What's the point of even trying to spin this thing? It's an obvious disaster, and pretending otherwise -- in the face of a mountain range of evidence -- is useless. Even Kathleen Sebelius, in whom the president still has "full confidence" for some reason, has been forced to acknowledge that things aren't going according to plan. The Huffington Post is out with the latest brutal piece about the failed Obamacare launch:
A broken website imperils the largest expansion of the American safety net since the Great Society. More than two weeks into the disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov, the website created by President Barack Obama's health care reform law still isn't working right. "The website that was supposed to do this all in a seamless way has had way more glitches than I think are acceptable," Obama said during a Tuesday interview with KCCI television in Des Moines, Iowa. But the administration won't disclose exactly what's wrong with the health insurance exchange website, or when consumers can expect to see the promise of convenient, one-stop shopping for health benefits and financial assistance fulfilled. Time remains for these problems to be resolved, but not much. "If things aren't resolved in three weeks, we've got some serious, serious problems," said Timothy Jost, a law professor and health care reform expert at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Va., and an Obamacare supporter. "I don't think we're anywhere close to there yet, but if the whole thing collapses, it'll be another generation before we get this problem fixed."
Two money quotes from the story (content warning):
For Obama and the Democrats who've stood behind Obamacare during four years of relentless attacks from Republicans -- including a face-off that led to a 16-day government shutdown and a threat of U.S. default -- failure of this magnitude would discredit a core premise of this presidency, that government can do big things to improve Americans' lives...If these problems persist longer -- weeks, months, a whole year -- the entire Obamacare project falls apart, Laszewski said: "It's a holy shit moment."
As we relayed in this morning's post, separate reports in both USA Today and National Review indicate that salvaging these broken websites is a project that will almost certainly take months, not weeks. Indeed, whether the sites can be fixed at all is "up for debate." Why? Even if the "front-end" enrollment portal is eventually repaired, the resulting crush of potential applicants could make fixing the "back-end" (exchange-to-insurer) even harder. Insurance companies have been reporting numerous problems with the few applications they've received thus far through Obamacare's exchanges.
So average consumers' inability to log in, browse options and sign up for insurance is only half the problem. The data that finally worms its way to the insurance companies is loaded with errors, including duplicate applications, counting spouses as children, and "suspect" eligibility determinations. Some of the information is so garbled that it has to be entered by hand. As Kathleen Sebelius resists calls to testify before Congress, the White House can't quite say who, if anyone, will be held accountable for this historic failure:
As much as the White House would love to scapegoat the contractors, that excuse won't fly. As Megan McArdle noted on Monday, the administration chose to act as its own 'chief contractor' for this project, despite HHS' lack of applicable expertise. The administration also delayed releasing its specifications and regulations until after the 2012 election, and changed key demands as recently as a few months ago. Beyond that, Politico reports that various forms of outside help were rejected due to Team Obama's fears that the resulting added transparency could give Republicans (and the public) a window into how unprepared the program was prior to launch. This epic failure is 100 percent on the administration and their Congressional allies who passed the law. HuffPo is correct: The magnitude of this ongoing failure severely undercuts the Left's entire operating principle -- that big, sprawling government is a force for good, in which people should place their trust. Instead, we're closing in on a "holy sh*t moment." I'll leave you with a Democratic strategist doing her best to keep a stiff upper lip on the Obamacare meltdown. As I point out in the segment, it seems as though she hasn't seen some of the latest news, which directly rebuts her wish-casting:
Democratic talking point: "They really are making progress." Reality: "No progress."