Democrats’ New Obamacare Strategy: Lowering Expectations

Scaling back the public’s expectations is a strategy Obamacare defenders ought to have employed during their original sales pitch of 2009 and 2010. If they hadn’t made some many big, falsifiable promises, a lot of consumer anger, frustration and betrayal might have been prevented. Then again, if they hadn’t made all of those vows, the law wouldn’t have passed in the first place. With round two of Obamacare enrollment coming up after the elections (by design), the administration is trying to play things down. Explicit goalpost-shifting from the “it’s working!” brigade.

The Obama administration vastly oversold how well Obamacare was going to work last year. It’s not making the same mistake this year. Gone are the promises that enrolling will be as easy as buying a plane ticket on Orbitz. The new head of HHS is not on Capitol Hill to promise that HealthCare.gov is on track. And no one is embracing Congressional Budget Office projections of total sign-up numbers. Sobered — and burned — by last fall’s meltdown of the federal website, the administration is setting expectations for the second Obamacare open enrollment period as low as possible.

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