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• ‘Delay’ suddenly not a dirty word at White House
• More ObamaCare disruptions ahead
• Supremes take global warming case
• Trumka warns Dems on entitlements
• Ah, hipsters
WHITE HOUSE OPENS DOOR TO OBAMACARE DELAY - As the federal government teetered on the brink of shutdown at the end of last month, the White House and Senate Democrats flatly refused a Republican emergency spending bill that would have kept the government open but delayed ObamaCare’s requirement that individuals purchase health insurance by March 31 or face a fine. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid responded to a GOP counteroffer by saying Republicans had “lost their minds.” But after an epic failure of a launch for the new health insurance entitlement and with the partial shutdown over, “delay” suddenly isn’t a dirty word anymore. With many of those subject to the fine unable to sign up due to manifold botches in the enrollment process, Democrats are warming up to the idea.
[A new ABC/WaPo poll finds 54 percent of respondents believe the problems plaguing ObamaCare’s Web site reflect a larger problem with President Obama’s signature entitlement program.]
Delay tactics - After President Obamaowned up to the fact that the main Web site for enrollment is not working as it should, White House Press SecretaryJay Carney was asked if the administration is looking for flexibility in applying the mandate. Carney indicated that a delay was not just possible, but that it may already be allowed by the law: “The law is clear that if you do not have access to affordable health insurance then you will not be asked to pay a penalty because you haven’t purchased affordable health insurance.” It would stand to reason that if the president claims the power to delay the fines for large employers by a year, as he already did, he could claim the power to pardon individuals.
[“Your website is so f***ed we have use the same strategy that we used to salvage the Iraq war?” – Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart discussing President Obama’s announced “tech surge” to repair the ObamaCare Web site.]
It’s no wonder - The sudden nonchalance about delay from the administration is no doubt galling to Republicans who got jammed on a government shutdown, but the real question is what happens next? Will the president delay the mandate, risking further premium spikes for those already covered as insurance companies contend with a flood of sick and poor customers they are now forced to accept? Will Republicans up their ask in the next round of budget battles and seek a full delay of the unimplemented portions of the law? Whatever happens, it’s clear that the Web site bungle is going to be way more than a glitch.
SEBELIUS WILL TESTIFY… EVENTUALLY - Fox News has learned that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will testify before a House committee on Oct. 30 about the failure of the ObamaCare Web site. Sebelius refused to testify at a House hearing this week, citing a scheduling conflict. A Hill source tells Fox News First that the delay smacks of “foot dragging.” Said the top congressional aide: “She wants to get her stories straight. But there’s no way to spin this disaster.”
[Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, whom he deemed “a national embarrassment,” should be fired. The Richmond Times-Dispatch has more.]
FAILURE, CHAOS AHEAD OF OBAMACARE LAUNCH - WaPo reports: “Days before the launch ofPresident Obama’s online health insurance marketplace, government officials and contractors tested a key part of the Web site to see whether it could handle tens of thousands of consumers at the same time. It crashed after a simulation in which just a few hundred people tried to log on simultaneously. Despite the failed test, federal health officials plowed ahead.” The AP details a frantic scramble to launch the Web site. Work was rushed and not tested by private developers who had more expertise. Anonymous developers told the wire service that they raised doubts over whether the site would be ready in time, complaining openly to each other about “unrealistic deadlines.”
Privacy concerns piling up - The AP also found “insurance applicants have a host of personal information verified, including income and immigration status. The system connects to other federal computer networks, including ones at the Social Security Administration, IRS, Veterans Administration, Office of Personnel Management and the Peace Corps.”
[Watch Fox: Reps. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio and John Flemming, R-La., discuss ObamaCare in the 10 a.m. ET hour]
EDITORIALS ON LEFT, RIGHT BASH ADMINISTRATION - WaPo: “How is it that the Department of Health and Human Services launched the president’s signature domestic program with a computer system that could not handle the anticipated load?... Why the secrecy? The administration is not going to restore confidence through secrecy and damage control.”//WSJ: “…we called the hotline on Monday and the automated menu redirected us to Healthcare.gov, which in turn told us to get in touch with someone at the call center…. The White House could have asked Congress for a delay to get the exchanges right and avoid this debacle.”
MORE OBAMACARE DISRUPTIONS AHEAD - Despite assurances fromPresident Obama that those who like their current health plans can keep them, Kaiser Health reports thousands of consumers will soon receive cancellation notices due to ObamaCare. The human resources experts for large employers at the National Business Group on Health will release today the full results of a survey that shows 54 percent of workers expect their health insurance premiums to rise and the quality of their health insurance to decline.
UN-FAB FIVE - National Journal’s Ron Fournier offers five reasons “why Obama should be freaked out over Obamacare,” concluding thusly: “Dismissing the extent of the problem and reminding voters that Republicans fought the law -- which is essentially all Obama did in his Rose Garden remarks -- is a deflection, which shouldn't be confused with implementation or governing.”
[“…This is just another example of how challenging it really is when you turn something over to the government that could be better done in the private sector… I fear the worst is still to come.” – Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.” Watch Here ]
KASICH DODGES LEGISLATURE ON OBAMACARE - Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, is outflanking his own Republican-controlled state legislature to accept ObamaCare’s expansion of Medicaid. Democrats are cheering Kasich’s move, which will add an estimated 275,000 middle-class Ohioans to the rolls of the state-federal insurance program originally created for impoverished Americans. After Republican lawmakers rejected the move, Kasich turned to the little-known state Controlling Board, which has the fiscal authority to appropriate the funds to comply with the law. The Cleveland Plain Dealer details Kasich’s controversial maneuver.