CBS's Crawford: Launch of ObamaCare Website A 'Complete Disaster'

On Wednesday's CBS This Morning, Jan Crawford repeatedly underlined that the launch of HealthCare.gov has been a fiasco. After Norah O'Donnell noted the "rough start to ObamaCare", Crawford blunted stated that "'rough start' could be the understatement of the year. It has been a complete disaster." She pointed out that "we can't even find anyone who's enrolled. The Miami Herald is now calling them urban legends."

The correspondent later spotlighted how "the failures [of ObamaCare] are well documented, but the success stories are not." She also asserted that "the backlash, the criticism, the complete failure of this rollout" would be more apparent if the partial government shutdown hadn't happened. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

O'Donnell herself hinted at Crawford's point just before the anchor used her "rough start" label of the glitch-plagued website: "And if the debt battle wasn't going on right now, this story would be dominating the news – the rough start to ObamaCare." The CBS journalist continued with her "complete disaster" line, and reported that "members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are launching an investigation into what went wrong."

Crawford then played back-to-back clips of President Obama – a soundbite from Tuesday where he acknowledged that there are "more glitches than I think are acceptable" on HealthCare.gov; followed by a clip from the day the website launched, where the politician "tried to compare the health care rollout to the launch of a new iPhone", as the correspondent put it.

Later in the segment, the correspondent noted how ObamaCare "supporters, like the President's former press secretary, Robert Gibbs, say someone should be fired" over the failure, and highlighted how HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius couldn't answer the simple question of how many people had enrolled for coverage on the federal website during an October 7, 2013 interview on Comedy Central's "Daily Show".  She also pointed out how "the administration is refusing to release numbers on how many people have been able to enroll – although press secretary Jay Carney, for the first time yesterday, managed to identify a few."

A week earlier, on the October 9, 2013 edition of CBS This Morning, Crawford touted how "the website’s launch has been nothing short of disastrous", and spotlighted how "USA Today called the launch 'an inexcusable mess' and 'a nightmare'."

The full transcript of Jan Crawford's report from Wednesday's CBS This Morning:


NORAH O'DONNELL: And if the debt battle wasn't going on right now, this story would be dominating the news – the rough start to ObamaCare. It has been more than two weeks since HealthCare.gov went live. Uninsured Americans are still trying to sign up for coverage, but complaints are growing louder every day. We even hear them from members of Congress, but – but people out there, too.

Jan Crawford is on Capitol Hill. Jan, good morning.

JAN CRAWFORD: Well, good morning, Norah; good morning, Charlie. I mean, rough start – that could be the understatement of the year. It has been a complete disaster. We don't know how many people have enrolled. We can't even find anyone who's enrolled. The Miami Herald is now calling them urban legends. And now, here on Capitol Hill, CBS News has learned that the members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are launching an investigation into what went wrong.

[CBS News Graphic: "ObamaCare Overload: President Admits Bungle Of Health Care Site Launch"]

CRAWFORD (voice-over): The President is now acknowledging the problems with HealthCare.gov are more serious than he initially let on.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA (from KCCI interview): The website that was supposed to do this all in a seamless way has had way more glitches than I think are acceptable.

CRAWFORD: It was a different President Obama two weeks ago, when he tried to compare the health care rollout to the launch of a new iPhone.

OBAMA (from October 1, 2013 press conference): They found a glitch, so they fixed it. I don't remember anybody suggesting Apple should stop selling iPhones or iPads.

CRAWFORD: Except the problem with the website – it hasn't been fixed. Even supporters, like the President's former press secretary, Robert Gibbs, say someone should be fired. Gibbs didn't name names, but the head of the Republican Party is pointing straight to the top – calling on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to go.

Sebelius isn't talking, at least not since her interview on 'The Daily Show' last week went viral, after she fumbled her way through it.

JON STEWART (from interview on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show"): How many have signed up thus far?

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: Fully enrolled? I can't tell you, because I don't know.

CRAWFORD: At this point, the failures are well documented, but the success stories are not. The administration is refusing to release numbers on how many people have been able to enroll – although press secretary Jay Carney, for the first time yesterday, managed to identify a few – a woman in Illinois; a couple in Mississippi; and a family in Utah.

Remember, seven million people is the sign-up target by the end of March. For Republicans, it's like – well, shooting fish in a barrel.

REP. CHRIS STEWART, (R), UTAH (from speech on House of Representatives floor): $634 million – that's how much it cost to develop the ObamaCare website. Facebook operated for six years on less money than that.

CRAWFORD (on-camera): Now, I think, the President can be grateful for one thing. Think about the backlash, the criticism, the complete failure of this rollout would be getting if Republicans had focused on this, instead of waging that shutdown fight. Charlie and Norah?

O'DONNELL: Jan, thank you.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center