PBS Anchor Woodruff Asks if Administration Can Undo First Impression of ObamaCare

You never get a second chance to make a first impression. However, PBS’s Judy Woodruff wishes the Obama administration could get another crack at the rollout of ObamaCare.

While moderating an ObamaCare discussion on Tuesday’s PBS NewsHour, Woodruff posed this question to Ron Bonjean, a former Republican spokesman:

 

"But if they get a lot of people, if they get millions of Americans signed up, the website’s working better, can't they undo that first impression?"
 

It’s too late for that, Judy. ObamaCare has already made its first impression on Americans, and that first impression was not good. The website was deeply flawed, not many people signed up in the first month, and millions of Americans lost their private health plans despite the president’s assurances that they could keep them.

It was also a bit shortsighted for Woodruff to suppose that getting lots of people signed up and fixing the website will be enough to turn the tide of public opinion in favor of the law. She assumes Americans will like the substance of the law. But even if people get signed up, health care access and affordability may still be problems. Bonjean brought up some of those issues:
 

"People's premiums are likely to go up, people's deductibles are going to go up... getting to their doctor is going to be troublesome and I think that’s what you’re going to see, along with the security, and lack thereof, of the exchanges."

 

Below is a transcript of the exchange:

JUDY WOODRUFF: So Ron Bonjean, if the White House is able to do what they say they are –  they are going to get the website working, if they can address some of these other problems –  why won't they be able to undo some of the damage that’s been done?

RON BONJEAN, Singer Bonjean Strategies: This is what the president’s really worried about. He’s putting a firewall around ObamaCare right now because Democrats are running away from it in droves, and he’s trying a last stand to put the best face of ObamaCare, you know, best face of the branding around ObamaCare that he can, because next year is an election year and it’s so critical, and millions of Americans are losing their health insurance this January 1 and they need to get signed up into ObamaCare quickly.

WOODRUFF: But if they get a lot of people, if they get millions of Americans signed up, the website’s working better, can't they undo that first impression?
 
BONJEAN: See, what’s really interesting is that Republicans knew –  we all know that the website’s going to get fixed. I mean, you know, it’s technology, eventually it’s going to happen. But what we’re talking about now is we’re talking about the access and affordability of ObamaCare. People's premiums are likely to go up, people's deductibles are going to go up, the access around to getting to their doctor is going to be troublesome and I think that’s what you’re going to see, along with the security, and lack thereof, of the exchanges.

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.