On Fox News Sunday, AP’s Julie Pace Makes Excuses For HealthCare.gov and Obama Admin’s 2015 Enrollment Delay
On Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace yesterday (full video here), the Associated Press’s Julie Pace twice demonstrated why hanging the “Administration’s Press” moniker on the self-described “essential global news network” is more than justified.
One of the two sequences involved the Obama administration’s announcement that it will delay Obamacare enrollment for 2015 by 30 days until November 15, 2014 and its optimism that the dysfunctional, insecure HealthCare.gov web site will be operational by the end of the month. In this sequence, Pace indicated blind acceptance of unsupported assertions combined with willingness to parrot long-discredited talking points about why the website initially crashed. Fortunately, as we’ll see, Wallace did not let her website history rewrite slide (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
SEN. JOHN BARRASSO, R-WY.: It is a cynical political ploy by the administration to hide the additional sticker shock, the increased costs of insurance that are going to come next year.
JAY CARNEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We’re doing it because it makes sense for insurers to have as clear a sense of the pool of consumers they gain in the market this year before setting rates for next year.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS WALLACE: Republican Senator John Barrasso and White House spokesman Jay Carney clashing over the latest delay in ObamaCare and whether it has anything or everything to do with politics. And we’re back now with the panel.
George, let’s start with this delay. This is about signing up for the second year of ObamaCare. The enrollment was originally set to start next October 15, a couple of weeks before the election. The White House announced on Friday it is going to be delayed until November 15, a couple of weeks after the election.
Do you believe — that is I guess a rhetorical question. The White House argues — look at that skeptical look. The White House argument this is just to give the insurance companies more time to go over the rates and figure out what their premiums should be.
GEORGE WILL: To give them that crucial 30 days that would make all the difference. It’s transparent and it’s silly on their part. It’s bad politics. If the aim of this is to keep from voters information that they might have on October 15 as opposed to November 15, the information is going to be given by the insurance companies to state insurance regulators by that summer. Journalists are going to come around and say share with us this.  Now, there are some people who say, well, governors in Democratic states are going to suppress this. I don’t think so. There is going to be a big row either way. So if this is intended to tamp down the fire, it is actually kerosene.
WALLACE: Julie, a couple of questions for you. First of all, I’m sure you were all over this story on Friday. When you go to White House officials behind the scenes and go, really? Just before the election to until after the election? What do they say? And secondly, we got a new deadline, and the new deadline is next Saturday, November 30, the Obama healthcare.gov website will be up and running. How confident are they that it will be?
PACE: On the first point, on the 2015 delays, what they say is this is something that insurers have actually been asking for , because they feel like given the problems that we’ve already had with the website, they are not going to have the full picture of the pool for this year in order to calculate their new figure.
WALLACE: So therefore it is completely coincidental?
PACE: Completely coincidental depending on who you ask. On the website issue, they actually feel fairly confident that by November 30, that this website will be up and running for the vast majority of users.  This isn’t going to be some new grand unveiling of the website on November 30. This is something that they say has kind of been gradually improving. They have a lot of statistics that show that wait times have gone down, that more people are getting through the website.
Their big fear though, is that you are going to have on November 30 and through the enrollment period in December, a huge influx of people, a lot of traffic on the website. And we all remember that in early October it was traffic that initially crashed the site and revealed all these other problems. 
WALLACE: Or at least that’s what they said it was. 
PACE: It certainly was the initial problem, and then it revealed the later problems– 
WALLACE: Although it turns out if you had more than 500 people on it, it would have crashed the site. 
 — With all due respect, George, I wouldn’t count on journalists to be curious about anything which might reflect badly on the Obama administration before the 2014 congressional elections. They haven’t been to this point. Why will things change?
 — I wouldn’t believe this assertion until a specific insurance company or an insurance trade group confirms this. Otherwise, given the administration’s complete lack of credibility, there is no reason to believe that this delay is what insurance companies wanted.
 — What does “up and running for the vast majority of users” mean? Why would some users not be able to fully access HC.gov while others can? Does it have to do with browser-specific issues (if so, you’ve got to be kidding)? No one in the press seems to be at all curious about who will still have trouble using the site, which IT security experts insist should still be avoided like the plague on November 30, and who won’t.
 — This was complete disinformation on Pace’s part. It was not initial traffic which crashed the site; the site was completely dysfunctional for even one user at a time — and, again, hopelessly insecure from the get-go. It was good to see Wallace politely but firmly put a stop to her nonsense.
The other segment where Pace revealed that her organization is really a group of leftist apparatchiks who disguise themselves as journalists had to do with how long they were willing to sit on a story of national importance before revealing it to the public. That’s covered in a later post.
Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.