NYT: Obama, WH rosy claims belied “open secret” of poor ObamaCare performance

posted at 2:31 pm on October 26, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

What did the President know about ObamaCare, and when did he know it? The New York Times raised that question yesterday, offering a video montage of pre-rollout claims about the Healthcare.gov exchange from White House officials, including Barack Obama himself at the Clinton Global Initiative one week before the launch.  However, behind those rosy predictions were big red flags being raised — and now the question is whether the White House didn’t see them, didn’t want to see them, or purposely ignored them:

That kind of enthusiasm wasn’t just for public consumption, reports Michael Shear and Sheryl Gay Stolberg. The same kind of cheerleading went into briefings on Capitol Hill among lawmakers and staffers. The expectation was that initial consumer enthusiasm would create “a few bumps,” but that the website was solid and Healthcare.gov was ready for launch.

But is that what the Obama administration really believed? Contractors working on the system told Congress that they repeatedly warned senior administration officials that the system had serious problems — and some of those people wanted to delay the rollout:

The executives testified that “end to end” testing of the Web site did not take place until two weeks before the site made its debut — about the same time that the briefings by Mr. Simas and Mr. McDonough were taking place. And they said problems with the software that powers the Web site were communicated to senior officials in the president’s administration. …

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.

The tech sector already knew this would be a huge failure, even according to one of Obama’s Presidential Innovation Fellows — a man who set up Obama’s 2008 online campaign systems:

But among technology experts, the federal government’s poor performance in developing Web sites was an open secret.

Clay Johnson, a founder of Blue State Digital, the company that ultimately developed Mr. Obama’s 2008 campaign Web site, turned down a chance to work on HealthCare.gov last year, when he spent six months as a Presidential Innovation Fellow.

“It was a project I wanted to steer clear of,” he said.

Why didn’t the administration listen? Politics, according to Harry Reid’s former chief of staff Jim Manley:

Some Democrats said that, given the Republican assault on the measure, the White House was right to deliver upbeat presentations promoting it.

“To downplay expectations would have fed into the Republican narrative,” said Jim Manley, a former top aide to Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, who attended a session in the Roosevelt Room of the White House with other allies of the administration.

In other words, “some Democrats” would prefer to hear lies for political purposes than to find out the truth about incompetence in the Obama administration.  That’s not exactly a confidence builder for the ObamaCare project rolling forward.  It’s also a good indicator of the level of honesty we can expect from the White House on the status of this program at any time, too.

Margaret Carlson understands the crisis. She agrees with my argument this week that this is an existential moment for big-government progressivism, and that the incompetence and prevarications threaten the entire agenda of the Left (via Instapundit):

The rollout of Obamacare had to be absolutely perfect. Obama needed to treat it like a 21st-century Manhattan Project, full of 20-something geeks pulling all-nighters and managed by geniuses from Apple Inc. and Google Inc. who can fill in that blind spot between the techies and end users. Instead, he took the pedestrian route and spent $400 million on a Canadian company that our Good Neighbors to the North once fired for incompetence.

That brings us to those determined to stop Obamacare and, by extension, Obama himself (that’s why they call it Obamacare). They’re happy to watch the president making excuses. They’re gloating now, just a few days after the president did his own gloating over Republican incompetence during the government shutdown.

The website failure gives credence to those who warn that government can’t be trusted to get big things right, and that the market, not bureaucrats, should fix health care. It’s not just the crazies who doubt government now. According to the Pew Research Center, the competence of officialdom is on shaky ground, with only 19 percent of Americans saying they trust in government “just about always” or “most of the time.” …

This was supposed to have been Obamacare’s moment of truth, when the president disproved bitter Republicans and showed that government could do something great. According to Bloomberg News, HealthCare.gov went live without a dry run, and just last week the computer code — 500 million lines of which might have to be reconfigured — contained place-holder language that is used in preliminary drafts. Yet contractors have been paid as if they performed.

Republicans may yet get their delay, not because they shut down the government, but because the president didn’t use his power to make his hard-fought legislation work.

It’s worse than that.  It’s that the President couldn’t care less about exerting the kind of leadership needed to ensure success, and contented himself with listening to yes-men so he could spout a bunch of happy talk in public rather than be honest with the American people.  This is a crisis for the progressive agenda to be sure, but at its core it is a crisis of leadership. We have none.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

but that was an excellent Bishop!

KOOLAID2 on October 26, 2013 at 5:28 PM

Luck and timing :)

Schadenfreude on October 26, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Schadenfreude on October 26, 2013 at 3:36 PM

From the LA Times today is the article More legal trouble for Affordable Care Act:

To receive the credit, the law twice says they must buy insurance “through an exchange established by the state.” But 36 states have decided against opening exchanges for now.

“This is a problem,” said Timothy Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University. “This case could have legs,” although “it was never the intent of Congress to establish federal exchanges that can’t do anything. They were supposed to have exactly the same powers.”

It would be easy to assert that the authors of the bill intended for states that don’t have their own exchanges to be given subsidies.

Right? No. Not even close.

The bill’s authors intended specifically that states that don’t set up exchanges should NOT get subsidies!

The authors, including the likes of ultra-leftist Henry Waxman from CA, likely had in their minds that though states would be permitted not to have exchanges (probably to pass constitutional tests), but in a highway funds blackmail sort of way they probably intended for these states to be in effect forced to set up their own exchanges by the fact that subsidies wouldn’t be provided for them. But the states, 36 out of 50 (!) apparently, still aren’t participating! That’s the breaks for the authors of this horrendous bill that intended to penalize any states that weren’t cowed by the feds.

This provision that states that don’t set up exchanges won’t get subsidies isn’t a minor point buried in the minutiae. The language is clear and unquestionable that subsidies are given only to users of “an exchange established by the state.” The point that many states would not be inclined to set up exchanges was highlighted and discussed frequently as the bill evolved. So the language about who is eligible for subsidies would jump out in an obvious way to anybody drafting or considering the bill. That was the intent. To force states to participate.

anotherJoe on October 26, 2013 at 7:08 PM

NOMOBO on October 26, 2013 at 5:48 PM

You are right about the destruction that is taking place. To get to a good place obamacare will need to be eliminated and rebuilding will need to be done. Will the insurance industry be able to reconstitute itself? Yes, if left to free markets, but there is little certainty that we will ever see that again.

GaltBlvnAtty on October 26, 2013 at 7:25 PM

You are right about the destruction that is taking place. To get to a good place obamacare will need to be eliminated and rebuilding will need to be done. Will the insurance industry be able to reconstitute itself? Yes, if left to free markets, but there is little certainty that we will ever see that again.

GaltBlvnAtty on October 26, 2013 at 7:25 PM

i don’t think we can count on the GOP…but someone needs to start now with little things that will serve as remnants of freedom. Paying cash to docs is important. the explicit ability of people to pay extra $$$$ directly to providers.

that would be viewed as ultra-right wing from the current world view of the vanguard party. But things need to be preserved for the future. After the website stuff, i think people are going to be shocked at the co-insurance. they’ll pay 40 percent for bronze 30 percent for silver.

the average employer provided insurance is somewhere between a gold level and platinum level in barry terms…i.e insurance pays for 80 to 90 percent of the medical cost. Medicare for example is 80 percent…and most people buy supplemental insurance.

there is no provision in barrycare for plans that pay greater than 90 percent…which a lot of plans do (big companies and unions). Those that manage to hang on to those plans will be increasingly rare. So high premiums…and high co-pays/co-insurance….complicated cancer and diabetes etc. can get pretty expensive, very damn quick

it will wind up like public ed…first you pay for other people’s kids…and poor people’s kids…and then you fork over you own money for private ed. That will be an optimistic scenario

r keller on October 26, 2013 at 7:44 PM

In other words, “some Democratsthe media” would prefer to hear tell lies for political purposes than to find out report the truth about incompetence in the Obama

The 2008 and 2012 elections in a nutshell.

talkingpoints on October 26, 2013 at 7:47 PM

Silicon Valley: Obamacare Website ‘State-of-the-Art Incompetence’

The country’s top computer experts in Silicon Valley are mortified that the federal government can waste at least $400 million building an Obamacare website that is so terrible.

According to New York magazine, “one tech worker quipped that a Stanford computer-science class could have built healthcare.gov for a thousandth of the reported $400 million–plus budget.”

Matt Mullenweg, the co-developer of WordPress, said the Canadian firm that oversaw the healthcare.gov website received “more money than all the revenue of most Silicon Valley start-ups combined.”

…Eric Ries, described as a member of the “Silicon Valley’s cognoscenti,” said Healthcare.gov’s failures represented “state-of-the-art incompetence.”

INC on October 26, 2013 at 8:29 PM

The Noo Yawk Times presstitutes have only themselves to blame for blindly pimping the White House narrative and Pharaoh O’Barky just like their bad old days of Walter Duranty pimping the wonders of Uncle Joe Stalin and similar Communism.

viking01 on October 26, 2013 at 8:43 PM

The fact remains that there are more takers than makers, the MSM have covered for this Obama idiot since 2008, and the Republicans are weak. If these Dems can get a delay and the party of stupid gives them this delay then that gives Obama a year to clean up this website mess. It also gives them time to hide how expensive this mess is going to be. The takers are getting a glimpse of how much this “affordable” healthcare bill is going to cost them and the delay will hide that until after the 2014 elections. The best thing to fo is to let it go forward with no delay. Make no mistske, the ONLY reason a MSM organ like the NYT would ever write such an article as this is to try and help the Dems to get this thing delayed to keep the cover up going.

neyney on October 26, 2013 at 8:44 PM

INC on October 26, 2013 at 8:29 PM

President Obama represents “state-of-the-art incompetence”.

slickwillie2001 on October 26, 2013 at 9:02 PM

I was the first to use the saying “let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out”. This was right after Obama won reelection last year. I was expressing my version of the let it burn meme. I watched I Claudius as a teenager and was struck by that phrase at the ending. Claudius has survived being born with a deformity, of being hated by his mother, losing his father to a murder for political reasons, surviving the treacherous reign of his insane nephew Caligula, and finally being made emperor against his will. He remarries the ambitious mother of Nero and knows that Rome at her heart is rotten. He was a believer in the republic and hated Rome under the Caesars. He knows his wife wants to poison him so Nero can be named emperor so he eats the poisoned food knowing its poisoned because he wants all Rome’s poisons to cone to the surface. It struck me as apropos to the Obama reelection.

neyney on October 26, 2013 at 9:16 PM

slickwillie2001 on October 26, 2013 at 9:02 PM

True dat.

INC on October 26, 2013 at 9:17 PM

The more ObamacareTax works, the worse it gets.

The 51% majority of complete suckers or avowed racists who voted this disastrous tyro back into power deserve all the pain they get.

Unfortunately, the rest of us get it too, even though we opposed it and continue to try to derail this juggernaut.

profitsbeard on October 26, 2013 at 9:54 PM

“Instead, he took the pedestrian route and spent $400 million on a Canadian company that our Good Neighbors to the North once fired for incompetence.”

“When you were sitting in that capsule listening to the count-down, how did you feel?”
Well, the answer to that one is easy. I felt exactly how you would feel if you were getting ready to launch and knew you were sitting on top of two million parts — all built by the lowest bidder on a government contract.
–John Glenn

Tuning Spork on October 26, 2013 at 10:15 PM

The “brilliant” strategy of Obama, Reid, and Pelosi for Health
Care was to just cram it down the throats of the American people.
I guess they figured that they could iron out the details later.
You know, the “…pass it to see what is in it..” BS.

shorebird on October 26, 2013 at 10:21 PM

Song for you, Obama:

http://youtu.be/iaysTVcounI

Sherman1864 on October 26, 2013 at 11:01 PM

SERIOUSLY?! ROFLOL!

People are surprised Obama made ridiculous claims about the web site that turned out to be lies, and people think he may have known before he made the promises that the site would be ‘jacked up’ on Day 1?!

Considering how he made the promises that it would not cost a dime, would pay for itself, and would even REDUCE THE DEFICIT … which NO government program has ever done in our nation’s history … and those turned out to be lies, WHY would anyone expect anything different regarding the web site?

People WANT to believe the man, so much so that they embrace delusion and denial.

Harry Reid admitted Obamacare was never meant to improve anything or help anyone – it was meant to destroy the American health care system and bring about single payer. Everything Obama has ever said/promised has been a LIE!

easyt65 on October 27, 2013 at 12:03 AM

So, Obama – who promised to end ‘No Bid government contracts – goes out & gives this company Canada hired to build their healthcare web page…and then fired for complete incompetence gives them a ‘No-Bid’ contract for over $600 MILLION…approximately 10 TIMES the estimate to do the job.

So the news break that the Executive for this company is an old classmate of Michelle’s from back in college. What a ‘coincidence’! (Anyone remember BILLIONS of our tax dollars going to 13 ‘green’ companies like Solyndra? Tax dollars were spent to keep big time Obama investors from losing THEIR money! now apply THAT story to this one…

easyt65 on October 27, 2013 at 12:12 AM

I hope he fails.

KCB on October 27, 2013 at 2:28 AM

The Obamas are the tribal leaders of a liberal banana republic: that’s all the dems are–corrupt tribal heathens perpetually on the take.

And they take from you.

Sherman1864 on October 27, 2013 at 5:34 AM

Instead, he took the pedestrian route and spent $400 million on a Canadian company that our Good Neighbors to the North once fired for incompetence.

Not just once. The federal government of Canada had fired CGI for completely botching a gun registry website it had hired CGI to construct. But other, state governments (New Brunswick, Calgary) in Canada had also fired CGI for failing to perform on contracts to build government websites for them.

CGI had a long and proven record of failure in government website construction, and yet it received a massive, no-bid contract to construct the Obamacare website. Why?

Now we’re seeing reports that CGI had a Michelle Obama crony and a Valerie Jarrett son-in-law on its payroll.

Coincidence? Or yet another example of the Obama/Jarrett cabal “re-distributing” Americans’ wealth into the pockets of Obama/Jarrett friends and family.

AZCoyote on October 27, 2013 at 9:08 AM

The Won thinks that if he speaks it, it will be so. Sorry, dude, that only worked once for a real God.

Kissmygrits on October 27, 2013 at 9:59 AM

barry cares not. he will eventually tell the press to shut up…and be helpful. Unity above all.
r keller on October 26, 2013 at 2:57 PM

DC is a nest of leakers. National press is inbred with DC. Not buying that the press is shocked at the software. Not a hint from the press until launch day?

Why didn’t Obama ask his best friends and contributors in Silicon Valley who write the operating systems, who engineer the machines, who are helping construct the NSA master work, to build his signature program?

The NSA system is pretty effective

If the Obamcare launch was functional, people would find out the price they will be paying. If it worked right, a large voting bloc gets turned off including poor who thought they were going to be covered, but now find otherwise

They needed Obamacare to stall, and they needed scapegoats. Most of the press was probably useful idiots, but a part of the press had to know. If repairs were possible, why would a reporter let Obama be ‘pilloried’ if he could save him earlier?

IMHO some knew they were supposed to let it go to due date, and some know they are supposed to make a a lot of diversionary noise now, as much to cover the Amnesty moves, as to build the legend of the betrayal of good Obama by the Bad System

Second and finally, it is awesome how totally bored and disinterested Bill Clinton looks while Obama blathers on.
Texas Zombie on October 26, 2013 at 3:52 PM

Heh. Clinton knows the camera. that was payback

Obamacare is just one battlefield…and our lack of air superiority / supremacy is hampering our efforts to get the message out on just how bad this EpicClusterFarkNado is beyond the ‘technical glitches’.Athos on October 26, 2013 at 3:59 PM

Your analogy of air superiority is great. Reagan beat the same army using them to haul water. Press couldn’t stop reporting his stupid words, and so spread his words.

It worked because many citizens were waiting for someone to say those very words. This is how Cruz gained power, helped by two enemies, the MSM and the RINOs. The more they trashed Cruz, the more they inflicted stripes on folk who agreed with Cruz, iprinting an identification with Cruz, not them

Words still mean something

entagor on October 27, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Some Democrats said that, given the Republican assault on the measure, the White House was right to deliver upbeat presentations promoting it.

“To downplay expectations would have fed into the Republican narrative,” said Jim Manley, a former top aide to Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, who attended a session in the Roosevelt Room of the White House with other allies of the administration.

Translation: The American people are stupid, so we (Democrats) can and will lie to them for political expediency. With the lapdog media actively supporting us, we don’t have to worry about any adverse effects from these lies to the American people.

Athos on October 27, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Sebelius Called “Laughingstock of America” – SNL Lampoons Failed HHS Secretary

Wow. Even Saturday Night Live can’t ignore it any longer.

SNL lampooned HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the failed O-Care website last night in their opening skit.

This was brutal—

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2013/10/sebelius-called-laughingstock-of-america-after-snl-lampoons-failed-o-care-roll-out-video/

Resist We Much on October 27, 2013 at 1:48 PM

The affordable care act does not seem to care that it’s unaffordable.

SparkPlug on October 27, 2013 at 2:29 PM

If only Obama could reign in that incompetent DC…

trs on October 27, 2013 at 2:32 PM

The affordable care act does not seem to care that it’s unaffordable.

SparkPlug on October 27, 2013 at 2:29 PM

:)

Sparky, I so appreciate how you make me smile with your ongoing puns and snark.

INC on October 27, 2013 at 2:47 PM

From Todd Starnes of FOX News:

I normally don’t recommend watching CBS – but tonight you need to watch 60 Minutes. They are going to have a powerful expose on what happened in Benghazi.

A security officer who was there and witnessed the attack speaks out.

I just finished reading an advanced script – and I’m simply outraged. President Obama’s Administration left Americans to die.

Watch 60 Minutes tonight and then call Congress and demand they take action.

INC on October 27, 2013 at 2:48 PM

INC on October 27, 2013 at 2:47 PM

Hi INC. You are a great American and a top notch poster/commentator. (:

SparkPlug on October 27, 2013 at 5:22 PM

SparkPlug on October 27, 2013 at 5:22 PM

Flattery will get me everywhere, eh? :)

INC on October 27, 2013 at 6:56 PM

http://twitchy.com/2013/10/27/woman-on-front-page-of-healthcare-gov-disappears/

I guess she sued. Would you like to be the face of ObamaCare?

A new design volunteered:

https://twitter.com/rmack2x/statuses/394550762292137985

This newly designed Front page catches enrollees’ shock.,.

INC on October 27, 2013 at 7:02 PM

He looks so fking gay.

Murphy9 on October 27, 2013 at 7:06 PM

David Simas; Sr White House Advisor

“…I can’t put a too fine point on this; for the first time ever people will be able to go to one place, make an apples-to-apples comparison, and decide for themselves whether or not what they see works for themselves and their families…”

Seriously?!!! They can say that with a straight face? Because a), I have been doing that “apples-to-apples” comparison for years, without having to give ANY personal information mind you, in sites like ehealthinsurance.com.

And b), how exactly am I deciding for myself when I am forced to get a product that is not only inferior to what I had but also not suited for me, while also having no choices because Obamacare has considerably reduced them?

Seriously; these people live in an eco chamber where they go beyond lying- they just convince themselves of what they are saying.

ptcamn on October 27, 2013 at 8:05 PM

Something is not right!
How can the smartest person in the world do something like this?

Karl Rove and President Bush are pretty sneaky being able to pull this off!

cmptrnerd on October 27, 2013 at 9:09 PM

ptcamn on October 27, 2013 at 8:05 PM
————————————————

Just because there were online products like ehealthinsurance.com providing apples to apples comparison for years. The Democrats are telling us that this will be revolutionary and if you don’t agree there is an IRS agent to will make sure you agree.

Now get in line and wait for your Health Insurance or no aspirin for your next tumor.

cmptrnerd on October 27, 2013 at 9:18 PM

“Something is not right!
How can the smartest person in the world do something like this?

Karl Rove and President Bush are pretty sneaky being able to pull this off!

cmptrnerd on October 27, 2013 at 9:09 PM”

It was Cheney and Haliburton…

shorebird on October 28, 2013 at 1:21 AM

This is about much more than just a website or the liberals agenda. It is about the limits of government and utopian promises.

Obamacare is not sustainable because it is fiscally unsound. Period.

When government takes over such critical societal functions, which are meant solely to be handled by the private sector, we discover the base reasons why this was not meant to be and is headed for disaster.

Private markets adjust and adapt. They use sound business practices to sustain themselves. If they don’t, without any outside assistance, they collapse, die and sit as silent monuments to the stupidity and unsustainable nature of bad ideas.

In this case, government has no such options or impulses. So instead they raise prices, remove choices, cut services and force people to participate in the failure.

Ultimately this isn’t a “marketplace”, “product” or “choice”. It is a heavy-handed fiat the government compels people to participate in under penalty of law.

That not a democratic process or idea based on republican principle. It’s the “product” of despots and tyrants stealing your freedom and choices.

It’s about damn time we stopped talking about the website as if it is some base reason to halt Obamacare. It is nothing of the sort and only a symptom of the larger, underlying ills that will ultimately cause the entire system to collapse.

Marcus Traianus on October 28, 2013 at 8:10 AM

now the question is whether the White House didn’t see them, didn’t want to see them, or purposely ignored them

There is a fourth possibility:

“Because Republicans.”

Seems to be where the administration is leaning these days.

Good Lt on October 28, 2013 at 9:01 AM

This is a crisis for the progressive agenda to be sure, but at its core it is a crisis of leadership. We have none.

Oh please. There is NEVER a crisis for the progressive agenda. Nothing will ever be allowed to derail any part of that agenda.

They will simply blame republicans. That’s what progressives do. Every thing they try fails, and every time they fail they just blame the “others” that they’ve trained society to hate. And yes, I mean hate. Republicans are absolutely hated by leftists, to the point of wishing death upon them and their families.

But the point is, they already have someone to blame. Everything this regime has done has failed, and every time they’ve failed they’ve blamed republicans. And every single time it has worked. Why would they not do it this time? But as we all know, they have already blamed republicans for this failure, and it’s already worked on a shocking number of our fellow Americans.

runawayyyy on October 28, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Comment pages: 1 2