The other day, former Obama White House press secretary Robert Gibbs caused a stir when he more or less echoed some of the growing calls from Republicans for the administration to fix the website’s glitches already and then “fire some people who were in charge of making sure this thing was supposed to work.” After all, the administration assured us that three and a half years would constitute enough time for them to adequately organize and implement the predictably herculean task of putting the exchanges together, so either they have some people they really need to fire or they have a rather large political admission they need to make. Which one is it going to be, guys?
Trick question. This is the Obama administration, and the answer is obviously neither:
ED HENRY: Short of somebody being fired, what kind of accountability will there be? Specifically, I haven’t heard you asked about this company, two companies I think, GCI Federal and Quality Software Services. They got millions of dollars in federal contracts for the website, the data collection, etcetera, and when even Robert Gibbs is saying, It’s been botched, is there an investigation of this company? Is this company planning to turn over these millions of dollars in hard-earned taxpayer dollars, is the government going to get some of that money back?
JAY CARNEY: Questions about contracts related to this are ones that should be addressed to HHS and CMS. I don’t have that information. What I can tell you is the accountability the president seeks today is the accountability that comes from those who are working on implementation, working around the clock to assure that the consumer experience is improved and that the whole process of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act moves forward. And again, it’s important to remember that this is not, although there is a lot of focus on it, the Affordable Care Act, ObamaCare, is not just a website. The website is simply a portal into a virtual marketplace for an average of 50 health insurance plan options per state for Americans on the individual market who, many of whom have never had access to affordable quality health insurance in the past or at least not in the recent past. And getting all of that in place is the focus of the team, and that includes of course improving the consumer experience on the website.
ED HENRY: But nobody will be held accountable?
JAY CARNEY: Again, the accountability the president seeks right now is the accountability that comes from making the system better, improving the process for consumers, fixing the problems that have arisen, and making sure that millions of Americans for whom this program was created are getting the benefits that it provides.
So… that’s a no, then? Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t getting rid of the managers who so royally botched this thing — a.k.a., holding people accountable — and bringing in better project leadership a really great way to get the system back on track?
Alas, if only that little bit of rhetorical obfuscation had been the only way in which the administration sought to avoid accountability today; Allahpundit noted earlier that it looks an awful lot like ObamaCare has achieved less than 20 percent of the enrollment target for the month of October, but the administration would like us to know that, actually, they never even had enrollment targets. Riiiiight. Via Sarah Kliff at WaPo:
Update: Health and Human Services spokeswoman Joanne Peters emails: “The Administration has not set monthly enrollment targets. We are analyzing data about the uninsured, state plans for enrollment, and the experience of the state of Massachusetts which implemented a similar system. We continue to focus on reaching as many uninsured Americans as possible, based on experience on the ground. As it did in Massachusetts and Medicare Part D, enrollment takes time.”