First Read Flash: The right medicine?

Updated

New York Times:President Obama, trying to quell a growing furor over the rollout of his health care law, bowed to bipartisan pressure on Thursday and announced a policy reversal that would allow insurance companies to temporarily keep people on health plans that were to be canceled under the new law because they did not meet minimum standards. The decision to allow the policies to remain in effect for a year without penalties represented the Obama administration’s hurriedly developed effort to address one of the major complaints about the beleaguered health care law. “

“Obama surprised just about everyone Thursday when he said that health insurance companies don’t have to cancel policies after all — even if they don’t meet health reform requirements. But this begs some big questions: Can he pull it off? And, what does it mean for you?” NBC’s Maggie Fox explains. 

NBC’s Michael O’Brien: “The White House is receiving mixed reactions from allies in Washington as it tries to soothe growing unease among Democrats on Capitol Hill about the implementation of the health reform law so many of them risked their careers to pass. Many Democrats remained publicly skittish even after President Barack Obama announced a fix to the Affordable Care Act intended to honor his commitment that consumers can keep their health plans if they so desire, even if those plans are considered subpar by new standards contained in the law.”

Washington Post:The political fallout from the botched launch of the health-care law is presenting congressional Democrats with one of their toughest tests of party loyalty in the five years of the Obama administration. House Republicans are expected to pass a bill Friday that could dramatically undermine the law. And after years of trying to impale the initiative, GOP leaders are hopeful that the political turmoil over the rollout will provide them the support of a sizable bloc of Democrats.”

Politico: “President Barack Obama’s credibility may have taken a big hit with voters, but he’s also in serious danger of permanently losing the trust of Democrats in Congress. The Obamacare debacle has been bad enough that it’s tough for Democrats to take on faith that the president can fix the problems. His one-time allies are no longer sure that it’s wise to follow him into battle, leaving Obama and his law not only vulnerable to existing critics, but open to new attacks from his own party.”

The Washington Post editorializes that “Obama’s big announcement Thursday, though, was a “fix” to the Affordable Care Act meant to redeem his promise that “if you like your health-care plan, you can keep it.” Unfortunately, it was his promise that was wrong, not the design of the law. At best, his proposed fix will have little impact except to let him shift the blame; at worst, it will undermine reform.”

The New York Times editorial board writes that “If a relatively small population of people get extensions, as some experts think likely, the effect on premiums in the overall health insurance market may be minimal. Even so, this disturbing reversal is caused by the incompetence of the administration in ushering in reforms that millions have been waiting for.”

New York Times:Obama won the presidency by exploiting a political environment that devoured George W. Bush in a second term plagued by sinking credibility, failed legislative battles, fractured world relations and revolts inside his own party. President Obama is now threatened by a similar toxic mix. The disastrous rollout of his health care law not only threatens the rest of his agenda but also raises questions about his competence in the same way that the Bush administration’s botched response to Hurricane Katrina undermined any semblance of Republican efficiency.”

USA Today:Amid the low enrollment numbers for health insurance via the HealthCare.gov website, the Obama administration found one bright spot: Medicaid. Almost 400,000 people have learned they are eligible to enroll in the states’ Medicaid programs, and the numbers are high even in Republican-dominated states that have chosen not to expand the program.”

Dan Balz: “Throughout his career as a national politician, President Obama often has benefited from comparisons with others. Nearing the end of the first year of his second term, he is running mostly against himself — and falling short. The disastrous rollout of his health-care law has put him on the spot in ways he has rarely been before. The cool and cerebral chief executive, whose reliance on smart people and rational analysis has been at the foundation of his often-insulated governing style, has been forced to admit that he and his team vastly underestimated the challenge of implementing the Affordable Care Act.”

Charlie Cook: “One Democratic pollster recently (and aptly) summed up the sentiment: “Voters want to punish Republicans but not reward Democrats.” This dynamic suggests we are in for either a highly muddled election outcome next year—hardly the stuff for a wave, because one party has to be rewarded and looked favorably upon to create a wave—or a highly volatile environment, what a meteorologist might describe as an “unstable air mass.” The latter dynamic could translate into a lot of surprise election outcomes, but not necessarily in any uniform direction.”

Wall Street Journal: Janet Yellen, the White House’s nominee to run the Federal Reserve, suggested she would stick to plans to wind down the central bank’s $85 billion-a-month bond-buying program in the coming months if the economy perks up. Fed officials are trying to decide “at each meeting” whether the moment is right to begin trimming the bond purchases, she told members of the Senate Banking Committee at a hearing on her nomination to succeed Chairman Ben Bernanke, whose term ends in January. “There is no set time,” Ms. Yellen said.”

CALIFORNIA: Politico: “Former Treasury Department official and TARP administrator Neel Kashkari is likely to run for governor of California as a Republican in 2014 and has begun the process of gathering advisers for an anticipated campaign…As President George W. Bush’s assistant Treasury secretary for financial stability, Kashkari was the lead official tasked with overseeing the 2008 bank bailouts. He left the investment firm PIMCO earlier this year, citing a desire to continue a career of public service.”

FLORIDA: Sarasota Herald Tribune: “Fanning the flames of uncertainty about former Gov. Charlie Crist’s viability as a gubernatorial candidate, Democrats close to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson are letting potential supporters know the three-term senator is waiting in the wings if Crist’s campaign stumbles. Nelson’s chief of staff, Pete Mitchell, called some prominent Democrats recently and told them the 71-year-old Nelson, who has been coy about his interest in the governor’s race, is considering a bid, according to sources who spoke on background.”

Miami Herald: “Add another Obama-ite to Charlie Crist’s race for Florida governor: Bill Hyers, who most recently ran Bill de Blasio New York City mayoral race. Hyers, announced as the campaign manager, ran President Obama’s Midwest operations in 2008 and his Pennsylvania campaign in 2012. He joins at least seven other Obama campaign folk from Florida.” 

MICHIGAN: National Journal’s Alex Roarty: “It’s a bad time for Terri Lynn Land to visit Washington. The Michigan Senate GOP candidate is attending a fundraiser in the nation’s capital next week hosted by Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader and favorite punching bag of some prominent conservatives. Under normal circumstances, such an event—and the unofficial endorsement of the Republican establishment it brings—risks blowback from rank-and-file Republicans, but is common enough to be relatively unremarkable.”

Rothenberg Political Report’s Nathan Gonzales: “Republicans don’t need to win Michigan to get the majority in the Senate, but the Wolverine State could become a serious takeover target later next year….Land should become a credible candidate who could take advantage of another favorable GOP environment, should one develop. But she is also running from a state office that hasn’t traditionally been a launching pad for the U.S. Senate. Make no mistake, Peters has shown remarkable political agility and starts this race with the edge, but this open seat should no longer be considered safe.”

MISSISSIPPI: Washington Post:Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) hasn’t announced his reelection plans yet, but the opposition is already gearing up. Senate Conservatives Action, an arm of the Senate Conservatives Fund, is making a $263,000 ad buy in the state on behalf of its endorsed candidate, state Sen. Chris McDaniel (R), according to information shared with Post Politics.The ad features footage of McDaniel’s campaign launch, pitching his message of conservatism. It will air for two weeks on broadcast and cable television.”

TEXAS: Houston Chronicle: “When Texas Sen. John Cornyn launches his campaign for a third six-year term on Friday with a rally in Austin, it will feature a cameo appearance by Gov. Rick Perry - but no sign of tea party-backed freshman Sen. Ted Cruz.”

First Read Flash: The right medicine?

Updated