So, it’s official, I suppose. The administration’s fallback, all-purpose talking point concerning ObamaCare is metastisizing from the “high volume,” “nineteen million unique visitors,” “high interest” line of obfuscation to include the “ObamaCare is so much more than a website” line that President Obama used in his
infomercial speech outside the White House this morning. Hey, the website is merely one of the available portals you can use to access the (basically “free”!) benefits now available to you through the ACA. The paper and telephone routes may be burdensome, old-fashioned, and more confusing, but they’re equally sweet options for getting on board with this legally mandated program — never mind the easy, user-friendly signup experience we promised you, it’s not that important.
Jake Tapper made it a rough afternoon segment for White House spokesman David Simas:
TAPPER: Will the website be up and running, can you promise by December 15th, or the by March deadline, either one of the dates, can yes or no, can you promise?
SIMAS: So Jake, yes, between the website and all of the other ways that people have to sign up —
TAPPER: That wasn’t really the question.
SIMAS: But here’s the reality. Any American over the course of the next six months who either doesn’t have insurance or is on the individual market, between the website service that prior to october 1st didn’t exist, a 1-800 number prior to October 1st that didn’t exist, navigators and the ability to do it on their own, they can get insurance and will. …The main purpose of the Affordable Care Act is not a website. It’s to make sure that any American who is either uninsured or in the individual market has options to get insurance. That will happen. That’s our sole focus and that’s what we’re going to do.
Something tells me, however, that even the administration doesn’t think they can run this entire enrollment period off of paper and telephone enrollments, and in the meantime, they don’t seem to want to even ballpark a date for when the website will be really and truly fixed. Yikes.