by Chip Wood
The New York Times reported the Administration is preparing “a daily barrage of more positive messages about the health care law during the next several weeks — some to be delivered by Mr. Obama personally.” And it quoted one anonymous official as promising: “Every day, there will be something coming out of the White House.”
The new propaganda effort kicked off two days ago, with a speech by the President to a White House Youth Summit meeting. Interestingly enough, that was the same day a new poll was released, showing that the President and his signature healthcare measure have become strikingly unpopular with a group that used to be his most fervid supporters: the so-called millennials.
A new poll from Harvard University’s Institute of Politics confirms just how much support Obama and his signature healthcare legislation have lost among young people between the ages of 18 and 29.
The millennials supported Obama in his two Presidential elections by a huge margin. The poll asked, “If you could re-cast your 2012 vote for President today, for whom would you vote?” Seventeen percent of the young Obama voters would not support him.
Boy, how they’ve changed today. To paraphrase an old adage, you can fool some young people all of the time, and all young people some of the time. But you can’t fool all of the young people all of the time.
According to the IOP poll, Obama’s overall job approval rating has plunged 11 percentage points since April and now sits at just 41 percent. A majority of 54 percent now disapprove of his performance. On many specific issues, Obama’s approval is even lower. For example, only 28 percent approve of his handling of the Federal budget deficit. (Frankly, I’m surprised that even one out of four young people think he’s doing a good job here. How bad would it have to get before they said “enough”?)
It should come as no surprise that the issue that has hurt the President the most among young people is Obamacare. It seems that a majority of them have finally figured out that they will be the financial victims in this scheme.
Only 38 percent of the young people surveyed said they approved of the program. A plurality told the pollsters that they expected Obamacare to reduce the quality of their healthcare, while an outright majority said that they expected it to lead to higher costs for them. They got that right!
Here’s a statistic that should scare the bejabbers out of the defenders of Obamacare. Just 22 percent of the young people surveyed said they expected to sign up for health insurance under Obamacare.
More than twice as many said they were unlikely to do so. If these numbers are confirmed by actual results in the coming year, it will be a huge problem for the redistributionist scheme known as the Affordable Care Act.
One of the key assumptions behind the plan was that a large number of healthy young Americans would pay more in premiums than they cost the system. If this doesn’t happen, there goes Obama’s promise that Obamacare “won’t add a dime” to the Federal deficit. No, it won’t be a dime; it will be tens of billions of dollars.
The millennials surveyed are so disgusted with politics today that a majority of them, some 52 percent, said that they would recall every member of Congress if it were possible to do so.
But it isn’t just the members of the House and Senate who would feel their wrath. Almost as many would like to remove Obama from the White House. Some 47 percent said they would like to recall him, while 46 percent said they would not. Since the margin of error in the poll was 2.1 percent, you can call this one a toss-up.
Those are some pretty grim numbers for Obama supporters. But according to former President Bill Clinton, in a few more months it will all be different. “I believe that if the computer problems are all fixed, and it’s up and running by — and healthy in the next several weeks,” he told Fusion’s Jorje Ramos. “I think that the damage will be minimal.”
Clinton has certainly benefited more than most people from the public’s short memory of misdeeds. So it comes as no surprise that he hopes “within four or five months people will be talking about something entirely differently.”
Of course all of that optimistic outpouring is predicted on one dangerous assumption: that the problems with the Obamacare website are all fixed. That is hardly the case. The best its defenders can say is that it’s “less prone to errors” than it was. But the system still crashed when CNN tried to use it during a live news broadcast.
Head honcho Kathleen Sebelius offered this helpful piece of advice to potential enrollees: Go the site during “off-peak hours.” Yeah, that’s the ticket. Set your alarm clock for 3 o’clock in the morning, and maybe — just maybe — you’ll be able to get through.
But even then, the process won’t be complete. The New York Times offered up a particularly misleading piece of reporting last Sunday, when it wrote that the back-end systems “that are supposed to deliver consumer information to insurers still have not been fixed.”
Of course they haven’t been fixed; they haven’t been built yet! Remember, it was just more than two weeks ago (on Nov. 19, to be exact) when Henry Chao, the Administration official in charge of overseeing the Healthcare.gov website, told a Congressional committee that “the accounting systems, the payment systems, they still need to be” created.
How can you “fix” something that doesn’t even exist?
Meanwhile, the Administration is gloating that about 100,000 people signed up for health insurance through the online Federal exchange in November. To be sure, that’s a substantial increase from the 27,000 people who, in October, managed to navigate the website and actually select an insurance plan.
But even the number of enrollees is another example of how the Obama Administration plays fast and loose with the truth. They count as “enrolled” anyone who has put a healthcare plan in an online shopping cart.
But to be fully enrolled, a consumer not only has to select a plan, he must also receive confirmation from an insurance company that they’ve been accepted. And then he must make his first premium payment. No one will say how many people have completed the whole process.
Originally, the Administration said it hoped to have 800,000 people fully enrolled in Obamacare by the end of November. That’s just a fraction of the millions of Americans who’ve been notified that their existing health insurance will be canceled at the end of the year. Even so, they are not one-fifth of the way to enrolling 800,000 people.
Yes, the Obamacare story has been one of billions, blunders and baloney. Expect to see a lot more of all three in the coming weeks and months.
Until next time, keep some powder dry.