Club for Growth's Chocola: Clinton Attack Shows 'No Way to Fix' Obamacare

Tuesday, 12 Nov 2013 10:00 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Former President Bill Clinton's attack Tuesday on Obamacare proves that the healthcare law is "a very bad situation for the Obama administration," Club for Growth president Chris Chocola told Newsmax.

"They see no way to fix it — and others are recognizing that fact and they're starting to run for the hills."

Clinton told the web magazine Ozy Media that President Barack Obama should change Obamacare to allow Americans who are happy with their health plans to keep them.

Millions of Americans are learning that their health insurance is being canceled because the plans are not meeting the new minimum coverage levels set by Obamacare.

"I personally believe, even if it takes a change to the law, the president should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got," Clinton told the magazine.

Clinton, who remains the most popular figure in the Democratic Party, has long supported the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

"It's kind of funny," Chocola observed to Newsmax. "Last night, my wife and I were talking about the whole scenario, and I told her, the one thing to watch for is when one of the Clintons starts to criticize the president.

"Then you know two things: The president's really in trouble, and Hillary Clinton, it's another sign that she's going to run for president."

Chocola was among many observers on both sides of the political spectrum who endorsed Clinton's attack on the beleaguered Obamacare law.

The former president's criticism "certainly wasn't orchestrated by the White House because it puts the president in an extremely uncomfortable position," political writer and author John Fund told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"It's pretty well known that even though they've patched things up in public, you could walk through Bill Clinton's deepest affection for Barack Obama and not get your ankles wet," Fund said.

"You know the phrase, 'passive aggressive?' That describes their relationship."

Increasingly, more Democrats are calling for changes to the healthcare law, particularly in light of Obama's oft-repeated promise that Americans would be allowed to keep their health plans and doctors if they wanted to.

That debacle — along with the continued problems plaguing HealthCare.gov, the main Obamacare website — led the president last week to apologize to those Americans who have lost their coverage since the individual mandate took effect on Oct. 1.

The admission has been resoundly criticized as too little, too late.

This week, House Republicans plan to vote on legislation introduced by Rep. Fred Upton, the Michigan chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, to ensure that any policy effective in 2013 would be grandfathered into Obamacare for a year, allowing people to keep their policies should they choose to do so.

House Speaker John Boehner called for the White House's support of the legislation within hours of Clinton's remarks.

The comments, the Ohio Republican, said, "signify a growing recognition that Americans were misled when they were promised that they could keep their coverage under President Obama's healthcare law."

Boehner reiterated his assertion that Obamacare needs to be repealed, but said, "While the two parties may disagree on that point, it shouldn't stop reasonable Democrats from working with us to shield Americans from its most egregious consequences — like the millions of current health plans being canceled.

"That’s why all Democrats concerned about the president's broken promise should join Republicans in voting to pass the Keep Your Health Plan Act when it comes before the House later this week.

"President Clinton understood that governing in a divided Washington requires a focus on common ground, and I hope President Obama will follow the former president’s lead," Boehner said.

Meanwhile, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, Dick Durbin of Illinois, said that although the White House had long resisted alterations to Obamacare, Democrats should be open to "constructive changes" to improve the law.

And another influential senator, Dianne Feinstein of California, said that she would join Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat, in sponsoring a bill similar to Upton's, even if the healthcare plans do not meet Obamacare's coverage requirements.

"Too many Americans are struggling to make ends meet," Feinstein said. "We must ensure that in our effort to reform the healthcare system, we do not allow unintended consequences to go unaddressed."

At the White House, spokesman Jay Carney, commenting before Feinstein's announcement, attacked the Upton bill as causing problems for insurers who were selling plans that were meeting Obamacare's basic standards.

"We do not see that as fixing the problem," he said. "We see that as throwing the baby out with the bath water. That would cause more problems and create more problems, and do more harm than any good."

Carney added that the administration was searching for a way to help those facing cancellations. He did not provide details.

In his Newsmax interview, Chocola said that the Club for Growth "generally supports the idea" behind Upton's legislation but noted, "It's hard to figure out how to undo what's been done.

"Many of these policies have been canceled," he continued. "The insurance companies are not offering these policies because the law does not allow them to. For them to reinstate those policies is probably harder than it sounds.

"There are probably a lot of technicalities that have to go into making a bill like that work, but if you make a bill like that work, in many ways, you've just decimated the whole concept of Obamacare," Chocola said. "This thing has created such a mess that people every day are starting to appreciate how messy it is and how far-flung it is."

Even if legislation is passed exempting certain policies from Obamacare, he told Newsmax, "This is still the beginning.

"Once the website gets fixed — and they'll fix it at some point — then the problems really begin. People will see that they can't get healthcare cheaper. They won't perceive it as better — and the wrong people will sign up and the right people won't.

"We're going to see a lot of people having to come to grips with the fact that this is bad policy, it is unworkable, and it's going to be very hard — if not impossible — to fix."

And it's the Democrats' job to fix it, Chocola said.

"The Democrats are going to have to try to save themselves on this issue," he told Newsmax. "The Republicans probably wouldn't be all that helpful anyways, nor should they be."

Information from Reuters was used in this report.

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