We all know that Obamacare is in the process of being implemented and already imposing enormous costs on the economy, but we haven’t heard much about it lately. We haven’t heard much about it lately from the Obama administration in particular. Why is that?
In an important article in the September issue of the American Spectator, Grace-Marie Turner — president of the Galen Institute — inferred the method to the Obama administration’s silence. “We haven’t intercepted their memo to the Oval Office,” she writes, but she extrapolates from recent White House tactics what Obama’s advisers have recommended to Obama:
1. Stop talking about it. Every time he talks about it his poll numbers go down. People know you can’t spend $1 trillion and pretend to reduce the deficit. Or take more than $575 billion out of Medicare and make it stronger. Anyway, it is now the law of the land and the wheels of bureaucracy are grinding to make sure it takes effect in 2014. Your only job right now is to get reelected to veto any reform bills passed by the next Congress.
2. Focus on the small stuff. …We can calm the opposition if the public is convinced it’s only about putting 26-year-olds on their parents’ health insurance, risk pools for preexisting conditions, and some new insurance regulations. We should call attention to those who have already benefited from the law’s early provisions. If people believe it is only about small changes, they will wonder what all the fuss was about.
3. Attack Republicans. Health care is a Democratic issue and always will be, so go after Republicans for their ridiculous ideas about “private competition” and “putting consumers in charge of their decisions.” Paul Ryan has given you a golden opportunity to target Republicans for trying to destroy Medicare and forcing seniors to pay thousands of dollars more for health care. Hammer away at him.
4. Calm the opposition. The most important thing is to keep opponents quiet. Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is a key ally here since the health law gives her so much power over how it is implemented….She should…give waivers to states, companies, and anyone else who complains the new law is hurting them.
In the most audacious example of the strategy to date, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius waited a year-and-a-half to declare that the administration is ceding authority to the states to define the minimum benefits that many health insurance policies will be required to offer under Obamacare. Robert Samuelson comments in “Seblius’ masterful muddle.” Samuelson’s column sheds light on a complicated subject, but to understand what is really going on here, you have to go back to Turner’s brilliant article.