HHS now refusing to answer reporters’ questions on when Sebelius knew website launch would fail

posted at 3:21 pm on October 25, 2013 by Allahpundit

Here’s a tidbit on yesterday’s HHS conference call which lays bare the agency’s new approach to accountability. Sebelius doesn’t work for you, right? Well, then, why should she have to answer your questions?

According to some accounts, the project’s managers at the Department of Health and Human Services assured the White House that any remaining problems could be worked out once the Web site went live, but other senior department officials predicted serious trouble and advised delaying the rollout.

But on a conference call with reporters on Thursday, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services officials twice declined to answer questions about whether Kathleen Sebelius, Mr. Obama’s health secretary, knew about the problems. Asked if Marilyn Tavenner, the agency’s director, or anyone else had alerted Ms. Sebelius, an official cut off a reporter.

“Next question,” he said.

Sebelius herself told CNN a few days ago that Obama didn’t know about the site’s problems before launch, which is either a lie or an egregious dereliction of The One’s duty to keep tabs on his pet boondoggle as launch day approached. Help me figure this out, though: What’s to be gained at this point by pretending that neither O nor Sebelius knew that they had an Edsel on their hands before rollout? Is anyone, left or right, seriously arguing that they shouldn’t be blamed for the disastrous launch if in fact they maintained total ignorance about the development of a momentous project on which public perceptions of liberal technocratic competence depended? It’s like saying, “No no, of course the president isn’t personally responsible for a site this terrible. He was busy playing golf while they were testing it.” Would that make anyone feel better? I think they’re actually better off admitting that they did know how bad it was but that they thought their crack tech team could fix it on the fly in the first few days after launch. That would be an egregious lie too — in that case, why didn’t the White House grasp the depth of the problem? — but it’s at least a small gesture towards accountability. If you’re going to make things up to avoid saying, “We had to launch it when we did or else the Republicans would ‘win,’” at least make it look like your mistake is a product of too much optimism about your technological capabilities, not too little interest in how a total remake of the U.S. health-care system was going.

Believe it or not, this wasn’t even the worst answer given during yesterday’s conference call. According to Philip Klein, an HHS spokesman claimed that garbled data transmissions from the federal website to insurers after someone registers was an “isolated” problem. If you believe the insurers themselves, that’s a bald-faced lie:

An insurance industry source who requested anonymity pushed back against these accounts, saying the flawed data occurrences were not isolated by any stretch of the imagination.

In addition, Robert Laszewski, a health care consultant who has been in close contact with insurance executives, told the Examiner that he was astounded by the claims of CGI and CMS.

“That’s incredible,” he wrote. “The error rate is 50 percent on enrollments coming through and the carriers can’t go to automated processing until the error rate gets below 5 percent — really below 1 percent … I cannot believe CGI is saying there isn’t a problem.”

Here’s one surprising wrinkle to all this, though. Clay Johnson, who used to be Howard Dean’s tech guru, and Harper Reed, who was in charge of the Obama campaign’s widely lauded tech team last year, have an op-ed in the Times today in which they say, “HealthCare.gov needs to be fixed. We believe that in a few days it will be.” A few days? In three weeks of reading about the website meltdown, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone — anyone — claim that this is a fix that’ll happen in less than a week. The new ObamaCare tech czar, Jeff Zients, said today he’s looking at late November as a timetable. Why would Johnson and Reed spend a little of their own credibility on a prediction like that, then? Do they know something other people don’t, or do they think they know something that’s not actually true and Zients knows better?


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She doesn’t work for us.

Drained Brain on October 25, 2013 at 3:23 PM

Caricature of Incompetence – h/t David Gregory

Schadenfreude on October 25, 2013 at 3:23 PM

At this point what difference does it make, everything will be ducky on November 30.

Cindy Munford on October 25, 2013 at 3:24 PM

“The minute the law was passed” is not an approved talking point.

dentarthurdent on October 25, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Nurse Ratched is the perfect Captain of the HHA Obamacare.

The bow is already under water.

It is incredibly schadenfreudig to watch the slow, and not so slow, sinking.

Yes, I love the land. Their demise is the land and her children’s win.

Schadenfreude on October 25, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Sebelius doesn’t work for you, right?

Washington has a pretty fvcked up view of its place, ya think?

ICanSeeNovFromMyHouse on October 25, 2013 at 3:25 PM

HHA = HHS

Schadenfreude on October 25, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Could they all be lying? No way….

d1carter on October 25, 2013 at 3:26 PM

Meanwhile, thank you God for Mr. Snowden.

That, and obama’care’ are the two demises of obama, the clinically NPD’d charlatanic thug, who fooled a good land and a world.

Must be punished and he will be.

Schadenfreude on October 25, 2013 at 3:27 PM

I wonder if she is madder than anyone else…or is Obama madder?

These are the questions that should be asked…Who is madder?

right2bright on October 25, 2013 at 3:27 PM

She’s a twit….

Turtle317 on October 25, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Yesterday Greta had a female reporter on – a gov’t watch dog agency has tracked over one billion in costs, so far, for the obama’care’ site alone…they continue to dig…

It’s not reported today…the 400 million is still, erroneously, reported.

Schadenfreude on October 25, 2013 at 3:30 PM

She looks ‘terminally’ ill, not that she ever appeared lively, the scumhag. A better Nurse Ratched there never was.

Power made her nastier than she already was.

Schadenfreude on October 25, 2013 at 3:31 PM

What did she know, and when did she know it?
What difference, at this point, does it make?

“It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.” – RR

Marcola on October 25, 2013 at 3:31 PM

What’s to be gained at this point by pretending that neither O nor Sebelius knew that they had an Edsel on their hands before rollout?

An Edsel? More like a Trabant, or a Titanic!!!

Steve Z on October 25, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Sebelius doesn’t work for you, right?

Washington has a pretty fvcked up view of its place, ya think?

ICanSeeNovFromMyHouse on October 25, 2013 at 3:25 PM

Oh, yeah.

They need us to fund them, but they aren’t accountable to us.

Bitter Clinger on October 25, 2013 at 3:32 PM

“October will be light for enrollment … November will be a little bit better,” Simas said. “December will be better than the previous month … probably a dropoff in January from December, the same thing in February with another increase in March right before enrollment ends.

“There will be ebbs and flows throughout it,” he added. “We are looking at Oct. 1 not as the beginning of the six-day or six-week push. This is six months of raising awareness.”

That was September 26.

I highlighted the bit about March as this was before these idiots ‘fessed up that the real deadline is Feb 14 if you actually want coverage by March 31.

mankai on October 25, 2013 at 3:32 PM

It’s like saying, “No no, of course the president isn’t personally responsible for a site this terrible. He was busy playing golf while they were testing it.” Would that make anyone feel better?

It makes me feel better, atleast he was plugging a hole
:O

burrata on October 25, 2013 at 3:33 PM

An Edsel? More like a Trabant, or a Titanic!!!

Steve Z on October 25, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Hey, at least the Titanic made it halfway across the Atlantic before it sank.

Bitter Clinger on October 25, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Three days????

CNN is loving it – now they can run two countdown clocks. One for three days and another for the end of November.

Nothing says world class journalism like countdown clocks.

rw on October 25, 2013 at 3:33 PM

“Next question,” “Shaddup” he said.

“Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their government is doing,” -BHO

antipc on October 25, 2013 at 3:35 PM

This is the type of arrogance of which tyranny, and therefore rebe11ion, are born…

JohnGalt23 on October 25, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Faced with intense political opposition from Republicans, widespread public ignorance about the Affordable Care Act and major new administrative responsibilities, the administration has been stressing that it doesn’t expect things to go perfectly when the insurance exchanges open on Oct. 1.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/obamacare-enrollment-97362.html#ixzz2ilR3vW7f

September 26… oh, they knew there was trouble brewing.

Also note Politico setting the tone for blaming Republicans.

mankai on October 25, 2013 at 3:36 PM

Schadenfreude on October 25, 2013 at 3:25 PM

But can we chain her into the wheelhouse as it goes down?

dentarthurdent on October 25, 2013 at 3:36 PM

Perfect. Note the props.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmzsWxPLIOo

BuckeyeSam on October 25, 2013 at 3:37 PM

It makes me feel better, atleast he was plugging a hole
:O

burrata on October 25, 2013 at 3:33 PM

From the other day. ; )

” Daddy, have you plugged Sebelius yet?”

katy the mean old lady on October 23, 2013 at 10:16 AM

Bmore on October 25, 2013 at 3:38 PM

Perfect. Note the props.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmzsWxPLIOo

BuckeyeSam on October 25, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Wow, they nailed HHS uniforms too.

btw – HH is my favorite sitcom of all-time!

mankai on October 25, 2013 at 3:41 PM

This system will NEVER work. Ignore the blather about days, weeks or end of November. They may be able to fashion a Potemkin interface but it will be a invitation for fools to believe while the administration tries to send the blame for continuing problems downstream to insurers and others. B.S. on stilts.

Mason on October 25, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Titanic!!!

Steve Z on October 25, 2013 at 3:32 PM

the Titanic had a better launch…

wait till the USS-Oblundercare is on its first voyage..

going2mars on October 25, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Keep in mind, these are the same guys who told you Romney killed your wife with cancer because of things that happened two years AFTER he left the company.

The Schaef on October 25, 2013 at 3:43 PM

But can we chain her into the wheelhouse as it goes down?

dentarthurdent on October 25, 2013 at 3:36 PM

Don’t care…she, opposed to the real Titanic captain, who chose to go down with his ship, would take the first boat, the kids be damned.

I still don’t care, so long as obama’care’ goes down. Her and obama watching it makes it even sweeter. Yes, I love my country and I despise them that much.

Schadenfreude on October 25, 2013 at 3:44 PM

This is the type of arrogance of which tyranny, and therefore rebe11ion, are born…

JohnGalt23 on October 25, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Aye.

chewmeister on October 25, 2013 at 3:45 PM

At this point, the Obama administration would be better served by having the fix for the website take as long as humanely possible.

Seriously, once more people get on the site and actually enroll in a health care plan, the more bitching and moaning they are going to hear. Doubling premiums, tripling deductibles and out of pocket expense are going to have people paying cash for their health care through the end of next summer.

Johnnyreb on October 25, 2013 at 3:47 PM

The Schaef on October 25, 2013 at 3:43 PM

great memory point…

how many will BHO kill by having their
current insurance companys drop them??..

going2mars on October 25, 2013 at 3:47 PM

These people actually believe they are godlike and above accountability.

rplat on October 25, 2013 at 3:54 PM

Why would anyone expect situation awareness from someone who would walk out of the house in the morning wearing that hideous jacket?

Christien on October 25, 2013 at 3:56 PM

mankai on October 25, 2013 at 3:41 PM

Some of those older sitcoms were way ahead of their time.

BuckeyeSam on October 25, 2013 at 3:58 PM

They knew the site was likely to bomb, but decided to launch it anyway and hope for the best. It was a political decision. They didn’t want to delay the launch as it would feed their critics.

As usual, Obama doubles down on stupid.

petefrt on October 25, 2013 at 3:58 PM

She doesn’t work for us? So my tax dollars go where?

Is this the Twilight Zone?

RDE2010 on October 25, 2013 at 3:59 PM

Lawless and incompetent is no way to run a country but it si Obama’s way, the Chicago way. Looks like Obama is bringing Chicago’s violent crime to the rest of the country too.

jukin3 on October 25, 2013 at 4:00 PM

They knew the site was likely to bomb, but decided to launch it anyway and hope for the best. It was a political decision. They didn’t want to delay the launch as it would feed their critics.

As usual, Obama doubles down on stupid.

petefrt on October 25, 2013 at 3:58 PM

They had to burn the village to save the village idiot.

Christien on October 25, 2013 at 4:01 PM

Only approved questions will be allowed.

Frau Mengele, what has enchanted you most about being director of HHS?

Bishop on October 25, 2013 at 4:01 PM

Gulags can’t be too far off.

Murphy9 on October 25, 2013 at 4:04 PM

And let’s throw this in here again just for the hell of it:

we’re more comfortable with Obama wielding this sort of power because he seems a hell of a lot more effective and responsible with it.

urban elitist on February 8, 2012 at 9:33 PM

Bishop on October 25, 2013 at 4:04 PM

What’s to be gained at this point by pretending that neither O nor Sebelius knew that they had an Edsel on their hands before rollout?

More like a Yugo. The Edsel didn’t sell well but it worked very well and delivered on its performance promises.

jukin3 on October 25, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Only approved questions will be allowed.

Frau Mengele, what has enchanted you most about being director of HHS?

Bishop on October 25, 2013 at 4:01 PM

Your question is not on zee list. Next.

chewmeister on October 25, 2013 at 4:09 PM

we are somewhere in this part now..
swap out republican for jewish..
“Beginning in 1933, the German government enacted a series of anti-Jewish laws restricting the rights of German Jews to earn a living, to enjoy full citizenship and to gain education, including the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, which forbade Jews to work in the civil service.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kristallnacht

going2mars on October 25, 2013 at 4:10 PM

You know how over the last three years a common defense offered by Obama and his sycophants for his mistakes has been that he focused too much on the substance of policy, and that he needed to better job of communicating/explaining his ideas? We need to dig up all of those articles, they’ll be even more laughable in light of this debacle. I’ll get the ball rolling:

“… the mistake of my first term – couple of years – was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right. And that’s important. But the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American people that gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.”

~ President Obama, July 2012

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-57471351-503544/obama-reflects-on-his-biggest-mistake-as-president/

Lawdawg86 on October 25, 2013 at 4:12 PM

an HHS spokesman claimed that garbled data transmissions from the federal website to insurers after someone registers was an “isolated” problem.

“Isolated” problem ?? hmmmm… Just like the jihady shooter of Ft Hood ? Or like the jihady bombers of Boston ? Or like the killers of Bendhazi ? The regime called them ” isolated” problems too.
So am I to assume that this jiziahCAIR website debacle is comparable to jihad on Americans ?

burrata on October 25, 2013 at 4:13 PM

“isolated” problem = happens less than 80% of the time.

jukin3 on October 25, 2013 at 4:18 PM

The regime is becoming more brazen by the day. The time between the 2014 elections and January 2017 is going to be a doozy.

petefrt on October 25, 2013 at 4:29 PM

Sebelius doesn’t work for you, right?

I’ll be honest. I got really uptight when this whole Obamacare registration web site was a disaster right out of the gait. I called a friend in a panic and asked ‘Sebelius isn’t working for me, is she?’. I was relieved when he said no. But I was taken aback when he told me I was helping to pay her salary. Is that fair? I mean she’s not even working for me.

DaveDief on October 25, 2013 at 4:30 PM

I think the reason that there is never a firing in Benghazi, Fast and Furious, IRS, and now Obamacare is because everything is completely coordinated by Obama. If someone gets fired the birds will start singing, and Obama knows it. The singing birds know it, too!

mobydutch on October 25, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Arrogance.

Transparency.

Poe-tay-toe
Poe-tah-toe

socalcon on October 25, 2013 at 4:33 PM

An Edsel? More like a Trabant, or a Titanic!!!

Steve Z on October 25, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Hey, at least the Titanic made it halfway across the Atlantic before it sank.

Bitter Clinger on October 25, 2013 at 3:33 PM

And like O’bamacare, the original Titanic wasn’t fully tested until just before it was supposed to make its (ill-fated) maiden voyage. The sea trials for the ship took place only the week before she left.

Del Dolemonte on October 25, 2013 at 4:34 PM

Ha! I got my mail in ballots today. Put them right into the fire pit.

Mr. Arrogant on October 25, 2013 at 4:35 PM

please please Sebelius plead the fifth.

newportmike on October 25, 2013 at 4:42 PM

What’s to be gained at this point by pretending that neither O nor Sebelius knew that they had an Edsel on their hands before rollout?
More like a Yugo.

The Edsel didn’t sell well but it worked very well and delivered on its performance promises.

jukin3 on October 25, 2013 at 4:07 PM

A Yugo can make it around the block. More like this.

S. D. on October 25, 2013 at 4:50 PM

Rrrr. This> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQh56geU0X8

S. D. on October 25, 2013 at 4:54 PM

What’s to be gained at this point by pretending that neither O nor Sebelius knew that they had an Edsel on their hands before rollout?

Come now, Ed. Obama is the perfect president and the perfect man. He can do no wrong. He can be responsible for no wrong. Ergo, no one close to him can do wrong, if that wrong can in any way reflect on The Perfect One.

Frankly, this paradigm is very common in Democrat political circles, particularly in places like urban areas that are essentially one party systems under Democrat control. In Chicago, for example, no Democrat is ever responsible for anything that fails or is corrupted, unless they get indicted and convicted of a felony.

The exception is when a tool takes the fall for the boss. Sibelius would clearly be the nominee in this instance, but since confirmation hearings for a new tool would be even more problematic than keeping her, she stays. That means she can’t be responsible, because that would reflect badly on Obama.

Why can’t they admit some level of failure and responsibility? Because it would be a crack in the narrative dike of The Perfect President. If Obama can be wrong about one thing, he can be wrong about others, and the charade is utterly dependent on the very idea of Obama’s fallibility being beyond the realm of the possible. The media have been his firewall, protecting the narrative.

That is why I said Obama’s petty and vindictive overreach, punishing veterans and regular flyover country Americans as part of his shutdown theater was a critical point. The narrative was damaged, he was exposed for the petty little nincompoop he is, and in a way the media could not control. There was a crack in the wall that could never be repaired.

Now he is being exposed once again. This time his media tools are not acting in concert to defend him at every level. This disastrous failure is too big for some of them to try to paper over, let alone ignore. (Although I note most of the media is trying to downplay the magnitude of the disaster.) Even his media fanboys are beginning to realize his failures are going to be so massive they risk what little credibility that remains to them if they fail to take note.

I sense an impending preference cascade. It will soon become not merely permissible to recognize Obama’s failings as a president and as a human being, it will become commonplace, even fashionable. The pendulum will swing back, it always does. Obama has pushed it so far to one side, it will be a mighty swing.

novaculus on October 25, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Yes, we can do through it again, the fallacy that this is the most open and transparent Administration ever…but we kind of know, based on their actions over the past 5 years, that isn’t the case.

This is probably the most closed and evasive Administration since Nixon’s.

This is just part and parcel of the pattern that we’ve seen from every single scandal, mistake, or misstep made by this Administration – early in the damage control process, the word goes out from on high to not answer any questions.

And every time before, the lapdog media does a very little perfunctory grumbling, before they quietly accept the wall of silence and they move on to something else. Not once in this Administration have we seen the press demonstrate even 10% of the perseverance of a Woodward or Bernstein to break down the stonewall, and get answers for the American people as well as themselves.

One more thing, Sebelius may have her job at the pleasure of the President, but she is taking taxpayer money for her salary. She works FOR US. She is accountable not only to the President, but also accountable to the Congress and the American people. When you are accountable to the American people, and take funds from the taxpayer for your salary, you do not get the right or privilege, short of declaring the 5th, to not answer questions.

Athos on October 25, 2013 at 5:24 PM

Sebelius herself told CNN a few days ago that Obama didn’t know about the site’s problems before launch,

Did you catch the logic problem here?

How can she know what Obama knew or didn’t know? At best, her answers could be:

1. I knew and didn’t tell him

or

2. I told him.

BobMbx on October 25, 2013 at 6:31 PM

What’s to be gained at this point by pretending that neither O nor Sebelius knew that they had an Edsel on their hands before rollout?

Because it damages the image of the All-knowing, All-seeing, Infallible Obamassiah!

But no matter, King Barack evidently gets info on his administration from the newspapers. It’s all part of that new-age method of executive experience that Jug Ears has.

GarandFan on October 25, 2013 at 6:43 PM

When you are ruled by a dictatorship, none of these Marxists ever believe that they are working for the American people.

mobydutch on October 25, 2013 at 7:59 PM

The strain of implementing the horrible ObamaCare and her incompetence in doing so is taking a toll on Sebelius, she looks like she’s aging in dog years where one year equals seven.

RJL on October 25, 2013 at 8:17 PM

The strain of implementing the horrible ObamaCare and her incompetence in doing so is taking a toll on Sebelius, she looks like she’s aging in dog years where one year equals seven.

RJL on October 25, 2013 at 8:17 PM

That’s funny, because I’ve always thought she looks like a greyhound that’s been run too hard. Maybe it’s the long face.

slickwillie2001 on October 25, 2013 at 10:52 PM

Sibelius will go under the bus and nobody on either side will shed a tear.

After all, she ruined Obama’s gift-to-the-nation with her incompetence. We just need someone else to try it – Van Jones?

virgo on October 26, 2013 at 1:54 AM

Does she know it failed?

NoPain on October 26, 2013 at 11:13 AM