KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

White House Struggles With Health Law Messaging

As President Barack Obama is pilloried for the rocky rollout of the law, the White House struggles with how to refocus the public's attention, since some of the strongest arguments for the law are longer-term benefits that are harder to comprehend.

The Washington Post: Obama: Republicans Share Blame For Health-Care Problems
Seven weeks after’s troubled launch, President Obama has turned his emphasis from apologizing for the problems to criticizing Republicans ... But the strategy presents difficult challenges for Obama, who is seeking to refocus Americans’ attention on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act as the administration works on fixing the online enrollment system. Insurers and insurance commissioners, who are among the groups most closely invested in the program’s success, are questioning the Obama administration’s approach to it. The president’s own credibility with the public has ebbed in the wake of the rocky rollout. And some of the strongest arguments for the law — that it could contain health-care costs over time and ease the financial burden on hospitals required to treat uninsured patients — are longer-term benefits that are harder for the public to easily comprehend (Eilperin and Wilson, 11/20).

Politico: Obamacare Tradeoffs: Now They Tell Us…
The broken website, while an excruciating embarrassment, is on the path to repair. If Amazon and the airlines can manage millions of transactions a day over the web with ease, say experts, the federal government’s class of slow students surely will solve the problem in due course. But the problem with Obamacare’s stumbling start is that it shined a harsh light on intended consequences — more costs and more government regulation — that were always embedded in the ACA, yet were deliberately downplayed by Obama and Democrats on the way to passage. Backers hoped the costs of the ACA and its roster of losers would remain obscured after launch in a rush of good feeling about the laws benefits and its roster of winners (Harris and Nather, 11/20).

In related news -

Bloomberg: White House Says Health Law Helping Slow Rise In Costs
The White House said spending on health care in the last three years has risen at the slowest pace on record, with implications for American pocketbooks, jobs, the federal budget and the economy.  A report by President Barack Obama’s economic advisers linked slower growth of health costs to passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 (Runningen, 11/20).

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