President Barack Obama is using Rose Garden photo ops to market a defective product that no amount of salesmanship can entice Americans to buy, writes Karl Rove, former deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, in his Wall Street Journal column.
The president is sounding more and more unseemly, like an increasingly desperate 1-800 pitchman, Rove asserts. He quotes Obama's assurances to viewers that "the product is good," "call centers are available," and that his health insurance scheme is "high quality," "easy," and "affordable."
While Obama is "trying to distract attention from the disastrous rollout of the Affordable Care Act's insurance exchanges," writes Rove, few Americans believe him – only 12 percent telling pollsters the sign-up process is going well. Consumer Reports, though it does not officially oppose Obamacare, has advised staying away "from Healthcare.gov for at least another month if you can."
It is unlikely the Obama administration will meet its goal of enrolling seven million Americans (including 2.7 million young people) through the exchanges by the time the 2014 enrollment period ends March 31.
With actual sign-ups coming in dribs and drabs, "The White House refuses to say how many people have signed up so far, either because that number is shockingly low or because its screwed-up computer systems can't report it," says Rove.
Meanwhile, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has estimated that as many as 14 million people could lose their employer-provided health insurance as a result of Obamacare.
On top of that, the Congressional Budget Office estimated the exchange's outlays for fiscal year 2014 would actually be $420 billion compared to the original approximation of $15 billion.
Moreover, in 2010, the administration projected that the plan would generate $57 billion in 2014. That figure has now fallen to $42 billion.
"All of these numbers suggest that Obamacare is at risk of signing up fewer people and costing far, far more than promised," writes Rove.
His conclusion: "There won't be a 1-800 number that can fix his presidency."
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