbled" the rollout of his signature legislative achievement. Throughout an hourlong news conference at the White House, Mr. Obama showed rare contrition about the political fallout from his self-described missteps -- from his failed promise that, under his 2010 health-care law, people who liked their coverage could keep it, to a problem-plagued website that has yielded embarrassingly low enrollment numbers and weeks of intense criticism of a divisive overhaul that has been a political flash point for years (Lee and Nicholas, 11/14).

The Associated Press: From Obama, A Blunt Acceptance Of Blame
Again and again, President Barack Obama on Thursday shouldered the blame for his botched health care rollout in unusually blunt terms -- a step many of his critics contend was long overdue. In an even rarer admission, he also acknowledged that the cascade of troubles was damaging his credibility with the American people and threatening to take a toll on his broader second-term agenda. The president's somber and reflective acceptance of personal responsibility for failures with his signature law marked the latest chapter in the White House's evolving posture on the "Obamacare" woes (Pace, 11/15).

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