There is a famous line in the movie Apollo 13 that underscores the gravity of the astronauts’ situation: "Houston, we have a problem." In applying it to Obamacare we could say, "White House, you have a problem."
Concerning Obamacare, the White House is getting into deeper problems with every passing day. I am not even talking about the now infamous website roll-out fiasco that many people doubt will be fixed by the end of November, or the millions of people that have received or will receive cancellation notices of their health insurance. No, I am talking about the credibility problem of this White House and its main protagonist, our esteemed President.
The President’s clumsy attempt to cover his big deception was to put it bluntly, painful to watch. He claims he had always stated that Americans could keep their plan if it had not changed since Obamacare went into effect. Issuing such a false statement is unbecoming to the highest office of the land.
The President's less than genuine apology on NBC, "I'm sorry people are finding themselves in a tough situation," was too much, even for some of his most ardent supporters. He should have come clean, as difficult as it might have been; he should have looked at Americans in the eye and said, “I'm sorry I misled and deceived you, but that was the only way Obamacare could become law, and we could finally provide healthcare to uninsured Americans.” Instead his statement became just another nail on the coffin of truthfulness. As it is abundantly clear now, there is no truth coming out of this White House.
Here is a simple warning: people who misjudge Americans' generosity with putting up with stupidity do so at their own peril. Americans are magnanimous in ways no other people are. Now we are seeing the President's poll numbers plummet. His approval rating of 39% is evidence that Americans have turned sour on him. For a very long time, even when voters did not agree with his policies, his personal likeability remained strong. They viewed him apart from his policies; that is no longer the case. Now, Americans are not liking his policies and they are not liking him very much either.
The noble intentions of providing healthcare for uninsured Americans are on the verge of becoming an absolute nightmare for millions of Americans who already had health plans, and more importantly, liked those plans. Maybe those plans were not perfect, but they certainly were affordable. That word is key.
The Affordable Care Act, as Obamacare is actually named, is everything but affordable. The problem with government choosing winners is that it also chooses losers. Regrettably, the losers are the millions of people that have seen their cancellation notices and now know they will have to pay more to get health coverage. In addition, the young people that would not have pay for insurance are now mandated to buy one.
When I was very young, my boss used to tell me, "If I cannot trust you with the little things, how can I trust you with the big things?" One thing I know for sure is that whatever plans this president had for the remainder of his term have been seriously compromised by his lack of honesty. It is very doubtful that the American people would choose to trust him now. “White House, you have a problem.”
Rosario Marin served as the 41st U.S. Treasurer under President George W. Bush. She is the author of "Leading Between Two Worlds Lessons" from the first Mexican-born Treasurer of the United States.