“I think he would be wise not to say anything about the website,” said Joseph Antos, a scholar in health and retirement policy at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. Obama will probably mention a “really big number” of Americans who are newly insured, he said. (The administration said Friday that exchange enrollment had reached 3 million.)“It would be better for him to say, 'We're working on this; we know it's important to do better; we will do better.”
When Republicans get their shot to respond to his speech—Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, was tapped to give the official response—they would be smart to focus on their own healthcare proposals rather than “kill 15 minutes telling us how much they hate the ACA,” Antos added.
But Henry Aaron, a senior fellow at the left-of-center Brookings Institution, predicted the president will—and should—talk about the problems with the launch of open enrollment. “I think he is going to be duly apologetic and regretful about the screw-up, and he will take responsibility for it himself,” Aaron said. The Democrats, he added, have a lot riding on the law's success. If they lose the Senate, “a large part would be because of the inept rollout of the ACA.”
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