KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

White House Struggles To Save Health Law

The Associated Press reports the president needs breakthroughs on three fronts: the cancellations and technology messes and the crisis in confidence among his own supporters. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports the White House is probing how the rollout flopped despite what they had believed was sufficient planning.

The Associated Press: Obama Struggles To Save His Cherished Health Law
President Barack Obama's health care law risks coming unglued because of his administration's bungles and his own inflated promises. To avoid that fate, Obama needs breakthroughs on three fronts: the cancellations mess, technology troubles and a crisis in confidence among his own supporters. Working in his favor are pent-up demands for the program's benefits and an unlikely collaborator in the insurance industry. But even after Obama gets the enrollment website working, count on new controversies. On the horizon is the law's potential impact on job-based insurance. Its mandate that larger employers offer coverage will take effect in 2015 (Alonso-Zaldivar, 11/16).

The Associated Press: Obama Health Care Woes Becomes Credibility Fight
Throughout President Barack Obama's first four years in office, he prided himself on his ability to bounce back when much of Washington thought his presidency was in peril. ... This time, the president is fighting to regain trust and credibility with the American people. Those are the same qualities that helped keep him afloat during those earlier battles. ... The widespread problems have spurred questions about the normally cool and confident president's management style and his competence (Pace, 11/17).

Politico: Obamacare's Threat To Liberalism
From the moment of his improbable emergence as a presidential contender seven years ago, Barack Obama has always positioned himself as something better than a politician. And he has always presented his goals for progressive change as something bigger than the bare minimum a Democrat might hope for in a country that skews center-right. So the fiasco of the launch of Obama’s sweeping health care overhaul has put the reputation of Big Government progressivism at risk for at least this generation. And its future now rests on the president’s ability to reverse that debacle and to demonstrate that his approach to covering millions of uninsured Americans is not only an enlightened — but workable — policy. He set the bar himself (Purdum, 11/18).

Los Angeles Times: White House Optimistic Obama Will Bounce Back From Healthcare Glitches
He's vented, attacked, apologized and adjusted. Now, President Obama has one move left in his attempt to salvage the rollout of his healthcare law: hope the website works soon. The White House, knowing a functional website is needed to calm its panicky allies, has now entered the wait-and-see period of its triage after the turmoil that has followed the Oct. 1 rollout. With the latest fix to the law unveiled, a bruising House vote behind them and experts working feverishly on the broken website, administration officials believe they may have weathered the worst (Hennessey and Parsons, 11/16).

The Wall Street Journal: White House Soul-Searches As Errors Mount
The White House has begun a quiet self-assessment in the wake of the troubled health-law launch, recognizing that administration officials missed warning signs and put too much trust in their management practices in implementing a program that is the centerpiece of President Barack Obama's domestic legacy. White House officials want to learn how the rollout flopped, despite what they believed had been sufficient planning, preparation and attention to the issue. Although not a full-bore "forensic" inquiry into what went wrong, the administration aims to organize itself so that "going forward, we don't have these problems," a senior White House official said in an interview (Nicholas and Lee, 9/17).

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