CBS: 'Problems', 'Trouble' Still Hamper 'Revamped' ObamaCare Website

Monday's CBS Evening News and Tuesday's CBS This Morning both underlined the continuing problems with HealthCare.gov, even after the Obama administration claimed "it met its deadline to make HealthCare.gov work smoothly for the vast majority of shoppers". Meanwhile, the network's competitors at NBC hyped the supposed positive news about the ObamaCare website.

Wyatt Andrews noted how the White House "says that 375,000 people tried to shop on HealthCare.gov," but soon touted how "that high a number created some problems". The following morning, Major Garrett reported that "the challenges are not over" for the online health insurance clearinghouse [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

Andrews led his report for CBS Evening News with his "some problems" detail about the ObamaCare website. The correspondent then zeroed in on the case of a Florida woman who, after three failed attempts to purchase insurance, was put into a new virtual waiting list on HealthCare.gov. He detailed how the "queue", as the Obama administration is calling it, "promises an e-mail when it's their turn. But despite promises the website could handle 50,000 users at the same time, the queuing system was turned on today at approximately 35,000 users."

The CBS journalist soon added that "there are also potential problems for the thousands who have signed up for new plans. Officials are just now building the system for how insurance companies will be paid, and the companies say their enrollments are slow because of bad information coming from the government."

Anchor Scott Pelley ended the segment by asking Andrews whether the Florida woman, named June Miles-Mays, was eventually able to enroll on HealthCare.gov. The correspondent replied that "she finally filled out a paper application. That means she'll learn about her enrollment probably in a week or two."

The following morning, Garrett highlighted how "the administration says 750,000 users came to HealthCare.gov on Monday, and the system did not crash. But the White House declined to say how many of those users enrolled; how many simply shopped; and how many were shuttled into that come-back-later queue." He also featured Miles-Mays, but added information about the ObamaCare applicant that his colleague left out – that "she hasn't had insurance for five years, due to diabetes and other pre-existing conditions – precisely the kind of consumer ObamaCare is supposed to help. The website kept telling her to wait."


Nearly two weeks earlier, Garrett's report on the November 20, 2013 edition of CBS This Morning stood out as the only mention on the Big Three morning newscasts of Henry Chao's stunning revelation to Congress – that a significant portion of the I.T. infrastructure needed to support HealthCare.gov has yet to be built.

[Update: the full transcripts of Wyatt Andrew's report from Monday's CBS Evening News and Major Garrett's report from Tuesday's CBS This Morning can be read at MRC.org.]

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