Ezra Klein: Let’s face it, they’ve done a terrible job launching Obamacare

posted at 10:06 pm on October 10, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

In which one of Obamacare’s most determined cheerleaders must come to grips with its disastrous debut, on Martin Bashir’s show.

EZRA KLEIN: It will take a long time to judge it. I do want to say, because I don’t think people should beat around the bush on this. They have done a terrible job launching this law.

[JOY] REID: Glitchy site.

KLEIN: It isn’t just a glitchy site. To a first approximation, basically nobody is capable of signing up for affordable health care right now or just any health insurance, affordable or not. That is not okay. They did a bad job running a very big program to help a lot of Americans. Now three weeks from now, four weeks from now, it might all be fixed. It might all be fine, and there’s something to that, right? A stat I heard the other day which I think is a stunning one is there were more people trying to sign up for accounts at healthcare.gov in the first 24 hours than Twitter had users signing up in the last 24 months. Nevertheless, when you launch something like this, it is on you to make it work. We are now more than a week into the Affordable Care Act and most people going to that website cannot use it and cannot get insurance. The Obama administration people failed the people it was trying to help, at least thus far. They need to get that site working before we can even talk about whether it can be a success. Right now it can’t even begin.

This is the guy who rejoiced in July that delaying the employer mandate, instead of being a sign of the administration’s fundamental fumbling of implementation, was just going to make implementation more successful. To which I said, yes, and you can make running a marathon a lot more successful by only running six miles and calling it a marathon.

I asked around. Peter Orszag, who helped design Obamacare from his perch as head of the Office of Management and Budget, disagreed with Rubin. “Delaying the employer mandate makes successful implementation more likely, not less likely,” he told me…

Obamacare’s critics appear to be enjoying something of a Pyrrhic victory right now: They get to (rightly) criticize the administration for unilaterally delaying unpopular and ill-drafted elements of the law. But they seem to be assuming that the bad media coverage now can be extrapolated into bad implementation next year.

That misses the choice the White House actually made: Bad press now, and higher costs in 2014, in return for an easier roll out. Whether you think the White House is making the right policy call will depend on whether you prefer slightly lower costs to a smoother rollout. But so far as Obamacare’s implementation goes, it just got easier, not harder.

Klein in today’s clip, notably, puts the blame on the Obama administration, abandoning his earlier arguments that the GOP would be to blame for the failure of a law written and implemented entirely by Democrats, and admits it’s not just about “glitches.” This is just the beginning, folks. One of Obamacare’s chief goalpost movers— “a consistently dishonest and credulous proponent of the law”— Klein better be lifting weights in preparation for the next year.

Update: I tweeted this earlier today, but it’s worth noting what people like me were pointing out in 2012, back when we were just charlatan Obamacare haters, according to the law’s supporters. Does this sound relevant now?

The Washington Post piece assumes the federal data hub itself will work perfectly, even though it’s meant to cull an incredible amount of data and pair it with an incredibly complex set of eligibility requirements. I think even that’s an open question, but here’s the bottom line: This is a giant tech undertaking which will need to serve many localities with different needs, link existing technologies and personnel with a new, giant federal hub, and somehow make sure all of them work together to smoothly to guide consumers who have no idea what to expect in subsidies or services through a brand new web portal for health insurance. They have less than a year to accomplish this. It seems there has been no pilot program, no training, and no beta testing. This thing is ORCA on steroids.


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Economic Traitor!

Punchenko on October 10, 2013 at 10:10 PM

Mr. Klein appears to have a keen sense of the obvious.

Cindy Munford on October 10, 2013 at 10:13 PM

Another soothing distraction brought to you courtesy of the GOPe

From this morning’s NYT courtesy of CNBC

(because you WON’T see a post about this article by Ed/AP/MKH/EJ)

http://tinyurl.com/lzzpw8u

(h/t to Schadenfreude for the link – Thx!)

Business groups see loss of sway over House GOP

As the government shutdown grinds toward a potential debt default, some of the country’s most influential business executives have come to a conclusion all but unthinkable a few years ago: Their voices are carrying little weight with the House majority that their millions of dollars in campaign contributions helped build and sustain.

Their frustration has grown so intense in recent days that several trade association officials warned in interviews on Wednesday that they were considering helping wage primary campaigns against Republican lawmakers who had worked to engineer the political standoff in Washington.

Such an effort would thrust Washington’s traditionally cautious and pragmatic business lobby into open warfare with the Tea Party faction, which has grown in influence since the 2010 election and won a series of skirmishes with the Republican establishment in the last two years.

“We are looking at ways to counter the rise of an ideological brand of conservatism that, for lack of a better word, is more anti-establishment than it has been in the past,” said David French, the top lobbyist at the National Retail Federation. “We have come to the conclusion that sitting on the sidelines is not good enough.”

Some warned that a default could spur a shift in the relationship between the corporate world and the Republican Pary. Long intertwined by mutual self-interest on deregulation and lower taxes, the business lobby and Republicans are diverging not only over the fiscal crisis, but on other major issues like immigration reform, which was favored by business groups and party leaders but stymied in the House by many of the same lawmakers now leading the debt fight.

Joe Echevarria, the chief executive of Deloitte, the accounting and consulting firm, said, “I’m a Republican by definition and by registration, but the party seems to have split into two factions.”

While both parties have extreme elements, he suggested, only in the G.O.P. did the extreme element exercise real power. “The extreme right has 90 seats in the House,” Mr. Echevarria said. “Occupy Wall Street has no seats.”

Moreover, business leaders and trade groups said, the tools that have served them in the past — campaign contributions, large memberships across the country, a multibillion-dollar lobbying apparatus — do not seem to be working.

“There clearly are people in the Republican Party at the moment for whom the business community and the interests of the business community — the jobs and members they represent — don’t seem to be their top priority,” said Dan Danner, the head of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, which spearheaded opposition to President Obama’s health care law among small businesses.”They don’t really care what the N.F.I.B. thinks, and don’t care what the Chamber thinks, and probably don’t care what the Business Roundtable thinks.”

The lawmakers seem to agree. Representative Randy Neugebauer, Republican of Texas and a Tea Party caucus member, said in an interview on Wednesday that if American corporations wanted to send their money elsewhere, that was their choice.

“We have got to quit worrying about the next election, and start worrying about the country,” said Mr. Neugebauer, who sits on the House Financial Services Committee and is a recipient of significant donations from Wall Street.

Few of the most conservative House lawmakers draw substantial support from business political action committees, and business lobbyists acknowledged that the mere suggestion they were considering backing primary challenges next year could enhance grass-roots support for the very lawmakers they want to defeat. But the dysfunction in Washington has now turned so extreme, they said, that they had few other options.

PolAgnostic on October 10, 2013 at 10:15 PM

terrible job= racist…or something./

ted c on October 10, 2013 at 10:16 PM

Oh haayyyy Mary KH, hope your little bundle of joy is doing well.

ted c on October 10, 2013 at 10:16 PM

Ezra Klein…..ya lost me right thar.

Think I’ll go slop the hogs. They make more sense with the snorts than the gods of smart in DC.

PappyD61 on October 10, 2013 at 10:17 PM

This thing is ORCA on steroids.

More like ORCA, the whale, denied his v!agra.

TXUS on October 10, 2013 at 10:19 PM

….he’s still an idiot!

KOOLAID2 on October 10, 2013 at 10:19 PM

Delay the decay. At least for a year.

Bmore on October 10, 2013 at 10:20 PM

(because you WON’T see a post about this article by Ed/AP/MKH/EJ)

I noted this exact phenomenon three days ago, before the NYT wrote about it. Maybe you should read before you talk the junk.

http://hotair.com/archives/2013/10/07/terry-mcauliffe-took-money-from-an-african-gun-runner-and-a-harry-reid-fundraisers-going-to-prison/

Mary Katharine Ham on October 10, 2013 at 10:21 PM

So, when does he get the Worst Nazi in the World award from Ed Schulz?

nukemhill on October 10, 2013 at 10:21 PM

Ed “Sgt” Schultz even more angry…

SouthernGent on October 10, 2013 at 10:23 PM

The failure is not a bug, Ezra. Don’t try to sell it as such.

Steve Eggleston on October 10, 2013 at 10:24 PM

Looks like a little… re-education and self-denunciation is in store for Mr. Klein.

trigon on October 10, 2013 at 10:24 PM

Dang it Mary Katharine. When I click your nom it takes me to HA’s cover. You know what would be fun Mary Katharine? Link your nom to some pictures of Georgia. ; )

Bmore on October 10, 2013 at 10:25 PM

We were told that people would die, DIE! without BarkyCare available to them. So now that BarkyCare is unavailable, people will die, right? That blood is on Dog Eater’s hands.

Libfree, how could you vote for a murdering pig like Bark?

Bishop on October 10, 2013 at 10:26 PM

Bishop on October 10, 2013 at 10:26 PM

Lolz! Perfect! ; )

Bmore on October 10, 2013 at 10:28 PM

Hey Ezra ….. SURPRISE ! ! !

listens2glenn on October 10, 2013 at 10:30 PM

Oh haayyyy Mary KH, hope your little bundle of joy is doing well.

ted c on October 10, 2013 at 10:16 PM

.
D I T T O S !

listens2glenn on October 10, 2013 at 10:32 PM

Oh haayyyy Mary KH, hope your little bundle of joy is doing well.

ted c on October 10, 2013 at 10:16 PM

.
D I T T O S !

listens2glenn on October 10, 2013 at 10:32 PM

Double dittos.

Steve Eggleston on October 10, 2013 at 10:33 PM

PolAgnostic on October 10, 2013 at 10:15 PM

Thanks, to you and Schad. And you, Mary Katherine.

SailorMark on October 10, 2013 at 10:36 PM

SailorMark on October 10, 2013 at 10:36 PM

a no e

Bmore on October 10, 2013 at 10:38 PM

Bmore on October 10, 2013 at 10:38 PM

Doh!

SailorMark on October 10, 2013 at 10:39 PM

We were told that people would die, DIE! without BarkyCare available to them. So now that BarkyCare is unavailable, people will die, right? That blood is on Dog Eater’s hands.

Libfree, how could you vote for a murdering pig like Bark?

Bishop on October 10, 2013 at 10:26 PM

Well said.

Although the murdering pig is too busy bleating about how critical it is to pay our debt by borrowing more money to worry about people dying.

talkingpoints on October 10, 2013 at 10:43 PM

I noted this exact phenomenon three days ago, before the NYT wrote about it. Maybe you should read before you talk the junk.

http://hotair.com/archives/2013/10/07/terry-mcauliffe-took-money-from-an-african-gun-runner-and-a-harry-reid-fundraisers-going-to-prison/

Mary Katharine Ham on October 10, 2013 at 10:21 PM

.
I did read MKH … here is what you quoted:

[T]he Tea Party smashed K Street’s monopoly on Republican fundraising. The Club for Growth was founded in the late 1990s, and early last decade, it began targeting liberal Republicans in primaries. By 2010, the Club had become a giant force, raising money for candidates who met its rigorous ideological tests and pouring millions into independent expenditures against less-favored Republicans and Democrats…

If not from lobbyists and big businesses, where are these Tea Party groups getting their money? Mostly from small-business owners and conservative retirees. The Club for Growth has a big chunk of wealthy investors cutting them checks.

It may confuse liberals who think free-market politics is just a corrupt deal to enrich Big Business — or who claim that the Tea Party is a Big Business front — but these are the opposing pulls in the GOP: K Street and the Tea Party.

Having two sources of money changes the party dramatically.

YOU didn’t write those words and those words are NOT equivalent in tone or target to the article I have linked/quoted.

You target was Harry Reid and his calumnies regarding the Koch Bros et al.

You were jerking Harry Reid’s chain with the TEA Party involvement adding bite.

Neither You, Ed, AP or Erika have written a word of commentary critical of the NYT article or the positions expounded by some of the GOP Establishment.

SILENCE speaks volumes … None of you have ANY comment to make regarding:

While both parties have extreme elements, he suggested, only in the G.O.P. did the extreme element exercise real power. “The extreme right has 90 seats in the House,” Mr. Echevarria said. “Occupy Wall Street has no seats.”

Equating the TEA Party elected/supported congresspersons with the Occupy Wall Street hooligans/thugs/rapists isn’t worth one single word of denunciation?

And you accuse ME of talking junk???

PolAgnostic on October 10, 2013 at 10:46 PM

Oh haayyyy Mary KH, hope your little bundle of joy is doing well.

ted c on October 10, 2013 at 10:16 PM

.
D I T T O S !

listens2glenn on October 10, 2013 at 10:32 PM

Double dittos.

Steve Eggleston on October 10, 2013 at 10:33 PM

…can you triple dittos?

KOOLAID2 on October 10, 2013 at 10:47 PM

This is the guy who rejoiced in July that delaying the employer mandate, instead of being a sign of the administration’s fundamental fumbling of implementation, was just going to make implementation more successful.

This is also the guy who turned down dinner with Hannah Giles.
http://hotair.com/headlines/archives/2010/03/05/cook-dinner-for-me-ezra-klein/
In other words, an idiot on sooo many levels.

mrt721 on October 10, 2013 at 10:49 PM

We are bringing Western civilization to its knees by selling private insurance plans on a web site where people pick and choose.”

- Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services Secretary

What does that remind me of?

But my journey is part of a larger journey- one shared by all who’ve ever sought to apply the values of their faith to our society. It’s a journey that takes us back to our nation’s founding, when none other than a UCC church inspired the Boston Tea Party and helped bring an Empire to its knees.

- Barack Hussein Obama June 23, 2007

It appears that Barack Obama and Kathleen Sebelius are “fellow travellers” on the journey to bring the “Empire” of Western civilization “to its knees”.

ITguy on October 11, 2013 at 12:12 AM

It appears that Barack Obama and Kathleen Sebelius are “fellow travellers” on the journey to bring the “Empire” of Western civilization “to its knees”.

ITguy on October 11, 2013 at 12:12 AM

Truthfully I thought it was time to destroy the death star and was really glad when Luke hit the target!

Back to the present day or the future day to Luke and Leia…

What happens if they do delay the implementation until just before the election and it goes well?

I don’t want to root against the uninsured, but we really need Obamacare to limp along badly for another year to get any momentum for 2014.

I think we may be sorry for the delay.

petunia on October 11, 2013 at 12:34 AM

It seems there has been no pilot program, no training, and no beta testing. This thing is ORCA on steroids.

It’s almost as though Obama had other more pressing concerns than making sure people got universal healthcare.

Which is quite surprising, since we all know how genuinely serious he was about this very important goal.

RINO in Name Only on October 11, 2013 at 12:38 AM

Ezra Klein…..ya lost me right thar.

Think I’ll go slop the hogs. They make more sense with the snorts than the gods of smart in DC.

PappyD61 on October 10, 2013 at 10:17 PM

Yep. I see the words “Ezra Klein” and turn the page.

ignatzk on October 11, 2013 at 1:25 AM

Oh haayyyy Mary KH, hope your little bundle of joy is doing well.

ted c on October 10, 2013 at 10:16 PM
.

D I T T O S !

listens2glenn on October 10, 2013 at 10:32 PM

.
Double dittos.

Steve Eggleston on October 10, 2013 at 10:33 PM
.

…can you triple dittos?

KOOLAID2 on October 10, 2013 at 10:47 PM

.
NOPE, sorry KOOL’ ….. you have to start a whole, new comment.

listens2glenn on October 11, 2013 at 2:12 AM

I love it! Klein, the propagandist hack worthy of Goebbels, cites Orzag, who never had a single projection he ever made come close, as his authority that the launch would go smoothly.

Every single claim Klein has made about ObamaCare so far – in four years of writing about it, not counting his “health care expertise” years before where he provided economist-sounding cover for the socialist power-grabbers – has proved false.

When your “leading expert” is wrong 100% of the time, maybe you screwed the pooch? But Obama cannot conceive of this because throughout his life he was promoted and praised whether he failed or did nothing (it is not documented that he was ever successful at anything specific).

Adjoran on October 11, 2013 at 2:51 AM

All of which, of course, is why I was against trying to defer or delay any of it. Let ACA go ahead and explode.

It’s the ONLY way and always was. It takes 67 votes in the Senate AND 290 in the House to override the veto Obama was always certain to cast.

Adjoran on October 11, 2013 at 2:53 AM

glitchy my left foot…

they’ll continue to use that word ad nauseum…forget what klein says…

cmsinaz on October 11, 2013 at 6:26 AM

Klein, the WaPo, and even the bodacious Mary Katharine miss the point of launching this train wreck called obamacare out into the intertoob ocean: Despite what E.M. surmised in his analysis, this IS NOT simply ‘yet another case of government incompetence.’

The $634 MILION wasted on this disaster is nothing but a money launder scheme designed funnel huge amounts of public money into the pockets of Obama’s political cronies on the ground who are ostensibly promoting and facilitating people to enroll in obamacare.

locomotivebreath1901 on October 11, 2013 at 6:53 AM

It’s not just the problems with implementation that were widely foreseen, and widely dismissed. Same is true for the financing of the law: http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2013/10/09/obamacares_financial_unraveling_predictable_and_predicted_100656.html

Chuckles3 on October 11, 2013 at 8:36 AM

It will take a long time to judge it. I do want to say, because I don’t think people should beat around the bush on this. They have done a terrible job launching this law.

Own it, you pathetic lickspittle. You advocated for and voted for this.

This is your utopia.

Good Lt on October 11, 2013 at 8:37 AM

A stat I heard the other day which I think is a stunning one is there were more people trying to sign up for accounts at healthcare.gov in the first 24 hours than Twitter had users signing up in the last 24 months.

13 million hits so far. Thats like, two hours worth of traffic for twitter there Ezra.

Get over yourself – its not that popular.

Defenestratus on October 11, 2013 at 9:03 AM

How in the world Ezra Klein still has a job after being 100% wrong on everything about this fiasco is beyond me. In another era he would have been tarred and feathered.

rockmom on October 11, 2013 at 11:48 AM

Can you explain the point that you’re trying to make here? Are you claiming that Hot Air wouldn’t criticize this type of article?

blink on October 11, 2013 at 1:41 AM

.
No, I am STATING Hot Air DID NOT criticize this article. Hot Air did not even acknowledge the EXISTENCE of this article – either when published by the NYT or picked up by CNBC.

How odd is it that an “In Your Face, Tea Partiers” article gets published so prominently and doesn’t even make the Headlines on Hot Air?

I posted this article and link repeatedly yesterday so Boehner & Co. sudden capitulation would be seen in the appropriate light – the moneymen publicly taking the GOPe leadership to task in the NYT.

“Nothing to see here, move along!”

Except Joe Echevarria, the chief executive of Deloitte, the accounting and consulting firm has as his clients the health insurance and pharma ceutical companies who will be raking in BILLIONS from the Obamacare deals they got in return for their support of the law.

OH, and the Too Big Too Jail banks are also Deloitte’s clients who get $ 85 billion per year in government subsidies IN ADDITION to the $ 85 billion/month of interest free money the get from QE.

Just a little $ 1 trillion conflict of interest & motives on Mr Echevarria’s part.

PolAgnostic on October 11, 2013 at 12:08 PM