Monday, October 21, 2013

President Obama - "The Insurance Salesman"

It is doubtful that when he was a young man studying political science at Columbia or law at Harvard that President Barak Obama was considering a future as an insurance salesman. Yet, with the passage of the Affordable Care Act - or Obamacare (note: Obama "cares") - and the recent challenges to it with the recent government budget shutdown, the job of "selling health insurance" is basically what Obama must do now.  At least that's the assessment of William Saleton, as he outlines it in a recent piece for Slate, "Barak Obama, Insurance Salesman: The President Peddles Health Insurance - and Pounds the GOP." This theme will probably run through the media for a while. Garance Franke-Ruta makes a similar claim for The Atlantic with his piece, "Barack Obama: Insurance Salesman-in-Chief." Clever guys, those media types.

The framing of the job as "selling insurance" is certainly an entertaining look at the health care battle, and it's not an entirely unrealistic or exaggerated claim.  The President's signature piece of legislation has faced many challenges, not the least of which was a challenge to the Supreme Court, which upheld it as a constitutional "tax." And, of course the persistent GOP-controlled House of Representatives has voted to overturn it some 200 times.  The budget showdown - and government shutdown - was Ted Cruz's attempt to make his political career by defeating it.  And, finally, the roll-out of the website has been plagued by mishaps and technical difficulties - which may be a result of its popularity, but don't make the President look good.

So, we will see how effective the President is at sales. And the 2014 midterms is probably the barometer by which we'll measure his "salesmanship."

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