5 Barriers to Obamacare

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 27, 2009 12:35 PM CDT
A rally for health care reform.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Both chambers of Congress will likely miss President Obama’s August deadline for a health care reform bill, slowing “the momentum behind the president's top priority,” Jay Newton-Small writes in Time. “Why can't a popular president with poll numbers in the 60s and super majorities in both chambers of Congress get this done?”

  • The Costs Question: "So much of the potential cost savings of overhauling the entire health care system is unknown and impossible to predict with any accuracy," and all the conflicting numbers give ammunition to opponents.

  • The Funding Conundrum: Much of the $1 trillion necessary is funded by fines and drug company concessions, but "Democrats have said they won't pass anything that isn't fully paid for, and finding the money to plug an estimated $200 billion to $320 billion shortfall has been particularly tough."
  • Coverage: Both sides of the aisle find fault with the plan, whether it's GOP ire over "the socialization of health care" or a Democratic worry that Medicare will be weakened.
  • An Absentee Obama: "Congress can't function without some guidance and political cover from the White House, and the last few weeks has heard much grumbling from Demcratic staffers on the Hill that nothing will get done unless the White House gets more intimately involved."
  • The People: "Simply missing the deadline adds to the perception that health care reform may be stillborn."