Why should CBS have all the fun of pointing out the many facets of the ObamaCare disaster? Meet the Press host David Gregory tells Morning Joe that the epic faceplant of the rollout raises much larger questions than just whether a web portal can or will get fixed. Republican predictions of disaster didn’t even include the incompetence in producing a $400 million website failure, Gregory says with a laugh. Republicans predicted that the federal government was too incompetent to run the health-care sector — and this tends to prove they were right all along, and that proof gets stronger the longer the incompetence continues (via The Corner):
The bungled launch of Obamacare’s federal exchanges may be confirming Republicans’ various warnings about the health-care laws, says Meet the Press host David Gregory. He also said that Obamacare’s “caricature of incompetence” thus far may doom the law if the administration doesn’t address the problems soon.
Because of the website’s issues, Gregory said, the Obama administration may also miss out on the window to enroll younger people, who are crucial to the law’s success. “The question I think you’ll see more and more going into next year is, ‘Is this too big, too complicated for the federal government to administer?’” he said on Morning Joe on Friday.
The incompetence turns into dishonesty and opacity, which frustrates ACA supporter Josh Barro at Business Insider. Barro participated in a CMS conference call yesterday, and came away with more questions and worry than when he started:
- Battaille claimed not to know how many of those applications came from the 36 states that do not operate their own exchanges (meaning consumers are supposed to buy coverage by navigating HealthCare.gov). How is CMS figuring out a total number of applications if not by adding together reports from state exchanges and information from the federal exchange? If they won’t disclose the federal-only number, it’s presumably because it’s embarrassingly low and they don’t want it publicly known.
- Battaille wouldn’t say who, aside from Jeff Zients, is involved in the “tech surge” that is supposed to bring in bright private sector tech talents to help fix the exchange. Ezra Klein noted yesterday the administration’s silence on this question, leading him to wonder whether “the scope of the surge is less impressive, and more insider-focused, than the administration is implying.” Is the tech surge just a PR strategy to demonstrate action on the website’s problems without having to give out more detail about them?
- She wouldn’t say when CMS expects that the site will be working properly.
- Twice, she declined to answer a question about whether Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was aware of the system’s problems before launch.
- She continued to emphasize website problems related to traffic (and therefore, vast consumer demand that demonstrates how great Obamacare’s benefits are) when reports in many outlets, including the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, have relied on anonymous insurance industry sources to suggest that there are major problems in the exchange system’s backend, including providing incorrect application information to insurers, that aren’t related to traffic.
There’s no reason not to level with the public right now, unless the truth is so horrible and the website is so un-fixable that Obama administration officials can’t bring themselves to discuss the matter publicly. I suspect that’s not the case.
I’m not sure why Barro would suspect that other than wishful thinking, after the litany of spin he got from the conference call. The only reason not to level with the public would be because they don’t want people to know how bad this really is. If the truth was better than popular perception, CMS and the White House would be bombarding us with that data; after all, this isn’t an administration that gets shy about leaking data that makes them look good. And if they didn’t share data that refutes the perception of disaster, that also speaks to incompetence, does it not?
Wishful thinking eventually meets reality. That moment is now upon the media, and Barro’s bright enough to recognize it soon.