Democrats try blaming big business for ObamaCare faceplant

posted at 8:41 am on January 9, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Want to know who’s responsible for the disastrous rollout of ObamaCare?  Most people already know the answer to this — the people in charge — but since those are all Democrats, they have another answer. It’s not the people in charge … it’s the people that the people in charge hired, or something:

Democrats taking heat back home for Obamacare’s rocky online rollout say don’t blame them — blame Big Business.

Facing an onslaught of constituent frustration over problems with online exchanges, several Democrats have started pointing fingers at the companies and senior executives in their home states that have contracts to get the health care websites up and running.

Democrats have made a version of the argument in Washington in recent months, defending the health care law not only from Republican attacks that it’s a failure — but from the line that government itself can’t do big things.

Well, what did you expect them to say? “Hey, we’re nothing but a bunch of incompetents who couldn’t figure out two-decade-old technology”? “This is what you get when you fill an administration with people who’ve never run a business”? Both of those are the truths they want to avoid, after all.  The handy target was always going to be the subcontractors.

That attempt is most amusing in Oregon, which had its own exchange separate from the federal system, which managed to outdo Healthcare.gov in sheer incompetence. Big business failed there too, according to Sen. Jeff Merkley:

The Oregon Democrat called out software developer Oracle and its president and Chief Financial Officer Safra Catz by name in town hall meetings and to local media over the Christmas recess. He said they’re responsible for the state’s “Cover Oregon” website problems.

“We have a horrendous state software glitch,” Merkley said at a town hall in the Portland area. He also told constituents that Catz took full responsibility for the problems in a conversation he had with her.

“I called the president of Oracle. Her name is Safra Catz. She wouldn’t even let me talk for 10 minutes; she just apologized saying they’ve never had a failure like they’ve had for Oregon,” Merkley told local CBS affiliate KOIN.

First, it’s pretty amusing to watch someone try to pin the problem on a world-class success story like Oracle, which has spent the last few decades actually keeping pace with technology. Oracle’s systems power some of the biggest businesses in the world, and it’s a little doubtful that it would stumble over a web portal system that could have been built in the late 1990s with much better competence than HHS and the state of Oregon demonstrated. Besides, the prime contractor for the federal system is CGI Federal, which hasn’t performed any better, so clearly the problem is higher up.

The question here isn’t whether a contractor underperformed — even the best contractors do that. The question is why no one at HHS (and in Oregon and several other states) managed to find that out before the systems went live. Let’s not forget that HHS had forty-two months between the passage of ObamaCare and the October 1, 2013 rollout date to build, test, refine, and then launch these systems. Two months before the rollout, the HHS Inspector General blew the whistle on the lack of end-to-end testing, and more importantly on the lack of security for consumers.  Even with that warning, HHS and the Obama administration went full speed ahead, telling everyone that the system would only have minor glitches and would otherwise work fine.

Blaming contractors and subcontractors misses the point, and deliberately so. Merkley and his fellow Democrats are dodging responsibility for the incompetent management of a system that should have been easy to build, test, and implement securely — and that “big business” could have done in half the time for themselves.


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Sorry, but the companies involved do not, ultimately, get the blame. The blame goes to the ones writing the contracts, selecting the vendor, and monitoring the work get the blame. In other words – the boss, or THE GOVERNMENT.

Morons.

deadrody on January 9, 2014 at 8:44 AM

Run on this DWS…

OmahaConservative on January 9, 2014 at 8:45 AM

Obviously if people would stop clinging to capitalism and illusions of choice this would all go away or something…

workingclass artist on January 9, 2014 at 8:47 AM

When young children make mistakes, their initial response may be to blame someone or something else instead of taking responsibility for what they did.

Eventually most of them grow up, and, out, of that stage – the rest become Democrats.

Mark Boabaca on January 9, 2014 at 8:48 AM

Sure, why not.

Blame everyone and everything except your F##*ed up world view and policies.

BigWyo on January 9, 2014 at 8:49 AM

Democrats: “It’s everyone’s fault but ours.”

Gatsu on January 9, 2014 at 8:50 AM

Blaming contractors and subcontractors misses the point, and deliberately so. Merkley and his fellow Democrats are dodging responsibility for the incompetent management of a system that should have been easy to build, test, and implement securely — and that “big business” could have done in half the time for themselves.

So if it was the fault of contractors and subcontractors, how much of the $650M has the federal government recouped due to breach of performance standards?

That’s what I thought.

Happy Nomad on January 9, 2014 at 8:51 AM

Blaming contractors and subcontractors misses the point, and deliberately so. Merkley and his fellow Democrats are dodging responsibility for the incompetent management of a system that should have been easy to build, test, and implement securely

And they’re still trying to make it all about the crappy implementation…not the STEAMING PILE OF #*$) people are being forced to sign up for.

BigWyo on January 9, 2014 at 8:53 AM

They should blame George Bush. I prefer the classics. A little show of consistency in this sea of hypocrisy please. Its the guy that was in charge over 5 years ago that the people couldn’t reinstate if they wanted to.

onomo on January 9, 2014 at 8:53 AM

And yet the lsm would rather talk about Christies leadership instead of Obama and Sibelius

They want accountability only with folks with an R next to their name

cmsinaz on January 9, 2014 at 8:53 AM

The Dems’ blame-shifting is merely a reflection of the larger cultural vibe that the left encourages every chance they get — It’s not your fault! Someone else wronged you! (Probably someone white & conservative!) You deserve compensation!

KS Rex on January 9, 2014 at 8:54 AM

I blame global warming.

Mr. D on January 9, 2014 at 8:57 AM

IBM offered to build the entire system for FREE and save 900 billion in the process(by cleaning up all of the duplicate payments and fraud). Obama turned them down.

I wonder why.

Mord on January 9, 2014 at 8:57 AM

I’m not saying Oracle is perfect. God knows some of there procedureal SQL has done some unudual things. But I’ve seen some good systems put together with Oracle and I’ve seen bad systems put together with Oracle, but I’ve never seen someone who put a bad system together with Oracle have the temerity to blame Oracle for their own lazy design. It’s just too stupid to do so. Until now, evidently.

apostic on January 9, 2014 at 8:58 AM

The whole idea behind ObamaCare was to set it up to blame big business, only it was to blame the insurance companies 2-3 years down the line, when rates failed to fall as young people failed to sign up, which in turn was to be the justification for full government control via single-payer.

They never thought about the web portal failing, but since blaming big business is in their DNA, it’s no shock they’d take that as the default position for the front-end failure of ObamaCare. I’m just waiting for the first high-level Dem who comes out and says the failure was some sort of evil conspiracy between the website designers, the insurance companies and evil Republicans to deliberately scuttle the Affordable Care Act.

jon1979 on January 9, 2014 at 9:03 AM

Let’s not forget that HHS had forty-two months between the passage of ObamaCare and the October 1, 2013 rollout date to build, test, refine, and then launch these systems.

And the Democrats passed a law that basically allowed the HHS Secretary to write in all the details during those months. Not sure how easy it is to code for a program that is constantly in flux.

DaveDief on January 9, 2014 at 9:04 AM

Who are Democrats going to blame for the high premiums?

The high deductibles?

The loss of their doctors and limited choices for treatment?

The denial of treatments and prescriptions?

Forcing religious facilities to violate their doctrine?

Putting Catholic hospitals and facilities out of business?

The tremendous cost to our nation?

The drag on business and resulting unemployment?

The degradation of care and destruction of the best health care system in the world?

Marcus Traianus on January 9, 2014 at 9:05 AM

Ditto others. The argument for single payer begins here.

Carnac on January 9, 2014 at 9:08 AM

Does this mean they’ve finally moved on from blaming Bush?

dpduq on January 9, 2014 at 9:09 AM

I blame global warming.

Mr. D on January 9, 2014 at 8:57 AM

I suspect there is a “wheel of blame” somewhere in the White House. Doesn’t matter if it makes sense or not- like blaming lack of economic recovery on limiting unemployment. They just have to blame something and the MSM takes it as gospel and does the heavy lifting.

Happy Nomad on January 9, 2014 at 9:10 AM

I went directly to Harvard Pilgrim’s website, typed in some basic information, selected a plan and I was done in about 5 minutes. I just had to send in my premium payment along with a copy of my driver’s license.

Wigglesworth on January 9, 2014 at 9:11 AM

Radicals like that fake Indian from MA say that the government builds roads and bridges etc without which I’d be a complete failure. It’s not private contractors who built them. It’s not the private sector tax dollars that built them. The government built them.

But when something goes wrong with a government program all of a sudden it’s the private company’s fault.

forest on January 9, 2014 at 9:15 AM

I’m not saying Oracle is perfect. God knows some of there procedureal SQL has done some unudual things. But I’ve seen some good systems put together with Oracle and I’ve seen bad systems put together with Oracle, but I’ve never seen someone who put a bad system together with Oracle have the temerity to blame Oracle for their own lazy design. It’s just too stupid to do so. Until now, evidently.

apostic on January 9, 2014 at 8:58 AM

I’m waiting to hear Oracle’s response. I’d be surprised to hear it was their fault, but then, they’ve completely botched the deployment of Java, after having bought Sun. Trying to get users to install the Ask.com toolbar, which is basically like a virus, and hard to uninstall once you’ve got it, is a scandal for which Oracle has been roundly criticized by users and tech media. Not to mention Java is a haven for exploits.

Ward Cleaver on January 9, 2014 at 9:15 AM

Merkley and his fellow Democrats are dodging responsibility for the incompetent management of a system that should have been easy to build, test, and implement securely — and that “big business” could have done in half the time for themselves.

And, at a fraction of the cost.

TXUS on January 9, 2014 at 9:15 AM

Local radio discussing Bridgeghazi. Now that there is a scandal, the media has discovered that Christie is a Republican! Seriously, they keep repeating the words “Republican scandal”

Funny how Obamacare is never referred to as a Democrat scandal even though it is.

Happy Nomad on January 9, 2014 at 9:18 AM

Indeed HN

cmsinaz on January 9, 2014 at 9:21 AM

One word:

Wallmart”

hoakie on January 9, 2014 at 9:22 AM

Global Warming or something…

workingclass artist on January 9, 2014 at 9:23 AM

If they had used this as an excuse from the very beginning, it might have actually worked. But trotting it out four months later….Um lemme see….NO

Johnnyreb on January 9, 2014 at 9:33 AM

I suspect there is a “wheel of blame” somewhere in the White House.

Happy Nomad on January 9, 2014 at 9:10 AM

Does one of the spots read ‘Dog-Eater’s Choice’?

Lanceman on January 9, 2014 at 9:35 AM

Democrats have made a version of the argument in Washington in recent months, defending the health care law not only from Republican attacks that it’s a failure — but from the line that government itself can’t do big things.

Problem is, making note of the contractors only highlights what government can/cannot do. If government could do big things, it wouldn’t need contractors. And if they fall on their face, that only means that, not only can you not do it, but the people you hired who know better than you also couldn’t do it, which only makes you more distant from competence in the field.

I was actually pretty proud of the White House for moving their various websites to Drupal. But health care was a behemoth that they didn’t need to tackle in the first place, and clearly they were not up to the task, with or without contractors.

The Schaef on January 9, 2014 at 9:36 AM

The most puzzling thing in all this, is how big business sit by & take the abuse without a whimper.

RdLake on January 9, 2014 at 9:43 AM

IBM offered to build the entire system for FREE and save 900 billion in the process(by cleaning up all of the duplicate payments and fraud). Obama turned them down.

I wonder why.

Mord on January 9, 2014 at 8:57 AM

Because the no-bid website contract was given to Mooche’s BFF in college

Now SHADDUP already, will ya?

/

Key West Reader on January 9, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Did anyone think that the government issuing all of those last minute change orders could have had a substantial effect on the code? It’s like building an entire house and then trying to knock down and move the interior walls in order to revise the floor layout.

blammm on January 9, 2014 at 9:51 AM

The most puzzling thing in all this, is how big business sit by & take the abuse without a whimper.

RdLake on January 9, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Kabuki. Big bidness doesn’t mind Democrats, who are useful allies because they can throw down regulations that strangle potential competitors in the crib.

See also, “an unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy.”

Mr. D on January 9, 2014 at 9:55 AM

We software developers have an old saying: Garbage in, garbage out.

Software systems are built from requirements provided by the customer, in this case a bunch of commies. If those requirements are trash, so will the resulting product be. Since the messiah can’t go a day without redirecting the law, I can imagine good people like Oracle were caught trying to play catch up and morons like CGI Federal were completely lost.

Kafir on January 9, 2014 at 10:09 AM

I suspect there is a “wheel of blame” somewhere in the White House.

Happy Nomad on January 9, 2014 at 9:10 AM

I’m guessing it’s more like a Magic 8 Ball™.

bigmacdaddy on January 9, 2014 at 10:17 AM

Who are Democrats going to blame for the high premiums?

The high deductibles?

The loss of their doctors and limited choices for treatment?

The denial of treatments and prescriptions?

What high premiums and deductibles? Look at *Joe*…he only pays $99 per month and he’s got every pre-existing condition you can think of. Without Obamacare, Joe and millions like him would already be dead. Obamacare is saving lives.

Forcing religious facilities to violate their doctrine?

They never had the right to impose their religious beliefs on anyone else and thank goodness we finally put a stop to that.

Putting Catholic hospitals and facilities out of business?

The free market at work.

The tremendous cost to our nation?

What are you talking about? Don’t you realize there are millions of people who now have healthcare…some for the first time in their entire life? When the common good is served, we all benefit.

The drag on business and resulting unemployment?

Private sector businesses have plenty of money and reserves. Eliminating hours and jobs has nothing to do with Obamacare. It’s just pure unadulterated selfishness.

The degradation of care and destruction of the best health care system in the world?

Marcus Traianus on January 9, 2014 at 9:05 AM

Single payer will be so much better.
*
*

*Of course I may not be completely correct with all the distractions and scapegoats the Democrats will pull out of their hat…but rest assured…they’re never at a loss to find one.

lynncgb on January 9, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Sen. Jeff Merkley is nothing but an Obama lackey. He has had an unremarkable first term and has voted consistently with the socialist policies of this administration. He voted for Obamacare like all his democrat buddies and now refuses to take ownership of this debacle.

regmgr on January 9, 2014 at 10:23 AM

This:

forest on January 9, 2014 at 9:15 AM

JusDreamin on January 9, 2014 at 10:32 AM

Have these contracts ever been made public? I’ll bet they’re filled with all sorts of deadlines for when the government is supposed to provide specifications for the system, when the government provides working interfaces to existing government databases, when the government does testing and provides results to the contractors, etc., all of which the government broke. We already know the specifications were held back for fear of them leaking out before the elections and providing fodder for the political opposition, and we also know that what specifications were finally provided underwent constant revision right up to the day the system went on-line and beyond. Whatever mistakes the (no-bid, hand-picked by this administration) contractor made, nobody could have produced a working system on-time under the conditions Obama’s administration made them work under.

Socratease on January 9, 2014 at 10:43 AM

Ed, did you hear Governor Dayton lambasting the contractor for the MNSure glitchapalooza? It should be shouted from the mountaintop that the contractor pushed right back, stating that operational control was wrested from them in February 2013, leaving the already disgraced Minnesota officials to direct all the work.

The Democrat political appointees with no medical or technical expertise Dayton chose to ruin Minnesota’s highly excellent health care system are to blame, Dayton the self-titled Failure is to blame, and the products of Progressive educators who vote for them are to blame.

Every dropped jaw at my pharmacy counter gets the same recommendation…vote.

winoceros on January 9, 2014 at 10:51 AM

This is unbelievable, that a supposed grown-up and member of congress would have the gall to look his constituents square in the eye and say, “Blame Oracle.” The rush to implement, the steadfast refusal to hold off on implementation even as the system goblins became apparent, and the inability or unwillingness of this three-ring-circus of an administration to set up the appropriate audits and controls throughout the process to avoid ending up with the steaming pile we have, are all the responsibility of Obama, Sebelius, Et Al.

I’d call them swine, but swine provide bacon, which is delicious. All these clowns provide is excuses.

CaptFlood on January 9, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Moving the goalposts has been the ongoing hallmark of this daft legislation, now including the step of apportioning the blame.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on January 9, 2014 at 10:54 AM

There are three phone numbers on the MNSure homepage: potential Medicare recipients, potential Medicaid recipients, and American Indian tribe members. The rest of Minnesotans are expected to slog through the site. I want to autoclave my smartphone.

winoceros on January 9, 2014 at 10:54 AM

I’d call them swine, but swine provide bacon, which is delicious. All these clowns provide is excuses.

CaptFlood on January 9, 2014 at 10:51 AM

‘Are’ excuses… This will haunt me all day now :-(

CaptFlood on January 9, 2014 at 10:58 AM

Hey, I got an idea: We’ll just use this thing called “technology”! I hear it’s all the rave with the kids!

We’ll have databases and websites–just like they have in all them TV shows!!

Axeman on January 9, 2014 at 10:58 AM

Marxists.

jawkneemusic on January 9, 2014 at 11:00 AM

Democrats think the American people are stupid. Well, 2012 a small majority was stupid. I wonder if any of them have smartened up?

sadatoni on January 9, 2014 at 11:24 AM

Who are Democrats going to blame for the high premiums?
Marcus Traianus on January 9, 2014 at 9:05 AM

Ohhh, oohhhh – I want to play!!!!!
Let me just put on my OFA brayam non-thinking cap, and I’ll have all the answers. Here goes:

The high deductibles?

Big insurance companies, and Boooosh.

The loss of their doctors and limited choices for treatment?
The denial of treatments and prescriptions?

Big hospitals, big pharmacies, and greedy doctors who would rather retire than save peoples live for free, and Boooosh.

Forcing religious facilities to violate their doctrine?

No blame there – it has to be done.

Putting Catholic hospitals and facilities out of business?

That greedy Pope, and Booosh.

The tremendous cost to our nation?

The greedy taxpayers who don’t want to pay the bill, and Booosh.

The drag on business and resulting unemployment?

The greedy businesses who actually want profits and won’t go along with the plan, and Booosh.

The degradation of care and destruction of the best health care system in the world?

Back to those greedy big hospitals, insurance companies, doctors, and pharmaceuticals, and Booosh.

*Of course I may not be completely correct with all the distractions and scapegoats the Democrats will pull out of their hat…but rest assured…they’re never at a loss to find one.

lynncgb on January 9, 2014 at 10:22 AM

But I liked your answers too.

dentarthurdent on January 9, 2014 at 11:36 AM

Democrats think the American people are stupid. Well, 2012 a small majority was stupid. I wonder if any of them have smartened up?

sadatoni on January 9, 2014 at 11:24 AM

Probably not. As I’ve said before, the Idiocracy is already here – and getting worse.
“Brawndo, it has everything you need. It has electrolytes.”
Maybe they’ll rename obumblescare to Brawndo…..

dentarthurdent on January 9, 2014 at 11:39 AM

dentarthurdent on January 9, 2014 at 11:36 AM

Are you sure you’re not libfree?

Axeman on January 9, 2014 at 11:39 AM

All this goes to show you that there was no FEEDBACK in this great grand scheme of purse-snatching healthcare. There was no diligence, no assessment and a plan that can be best summed up by winks and giddy people saying to each other “Let’s do it!!”

Axeman on January 9, 2014 at 11:43 AM

Are you sure you’re not libfree?

Axeman on January 9, 2014 at 11:39 AM

I could have been channeling libtardfree, but I was trying use a brayam pattern.

dentarthurdent on January 9, 2014 at 11:48 AM

Are you sure you’re not libfree?

Axeman on January 9, 2014 at 11:39 AM

I could have been channeling libtardfree, but I was trying use a brayam pattern.

dentarthurdent on January 9, 2014 at 11:48 AM

Or I could have actually channeled verbaldouche.
They all put up the same lame OFA talking points.

dentarthurdent on January 9, 2014 at 11:49 AM

And yet the lsm would rather talk about Christies leadership instead of Obama and Sibelius

They want accountability only with folks with an R next to their name

cmsinaz on January 9, 2014 at 8:53 AM

Hehehe…they don’t maybe realize it yet, but they are shooting their own guy, what with the fatman setting himself and all that up for a D-VP slot on the Shrillary ticket.

Carry on, LSM Christie gave up any serious notion he deserves an R, when he let his Bromance show.

PatHenry on January 9, 2014 at 12:13 PM

Ed –
You mean the websites aren’t working perfectly on day one two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve thirteen fourteen fifteen sixteen seventeen eighteen nineteen twenty twenty-one twenty-two twenty-three twenty-four twenty-five twenty-six twenty-seven twenty-eight twenty-nine thirty thirty-one thirty-two thirty-three thirty-four thirty-five thirty-six thirty-seven thirty-eight thirty-nine forty forty-one forty-two forty-three forty-four forty-five forty-six forty-seven forty-eight forty-nine fifty fifty-one fifty-two fifty-three fifty-four fifty-five fifty-six fifty-seven fifty-eight fifty-nine sixty sixty-one sixty-two sixty-three sixty-four sixty-five sixty-six sixty-seven sixty-eight sixty-nine seventy seventy-one seventy-two seventy-three seventy-four seventy-five seventy-six seventy-seven seventy-eight seventy-nine eighty eighty-one eighty-two eighty-three eighty-four eighty-five eighty-six eighty-seven eighty-eight eighty-nine ninety ninety-one ninety-two ninety-three ninety-four ninety-five ninety-six ninety-seven ninety-eight ninety-nine one hundred one hundred one
verbaluce on October 1, 2013 at 10:18 AM

(Credit to NotCoach for a comment so good I had to steal it)

There Goes the Neighborhood on January 9, 2014 at 12:22 PM

“We didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

S. D. on January 9, 2014 at 2:44 PM

I went directly to Harvard Pilgrim’s website, typed in some basic information, selected a plan and I was done in about 5 minutes. I just had to send in my premium payment along with a copy of my driver’s license.

Wigglesworth on January 9, 2014 at 9:11 AM

Please contact the DNC. They are looking for cases like yours.

virgo on January 10, 2014 at 2:03 AM