May 19, 2024

The Circumventing Alliance

By Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift

WASHINGTON – Discretion may merge with technology to save Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) and Democrats just in time for the November election. But at this point Democrats are being hoisted on the Obamacare petard.

First, software glitches delayed and undermined the rollout of Obamacare. Then came the real problem. The president promised: “That means that no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health-care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.” Reality proved otherwise. Many middle income families lost their existing insurance and are being forced to buy substantially more expensive insurance.

People vote their pocketbooks, which is why Obamacare is rapidly eroding the Democratic base. It need not be so. The Obama administration replaced the software company that botched the rollout. Now it must make good on the president’s promise, and here is how it could happen.

There is a large gulf between laws and regulations – just ask the SEC. Congress passes laws, but bureaucrats write the regs. Further, the executive branch has discretion to grant waivers, exceptions, and delays. So, between those reg-writing bureaucrats and presidential discretion, a law such as the Affordable Care Act can be altered without a congressional vote. Such circumventing bodes well for the president because the Republican majority in the House of Representatives is unlikely to help him out even if such help might create a better law. In an election year, it’s all about elections, especially reelections.

This brings us back to the flawed software. Accenture is the new lead software contractor. A large, competent company, its people are certain to fix the technological problems. And when they do, the administration will have a platform from which it can disseminate its “fixes” to the law. Chief among those “fixes” will most certainly be the middle income insurance problem.

Now, fast forward to the November election. All of the House seats and one third of the Senate seats will be up for election, and Democrats who were trembling in the winter might be joyous in the fall. All will turn on Obamacare. If Accenture and the president fix it, the problems will have faded from the electorate’s memory, which is why it is a very good bet that they will fix it through the circumventing alliance of discretion and technology.

© 2014 U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.
Distributed by U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.

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