WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is fighting to regain the trust of the American people after disastrous Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) implementation problems.
“It’s legitimate for them to expect me to have to win back some credibility on this health care law in particular and on a whole range of these issues in general,” Obama said during a news conference last week that turned into an extensive mea culpa for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (implementation) failures consuming the White House.
As bad as things are for Obama, they may be worse for many members of Congress.
Democrats in both the House and Senate worry the PPACA problems could dim their re-election chances next year.
Republicans are saddled with historically low approval ratings and an internal debate over the direction of their party, though the PPACA woes have proved a lifeline following the GOP’s much-criticized handling of the government shutdown.
With Republicans sensing an opportunity in Obama’s free fall, the president is sure to face a struggle in getting their support, particularly in the House, for White House priorities such as an immigration overhaul or broad budget deal.
Without success on other fronts to counteract the PPACA failures, Obama will have fewer chances to change the public’s view that Washington, and the president himself, are ineffective.
“We appear to be stuck, whatever direction we look,” William Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said about Washington’s political landscape.
Obama’s health care calamity began with the flood of computer problems that crippled HealthCare.gov, the federal exchange enrollment website.
Those troubles were compounded when at least 4.2 million people started receiving cancellation letters from their insurance companies despite Obama’s repeated assurances that anyone who liked his or her insurance plan could keep it.
The widespread problems have spurred questions about the normally cool and confident president’s management style and competence. Why was the White House so poorly prepared for the long-anticipated rollout of Obama’s major legislative achievement? Why did the president seem personally unaware of the extent of the problems until they became publicly known?
The troubles have also shaken Obama’s allies.
“The rollout of the website, that’s terrible,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. “But the fact is, that will be fixed.”
For some members of the public, the PPACA implementation failures are changing how they view the president.
In polls, fewer Americans say Obama is honest or trustworthy, or a strong leader. For example, Quinnipiac University’s poll of registered voters conducted this month found just 44 percent thought Obama was honest and trustworthy, down 10 points since earlier this fall. Only 48 percent felt he has strong leadership qualities, a low point in his presidency.