We are three weeks removed from the launch of Obamacare and it appears to be more of a disaster than ever. For an administration that has worked so hard to control the message, the failure of the Obamacare exchange rollout is one message they haven't managed to dictate. This speaks to the pervasive problems associated with Obamacare that stretch beyond partisan politics.
Obamacare effects us all – liberals and conservatives, young and old, employed or unemployed. The only difference is that this administration has attempted to use its power to mitigate the effects of this law for a select few: Congress, big business (for a while), unions. But the rest of the American people were forced to endure a painful rollout of the exchange marketplaces. Why? To score political points. But I believe that those political points were short-sighted, and now the administration has far bigger problems as a result.
Who is going to answer for this disaster? In the private sector, a boondoggle of this nature would have resulted in firing or realignment or something. People have to be held accountable, especially when something is this bad. How else do you instill credibility in the eyes of your clients or the public? Well the same cannot be said for government. Accountability isn't exactly its strong suit. Consider how long we've worked to hold someone accountable for the failures of Benghazi or the IRS targeting scandal. In Washington, these things take time and with time comes increased frustration. The same will be the case for Obamacare.
The calls for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to resign have grown more prevalent. Meanwhile, it seems as though Sebelius is afraid to step up and answer questions. Later this week there is supposed to be a House hearing on the Obamacare rollout. Who better to ask to testify other than Kathleen Sebelius? Unfortunately she is too busy to attend. She has more pressing matters to attend to (a gala in Boston) than answer for her failures. She won't even send lower level officials to the hearing to testify. The resistance to answer questions is insulting. While Americans are struggling to simply sign up, while our healthcare costs are sky rocketing, while our jobs are being effected, Kathleen Sebelius doesn't respect us enough to give us a few hours of her time to explain? Marco Rubio said over the weekend that her refusal to testify is “undermining her credibility.” I couldn't agree more.
This resistance has already backfired, at least from a PR standpoint. Democratic Senator Dick Durbin told Fox News over the weekend that Sebelius will “ultimately” have to testify. Perhaps this is why Barack Obama felt the need to address the nation this morning on the subject of the Obamacare rollout. Someone in the White House has gotten the hint that this administration can't hide from this failure forever; They've got to get out in front of it. It may also be because Obama's approval rating continues to drop. According to the latest Gallup polling, Obama's approval rating is at 44.5%, dropping another 3% from last quarter.
Obama addressed the nation this morning, flanked by those who claim they've enrolled in Obamacare. Wouldn't you hate to have been the bureaucrat in charge of finding those people? Like needles in a haystack! But anyway … Obama acknowledged that Healthcare.gov “hasn't worked as smoothly as it was supposed to work.” That's an understatement, Mr. President. But then he went on to blame it on the number of people visiting the website, which we know is just not true. The website design is deeply flawed and today we found out that it is going to take a re-write of 5 million lines of code to make it usable. That has nothing to do with website traffic. Today Obama stressed the administration's new 'tech surge' in order to fix the site. Too little, too late? But Obama tried to remind the American people that Obamacare is more than a website. The problem is that people have to use websites in order to sign up for Obamacare or soon they will face a fine! Now the administration is pushing signing up over the telephone. He went as far so as to give out the phone number during his address! The fact that we can't use the website to enroll is a flat-out failure. But overall Obama's speech was remarkably tone deaf. He is still pushing the same lies and fallacies and promises that do not reflect reality. The fact that he cannot acknowledge this fact will harm his credibility. Instead of coming out today and speaking to the flaws and hardships and acknowledging the pain of the American people, he maintained the line that “the product” (Obamacare) is good. “It is a good deal.” Who does he think he's kidding?
Now it's time for some of the latest must-reads on the rollout of the Obamacare exchanges:
Hospitals face whole new world under health law (USA Today)
RNC petitions administration for Obamacare enrollment numbers (The Daily Caller)
Obamacare Raising Premiums, Hurting Middle, Lower Class (Washington Free Beacon)
HealthCare.Gov Needs Five Million Code Lines Rewritten (National Review)
Why Obamacare Can’t Quit The Individual Mandate (The Federalist)
What's clear is that Obamacare was never ready for prime-time. What's also clear is that the administration put politics ahead of pragmatism and the result is this train wreck crashing before our very eyes.