President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies are using the levers of government to speed up and promote what they consider the most popular aspects of the new health care law before a highly skeptical public passes judgment in November.Of course, what the White House thinks are political beneficial and what the voters think is beneficial are two different things.
Top administration officials, who meet regularly with outside special interest groups to coordinate the public relations effort, have so far focused on expediting and amplifying four key areas of the new law: expanding coverage to young adults, covering sick people with pre-existing conditions or high medical costs, providing tax breaks to small businesses and helping a select group of seniors pay for prescription drugs.
In one case, the administration moved so quickly to provide coverage to young adults under their parents’ health plan that it cut short the conventional period for the public to weigh in on the new rule.
In another, it used taxpayer money to alert small businesses that they will get a break on this year’s taxes.
Both are perfectly legal but also politically beneficial.
While the Administration can shorten the time for submitting comments to pending regulations, they run a risk in doing so, a risk that some people will interpret their actions as not giving a toss about what America really thinks about a plan rammed down the throats of the American people on a strictly party line vote. Further muzzling opportunities to comment on regulations means that the White House seeks to further silence any dissent.
But here is what drives me to distraction about the young people plan. Young people are generally the easiest (and cheapest) to insure. They are usually much healthier in general and use far less medical care than older people thus costing less in the long run. If you are an insurer, you want young people in a risk pool to balance out the sicker, more costly patients.
Still, the White House could find these efforts aren't really all that beneficial to their electoral hopes in November.
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