For most of the recent U.S presidents, the second term proved to be less successful than their first. Many had to fight with problems, such as major scandals and policy inertia. But for Obama, his own signature project has become a problem and majorly contributed to the lowest approval ratings ever as president, but this is certainly not irredeemable.
The lame-duck president seemed to be doing well even though the Syrian decision made him unpopular. Even the government shutdown did not put him in bad light. But the health care website launch and the subsequent events have thrown a challenge to his leadership abilities. The promises he made to the people related to ObamaCare and the reality that the subscribers witnessed dented his and the policy’s popularity instantly.
The healthcare.gov website got better since its Oct 1 launch and now it is able to serve 50,000 users at the same time which is approximately double the size the site initially served, according to the portal administrators. But the site has many other problems, not just technical but also functional. Resolving these issues became the focus of the White House and the fixes are now critical to the ObamaCare success. Many individuals had to return to the site multiple times before they could successfully subscribe to a policy.
The faster the portal is improved, the better for the project. For the health premiums not to go up, it is essential that more young and healthy people enroll in the Affordable Care Act and its website is the foremost and easiest way for the people to subscribe. After the bizarre launch of the website, the administration concentrated on the paper-based enrollments, but still the website is critical. During the Thanksgiving weekend (Nov 28 – Dec 1) more than a million people subscribed through the portal as per the website administrators. This whopping figure for that weekend is definitely an encouraging factor for the policy makers.
Apart from the portal issues, the promises that Obama made to the people of his country whenever he talked about the Affordable Care Act, a k a ObamaCare – people can keep their insurance they like and keep their primary doctor they like, seems certainly not to be the case. Many individuals whose policies do not comply with the ObamaCare may need to change their insurance policies. The program wonks always knew this but could not either communicate to the president or the president himself could not realize that at the time of making the promise is not known, but this assertion decisively contributed to the credibility loss of the president. Likewise, another assertion that comparing insurance policies is like comparing different car models also proved to be simplistic as ObamaCare has become much complicated.
However, if ObamaCare becomes a success, it will cover nearly 50 million uninsured people, according to the policy makers. Overhaul of the health care system besides reducing the medical costs has been the cornerstone of the policy and according to one article by Paul Krugman published on Nov 30thin The New York Times, reduction in growth of medical costs is slowly becoming evident.
As far as the Obama’s approval goes, the recent Iran nuclear deal came at a right time to reverse or at least slowdown the trend of sinking ratings. The deal has an overall appreciation among people though the talks are at embryonic stage. The ObamaCare will go into full effect in the beginning of next year and one has to wait to see whether Barrack Obama stands out as a successful president who overhauled the health care system of the country. All that hinges on the success of the Affordable Care Act.