Obama “glossed over the depth and breadth of the current troubles”

By Dave Andrusko

obamacare5I only had a chance to see a little of President Obama’s Rose Garden speech Monday but I’ve read dozens of stories since. I will not take the road many commentators from across the spectrum took: mocking the President for coming across like one of late-night salesmen pitching an assortment of knives or handy-dandy equipment to keep the leaves out of your gutters.

But because his nearly half-hour speech was so…disjointed…and because a woman standing behind him nearly passed out, it was if these latest missteps signaled it was okay to ramp up the questions about the rollout of the ObamaCare health care insurance exchanges.

We all knew they were a disaster, now the mainstream media is (to an extent at least) demanding Obama actually demonstrate what he keeps insisting is the hallmark of his administration: transparency.

For example, POLITICO is not exactly an Obama critic. But the story by David Nathan today—“The Obamacare bunker mentality”—is about as straightforward a critique of the administration’s unwillingness to be forthcoming about anything as you could get. As Nather wrote

“But even on Monday, administration officials still couldn’t give any sense of how extensive the problems are. They wouldn’t say who’s being drafted for the ‘tech surge,’ other than the White House innovation fellows. And they didn’t give even a ballpark prediction of when the site might be working smoothly for most Americans.”

The National Journal’s widely respected Ron Fournier has a column out headlined, “Why Obama Should Be Freaked Out Over Obamacare: It’s worse than we know, this is the easy part, and millions of Americans could be hurt.” He offers five reasons “why frustration isn’t enough [a reference to how the President characterized himself Monday]. He should be frightened.”

We’ve already talked extensively about the most obvious reason: how bungled the rollout has been and the fact that website design was the “easy” part. Everything else will be much, MUCH more difficult. As Fournier writes, “Managing a complex law is a different matter”—to put it mildly.

And each days brings new revelations of just how unprepared the Obama administration was for the October 1 unveiling—and went ahead anyway. Last night I read online a story that appeared in the print version of the Washington Post today:

“Days before the launch of President Obama’s online health ­insurance marketplace, government officials and contractors tested a key part of the Web site to see whether it could handle tens of thousands of consumers at the same time. It crashed after a simulation in which just a few hundred people tried to log on simultaneously.

“Despite the failed test, federal health officials plowed ahead.

“When the Web site went live Oct. 1, it locked up shortly after midnight as about 2,000 users attempted to complete the first step, according to two people familiar with the project.”

Let’s double back to the President’s Rose Garden defense yesterday. Writing at the Hotair.com site, Allahpundit observed

“The White House communications team had three weeks to find 10-15 people who’ve actually enrolled in O-Care via Healthcare.gov to serve as human props for an Obama press conference on this subject. Three weeks. And yet, according to the WH’s [White House’s] own mini-biographies of the people invited to the Rose Garden today, just … three have successfully registered so far. Last week, Bob Laszewski estimated that no more than 20,000 people had managed to enroll in the site’s first 14 days or so online. If the White House had this much trouble finding a dozen or so for one of O’s biggest photo ops this year, I’ve got to wonder if the real number’s significantly less than that.”

And, to repeat, the criticism transcends the usual divides. The editors of USA Today wrote

“You can’t help but wonder: Where was all this frantic effort in the three-and-a-half years from the time Obama signed the health law to the day the exchanges opened on Oct. 1? Because that might have helped avoid the unforced error that is raising doubts about the administration’s ability to manage other pieces of the complex law.”

And Nicole Fisher, writing at Forbes,

“Unfortunately for those Americans who are really interested in signing up on the exchange sites, he glossed over the depth and breadth of the current troubles, giving a speech that sounded more like a State of the Union address with small-business examples and reading letters written to the White House.”

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