Posts Tagged ‘Obamacare’

OBAMACARE | Barack Obama har sett sig själv som garanten för att den federala nivån skall leverera moderna och effektiva tjänster till medborgarna.

Bloomberg Businessweek 4-10 nov 2013

Den bilden fick sig en rejäl knäck vid den katastrofala lanseringen av hemsidan healthcare.gov i oktober.

In i det sista försökte Obama få det att låta som om problemen bara handlade om att tjänsten var så populär hos medborgarna. Men till sist gick det inte att förneka problemen längre.

Så här skriver t.ex. Zeke J. Miller och Massimo Calabresi i Time:

At the time, President Obama was still arguing that the main culprit for the breakdowns was the popularity of the site. “The website got overwhelmed by the volume,” he said on Oct. 4. The reality, of course, was far more dire.


After three weeks of breakdowns, Obama decided that he could no longer stand by his own spin. “Nobody is madder than me about the fact that the website isn’t working,” he said Oct. 21 in a Rose Garden speech that instructed others to stop “sugarcoating” the problems. In fact, the warning signs have been clear for months inside government, even if the White House failed to sniff them out. Federal auditors raised alarms in June, warning of missed deadlines and unfinished work. Administration officials have since put out the call for new contractors, and Silicon Valley talent, to fix the work.

Och Ezra Klein i Bloomberg Businessweek fyller på:

In the 2008 election, President Obama’s advisers talked of their boss’s belief that it was time for an “iPod government.” Obama, a technology addict who tools around on his iPad before going to sleep and who fought the U.S. Secret Service bureaucracy for the right to carry a smartphone, would be the first president truly at home in the Digital Age. That put him, he thought, in a unique position to pull the federal government into the Digital Age, too. His administration wouldn’t just be competent. It would be modern. And it would restore America’s faith that the public sector could do big things well.


The disastrous launch of healthcare.gov,the online portal that was supposed to be the linchpin of the Affordable Care Act, has dealt a devastating blow to Obama’s vision. In the months leading up to the Oct. 1 rollout of the site, the president rarely compared his signature policy achievement to Medicare or Social Security. Instead, he favored analogies to e-commerce sites such as Orbitz (OWW), Travelocity, and Expedia (EXPE). Obamacare was supposed to be the model for a 21st century social program, not a replica of programs built in the 20th.


Even Obama’s allies acknowledge that the healthcare.gov debacle could do damage beyond the health-care system. “This plays into the suspicion that resides in really all Americans that, outside of narrow functions they can see and appreciate like Social Security and national parks, the government just can’t get it done,” says Austan Goolsbee, who was Obama’s top economic adviser during the 2008 campaign.


Jeffrey Zients, the White House official tasked with running the rescue of Obamacare, promises a swifter recovery. He says that “by the end of November, healthcare.gov will work smoothly for the vast majority of users.” If he’s able to deliver, that will leave the law plenty of time to stabilize. Like Medicare Part D, it could emerge from a troubled launch to become a wildly successful program. But reviving the idea that government can do big things right will be harder.

Läs mer: “The Obamacare Website Didn’t Have to Fail. How to Do Better Next Time” av Paul Ford i Bloomberg Businesweek.

Tidskriftsomslag: Bloomberg Businessweek, 4-10 november 2013.

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OBAMACARE | Omslaget “In Good Health” av Bob Staake syftar på att Barack Obama fick grönt ljus för sin sjukvårdsreform av Högsta domstolen.

– The New Yorker den 9 & 16 juli 2012 –

Läs mer: Jesse Wegmans “Explaining the Supreme Court Ruling on Obamacare” (The Daily Beast) och David Von Drehles “Roberts Rules: What the Health Care Decision Means for the Country(Time).

Se mer: The New Yorker har ett bildspel med fler av tidskriftens omslag med Barack Obama.

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MICHELE BACHMANN är Tea Party rörelsens främste företrädare bland de republikanska presidentkandidaterna.

Lois Romano på Newsweek skriver:

She has just finished electrifying a crowd in Ft. Dodge, Iowa, with a folksy assault on a bloated federal government that she and her Tea Party compatriots routinely vow to dismantle. “Obamacare” will be repealed in a Bachmann administration […]

The willingness of its most committed members to risk national default for the sake of achieving its political goals has no doubt contributed to the dramatic rise in the number of Americans who view the movement unfavorably. In a New York Times/CBS News poll published on Aug. 5, 40 percent of respondents described their opinion of the Tea Party as “not favorable”—up from 18 percent in April 2010.


Asked if her positions are extreme, Bachmann replies that the Tea Party’s ideals are simply the most rational solutions to a broken and profligate government, and that the only option is to stand tough. “I do not twist in the wind,” she says proudly.


If there’s one threat on the horizon, it’s Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s expected entrance into the race. He, too, offers evangelical fervor coupled with a stand against big government. But he has something she lacks: an executive record as the longest-serving governor in a state that is thriving in hard times. It doesn’t seem to faze her.

Övrigt: Ovanstående tidskriftsomslag (15 augusti 2011) är den amerikanska utgåvan av tidskriften. Fotografen är Chris Buck. Fler bilder med anledning av bl.a. fotograferingen av omslaget finns på hemsidan för Newsweek/The Daily Beast.

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KOMMUNIKATION: En av de mest infekterade politiska debatterna under president Barack Obamas tid i Vita huset har varit kring reformeringen av hälso- och sjukvårdssystemet. Inte ens krigen i Irak och Afghanistan har piskat upp liknande stämningar.

Partierna har inte bara mobiliserat sina politiker och organisationer utan även en lång rad politiska strateger, lingvister och psykologer i kampanjen.

Sällan har ord varit så viktiga för att sätta bilden av de hot och möjligheter som man har velat att amerikanarna skall förknippa med ”Obamcare” (eller ”Obamascare”).

Health care stirs powerful emotions, and because the subject is so complicated, people are unable to balance their emotional reactions with rational ones. Moreover, appeals to fear, anger, and hate really gain traction when ignorance is wide and deep.

Och det är här som alla PR-konsulter, strateger, lingvister och psykologer kommer in i bilden för att styra upp den politiska kommunikationen.

För att få en bild av hur debatten har förts inom partierna kan rekommendera en artikel Sharon Begley på Newsweek.

It is a truism of political campaigns that you can’t beat somebody with nobody, or something with nothing. It is equally true in propaganda wars. Opponents of Obama’s health-care reform have un-leashed all the bogeymen and pushed all the emotional buttons. ”All the horror stories are being told by the Republican side,” says [linguist Geoffrey] Nunberg.

The Democrats have struggled to make an emotional connection with the public, even though it is possible to do that without lying. [Psychologist Drew] Westen suggests the Democrats ”should say that, since health insurance is tied to employment, ‘the current system takes away your freedom to quit your job.’ ”

Berkeley linguist George Lakoff thinks the White House could win hearts and minds by emphasizing that in the current system, ”insurance companies deny you care.” And the administration could score extra points by describing people who have been bankrupted or killed by that denial. There is no shortage of examples, from Blue Shield denying high-tech cancer surgery that oncologists said was patients’ only hope, to Cigna nixing a liver transplant that was a 17-year-old’s only chance of survival. She died. (Wall Street rewards insurers for denying claims; a company with a claims-paid rate of, say, 80 percent is viewed as better run than one with a rate of 85 percent.) ”If you told the story of how greedy insurers deny coverage to sick people, you could whip up emotions in favor of reform,” says Westen.

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Talking Points Memo - The StoneZonePARTIVAL: Roger Stone är en av de mer kända – och kontroversiella – politiska konsulterna för republikanerna i USA. Han har jobbat i en rad nationella valkampanjer för Nixon, Reagan och de två George Bush.

Stone är en republikan i Richard Nixons och Ronald Reagans anda. (Han har till och med låtit tatuera en bild på Nixons ansikte på ryggen!)

I en videointervju med Talking Points Memo redogör Stone för sin (negativa) syn på George W. Bush och partiets problem och vad republikanerna måste göra för att kunna återta makten. 

Även om Roger Stone – i denna tidiga intervju efter valet – naturligtvis kan hävda att det är alldeles för tidigt att börja spekulera över vem som skall bli nästa republikanska presidentkandidat är det inte för tidigt att konstatera att partiet befinner sig i djup kris.

Ett hopp för partiet är att det nu börjar märkas ett visst missnöje med Barack Obamas politik.

En opinionsundersökning från CNN nu visar t.ex. att fler (37 %) tycker att Barack Obama har misslyckat under sina första sex månader jämfört med en motsvarande undersökning om George W. Bush (32 %) i augusti 2001. Undersökningen visar också att en majoritet tycker att presidenten har försökt lösa allt för många problem samtidigt.

Personer som Stone vill naturligtvis gärna kunna se positiva tecken på att republikanerna nu har möjlighet till att göra comeback. Inte minst med tanke på de problem som Obama har med sin hälso- och sjukvårdsreform. (Länk)

I nyhetsmagasinet Time har Michael Grunwald försökt analysera partiets problem och de ideologiska vägval man står inför.

The party’s ideas — about economic issues, social issues and just about everything else — are not popular ideas. They are extremely conservative ideas tarred by association with the extremely unpopular George W. Bush, who helped downsize the party to its extremely conservative base. A hard-right agenda of slashing taxes for the investor class, protecting marriage from gays, blocking universal health insurance and extolling the glories of waterboarding produces terrific ratings for Rush Limbaugh, but it’s not a majority agenda. The party’s new, Hooverish focus on austerity on the brink of another depression does not seem to fit the national mood, and it’s shamelessly hypocritical, given the party’s recent history of massive deficit spending on pork, war and prescription drugs in good times, not to mention its continuing support for deficit-exploding tax cuts in bad times.

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