In an October 3 column at USA Today, economics correspondent Tim Mullaney pronounced "HealthCare.gov a winner despite glitches."
Mullaney from all appearances has never retracted any of what he wrote that fateful day. He also defended himself vigorously in correspondence with yours truly during the week or so after my NewsBusters post critical of his writeup appeared. Accordingly, in light of what has really happened with HealthCare.gov, it seems more than appropriate to republish several paragraphs from his October review for their value as pure comedy gold.
In what appears to be a bright spot of journalism over at ABC News, reporter Jonathan Karl has been repeatedly hitting the White House hard in recent weeks over its failed ObamaCare rollout, going so far as to mock its advertising attempts to sign up young people for health care.
While Karl hit the White House hard on Sunday's World News, he was far from tough on Monday’s Good Morning America, and offered up a puff-piece cheering on ObamaCare’s enrollment numbers. Last week, Karl confronted White House Press Secretary Jay Carney over newly released ObamaCare ads, asking the press secretary, “I mean is anybody going to buy health care because Barack O-Breezy tells him to buy it because it’s hot?” [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Unlike ABC and NBC, CBS is the only network that routinely pushes back against the Obama White House during its morning broadcasts. However, since Christmas is two days out and the regular journalists at CBS News are on vacation, it appears that the hard-hitting CBS This Morning has decided to run promotional segments for ObamaCare.
Appearing on the network on December 23, reporter Wyatt Andrews offered up a glowing perspective of ObamaCare navigators featuring no conservative opposition, and calling the disastrous rollout merely “complicated.” [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
In January 2010, Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation studied the draft language in what ultimately turned into the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or what came to be known as Obamacare. His two most important findings: 1) Obamacare would encourage divorce while discouraging marriage; 2) Individuals and couples earning what most would consider to be nice but certainly not opulent incomes — especially those aged 50 and above — would pay disproportionately high premiums, while those making just a few thousand dollars less per year would, after subsidies, pay far less. Yours truly has made these points subsequently on several occassions (examples here, here, and here).
Well glory be, almost four years later, acting as if they're breaking some kind of new ground, Katie Thomas, Reed Abelson and Jo Craven McGinty at the New York Times have discovered that "the cost of premiums for people who just miss qualifying for subsidies varies widely across the country and rises rapidly for people in their 50s and 60s." Imagine that. Even then, the Times trio pegged the suffering Obamacare is inflicting to gross income and not net — and the difference is stark. Excerpts, beginning with a weak headline, follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Friday morning, CBS News's Sharyl Attkisson reported that Teresa Fryer, the chief information security officer for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), "told Congress there have been two, serious high-risk findings since the website’s launch." Further, Fryer "told congressional interviewers that she explicitly recommended denial of the website’s Authority to Operate (ATO)" in late September, "but was overruled by her superiors." Fryer's statements make sworn assertions by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that "no senior official reporting to me ever advised me that we should delay" at best difficult to believe.
While the press properly devotes attention to serious security breaches at leading retailer Target, the arguably more serious problems at HealthCare.gov continue to get scant attention. Searches on Fryer's name (not in quotes) at the Associated Press, the New York Times, and Politico all return nothing relevant. Excerpts from Attkisson's startling, read-the-whole-thing report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
ABC, CBS, and NBC all devoted air time to the Obama administration's latest "fix for the botched health care rollout"on their Friday morning newscasts, but failed to include any conservative or Republican reaction to this development. Good Morning America minimized their coverage, airing just two news briefs on "the White House offering relief now for people who lost their health insurance because it didn't meet standards required by the...health care law."
Today and CBS This Morning both spotlighted the insurance industry's worries over this change, but didn't get around to the possible political fallout over the White House announcement. Guthrie only vaguely asserted how the "fix" might be "more ammunition for the critics of the law."
On Thursday's PoliticsNation, MSNBC political analyst Goldie Taylor ludicrously saw "hypocrisy" in Republicans speaking out against A&E possibly firing Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson while opposing ObamaCare's contraception mandate as she failed to note that ObamaCare, as opposed to the Duck Dynasty controversy, is an issue of forcing employers by law to obey the government in spite of religious objections.
Without providing any quotes directly referencing the Constitution as evidence, she accused conservatives of making Phil Robertson's employment with A&E into a First Amendment issue, and then failed to note that ObamaCare actually does involve the First Amendment, and went on to make a lame joke quoting Gomer Pyle from the 1960s television show Gomer Pyle, USMC. Taylor:
Barack Obama gets to jet around on Air Force One, golfs every once in a while (/sarc), and has all the trappings and perks of the highest office in the land. But according to a headline in Monday's Washington Post, he is the one person in the whole USA above everyone else — not those who have lost health insurance plans with which they were happy, not those who are paying outrageious amounts for far skimpier coverage than they formerly had, not the millions of potential workers so discouraged that they are no longer looking for work or considered to be workers, not the increasing ranks of the homeless — who has taken it on the chin this year (bolds are mine throughout this post):
On the Wednesday, December 18, All In with Chris Hayes show on MSNBC, host Chris Hayes fretted that uninsured Americans are not a "potent constituency" during a discussion of the debate over extending unemployment benefits.
He did not mention a CBS News/New York Timespoll which ironically was released earlier in the day finding that ObamaCare is as unpopular among uninsured Americans as with the general population.
Speaking with MSNBC analyst Ezra Klein, Hayes posed:
On Wednesday's CBS Evening News, Carter Evans spotlighted Leslie Foster, an apparent ObamaCare "success story," who gushed about the "amazing things" in his subsidized health plan. But Evans failed to mention that Foster "campaigned for President Barack Obama's election", as the Wall Street Journal reported in an October 7, 2013 article. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The correspondent zeroed in on Foster, an "independent filmmaker" in California, in the midst of a segment that underlined the findings of the latest CBS News/New York Times poll, which found "a lot of skepticism...about the President's health care law. Only 16 percent of the Americans we talked to told us the law would help them. Eighty percent said it would hurt them or have no effect."
Earlier this morning (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), in a post primarily about the Associated Press's whitewashing of President Barack Obama's quote of the year acknowledging that his multi-year guarantee — "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health clinic care plan, period" — was, ahem, "not ... accurate" (Obama's words), I noted that the related web page for NBC's "Today" show followed the AP's lead by claiming that Obama's original promise and not the admission was the quote of the year.
The video clip present at that same web page is both funny and sad. It's funny, because Tamron Hall began her report by ignorantly asserting that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is "everyone's favorite mayor from the Northeast." It's sad, because like the AP, NBC's video truncated Obama's actual November 14 admission and let it slide without further comment, effectively giving what Ford said about his drinking and use of drugs more weight than Obama's admission that he lied to the American people for years. The clip follows the jump:
In what appears to be a deliberate watering down of the significance of the statement a Yale University librarian has identified as the year's top quote in his eighth annual list, the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, used the following headline in its Sunday morning "Big Story" coverage: "OBAMA'S HEALTH CARE PROMISE IS 2013 TOP QUOTE."
Uh, no. The statement tagged as 2013's top quote is Obama's admission that the guarantee he made dozens of times over a several-year period — "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan, period" — was, ahem, "not ... accurate" (Obama's words). The wire service also truncated what Obama actually said in his November 14 admission, yet didn't employ an ellipsis in doing so.
An Associated Press-GfK poll has found that 11 percent of an admittedly small sample of Americans insured through their employer or a family member's employer are losing their coverage in 2014. The related AP report relays that point and even has a graphic supporting it.
But reporters Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Jennifer Agiesta failed to make the drop-dead obvious connection. According President Barack Obama and his White House spinmeisters, nothing is changing as a result of Obamacare if you're employed, and Obama's false guarantee that "if you like your plan, you can keep your plan" only applies to those in the private individual insurance market. Tell that to the 11 percent.
In mid-November, Americans for Tax Reform compiled a list of federal spending on state Obamacare exchanges totaling a breathtaking $4.5 billion.
One number on the list stands out from the rest — and it's not California's, though its $910 million amout is awful, disproportionate, and surely highly wasteful (before considering scalability concerns, the fixed costs of building a web site should be close to the same regardless of a state's population). The big eye-catcher is tiny Vermont's staggering $208 million. The nation's second-least populous state (626,000 as of 2012) has 0.2 percent of the U.S. population, but has received 4.6 percent of grants from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Though the Green Mountain State's enrollment numbers have been among the country's least embarrassing on percentage of the population, its exchange's rollout has in many ways been as bad, if not worse, than HealthCare.gov's, according to a December 10 Vermont Public Radio report which has garnered very little attention (HT Megan McArdle at Bloomberg News; bolds are mine):
But somehow, the fact that the state's Obamacare exchange, Access Health CT, "had incorrect information online about deductibles and co-insurance impacting all 19 individual health plans from the three insurance companies that offer those plans" doesn't merit attention. Further indicating the development's national significance, as David Steinberg at PJ Media has noted, President Barack Obama himself cited Access Health CT as a success story in supposedly getting one-third of its enrollees from people who are 35 and younger (also not true) back on October 21. More verbiage from the story, as reported in the Hartford Courant by Fox Connecticut's Louisa Moller, follows the jump:
The Daily Beast’s Michael Tomasky seems to have an obsession with using his column to provide cover for Democrats and President Obama, especially over the failed healthcare law known as ObamaCare.
In his most recent piece published this morning, Tomasky desperately tried to convince his readers that, “Obamacare’s Back” and that he “[t]old you so.” During his weak attempt to sell the healthcare law, Tomasky proclaims that “as predicted, by next fall, the law is going to be a net plus for Obama and the Democrats.” Don’t mind the millions of Americans being forced off their health care plans or the numerous businesses being forced to violate their religious conscious to cover contraception, the law according to Tomasky is a huge success.
Urging his viewers to "get your tapes rolling at home" to record his prediction, that great Nostradamus of MSNBC predicted on his Wednesday, December 11 program that come March 1, five million people would be signed up for ObamaCare.
"I mean, if we have got 3 million people who have been on to it already, where are we going to be in April?!" the MSNBC host pondered aloud, referring to the total number of visitors to the HealthCare.gov website. "This baby is going to be off the chart!" Dr. Schultz thundered as he gave his prognosis [WATCH video below page break; LISTEN to mp3 audio here]:
Polls have not been kind to President Obama or his health care law lately, and MSNBC has had no choice but to acknowledge that fact. However, on Wednesday’s Andrea Mitchell Reports, NBC News political director Chuck Todd desperately fished for a silver lining in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll numbers on ObamaCare.
Todd told Mitchell that health care was the key to the president turning around his own low approval ratings. While acknowledging that 50 percent of poll respondents said ObamaCare is a bad idea, Todd found a faint ray of sunshine for supporters of the law. He told the host: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
As a reminder, the Washington Post's Ezra Klein was the founder of the secretive JournoList group late last decade. Their objective was to put left-wing writers, perhaps with input from the Democratic Party itself and certain of its candidates for national office, on the same page in their coverage of the news.
That's useful to know, as on Saturday Klein published a column which might as well have been called "Obama administration talking points meant to convince readers that the President's 'If you like your health insurance plan, you can keep your health insurance plan, PERIOD' promise really wasn't that important" (Alternative title: "As the Goalposts Move"). Almost four weeks after Barack Obama owned up to the fact that his guarantee wasn't true for millions of private individual health insurance policyholders (he has yet to acknowledge the current impact on certain small employer group plans or the impending impact on large employer-sponsored plans), and given the fact that his broken guarantee is already an established fact in the historical record — no less than the Associated Press acknowledged this on September 30 — Klein's topic choice is odd indeed. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine throughout this post; numbered tags are mine):
Norah O'Donnell's 20-second news brief on Monday's CBS This Morning is the sole Big Three network mention so far of the Wall Street Journal's Sunday report about a "troubling element" of ObamaCare – exorbitant deductibles with the no-frills plans available on the health care exchanges.
O'Donnell zeroed in on the item by reporters Leslie Scism and Timothy W. Martin, who cited a new report that found that "the average individual deductible for...a bronze plan on the exchange...is $5,081 a year": [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace was not in the mood to put up with Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel's standard-issue leftist guff on Sunday. Last night, I noted that the pressed Emanuel until he forced a "yes" out of him to a simple question: "Didn't he (President Obama) say, 'If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.'" That move brought out Emanuel's ridiculous contention that what Obama somehow really meant was, "If you want to pay more for an insurance company that covers your doctor, you can do that. This is a matter of choice." Everyone but you and a few deluded leftists know that isn't so, Zeke.
A good example of Wallace standing up to what amounted to a bullying attempt by Emanuel, followed by a couple of other howlers delivered by Zeke the Bleak, are after the jump.
In promoting the Affordable Care Act, or what has come to be known by friend and foe alike as "Obamacare," to the American public, President Obama spent at least four years making two fundamental guarantees: "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan," and "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor." It is quite well-known that the first guarantee has been proven untrue with private individual plans. Less known is that the guarantee is destined to become more untrue as employer-sponsored plans throughout 2014 decide whether to comply with Obamacare's costly plan design and compliance requirements and continue to cover their employees, or abandon that effort entirely and pay the related fines for not doing so.
On Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, one of Obamacare's chief architects, attempted to claim that the President's second guarantee was not a lie. Wait until you see his "reasoning." [See video after jump.]
On Friday morning, Richard Pollock at the Washington Examiner (HT Ed Driscoll at PJ Media) broke an important story about the the large number of doctors choosing not to participate in Covered California, the state's Obamacare exchange.
The odds that the agenda-driven press in the formerly Golden State of California was already aware of this problem and chose not to report on it would seem to be pretty high — and they're still ignoring the story, despite its obvious impact on the availability of medical services once Obamacare kicks in on January 1. Excerpts from Pollock's report follow the jump (bolds are mine):
So it's come to this. During the past week, the Associated Press reported today, "Federal health officials," meaning "the Obama administration," began "urging" (i.e., "telling") counselors and navigators around the country to stop using paper applications for Obamacare coverage, "because of concerns those applications would not be processed in time." It seems that either Team Obama or AP (my money is on AP) doesn't mind risking criticism for waiting to let this news out until a weather- and sports-dominated Saturday. It's apparently okay to keep those who don't know any better, i.e., those who went to the trouble of printing a paper app on their own, in the dark.
So you shouldn't use paper. But the vastly under-reported but inarguable fact is that HealthCare.gov isn't secure; experienced IT security experts strongly warn against using it. So consumers shouldn't be going online either, meaning that there's no defensible way to apply for coverage before the end of the year. Of course, the Associated Press's Kelli Kennedy didn't tell readers that (no form of the word "security" is in her late Saturday morning story), just as she and Time Magazine's web site failed to do earlier this week (bolds are mine):
The ongoing effort to insulate President Barack Obama from the negative consequences of his "signature achievement," not only with the HealthCare.gov web site but also his false "If you like your plan-doctor-provider, you can keep your plan-doctor-provider" guarantees, is a sickening sight to behold.
Reid Epstein at the Politico contributed one small chapter in that exercise. He decided to "report" on the portion of the President's interview with MSNBC sycophant Chris Matthews (some related NewsBusters posts are here, here, and here) concerning whether Obama's "management style" contributed to "problems with the Obamacare rollout." The predictable answers: Of course not, he doesn't need to change anything, and there's no reason why a reporter should even be the least bit skeptical. Oh, and it's really all Congress's fault (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Seung Min Kim and Jennifer Haberkorn at the Politico have apparently been living in hermetically sealed Beltway caves since early October.
In an item which appeared Tuesday evening, the pair acted as if the idea that Americans stand a great chance of losing access to their current doctors and other medical providers as a result of signing up for a health care plan through the Obamacare exchange is something brand new. Kim and Haberkorn write that Republican opponents of Obamacare are going to have to "replicate the uproar" which occurred with "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan," when the uproar has been building for weeks, based on numerous stories involving real people (bolds and numbered tags are mine):
On Tuesday's MSNBC Daily Rundown, host Chuck Todd was eager to declare the ObamaCare disaster to be over and claim Republicans were now of the defensive: "With 750,000 visitors to the site yesterday without a crash and the Obama administration now confident that the website is functioning...the Republican repeal movement may actually now fizzle out completely." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Todd attempted to bolster his assertion by citing leftist Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, who on Monday declared that supposed fixes to HealthCare.gov meant that "opponents of the Affordable Care Act have lost what may have been their last chance to do away with the law."
On November 19, Henry Chao, deputy chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, told a congressional committee that "[W]e still have to build the payment systems to make payments to issuers in January" for those who have enrolled in plans through HealthCare.gov.
On Black Friday, while almost no one was paying attention, Alex Nussbaum at Bloomberg News reported that "The administration is setting up a temporary process ... (in which) insurers will estimate what they are owed rather than have the government calculate the bill." Somehow, they'll settle up (or "true up") at the detailed level later. Tuesday evening, Roberta Rampton and Caroline Humer at Reuters covered this development. The Reuters item, which went live about an hour before Megyn Kelly's broadcast last night, moved the Fox News host to treat it as her lead story.
Call it a case of interview envy--in the context of an ongoing feud between two MSNBC hosts.
There has been bad blood between Joe Scarborough and Chris Matthews for years, as here, here and here. On today's Morning Joe, Scarborough took the occasion of Chris Matthews' impending interview of President Obama to mock the way Matthews' on-air schedule has shrunk. In a particularly low blow, Scarborough even compared the Hardball host to Regis Philbin. View the video after the jump.