Former Obama adviser David Plouffe went on ABC News' This Week to discuss the Affordable Care Act, and he noted that the program "is going quite well" in states where health care exchanges and Medicaid expansion have been implemented, and other states may follow suit after President Obama leaves office, at which point "it'll work really well." Plouffe's point was that the law is working where it has been fully implemented, and will work even better if Republican-led state-level opposition to expanding Medicaid disappears after the 2016 elections. Several conservative media outlets, however, have mischaracterized Plouffe's remark to claim that he said the ACA will not work until 2017.
Appearing on the December 1 edition of This Week, Plouffe said, "This program was designed to be implemented by the states. And in most of the states that are running their exchanges it is going quite well. You talked about Medicaid expansion. I think it's just a fact, and it may take till 2017 when this president leaves office, you're going to see almost every state in this country running their own exchanges eventually and expanding Medicaid. And I think it'll work really well, then."
As the Kaiser Family Foundation points out, 25 states and the District of Columbia are"moving forward" with expanding Medicaid while 25 states have refused to do so. The vast majority of the states who currently oppose expansion have Republican governors (including several who may run for president in 2016). In states like Arkansas and Kentucky, which opted to expand Medicaid, hundreds of thousands of previously uninsured Americans are now covered. Plouffe was likely referring to the fact that without President Obama in office in 2017 and the 2016 election concluded, many of these Republican-led states may lessen their resistance to reform and eventually move ahead with Medicaid expansion efforts which would increase coverage to more citizens.
Conservative media outlets reporting on Plouffe's comments mischaracterized them to claim that Plouffe had said the law will not work until 2017.
Martha MacCallum, host of Fox News' America's Newsroom, said "there is optimism from former administration officials that Obamacare is going to work, but they say you might have to wait a while."
During the segment, Fox used an on-air graphic that read "Former WH Adviser David Plouffe: Obamacare Will Work By 2017."
Similarly, National Review's Patrick Brennan reported Plouffe's remarks under the misleading headline: "Plouffe: Obamacare Will Work... by 2017." Brennan selectively quoted Plouffe in his post to repeat the distortion:
Former senior Obama adviser David Plouffe is optimistic about Obamacare -- over the long run. By 2017, he said, almost every state will have accepted the law's Medicaid expansion (states such as Ohio have indeed recently decided to accept it) and they will be running their own exchanges. "It's just a fact" that the law will work, he said, though "it may take until this president leaves office."
This same distortion of Plouffe's comments was picked up by Glenn Beck's news website, The Blaze, under the headline "Obama Advisor Says Obamacare Will Work... By 2017"
Encouraging news from former senior White House advisor David Plouffe...
By 2017, Plouffe explained on ABC's "This Week" Sunday, nearly every state in the union will be running their own Obamacare insurance exchanges. "It's just a fact," that the new health care law will work, Plouffe said, though "it may take until this president leaves office."