Gibbs: This ObamaCare rollout has been “excruciatingly embarrassing”

posted at 4:11 pm on October 14, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

I’d say this just about confirms it: The rollout of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has been administrated so incredibly poorly as to render all attempts at spin-doctoring pretty much futile.

This is excruciatingly embarrassing for the White House and for the Department of Health and Human Services. This was bungled badly. This was not a server problem, like just too many people came to the website. This is a website architecture problem. Again, it’s excruciatingly embarrassing. It’s not fatal, because there are still many weeks and days to go before the enrollment period closes at the end of March. I give credit to Al Hunt in his column today, I thought he had an interesting statistic. The Massachusetts health care rollout, people came on average 18 times to the marketplace website before they signed up for insurance. This is not iTunes. I hear a great album, I’m going to go buy it, boom, I buy it, and it’s a one-time easy transaction. This is health care. It’s very involved. People are going to take their time with it, but boy, if they don’t get these glitches figured out fast, people aren’t going to come back for visits 15 through 18. I will say this. I hope they’re working day and night to get this done, and when they get it fixed, I hope they fire some people who were in charge of making sure this thing was supposed to work. We knew there were going to be some glitches, but these were glitches that go, quite frankly, way beyond the pale of what should be expected.

The former White House press secretary wasn’t the only ObamaCare fan wondering whether the administration oughtn’t look at giving some top bureaucrats the boot over this nightmare; Ezra Klein at WaPo took a turn at slamming the administration at this royally biffed opportunity this morning:

We’re now negative 14 days until the Affordable Care Act and most people still can’t purchase insurance. The magnitude of this failure is stunning. Yes, the federal health-care law is a complicated project, government IT rules are a mess, and the scrutiny has been overwhelming. But the Obama administration knew all that going in. They should’ve been able to build an online portal that works.

Early on, President Obama like to compare the launch of the Affordable Care Act to Apple launching a new product. Can you imagine how many people Steve Jobs would’ve fired by now if he’d launched a new product like this?

So is anybody going to be held accountable? Is anybody going to be fired? Will anyone new be brought in to run the cleanup effort? Does the Obama administration know what went wrong, and are therr real plans to find out?

As Gibbs notes, the White House talking point of a massive and delightfully unexpected level of traffic being the prime driver of the glitches and delays has been roundly exposed over the past couple of weeks as nothing but a convenient excuse for major flaws in the federal exchange site’s architecture — except that it sounds like one of the biggest flaws to which some critics are pointing may have in fact been pretty darn deliberate, regardless of the pending problems. The requirement that users must register for an online account before they can shop around and check out the available insurance plans may have created an immediate traffic bottleneck, but the administration probably didn’t want to afford people with the opportunity of seeing the real-world insurance prices beforehand. Why ever would that want to do that?, you might very well wonder. Avik Roy explains at Forbes, emphasis mine:

“Healthcare.gov was initially going to include an option to browse before registering,” report Christopher Weaver and Louise Radnofsky in the Wall Street Journal. “But that tool was delayed, people familiar with the situation said.” Why was it delayed? “An HHS spokeswoman said the agency wanted to ensure that users were aware of their eligibility for subsidies that could help pay for coverage, before they started seeing the prices of policies.” …

…Obamacare wasn’t designed to help healthy people with average incomes get health insurance. It was designed to force those people to pay more for coverage, in order to subsidize insurance for people with incomes near the poverty line, and those with chronic or costly medical conditions. …

This political objective—masking the true underlying cost of Obamacare’s insurance plans—far outweighed the operational objective of making the federal website work properly. Think about it the other way around. If the “Affordable Care Act” truly did make health insurance more affordable, there would be no need to hide these prices from the public.


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Single payer — here we come!!!

catsandbooks on October 14, 2013 at 4:15 PM

This ObamaCare rollout has been “excruciatingly embarrassing”

Fixed

NOMOBO on October 14, 2013 at 4:16 PM

By design.

A college IT student could do better.

Turtle317 on October 14, 2013 at 4:16 PM

By design.

A college IT student could do better.

Turtle317 on October 14, 2013 at 4:16 PM

You overestimate college kids potential. Who do you think they contracted it to?

nobar on October 14, 2013 at 4:18 PM

“This was bungled badly.”

Liar!!!

Bmore on October 14, 2013 at 4:19 PM

When neither Ezra Klein or “Baby Back” Gibbs is willing to shill for the O-care launch, then you know you’ve got problems.

Robert_Paulson on October 14, 2013 at 4:23 PM

I’m confused, does this qualify as a “shovel ready” project?

trubble on October 14, 2013 at 4:24 PM

The red flag was the fact that those imposter site really work:

States encounter ObamaCare imposters
http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/328387-obamacare-enrollment-portal-facing-imitations

NMRN123 on October 14, 2013 at 4:24 PM

…Obamacare wasn’t designed to help healthy people with average incomes get health insurance. It was designed to force those people to pay more for coverage, in order to subsidize insurance for people with incomes near the poverty line, and those with chronic or costly medical conditions. …

Actually, Obamacare was not designed with health insurance for all as it’s objective. If that had been the objective it could have been handled in a much more cost effective and uncomplicated manner.

Instead, Obamacare is the Progressive wet dream of intimately controlling the populace. It is not Socialist–it is Fascist. The government is using the private sector insurance companies to assist in putting the boot to the throat of the people. The government could care less if people have health insurance.

NOMOBO on October 14, 2013 at 4:25 PM

So, by forcing you to create an account before you know the costs, the IRS will know where to find people to fine, er tax, them when they end up not buying, right?

rhit87 on October 14, 2013 at 4:28 PM

How is this possible? I’ve been told repeatedly that Obama is a genius and his staff is stocked with Ivy-League genius-level technocrats and planners. He has access to the best talent that our tax dollars can buy, period.

What happened?

Could it be within the realm of possibility that conservative and Libertarian critics were correct (again) and ObamaCare (or single-payer) is a really, really bad idea and could never work at the national level in country as massive and culturally diverse as the US?

visions on October 14, 2013 at 4:30 PM

If Gibbs was on the WH pay-roll he would be extolling th virtues of obamacare.

Hypocrite.

davidk on October 14, 2013 at 4:30 PM

It’s not fatal, because there are still many weeks and days to go

Sure it is, the demorats said that every day without DeathCare innocent citizens were dying, DYING they said!

This blood is on your hands, liberals.

Bishop on October 14, 2013 at 4:31 PM

but boy, if they don’t get these glitches figured out fast, people aren’t going to come back for visits 15 through 18.

Some people are already in the 30-40th visit. How long do you think they are going to keep trying? March? lolz

Resist We Much on October 14, 2013 at 4:31 PM

Gibbs: This ObamaCare rollout has been “excruciatingly embarrassing”

Much could be said about Gibbs time as White House Press Secretary. Who would have ever bet that Scott McLellan wasn’t the lowest of the lows.

Happy Nomad on October 14, 2013 at 4:32 PM

“Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the American Government take care of him; better take a closer look at the American Indian.”

Henry Ford

PatriotRider on October 14, 2013 at 4:34 PM

Maybe if some he previous errors had been brought to the attention of the public, he would have tried harder not to mess up. Maybe someone should have point out that it isn’t real smart to pass and sign fill in the blank legislation.

Cindy Munford on October 14, 2013 at 4:35 PM

Some people are already in the 30-40th visit. How long do you think they are going to keep trying? March? lolz

Resist We Much on October 14, 2013 at 4:31 PM

Make it into an obligation of religious magnitude.

Every day citizens should rise from their beds, do their normal ablutions, say three Hail Obamas, and log into Healthcare.gov

Happy Nomad on October 14, 2013 at 4:37 PM

“Administrated”? Can’t we just say “administered”?

flipflop on October 14, 2013 at 4:40 PM

Gibbs:

Website?: Yep,Embarrasing.

What about those increased premiums?: Oh, thats okay.

And what about these high deductables?: Yea, that’s cool to.

Gov’t forcing you to buy it?: Ain’t Government bitchin!

WisRich on October 14, 2013 at 4:42 PM

Say what? Did my post just get “moderated”?

WisRich on October 14, 2013 at 4:43 PM

This ObamaCare rollout has been “excruciatingly embarrassing”
Fixed

NOMOBO on October 14, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Fixd your fix for you.

CaptFlood on October 14, 2013 at 4:44 PM

It is not Socialist–it is Fascist. NOMOBO on October 14, 2013 at 4:25 PM

…sitting here trying to figure out what the difference is…

Akzed on October 14, 2013 at 4:47 PM

So is anybody going to be held accountable? Is anybody going to be fired?

Hahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!

No.

“Fast and Furious”? Solyndra? Fisker? NSA scandal? IRS scandal?
“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan!”?

GarandFan on October 14, 2013 at 4:49 PM

Actually, Obamacare was not designed with health insurance for all as it’s objective. If that had been the objective it could have been handled in a much more cost effective and uncomplicated manner.

Instead, Obamacare is the Progressive wet dream of intimately controlling the populace. It is not Socialist–it is Fascist. The government is using the private sector insurance companies to assist in putting the boot to the throat of the people. The government could care less if people have health insurance.

NOMOBO on October 14, 2013 at 4:25 PM

Yep, it’s deliberately destructive for political purposes. Obamacare was designed to wreck private insurance to make room for the “jackboot to the human face forever” of socialist single-payer.

Say goodby to health care if you have the wrong politics.

ebrown2 on October 14, 2013 at 4:50 PM

So is anybody going to be held accountable? Is anybody going to be fired? Will anyone new be brought in to run the cleanup effort? Does the Obama administration know what went wrong, and are therr real plans to find out?

Is anyone going to understand this is what happens when you put the federal government in charge of doing something complicated?

ConDem on October 14, 2013 at 4:51 PM

Yes, many weeks and days. Just not as many weeks and days as so many keep saying since February 14th is the end date, not March 31st.

BKeyser on October 14, 2013 at 4:53 PM

This just in: “President Choom blames 404Care problems on YouTube video.”

RoadRunner on October 14, 2013 at 4:54 PM

The same govt that took the handles off of drinking water pumps in parks out of spite wants to administer health insurance.

Do those pumps not work because of someone’s incompetence or because someone wanted them not to work?

The federal govt no longer has the consent of enough of the governed to retain any patina of legitimacy.

I am its enemy.

Whatever I can do to thwart it, frustrate it, cost it money, waste its time, expose its evil, and encourage others to do likewise, I will do.

Stop bitching and start doing.

Akzed on October 14, 2013 at 4:54 PM

As pointed out at Hotair, who precisely is signing up?

rob verdi on October 14, 2013 at 4:54 PM

This just in: “President Choom blames 404Care problems on previous adminstration.”

RoadRunner on October 14, 2013 at 4:55 PM

I only hope that Charlie has every opportunity to expose himself to the full breadth of benefits he worked so diligently to acquire for us all.

Life boats are terrible things for the political class because it promotes behavior without consequences.

Julius Caesar burned his boats on the English beaches. That is leadership.

While mixing nautical metaphors, I prefer chaining politicians and salesmen to the oar, it has a way of fixing their minds on positive outcomes.

R Square on October 14, 2013 at 4:57 PM

davidk on October 14, 2013 at 4:30 PM

Gibberish, though fundamentally dishonest, is at least able to say something associated with Obama is embarrassing. Forehead and Stephanie, among others, would somehow blame it on Republicans.

Ted Torgerson on October 14, 2013 at 4:57 PM

How is Dear Leader going to save face and still get single payer..?

d1carter on October 14, 2013 at 4:57 PM

Own it plastic face, you made this fraud now you and Ohole are joint tennants with a short term lease.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on October 14, 2013 at 5:00 PM

Someone in the Administration fired? Oh, please, my sides are splitting with laughter, fired? Are you kidding, this is an excuse to expand the budget, add more people and promote the idiots who designed this disaster. Fired? This is killing me!

hip shot on October 14, 2013 at 5:03 PM

He must be feeling guilty for lying to Americans for so many years. The truth will set you free Gibbsy!

HellCat on October 14, 2013 at 5:05 PM

OMG

Five thoughts on the Obamacare disaster
In the weeks leading up to the launch I heard some very ugly things about how the system was performing when transferring data to insurers — a necessary step if people are actually going to get insurance. I tried hard to pin the rumors down, but I could never quite nail the story, and there was a wall of official denials from the Obama administration. It was just testing, they said. They were fixing the bugs day by day.
According to Bob Laszlewski, those problems aren’t resolved. They’re just not getting much attention because the health-care law’s Web sites aren’t working well enough for people to get that far in the process.

When you’ve lost Ezra Klein, DC’s boy-version of “Chatty Cathy”, there is no defense.

J_Crater on October 14, 2013 at 5:08 PM

It’s not fatal, because there are still many weeks and days to go before the enrollment period closes at the end of March.

Gibbs is wrong, and he should know he’s wrong because just a couple of sentences later he writes this:

This is not iTunes. I hear a great album, I’m going to go buy it, boom, I buy it, and it’s a one-time easy transaction. This is health care. It’s very involved.

Doing what ObamaCare wants to do online is hideously complex, and if the current system can’t be tweaked to make it work – and it’s pretty obvious to most IT professionals and, increasingly, laypeople alike, that that’s not the case – then the only solution is to scrap it completely and start over.

Anyone with software dev experience knows that retrofitting, large-scale refactoring, and similar operations take as much time and usually more, than the time it took to write the original code.

I long ago adopted a term with the developers I employ to describe completely FUBAR’d code like healthcare.gov is: Stolen from an old Steve Martin joke about Americans trying to order in a French restaurant, this is “a shoe with cheese on it.”

The only option now is to dump it in the trash and start over.

greggriffith on October 14, 2013 at 5:14 PM

So is anybody going to be held accountable? Is anybody going to be fired?

Hahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!

No.

“Fast and Furious”? Solyndra? Fisker? NSA scandal? IRS scandal?
“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan!”?

GarandFan on October 14, 2013 at 4:49 PM

That’s exactly what popped in my head when I read that too.
Add Benghazi to the list.
If Ezra hadn’t been looking the other way for the past 5 years, he wouldn’t be asking such stupid questions.

lynncgb on October 14, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Erika, this is off-topic, but I know how you like to cover the French.

EARTHQUAKE IN FRENCH ELECTIONS

Time To Take Bets On Frexit And The French Franc?

Resist We Much on October 14, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Even if the system worked, what would it provide that an internet shopper couldn’t find out on his own? Before the Obamacluster, I lost my job and went shopping for cheaper alternatives to Cobra. Guess what, all of the insurance providers have websites (that work) that will provide individual quotes that you can then shop around. It would have been cool to have something like Reliaquote to aggregate the plans that meet my requirements – there may have even been something like that out there. I truly believe that if the insurance companies were really freed up to compete, that these marketplaces would have emerged – without the billions in costs to taxpayers or premium payers.

I was astounded that I could actually find better priced plans than what were provided at work, however, this will probably end Jan 1. I don’t have an answer for the people with uninsurable conditions, but making the whole country suffer or buy products we neither want nor need, is certainly not the answer.

TexAz on October 14, 2013 at 5:17 PM

Resist We Much on October 14, 2013 at 5:16 PM

Of course with all the necessary qualifications…

— The Front National is anti-free trade and supports socialist economic policy
— Their anti-EU stance, if acted on, would introduce serious instability into world markets
— historically, FN has flirted with anti-semitic elements

…still, their success is a direct rejection of Hollande’s open borders and confiscatory tax regime.

Robert_Paulson on October 14, 2013 at 5:29 PM

Robert_Paulson on October 14, 2013 at 5:29 PM

I wasn’t cheering on Le Pen. She and the NF have a history of issues. The point is, as many of us have said for years – in fact, even before the adoption of the euro – ‘Europe’ is not a country with states, but an insane Politburo trying to herd the cats of various countries. The people do not want it and have been suffering catastrophically as a result of these apparatchiktic devotees ideological obsession with the idea of a ‘United States of Europe’ – or, better, an EUSSR.

Currently, Ukip is predicted to win big in the EUP elections.

Resist We Much on October 14, 2013 at 5:55 PM

This is not the only thing this administration has bungled badly. It has been a non-stop sequence of one screw up after another since Jan 2009. This one just shows more than the others, and the media is still soft-peddling it.

Ken James on October 14, 2013 at 6:05 PM

Gibbs looks like Steve Allen’s fat, stupid, kid brother.

teacherman on October 14, 2013 at 6:07 PM

Lumpy Allen

teacherman on October 14, 2013 at 6:08 PM

What? No words of wisdom from the perfesser? Always interesting what threads the trolls avoid.

-

The USA has been embarrassed . Own it Obamanistas.

CWchangedhisNicagain on October 14, 2013 at 7:25 PM

All part of the plan.

stenwin77 on October 14, 2013 at 7:50 PM

Gibbs: This ObamaCare rollout has been “excruciatingly embarrassing”

Oh, Gibsy, Gibsy. You just don’t realize that a special room has already been prepared for you in FEMA Stalag #473, do you. You’re just so cute in your Libtard naivete.

Dr. ZhivBlago on October 14, 2013 at 9:07 PM

Both Gibbs and Klein’s faux credibility is on the line. And distancing themselves from Obamacare now is an attempt to salvage what little credibility they might have left. I expect we will see many more.

CTimbo on October 14, 2013 at 9:59 PM

Gee, I didn’t know Gibbs was a…
“RRRRAAAACCCCIIIISSSSTTTT!!!! El3venty!!!!!!!!!!!

DublOh7 on October 14, 2013 at 10:39 PM

Final graf from Klein:

The Obama administration’s top job isn’t beating the Republicans. It’s running the government well. On this — the most important initiative they’ve launched — they’ve run the government badly. They deserve all the criticism they’re getting and more.

The difference between campaigning and governing has never sunk in with the Obama administration. Ever.
Now, if Klein had only figured that out in 2008 and 2012.

AesopFan on October 14, 2013 at 11:43 PM

“I’m confused, does this qualify as a “shovel ready” project?

trubble on October 14, 2013 at 4:24 PM”

Oh! They’re shoveling alright!

shorebird on October 15, 2013 at 1:09 AM

RWM — GREAT site….. that is all…..

nchammer on October 15, 2013 at 10:41 AM

“This is health care. It’s very involved. ”

That’s a partial spin, specially considering i can hop onto a site like eHealthinsuramce.com and get 50 or 60 different plan options in less than 60 seconds (without having to give out sensitive information).

Btw- Obamacare “is not iTunes”?! Wasn’t The nOne the one saying these ‘glitches’ were just like the rollout of an Apple product? I guess they mean “we are glitchy as hell just like an Apple product..,. if Apple had a monopoly and wasn’t concerned about better competition,… But c’mon guys- we are NOT really an like an Apple product when it comes to the easiness, speed, and security of several million people logged in at anytime browsing through millions of apps, thousand of songs, and hundreds of products… That’s just silly… Ours ‘is more complicated’ than that…”

ptcamn on October 15, 2013 at 11:08 AM