New ObamaCare website czar on repairs: We’re a long way from where we need to be

posted at 5:21 pm on November 8, 2013 by Allahpundit

HHS admitted yesterday that they were running into new problems on the site even as old ones were being debugged. Now here’s Jeff Zients, the guy who was brought in to oversee the salvage operation, telling reporters that victory remains distant even as the de facto December 1 deadline approaches.

Obama and Sebelius won’t leave Senate Democrats in the dark until November 30. Prediction: We’ll start seeing stories next week quoting unnamed sources in the administration about delaying parts of the law.

The Obama administration’s HealthCare.gov adviser Jeffrey Zeints said on Friday that the trouble-plagued federal healthcare website is improving, but that higher volumes of visitors are exposing new capacity and software issues.

In a conference call with reporters, Zeints said progress this week has been marred by roadblocks. He described HealthCare.gov as being “a long way from where it needs to be.”

Right now the website’s problems are running on a parallel track to Obama’s “if you like your plan” fiasco, but once O decides that he has no choice but to extend the enrollment period or delay the mandate, the two will merge. What do you do if you’ve just been dropped from your plan and the president’s telling you the website won’t let you enroll until after December 15, the deadline for signing up for a new plan if you want coverage to begin on January 1? Sebelius admitted today that there’s no specific proposal being considered by the White House (yet) to do something for the millions of people angry about having their plans canceled. Ace is right, undoubtedly, that Obama will eventually end up calling for more generous subsidies for new applicants to make the expensive new plans on the exchanges more affordable for the middle class — where the money for that is coming from, I have no idea — but that’s a secondary problem right now. The main problem is making sure they have some coverage on New Year’s Day, whatever the cost. What’s the plan for that? There … isn’t one yet.

It is unclear if the Health and Human Services Department has the legal authority to re-interpret the law’s definition of insurance plans that are “grandfathered” and could continue to exist, perhaps temporarily, under certain circumstances, even if those plans don’t meet the law’s basic benefits standards. The president has resisted suggestions on both sides of the aisle in Congress to extend the law’s open enrollment period beyond March 31.

Obama and HHS wrote the regs, didn’t they? Well, then they can unwrite them — I think. One of the complications of extending next year’s enrollment period is that the ObamaCare statute itself says that Sebelius has to specify the enrollment period by July 1, 2012. There may — may — be other deadlines that have already passed related to the regs about grandfathering old plans, which would complicate O’s ability to re-grandfather those plans. I’m no expert on the law so I’m not sure, although one of Boehner’s spokesmen said today, “We are highly skeptical that there is anything the President can do administratively to keep his pledge that would be both legal and effective.” Then again, Obama hasn’t let illegality stop him from solving ObamaCare’s “problems” before: He made the employer mandate, which is required by the statute itself, go bye-bye, so he could presumably do the same to any limit on his power to re-write the grandfathering regs. Although, if he’s going to do that, the cagey play would be to ask Congress to do it instead. Not only would that solve his legality problem, it would put Republicans on the spot. Would they resist joining Democrats on a bipartisan re-grandfathering bill given how much effort they’ve spent over the last few weeks lamenting the predicament of people whose plans got canceled? I doubt it, but I don’t know.

Here’s Obama explaining that he doesn’t write code but if he did he’d fix the website himself, which I guess makes up for his gross negligence in failing to oversee the people on his staff who do write it. Oh, by the way — the “important announcement” that Sebelius made today is that … she’s extending regulations about mental-health parity that were already enacted under the Bush administration to plans under ObamaCare. They said the new plans would be more “comprehensive” and they meant it. Now, about those premiums…


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November 2, 2013: “I never said it would be up and running by November 1st.”

-Dog Eater

Bishop on November 8, 2013 at 5:22 PM

December even.

Ok I think I’ll just take a break now.

Bishop on November 8, 2013 at 5:23 PM

We’re a long way from where we need to be, but we’ll be certain to prosecute everyone who signed in but didn’t sign up. Obama needs the money for his cell phone program for deadbeats.

Wino on November 8, 2013 at 5:24 PM

“This is getting ridiculous. I haven’t enjoyed a game of golf in weeks”.

HotAirian on November 8, 2013 at 5:25 PM

HHS admitted yesterday that they were running into new problems on the site even as old ones were being debugged.

Par for the course in Information Technology Systems Integration Testing.

ITguy on November 8, 2013 at 5:25 PM

How do you fix a corpse?

VorDaj on November 8, 2013 at 5:26 PM

HHS admitted yesterday that they were running into new problems on the site even as old ones were being debugged.

Behind every small problem is a bigger problem waiting for the smaller problem to get out of the way. – Murphy’s Law

VorDaj on November 8, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Obama will do to health care what Sherman did to Atlanta.

VorDaj on November 8, 2013 at 5:29 PM

Inside evary BIG problem is a hundred small problems waiting to get out.

jukin3 on November 8, 2013 at 5:29 PM

New ObamaCare website czar on repairs: We’re a long way from where we need to be

That has got to be the understatement of the year, decade even.

dentarthurdent on November 8, 2013 at 5:30 PM

Here’s Obama explaining that he doesn’t write code but if he did he’d fix the website himself,

Never before in the history of the Republic there has been such an utterly incompetent President with such incredible hubris and who thinks that all the ills under the sun will be resolved by a mere speech he reads from a teleprompter…

mnjg on November 8, 2013 at 5:30 PM

The Presidents signature clusterf@ck sure is quite the boondoggle

Republican Yogi on November 8, 2013 at 5:30 PM

The Tea Party hacked into healthcare.gov and embedded racist code. Obviously

drivingtheview on November 8, 2013 at 5:31 PM

Endgame=The Long Haul

Bmore on November 8, 2013 at 5:31 PM

This is a clown car.

BKeyser on November 8, 2013 at 5:36 PM

Obama and HHS wrote the regs, didn’t they? Well, then they can unwrite them — I think.

If you hate your healthcare law, you can repeal your healthcare law.

Stoic Patriot on November 8, 2013 at 5:37 PM

Superrrrr geeeeenious

jaywemm on November 8, 2013 at 5:37 PM

It’s a long way to Tipperary,
It’s a long way to go,
It’s a long way to Tipperary,
To the sweetest girl I know!
Goodbye Piccadilly! Farewell Leicester Square!
It’s a long, long way to Tipperary,
But my heart’s right there!

Marcola on November 8, 2013 at 5:39 PM

Not only would that solve his legality problem, it would put Republicans on the spot. Would they resist joining Democrats on a bipartisan re-grandfathering bill given how much effort they’ve spent over the last few weeks lamenting the predicament of people whose plans got canceled? I doubt it, but I don’t know.

Dangerous move for Zero. The GOP could demand to open up the whole law again for major changes plus would want some other things not related to the law to be dealt with. Basically a big giant bargaining chip will have been given to the GOP, if they know how to use it which is questionable.

For example what if the GOP says look why not just scrap this whole goof ball law and replace it with some program that deals with people who have pre-existing conditions who can’t get insurance. It would of course be a much smaller a program, and not comprehensive which would cause the leftist to freak out because that would be the end of their national health care dream.

I know some hardcore conservatives and libertarians don’t like the word replace, but it would be a good strategy to break up the Dems and at the same time kill the national health care dream for ever. A small price to pay, plus it might be a way to deal with the problems facing Medicare. Why not replace it with the same program in the future, one in which elderly people who can’t get insurance or lose it can have some smaller program that can deal with basic health and survival needs.

We have to kill the comprehensive crap, if that means we have to propose things that replace the more intrusive Dem proposed programs ok, but our programs won’t be comprehensive (forcing everyone on it) and therefore are not as dangerous to liberty, plus they will be cheaper, and hopefully more market oriented.

William Eaton on November 8, 2013 at 5:40 PM

I love it……………….

SC.Charlie on November 8, 2013 at 5:49 PM

We have to kill the comprehensive crap,

Amen. We need incremental reform, in everything: taxes, healthcare immigration. etc.

Every time you have a leaky pipe do you replace your entire plumbing system?

Ted Torgerson on November 8, 2013 at 5:50 PM

New ObamaCare website czar on repairs: We’re a long way from where we need to be

How can this be?? Why is not the most obvious thing being demanded now?

Hundreds of millions of tax dollars??..where did it go? Demand an audit of every step where money changed hands. Whose hands did it go to?..Then audit them and account for the money. Continue on down the line.
Why is this not being done? Not only is this not being done..they have the audacity to hope they can demand more to “fix” it.
Fix it??…I think the fix is already in, and has been for about 5 years.

Mimzey on November 8, 2013 at 5:53 PM

Backtracking and correcting of statement in 5, 4, 3, 2….

UnderstandingisPower on November 8, 2013 at 5:55 PM

“This is getting ridiculous. I haven’t enjoyed a game of golf in weeks”.
HotAirian on November 8, 2013 at 5:25 PM

So… still played lots of games, but didn’t enjoy any? LOLZ

Marcola on November 8, 2013 at 5:56 PM

Every time you have a leaky pipe do you replace your entire plumbing system?

Ted Torgerson on November 8, 2013 at 5:50 PM

If you’re spending someone else’s money….certainly.

BobMbx on November 8, 2013 at 5:56 PM

Love the Drudge Cover.

Bmore on November 8, 2013 at 6:01 PM

Liberals are like nagging wives. They both just make people want to scream “LEAVE ME ALONE!!”

Charlemagne on November 8, 2013 at 6:02 PM

I think Republicans allowing a delay would only rescue Dumbo from himself. Why not demand repeal. Say that people deserve certainty and that delaying only further exacerbates the problem of market uncertainty.

SoRight on November 8, 2013 at 6:04 PM

Every time you have a leaky pipe do you replace your entire plumbing system?

Ted Torgerson on November 8, 2013 at 5:50 PM

If you’re spending someone else’s money….certainly.

BobMbx on November 8, 2013 at 5:56 PM

You mean, SOITENLY!!

Pest on November 8, 2013 at 6:04 PM

Here’s Obama explaining that he doesn’t write code but if he did he’d fix the website himself, which I guess makes up for his gross negligence in failing to oversee the people on his staff who do write it.

What do you mean, the Boy Genius doesn’t write computer code? Remember how he was mocking McCain in 2008 for not being able to write Emails?

They’ve had 3 1/2 years to get this right! Imagine if King Putt had spent those thousands of golf hours studying Visual Basic and Website Design for Dummies. C’mon, Barky, man up and nerd out and write some code!!! Millions of people are waiting for their health insurance!

Steve Z on November 8, 2013 at 6:06 PM

How could this have gone so wrong, technically speaking? They had three years, plenty of time to work out any bugs (even with the client throwing changes at every turn) but these problems are not bugs. They are fundamental, architectural, structural, and logical errors. I was in the business and know a few things ;)

Could it be a programmer or maybe a couple of them sabotaged the project? Perhaps Hillary’s people, not wanting him to succeed where she didn’t or, angry at how he treated her?

Were they paid big under the table bucks by the Saudi’s angry at O’s wimp out on Syria? Or perhaps Putin wanting to embarrass Obama just for fun? So many possibilities!

debg on November 8, 2013 at 6:07 PM

Next State of the Union Address:

Obama: As we all know by now, the roll out of the Affordable Care Act, some people call it Obamacare, didn’t go as well as we hoped. Republicans, for the most part, found it amusing even as they were keeping the government shut down, slowing our work fixing the issues. Well, we managed to fix the issues and now we have a relatively smooth buying process that only takes the average user a couple of hours to complete. Like I said from the beginning, “this will be like using ‘Travelocity’ if ‘Travelocity’ was a government website.”

[Democrats rise in applause]

So, we’ve fixed the website, thousands of people have enrolled, and the experience overall has been a pleasant one. But, we learned something, and what we learned was that some bad apple insurance companies were selling bad-apple policies to a lot of bad-apples… I mean, ‘people’. So now millions are left without insurance as a result of the insurance industry.

Tonight, I call on my Republican friends in Congress to put aside their petty, nonsensical ideology and raise revenues [Democratic crescendo begins] from those of us most able to afford it [Barely audible now as Democrats begin hooting and hollering among the standing ovation] and help share in the success and security of every American having affordable health insurance. It’s time for the most wealthy Americans to contribute just a little to the health of this great nation. And I call on every American to contact their member of Congress and demand that they stop obstructing the middle class Americans from having the health care they deserve. [Nondescript woman seated near Michelle Obama passes out.]

BKeyser on November 8, 2013 at 6:09 PM

Obama and HHS wrote the regs, didn’t they?

And you want them to UN-WRITE them? But that would be an admission of error (or incompetence). Can’t have that. Not from The All-Knowing, All-See, All-Caring Obamassiah.

GarandFan on November 8, 2013 at 6:15 PM

…telling reporters that victory remains distant even as the de facto December 1 deadline approaches.

It’s not a deadline anymore. The new term should be goalpost. Because they keep moving it…

Big John on November 8, 2013 at 6:27 PM

The arrogance (and ignorance) of him telling everyone if he wrote computer code he would fix it…

albill on November 8, 2013 at 6:28 PM

Mark Levin came up with an interesting idea the other evening: All of us on Medicare or some other form of government health insurance should begin demanding our $2500.00 savings. But I think it shouldn’t be just those of us with government health insurance, but everyone in the entire country with health insurance should start demanding $2500.00 savings. That was another one of Ogabe’s unmet promises: American families would soon save up to $2500.00 a year in health insurance costs with ObamaCare. Both my husband and I should be paying around $100.00 a month less for Medicare.

catsandbooks on November 8, 2013 at 6:33 PM

I wonder if Bill Ayers writes computer code. Maybe Dumbo could just have Ayers “ghost write” the website for him.

SoRight on November 8, 2013 at 6:34 PM

Debg clearly has never worked on an utterly failed project before. Also, lots of money was made by the consultants whether or not the exchange (much, much more than a simple website) worked.

If the exchange is functional and secure by this time next year it will be a miracle.

iconoclast on November 8, 2013 at 6:34 PM

Meanwhile a thug is chief, and chief bullsh*tter.

Schadenfreude on November 8, 2013 at 6:35 PM

He doesn’t do POTUSing either…
On a positive note…Mitch is waiting for them to call him.

d1carter on November 8, 2013 at 6:37 PM

The sad thing is that the individual health insurance market may be broken beyond repair by now. Obama and HHS could change the regulations to allow insurance companies to reinstate the previous plans. But I doubt they could change the regulations to require insurance companies to reinstate the previous plans.

I thought that Obamacare was supposed to be about getting uninsured people to have health insurance. Instead, it looks like it’s going to be a Herculean effort just to enable all the people who already had health insurance before to have it in 2014. Forget about expanding the ranks of the insured — we’ll be lucky if there aren’t fewer people with health insurance next year.

J.S.K. on November 8, 2013 at 6:40 PM

iconoclast – Right. I have not worked for an “utterly failed project before.” I worked for and consulted at Apple. Too bad you chose to denigrate me but ignored what I said.

debg on November 8, 2013 at 6:45 PM

This isn’t just a train wreck. This is a political full nuclear meltdown in progress, and it’s only started. I expect President Scofflaw to simply ignore whatever parts of the law are inconvenient and order an administrative solution. He’s already started down the road, and each further step will appear more necessary.

Confutus on November 8, 2013 at 6:56 PM

I really hope that some Tea Party candidates campaign next year by using the phrase “just remember, it’s the law of the land” followed by “and if you don’t like it, then help us try to get rid of it”.

Up to this point, no one was affected by Obamacare. Now that the whole thing is blowing up in people’s faces, that whole “it’s the law of the land” crap, that Obama and his allies loved to keep repeating, can be a very powerful tool to throw right back in the Democrat’s faces.

ardenenoch on November 8, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Pass the popcorn. I never knew there was a sequel to the climactic scene in Silver Streak. What a train wreck!

All aboard1

islandman78 on November 8, 2013 at 7:09 PM

Blow it up and bring back a few carrots only:
1) Set up a fund for pre-existing conditions, perhaps fund with some sort of sin tax–potheads, alkies, smokers, gamblers unite! Or some sort of corporate taxing of ins cos. It will only be a subsidy though to compliment a premium.
2) Keep up to 26yr old on plans
3) Restore HSAs
4) Kill all the O’care specific taxes
5) Medicaid avail, but stringent, provable conditions and annual drug test with depreciating annual benefits, except for the incapacitated–no more free ride.

Keep it simple. The LIV has to grasp the GOP is trying to address their very concerns and we get liberty restored.

hillsoftx on November 8, 2013 at 7:39 PM

This isn’t just a train wreck. This is a political full nuclear meltdown in progress, and it’s only started. I expect President Scofflaw to simply ignore whatever parts of the law are inconvenient and order an administrative solution. He’s already started down the road, and each further step will appear more necessary.

Confutus on November 8, 2013 at 6:56 PM

I see a cartoon; pictures of Fukushima relabeled ‘Obamacare’.

slickwillie2001 on November 8, 2013 at 7:52 PM

Good. Let it burn!

neyney on November 8, 2013 at 8:27 PM

czar

…another one!

KOOLAID2 on November 8, 2013 at 8:39 PM

Let it burn. Make Barky own it and rub his nose in it.

Philly on November 8, 2013 at 8:43 PM

Obama needs a Czar of fixhinshit.

/Oh yes he do!

Key West Reader on November 8, 2013 at 8:55 PM

Let it burn. Make Barky own it and rub his nose in it.

Philly on November 8, 2013 at 8:43 PM

Quit talking about him like he’s a dog or something….

He doesn’t kill dogs… he eats them

Key West Reader on November 8, 2013 at 8:56 PM

A long way? Well, the President is confident it’ll be working fine in three weeks. I hope that’s within your time line. Prepare to catch the blame for his lies if it isn’t.

flataffect on November 8, 2013 at 9:24 PM

WAY Off Topic: I just got a new Mossberg 500 12 gauge combo shotgun today for this years hunting season. Any suggestions on the best type of rounds to use for deer? They are permitting wolf hunts this year. Same type of rounds or should I use the 30-06?

mechkiller_k on November 8, 2013 at 10:04 PM

A long way? Well, the President is confident it’ll be working fine in three weeks. I hope that’s within your time line. Prepare to catch the blame for his lies if it isn’t.

flataffect on November 8, 2013 at 9:24 PM

In my opinion, there is no way that Jeff Zients will have the data integration, data integrity, and data security issues at Healthcare.gov resolved by December 1… or January 1… or even March 1.

He had no idea how over his head he was going to be when he allowed Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Center for Medicare Services administrator Marilyn Tavenner to put him in charge of fixing what’s broken at the Healthcare.gov website.

He thought that he would be Obama’s chief economic advisor, the director of the National Economic Council, but he foolishly let Sebelius and Tavenner talk him into this “short term” assignment.

I, like you, believe that he will be made the fall guy.

The Chronicle: Was this position in fixing the website something you hoped to have a hand in?

Jeff Zients: About three weeks ago the president announced that I would be be coming back into the White House to be his chief economic advisor, which is the director of the National Economic Council. So I’m very excited to be rejoining the president’s team and helping to coordinate economic policy. I am game to help out in any way that I can and Healthcare.gov and the ACA and the website are very important for providing people who don’t have health care today. So if I can contribute in any way to making sure that the Affordable Care Act is successful and people who don’t have insurance today can be insured, I’m happy to do so.

He’s a fool. He’ll never become the director of the NEC. He’ll be working on Healthcare.gov for the next 6 months, and when it’s STILL not working properly (wrong data returned, security breaches, etc.) he’ll be badmouthed and canned.

ITguy on November 8, 2013 at 10:08 PM

Obamacare is the problem it was supposed to solve.

Dhuka on November 8, 2013 at 11:28 PM

Of course he can fix it! After all, he is the one he has been waiting for.
Spending their credibility on stupid, “transparent” lies like this, while they still have three years before the next presidential election, still just doesn’t make sense. The president’s own Democratic party needs to reign him in and keep him from killing their election chances in 2014. Even the lowest information voters can see how twisted this is quickly becoming.

DublOh7 on November 8, 2013 at 11:55 PM

Obama has officially become the “Baghdad Bob” of American politics

dmeyers1 on November 9, 2013 at 1:23 AM

The closer this gets to December 31st, the better the Republicans look on the government shutdown. One more point, I’m sure we’re already in a position where this train is barreling down the tracks and the brakes aren’t going to stop it. This isn’t about insurance companies, it isn’t about policies, it’s about not being able to accomplish the necessary tasks to sign up and be covered. Even if Obama gets the insurance companies to take over the duties of getting people covered, until the website is up and running, that doesn’t deal with the subsidies.

Oh well, it’s only those 5% anyway and Obama probably figures they weren’t going to vote Democrat anyway, come next November. I mean 15 million people is a drop in the bucket, compared to 315 million people, right? We’re going to have 300 million people happy, right?

The politics of this policy aren’t looking quite as good as the reality of this policy creeps in. Good luck Democrats, who Rahmed this bill through with not concern about bi-partisanship and the fact that it’s never had majority support. Even your sycophant media isn’t going to be able to protect you on this one, especially since some of them are going to be hurt by your policy.

bflat879 on November 9, 2013 at 9:48 AM

Back when I was teaching computer programming and debugging, I had a story for my students.

A man was walking in a desert, when he stumbled over a stone in the trail. Angry, he tried to pick it up to throw it, but it wouldn’t move. He got his shovel, and started to dig it out, but it just got bigger and bigger the more he dug.

He finally realized that he was trying to dig up a pyramid, and he accepted that the job might be too much for him.

So he kicked it, hurting his toe, and continued on his original path.

Mr Zientz, debugging a program is like uncovering the pyramid. The more you dig, the bigger the problem gets. You might finally get to the bottom, but not in the time-frame you expect.

new2wnc on November 9, 2013 at 10:03 AM

We have to kill the comprehensive crap, if that means we have to propose things that replace the more intrusive Dem proposed programs ok, but our programs won’t be comprehensive (forcing everyone on it) and therefore are not as dangerous to liberty, plus they will be cheaper, and hopefully more market oriented.

William Eaton on November 8, 2013 at 5:40 PM

RE: non-comprehensive solution which actually solves health care problems:

This is exactly what we had in Kansas: it was working (still is – until 2014), and was truly affordable for both taxpayers and patients. For some reason, the Democrats think they need to destroy it.

landlines on November 10, 2013 at 12:00 PM

The fact is that Obamacare treats a man with a broken leg by breaking everybody else’s leg.

No web site “fix” can solve this fundamental flaw in the entire Obamacare concept.

landlines on November 10, 2013 at 12:04 PM