Jonathan Cohn at The New Republic on Obamacare hysteria. "The Obamacare online saga may be reaching the phase where media and political hysteria is out of proportion to the actual problem," writes Cohn. When the government releases enrollment numbers (or when an official leaks them), they probably won't look so good, but that's okay. "The main reason for low enrollment will be that people don't sign up for health insurance programs right away. They wait until the last minute. This is true of public insurance and this is true of private insurance." If you look at the example of Massachusetts, only 123 people had enrolled after the first month coverage was available in in 2007, and 2289 after the second month. But by the last month before the penalty was going to kick in, 36,167 people enrolled. Economist Justin Wolfers tweets, "The slow roll-out of Romneycare. Eventually Massachusetts got 97 percent insured." Greg Sargent, a political writer at The Washington Post, tweets, "More must reading from @citizencohn on the real meaning of the OCare web site problems."
Dana Milbank at The Washington Post wants Republicans to pick a new issue. At the first GOP meeting since the shutdown, Congressional Republicans are back to harping on Obamacare. "Fresh from a shutdown and almost a default over Obamacare, House Republicans’ new legislative strategy is to investigate Obamacare. Is it any wonder this Congress, and congressional Republicans in particular, is held in such low public esteem?" Milbank asks. It's not necessarily good politics to stay focused on the health care law: "Certainly, the flubbed rollout of Obamacare and HealthCare.gov gives Republicans an opening to turn more Americans against the new law, but most of the country doesn’t share Republicans’ singular obsession with the legislation." Bottom line? "Another day — but the same old fight." Jennifer Steinhauer, who covered the GOP meeting for The New York Times, tweets, "......and here is what @Milbank thinks about [the GOP strategy]." The Democratic National Committee sent the column to its supporters via email.
Brian Beutler at Salon on the politics of the Healthcare.gov failure. "It turns out the politics of Obamacare will become much more interesting if Healthcare.gov never gets off the ground," writes Beutler. Because then the differences between blue states that have set up their own exchanges and expanded Medicaid and red states that haven't will be much more apparent. "The optimistic scenario — well, the optimistic sub-scenario, if the federally facilitated marketplaces fail — is that states without their own exchanges fall like dominoes and begin building them." Because "why wouldn’t Chris Christie run to the rescue of New Jerseyans suffering under the yoke of federal overreach? Or Kasich. Or even Jan Brewer, who probably can’t run for reelection anyhow, and already steamrolled the Arizona Legislature to expand Medicaid? The holdouts would largely be revanchist Southerners, bent upon pitting the most dubious of principles against their own interests." Longtime labor researcher Richard Yeselson tweets, "Fine @brianbeutler essay on chance US will have a two-tier health care system. Also: he uses my fav word — revanchist."
Jeffrey Goldberg at Bloomberg View on why Iran is different than Syria in Obama's eyes. Many ex-Israeli generals and American policy hawks think the President is bluffing on Iran — that he would never attack the country the way he didn't attack Syria. But this is a "faulty assumption," Goldberg explains. "Because for it to work, you must believe that something that isn’t true is, in fact, true, which is that the president believes Syria represents a challenge on par with the challenge posed by the Iranian nuclear program. He very clearly does not believe this." Further, "Obama’s unwillingness to engage militarily in Syria may ultimately make it more likely that he will one day strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, should sanctions and negotiations fail to push Iran off the nuclear path." Richard Hall, who covers Middle East issues for The Independent, tweets, "Jeffrey Goldberg column lays out quite succinctly the reasons why Obama didn't strike Syria."
Nicholas Kristof at The New York Times explains why Twitter should add women to its board. "In business, there’s abundant evidence that inclusion of women in senior positions is linked to better results," writes Kristof. "And how about adding not just one woman to your board, but three? Research suggests that what matters is having a critical mass of about 30 percent women. In Twitter’s case, if it added three women, its board would still have as many men named Peter as it had women." Bottom line? "This shouldn’t be seen as a favor to women but as a step that would be good for all of us." Julia Baird, an ABC host in Sydney, tweets, "Twitter is the brave new future, right? So why is its board composed of seven white men?"