October 21, 2013

Politico Redacted: Republicans Having Hearings on Disastrous HealthCare.gov Rollout Are ‘Preparing For Their Own Victory Lap’

Earlier today, as seen here in a clone post elsewhere, the Politico reported, as if it is an undisputed fact, that “Republican opponents of the law (Obamacare) are preparing for their own victory lap.” That alleged “victory lap” will be the “first hearing to spotlight the faulty Obamacare website.”

Apparently that intemperance was a bit much even for the clearly left-leaning Politico. The original story, entitled “Obama to tackle Affordable Care Act glitches head-on,” seems to have disappeared from Politico’s web site, replaced by “Obama on ACA website: ‘No excuse for these problems’” written by Jason Millman and Reid Epstein. A Google search on the quoted text in the previous paragraph leads to this newer item. Excerpts from the new story follow the jump (bolds are mine):

President Barack Obama on Monday tossed aside months of messaging about how easy it would be to sign up for health care under his signature law and sought to remind Americans that the Affordable Care Act has benefits far beyond the chance to apply for insurance online.

And he urged Americans not to give up on Obamacare, even if they were frustrated by HealthCare.gov.

Standing in the Rose Garden three weeks into the rocky launch, Obama lamented the difficulties with the Obamacare website, while ticking through the law’s benefits that don’t rely on online sign-ups.

“Yes, the website really stank for the first week,” Obama read from a letter he’d received from someone who applied for coverage.

Obama’s new pitch is the health care law itself is “working just fine.” It just has a balky website that needs to be fixed — and will be fixed, he said.

“Nobody is madder than me about the fact that the website isn’t working as well as it should, which means it’s going to get fixed,” Obama said.

Much of Obama’s pitch centered on the guts of the law, rather than its online front door. He said there was no “sugarcoating” the tech problems, but he predicted that people will be patient in order to access health care they wouldn’t otherwise get.

… Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has been asked to appear before the House Energy and Commerce Committee on Oct. 30, when committee Republicans intend to grill her about the technical challenges facing the Obamacare enrollment system. That hadn’t been finalized Monday evening, but Sebelius did offer to testify next Wednesday after declining to appear this Thursday, when several of the contractors who built the enrollment system are expected.

For all the frustrations with HealthCare.gov, some people have made it through the application process — and the White House highlighted some of those stories Monday.

Two key points. First, Obama did not apologize to the millions of Americans whose time has been wasted by a web site that still doesn’t work.

Second, the stream of phantom “success stories” continues to flow freely. Of the 13 stories the White House highlighted on Monday, only a very few represented actual enrollments in actual health care plans:

… after reading the White House-provided descriptions of each of those behind the president, it’s clear the administration was stretching to present people who, beyond supporting Obamacare, have actually gained from it in any tangible way.

Of course the Politico pair didn’t note this.

It’s pretty bad if the White House cannot even round up a decent contingent of real success stories to stand behind the President during a Rose Garden speech.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.


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