April 21 2014

ObamaCare: Why the "Debate-Over" Spin Isn't Working

President Obama flatly declared in his press conference last week that the debate over ObamaCare is over.  Far as I know, however, the president can’t (yet) dictate what we discuss.

Still, the president repeated variations on the debate-is-closed mantra so frequently that White House Dossier asks, “Are you hypnotized yet?”   Once you recover from the insult of having POTUS set the limits of national policy debate, you do realize (as Dossier notes) that the president’s claim is both poignant and desperate. If ObamaCare goes, his legacy vanishes.  But the debate is not over because of things like this (from USA Today):

Joan Eisenstodt didn't have a stopwatch when she went to see an ear, nose and throat specialist recently, but she is certain the physician was not in the exam room with her for more than three or four minutes.

"He looked up my nose, said it was inflamed, told me to see the nurse for a prescription and was gone," said the 66-year-old Washington, D.C., consultant, who was suffering from an acute sinus infection.

When she started protesting the doctor's choice of medication, "He just cut me off totally," she said. "I've never been in and out from a visit faster."

These days, stories like Eisenstodt's are increasingly common….

"Doctors are thinking, 'I have to meet my bottom line, pay my overhead, pay my staff and keep my doors open. So it's a hamster wheel, and they're seeing more and more patients. … And what ends up happening is the 15-minute visit," he said.

Doctor-patient relationships are an essential part of good medicine.  Such relationships may well be a casualty of ObamaCare. The quality of medical care under the new ObamaCare system is one of the reasons that, according to a Rasmussen poll, the president’s spin isn’t working. People are realizing that the policies they bought don’t necessarily mean they will receive good medical care.

Scott Rasmussen concludes:

What all of this means is that the president's claim of 8 million enrollees is not something to be dismissed or ignored. But the claim's incomplete and a bit like saying a baseball score is eight. Eight runs in a major league baseball game is a good thing, but you can't really evaluate it unless you know how many runs the other team scored.

And, for the president's health care law, the negatives are still piling up a lot faster than the positives. 

And we are going to continue to debate the merits and defects of this massive program, Mr. President.

That is how the United States has historically worked.

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