Admin spokesman: Never mind what WaPo says, the ObamaCare website will be ready by December 1

posted at 11:31 am on November 13, 2013 by Allahpundit

The official response to this morning’s bombshell.

The Obama administration continues to stand behind its prediction that it will fix the Obamacare website “for the vast majority of users” by the end of the month, administration spokesperson Jennifer Palmieri confirms over e-mail. Numerous reporters and analysts have steadily lost confidence that the administration can hit this target date. Last week, a spokesperson for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services told reporters, “As we have fixed certain pieces of functionality, like the account creation process, we’re seeing volume go further down the application. We’re identifying new issues that we need to be in a position to troubleshoot.”

The revelation of new, previously undiscovered problems sounded like an implicit concession that the original end-of-month target date was no longer attainable — or at least, less certain than before. Palmieri told me the administration had not backed away, writing, “What Jeff Zients said on his press call was that we have encountered more problems to be solved and even so they believe the website will be working well for a majority of users by Nov. 30th.” (I asked if promising the site would work for a “majority” of users represented a backing away from the promise it would work for “the vast majority,” and Palmieri replied that her omission of “vast” was merely an oversight.)

Three possibilities here. One: It’s a perfunctory denial of the WaPo story, issued full in the knowledge that the paper’s source is right and that they haven’t a prayer of ironing out all the wrinkles in the next 17 days. No sense confirming the truth now, though; better to play for time while insurers huddle with the White House to cobble together a Plan B. On December 1, the political world is going to feel like the scene in “Airplane!” when Julie Haggerty asks the passengers if anyone knows how to fly a plane. No need to hurry it along.

Two: Zients, HHS, and CMS are straight-up lying to the White House about the site possibly being ready in time. Wouldn’t be the first time, if you believe Obama’s apparatchiks in the West Wing. They told Politico recently that Obama met with Sebelius and Marilyn Tavenner repeatedly before the launch and had no inkling from them that the site’s problems were as profound as they are. Sebelius herself, remember, told CNN a few weeks ago that Obama didn’t know the extent of the screw-up until after the site went live. If he swallowed their BS once, why not see if he’ll swallow it twice while they work frantically to try to patch things together? Problem is, no one seriously believes that Obama didn’t know how terrible the site was before it launched. Just ask insurers:

“Everybody seemed to just have an understanding that this thing would not work at launch,” said an insurance industry insider. “Surely that was conveyed to the White House. The idea that anyone could have been surprised or not understand this was way off track would be hard to fathom.”

Insurance industry representatives spoke frequently with administration officials and relayed their concerns with the website, particularly about the transmission of enrollment data to insurers.

“They were told, ‘It’s not a big deal, they’re fixing it,’” one industry source said…

“There was such an environment of don’t do anything that can get bad press,” the insurance industry source said. “That is why nothing was being shared out of CMS. We would share stuff with them. The general viewpoint was — don’t do anything to get any bad press whatsoever. They didn’t create an environment where that would be OK.”

The White House and CMS knew but no one else did because that would embarrass O and embolden the GOP. The same reasoning explains why they’re now pretending they’re still on track for December 1.

Three: Hmmmm.

Could the White House be ready to spring a December surprise? The White House’s chief tech officer did tell Issa’s committee today that they’re “making progress at a growing rate.” And the White House is reaching out to some people who tried to apply before and encouraging them to try again, which is not something you would think they’d do if they were worried about the site being overwhelmed by a new surge in users. What if West Wing sources are feeding doom and gloom to the media, if only not to overpromise on hitting their December 1 target, and then suddenly — ta da — kinda sorta works on Thanksgiving?

The problem with that theory, I think, is that stories like WaPo’s about missing the deadline risk scaring congressional Democrats into voting with Republicans this month on things like Upton’s “Keep Your Plan Act.” If Obama’s team had reason to believe they were on track, they’d tell their partners in the Democratic leadership and in the insurance industry to keep people from jumping ship. As it is, I haven’t seen a single optimistic word about the site being patched in time from anyone outside the White House itself. On the contrary, Bob Laszewski’s sources among insurers told him a few days ago that the website’s problems seem so intractable that a Plan B is urgently needed. Worst of all, every trickle of news about the site not being ready soon suggests to the public that they don’t need to pay attention to enrollment just yet, when in fact the White House will be desperate for enrollments even if the site does miraculously begin to function on December 1. Too much to lose and too little to gain by feeding the idea that the site’s a lost cause if it really isn’t.

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C-O-L-L-A-P-S-E: Q Poll Shows Tied Generic Ballot

On top of finding President Obama at his lowest point in his Presidency, Quinnipiac released a stunner of a poll this morning showing the Democrats’ 9-point edge touted as blowback against the shutdown in October has collapsed to a 39-39 tie on congressional vote preference. With ten Democrat-held Senate seats at least somewhat competitive, that number resonates: most of these seats are in red to purple states, where that same figure almost certainly skews a few more points rightwards.

Beyond the generic question, Q has countered the NBC poll showing Chris Christie actually leading Hillary Clinton by a point, winning independents by 16 points, losing Hispanics by 7, moderates by 5, and trailing her among black voters 77%-12%.
Interestingly, Rand Paul trails Clinton among Hispanics by only 10, 41%-51% and black voters 10%-83%, both higher than Romney or McCain’s final take, trailing Clinton by 9 points overall thanks to 20 point gaps among moderates and women.

It’s just one firm so far, but with the Democrats visibly panicking, perhaps a little optimism for the GOP is called for.

Until, you know. Stupid Party stupids its way out of a half-dozen wins.

Resist We Much on November 13, 2013 at 1:13 PM

I’ve watched FOX News, as a conservative and a liberal. FOX News is unashamed in its bias for Republicans and its outright hatred of President Obama.

Translation: I vacillate like a wind vane and have no principles whatsoever…um….except this one.

nico on November 13, 2013 at 1:15 PM

And he is such a great big pumpkin.

onomo on November 13, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Splattered to Earth like one too. He won the contest, the charlatanic fraud and thug of the land.

Schadenfreude on November 13, 2013 at 1:00 PM

After much thought, the “Obama = Great Pumpkin” analogy is more and more appropriate.

At least ‘Santa’ has a track record of following through on delivering gifts.

Myron Falwell on November 13, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Ignore the man behind the curtain.

Philly on November 13, 2013 at 1:29 PM

The Obama administration continues to stand behind its prediction that it will fix the Obamacare website “for the vast majority of users” by the end of the month, administration spokesperson Jennifer Palmieri confirms over e-mail.

So we can expect 4 out of 6 will be able to log in?

moo on November 13, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Good Lord, does anyone believe anything that Obama says these days? P. T. Barnum, “There’s a sucker born every minute.” …………….. Today they are called Obama supporters.

SC.Charlie on November 13, 2013 at 1:51 PM

Version 2.0

Schadenfreude on November 13, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Regardless if the website works or not on 1 December (I am betting it does not), the story now is the number of people who are having their health insurance cancelled. The MSM has moved beyond the broken website story, but the Obama administration clings to it like a toilet seat floating in the ocean.

Johnnyreb on November 13, 2013 at 2:01 PM

Leftist civil war

Schadenfreude on November 13, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Hopefully Obama will kill all efforts to “fix” Obamacare.

alanstern on November 13, 2013 at 2:08 PM

Schadenfreude, pure!!!

Schadenfreude on November 13, 2013 at 2:09 PM

alanstern on November 13, 2013 at 2:08 PM

I had a college classmate and co-worker in Cheyenne Mountain with that name.
Is that you?

dentarthurdent on November 13, 2013 at 2:11 PM

Hah hah

Schadenfreude on November 13, 2013 at 2:14 PM

Even when it works, it won’t work. The web site is just the tip of the iceberg.

Ronnie on November 13, 2013 at 2:20 PM

I think the plan, come Dec. 1, is to p*ss on us and say it’s rain. “The website is working for the vast majority of people as long as they don’t all log in at the same time…and as long as you don’t mind security not being fully tested.” “It’s working 99.9% better than on October 1.”

G. Charles on November 13, 2013 at 2:21 PM

Every time the White House says this will be ready when they know it won’t be, they make the problem worse and harder to fix.

The Obama admin did the equivalent of starting destruction of the old, functional bridge on the date the new bridge was scheduled to open. The longer they delay rebuilding of the old bridge with promises the new will be ready any time, the more of OUR time & money they waste.

So right now many people are stuck with no way to proceed because the new bridge isn’t ready and the old one’s been barrycaded and being destroyed.

taznar on November 13, 2013 at 2:23 PM

“It’s working 99.9% better than on October 1.”

G. Charles on November 13, 2013 at 2:21 PM

I’d bet it’s “3000% better”…..

dentarthurdent on November 13, 2013 at 2:23 PM

“Hah Hah”: Obamacare’s Dirty Little Secret is that it is unenforceable.

I don’t put many eggs in that basket. The IRS and Obama will find a way to enforce this even if the law prevents them from fully enforcing it the first year. Come the second year, new executive orders, new IRS policy will see that they extract $$ from those who avoided paying in year one. For example, in year two they will say you didn’t pay any taxes until all of year one obamacare taxes are applied, then they will go after you for “normal” taxes which they will claim are unpaid because they couldn’t technically go after you for unpaid “obamacare taxes”. So even if you arrange your tax payments during the year so you don’t have a refund coming, in the second year, any taxes at all that you paid during the year, the IRS will claim that was for the previous year’s “obamacare taxes,” regardless of what you say (income tax, FICA, etc.).

G. Charles on November 13, 2013 at 2:35 PM

Dec.1, of what year?

CWchangedhisNicagain on November 13, 2013 at 5:51 PM