Unless the Obama administration fixes HealthCare.gov as promised and ensures that healthcare reform is working effectively, the national crisis of confidence in President Barack Obama could have dire political consequences in 2014 for congressional Democrats who supported the law, political observers say.
While national attention has focused on the functionality of the problem-ridden federal Web portal for health plan enrollment in 36 states, the larger political question is whether the president's team can right the ship on the entire Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by next spring and summer. It has already become an albatross around the necks of congressional Democrats who are up for re-election next fall. It's perilous even for Democrats in states where state-run exchanges are working well and lots of people have been able to sign up for coverage.
It's vital for the administration to fix the federal website problems so millions of Americans can shop for and purchase affordable health coverage. Beyond that, the administration must make sure the exchange plans are drawing a balanced mix of healthier and sicker enrollees to keep premiums down, and that consumers can actually access the care they've been promised after they've received coverage.