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Obamacare turns another corner

By Jay MacDonald ·
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Posted: 6 am ET

OK, so maybe it wasn't exactly a group hug. But make no mistake: The grudging acceptance of President Barack Obama's signature health care reform by the nation's governors during last weekend's get-together with POTUS marked the fall of another political obstacle to Obamacare.

While not all of the governors "of the great state of ..." who attended Sunday night's chow-down at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. were willing to make nice, the tone of the gathering was decidedly conciliatory.

"Before the (2012) election, it felt like a cockfight," Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, who heads the Democratic Governors Association, told The Associated Press following a private lunch session Saturday. "Down there, we were talking about ways we could cooperate."

Their eyes toward the elections

The group tweet from the guvs might read something like this: "Ocare? Whatever helps my peeps helps me get elected. Dump it? Too $$. Fix it? We'll see. Not our fight. Can no longer afford the snark."

The sudden change of heart may have more to do with the rather delicate tightrope walk that some Republican governors face going into the fall midterm elections than with anything remotely resembling an "a-ha!" moment. There are 36 gubernatorial seats up for grabs in November, most of them currently held by the GOP.

Several Republican governors, including Rick Snyder of Michigan and Pennsylvania's Tom Corbett, have opted to expand Medicaid under the attractive terms laid out by Obamacare, even as their party continues to treat the nearly four-year-old law as Public Enemy No. 1.

Watching the numbers

Then there have been those inconvenient statistics recently that suggest Obamacare may be working. Despite a rough online debut, nearly 3.3 million have signed up for health insurance, including 1 million in January alone. It's got to grate a little that signups have been as strong or stronger than predicted in red states, including Florida, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin.

Sure, there's still plenty of quibbling. Even New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, a first-term Democrat who expanded Medicaid to cover 50,000 uninsured residents, told the AP, "Overall, I'm very disappointed with the early implementation and rollout," while conceding, "I think we're making progress."

But, in that same report, Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, a staunch opponent of Obamacare, may have best captured the new, unofficial consensus among state leaders toward health reform.

"I don't think that it's so deeply entrenched that it can't be repealed, but I do think, as we argue for repeal, we have to show folks what you replace it with," he says.

Follow me on Twitter: @omnisaurus.

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Frank Grieco
February 25, 2014 at 6:36 pm

Alright let's be real for once. Healthcare for all does not make a nation Socialist but rather frees its industry from the burden of providing it and its citizen from suffering for the lack of it.

I don't even have a dog in this fight since I get free healthcare and have medicare to boot. The people who would deny their fellow citizens healthcare because they have some misplaced conception that it would put a burden on them should be struck down by the same God they claim to worship.

Obamacare falls far short of what this nation needs and deserves which is a one payer national healthcare act. We need to catch up with the rest of the free industrial nations who all have national healthcare.

Grow a pair and while you're at it grow up!

February 25, 2014 at 5:42 pm

Ron B
Kind friend, something fishy, no very fishy about your response. I too am a veteran and I know that the VA provides free care for all disabled Vets. The VA provides medical care for all veterans on a minimal fee scale. So fellow vet something stinks about your response. For the rest reading this and Ron B response, judge for yourselves .

Ron B
February 25, 2014 at 5:30 pm

It's hate mongers like you who are ruining this country, not our President. If you want independent thinking, turn Hannity and Limbaugh off and think for yourself. Folks who could not get insurance now can. Folks like me, a disabled vet, cannot be cancelled because of my disabilities. You may be healthy today, Michael, but you will need help someday like millions of us do. Our President, YOUR'S and mine, is the first to stand up and do something about the greedy insurance industry. This is proving to be a success and once it has been proven, you will drop the name Obamacare because your hatred won't allow the credit to go where it belongs.

February 25, 2014 at 5:23 pm

Of those who have commented on this story, how many of you have signed up for Obamacare? I started trying to apply on October 1, and I have yet to choose a plan, because, they don't pay for anything!! My choice for a plan, is about 10% of my pay in monthly premiums, after the tax credit is applied, and has a deductible that is about 1/6th of my annual salary, and I was going to go for it, until I read further, copays do not kick in at the start as advertised, so I have to pay the full deductible before a penny is paid by the insurer. 26.667% of my pretaxed salary before anything is paid by Obamacare, after the 35% that is taken out by taxes, how am I to pay for this? I would be willing to bet anyone that is defending this health care program, has no idea of what the plans entail.

February 25, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Mr Brieschke :
It is that idiotic response such as yours that has us all in this fix. What are you thinking? It is as though you have no original thought.Please look around you and really analyze what is happening. Sit down and write a list of Obama,s achivements. All of them are ruining this country and might send us all into collapse. Please open your eyes and think independently for once in your life.

February 25, 2014 at 5:06 pm

"When the government can tell you how to live?" OK, lets go by your plan and pull the "government" out of it all. Say goodbye to education in general, baby and child health programs, smoking cessation programs, freeways and roads in general, parks throughout the country.....oh my gosh, I could go on for days! Every one screams the government is so bad....take a moment to see what good they do for us. Visit a 3rd world country and I guarantee you will come screaming back to the good ole USA. And that goes for your so called ''loss of freedom." Good grief, you have no idea what lack of freedom is. Do you have food at the stores? A roof over your head? Are you able to worship in what ever church or religion you want? Can you visit your friends and relatives whenever you want? Are you able to travel abroad whenever you want? Stop and think please before making such ridiculous statements

jim cunningham
February 25, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Mr. Murray, Because you have been in the military does not give you the right to say who is, and who is NOT honorable! Many have given their lives for others to give honest opinions, whether they agreed WITH them or NOT!.... We HAVE been socialistic for many years, whether you realize it or not! Our combined taxes pay for schools, roads, government parks, food inspectors, dams, bridges, the police and fire depts., and countless other socialistic ventures that we ALL may benefit, for the common good! If these were left up to be paid for by private individuals we would be a third world country indeed! I can't think of any other service that provides more for all than the socialized medical program! It's something EVERYONE will need eventually!

John Brieschke
February 25, 2014 at 5:03 pm

Mr. Murray,

I find it hard to believe that you are a Democrat. President Obama is a good man who is looking out for everyone. He is way too conservative for my liking. If he was white with the same policies, twenty years ago, he would have been a mainstream Republican. The Democratic Congress has their hands tied with vengeful and racist Republicans. Mr. Murray, you are probably a Southern Democratic holdover from before Ronald Reagan. Please stop getting your news from the Fox News right wing machine.

ED Miraski
February 25, 2014 at 4:47 pm

Robert you are so right there is no honor among thieves and they are all thieves in Washington DC . they steal from social security for their coffee and donuts and all the free healthcare they have. I heard on the news they are going fine people for smoking, I am an x smoker but I can't believe they are getting away with this, there goes one of you freedoms, Robert was right we are losing things one by one. And now Obama wants to after the aged again with cutting payment to insurers for medicare advantage plan which means we put more money out of pocket..

Robert Murray
February 25, 2014 at 4:19 pm

I spent close to 26 years between active duty and the national guard . I didn't realize it was so we could become a socialist
country run by the democrats in congress . THEY CALL THEMSELVES HONORABLE , THERE IS NO HONOR AMONG THEM . If you don't agree with them and all the leftist educators in this country , then you are the enemy . We need to wake up before we don't have any freedoms at all. When the Government can tell you how you are going to live, then it can't be long before they take all your
rights . By the way I am a registered Democrat, but I have never voted a straight ticket in 45 years . What ever happened to caring about our country .