October 17 2013
Patrice J. Lee
There’s celebration today in Delaware and it’s not because the federal shutdown is over. It is because the state’s healthcare exchange just signed up its first ObamaCare enrollee –a mere 15 days after the rollout.
Lucky Delaware officials are celebrating but few others are. For all of the promotion by the Administration and media hype leading up to October 1, the rollout has been woeful at best as the federal website healthcare.gov and the state exchange websites are riddled with “glitches” causing the sites to crash, work improperly or not at all.
There’s no way to spin disaster and now even ardent supporters of the Administration are publicly criticizing the disaster that is healthcare.gov.
This week former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs came out swinging against the healthcare rollout as an embarrassment and said heads should roll:
“I hope they are working day and night to get this done. When they get it fixed, I hope they fire some people that were in charge of making sure that this thing was supposed to work,” Gibbs said Monday on MSNBC’s “Now with Alex Wagner”.
Gibbs said the problems with the exchanges and the administration’s health care website were not “fatal,” but need to be “figured out fast.”
“This was bungled badly. This was not a server problem, just too many people came to the website, this is a website architecture problem. I think it is, again, excruciatingly embarrassing,” Gibbs said. “We knew there were going to be glitches, right? But these were glitches that go, quite frankly, way beyond the pale of what should be expected.”
Watching the looks on the faces of the MSNBC talking heads as Gibbs made his comments: priceless. They appeared frozen in disbelief that a respected former White House spokesman would be openly critical of the ObamaCare rollout efforts. I give credit to Gibbs for saying what others supportive of the bill are unwilling to admit, the rollout has been a failure.
Gibbs is not alone. He is joined by Washington Post journalist Ezra Klein:
“The way this I.P. is going is a disaster, I really don’t think people should soft pedal what a bad launch this is. They’ve done a terrible job on this website,” Klein said on Monday’s Morning Joe. ”We’re a couple of weeks in and people can’t sign up, people have tried 20, 30, 40 times, I mean it’s one thing for that to be true the first three or four days, it’s another thing for it to be true two or three weeks in.”
Klein added that there had been a “big traffic bottleneck, but behind that traffic bottleneck there’s now the worry that there are deeper more systemic problems.”
Their condemnation of the ObamaCare rollout is nice affirmation of what many of us critics have been saying for quite some time. But we should be careful to understand where we part ways. Whereas they are critical of the implementation, we are critical of both the law and its implementation.
The law may have been well-intentioned but ObamaCare is full of negatives: it places financial burdens on individuals –especially young people– and businesses because of the individual and employer mandates, erodes our freedom to choose what we do with our own bodies, generates new taxes and fees, creates greater regulations on the healthcare industry, expands Medicare and Medicaid, creates an insecure data repository for the private personal and health information of Americans, creates unfair deals and special treatment for certain constituencies, and more.
ObamaCare has also planted the fallacious idea in the minds of many Americans that government provision of healthcare is a right for every person. That may be true of socialist nations but it’s not true of the United States. Healthcare historically in the U.S. is a benefit provided by the private sector – not government – that we secure for ourselves, if we choose to.
Gibbs and Klein aren’t likely to find problems with many of the negatives we’ve listed. They likely see them as collateral damage in the war of moving our nation closer to providing single-payer healthcare.
Nonetheless, we’ll applaud the courage of these two ObamaCare supporters for saying the uncomfortable truth: the rollout is a disaster.
And if this is how a website is handled, imagine how the provision of care services under ObamaCare will go.