Maybe the folks running the HealthCare.gov call centers don't have an enemies list. Instead, based on the experience of Fox News's Jim Angle, it might be an enemies directory, with anyone they're aware of in the media and perhaps other organizations included therein.
On Bill Maher's HBO show Friday night, Democratic National Committe Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz insisted that President Obama's promise to the American people made over 20 times during a span of over two years, namely "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan," was not a lie.
Maher, appeared to warm to the idea that it was a lie, but at crunch time decided that it was something, like Bush 41's "no new taxes" pledge, that "did not hold up to the realities of governing," representing "a moral complexity I'm okay with 'cause I'm not twelve." Far-far lefty Rob Reiner also felt it necessary to criticize Republicans "who are refusing to make this better." Maher, though he didn't seem to like it, finally concluded that Obama, who in his mind previously had an "almost sterling reputation for honesty," now faces the reality that "to a certain extent that ship (of his credibility) has sailed." Video and a partial transcript are after the jump (HTs to The Blaze and Mediaite, which in my view falsely portrayed Maher's degree of disagreement; bolds are mine):
As individual and small group health care policy cancellations pour in and HealthCare.gov continues to be a phenomenal embarrassment, Obamacare's apologists, when they're not promoting laughable conspiracy theories about Republican "sabotage," are desperate to find something good to say about it.
On Al Sharpton's MSNBC show Thursday night (HTs to Hot Air, The Blaze and National Review), MSNBC analyst Goldie Taylor tried this "logic": "Health care costs alone are the number one driver of financial distress in this country for families. The number one cause of divorce in this country for families is financial distress." Therefore, because Obamacare is providing affordable health care "for all families," it is saving marriages and keeping families together, and it is hypocritical for Republicans, as the self-described party of families, to oppose it. Too bad for Ms. Taylor that, as will be shown after the jump, Obamacare really discourages marriage while encouraging currently married couples to divorce and shack up — impacts which have been known and almost completely ignored by the establishment press since early 2010.
Charlie Rose twice couldn't bring himself to clearly state that President Obama made a false promise when he repeatedly claimed that "if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it". On Tuesday's CBS This Morning, Rose underlined that "more than two million Americans are losing their current health care coverage because of ObamaCare. Jan Crawford uncovers new information on what could be a broken promise."
Two days later, the morning show anchor spun that "not all the promises [about ObamaCare] are turning out to be true, and he's [the President] had to modify some of them." Co-host Norah O'Donnell also followed Rose's lead: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
On Wednesday's The Last Word on MSNBC, MSNBC.com executive editor Richard Wolffe joined host Lawrence O'Donnell in exonerating President Obama from blame for the recent wave of health insurance policy cancellations, with Wolffe going so far as to dismiss inexpensive insurance policies which presumably are focused on covering expensive, catastrophic health care as being "bad policies" not worthy of existence in spite of the fact that consumers were choosing to purchase them. Wolffe:
The Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky on Tuesday drew a faulty comparison between the rollout of ObamaCare and the 2005 implementation of President George W. Bush’s Medicare Part D program. The thesis of Tomasky’s article, titled, “Enough Already on HealthCare.gov. Don’t You Remember Medicare Part D?”, was that Republicans should try to help ObamaCare succeed just as Democrats, many of whom had voted against Medicare Part D, tried to help that law succeed after it was passed in 2005.
Following shocking revelations exposed by NBC News that the Obama Administration knew millions of Americans would lose their health insurance under ObamaCare, the folks at MSNBC have been doing their best to provide cover for President Obama and Democrats in Congress.
Despite this damning revelation, MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts sees private insurance companies as the real culprit, not ObamaCare which forces consumers to purchase insurance benefits they do not need. Roberts claims that the problem is:
Not so much about defending Igor [Volsky] to their constituents, but explaining to constituents that you had a subpar junk policy that does not meet a mandated requirement of quality care in our country. Basically, you were being boondoggled to pay for something worthless. [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
Tuesday evening (noted by Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters early Wednesday morning), CNN's Drew Griffin reported on Anderson Cooper's show that there is a "behind the scenes attempt by the White House to at least keep insurers from publicly criticizing what is happening under this Affordable Care Act rollout."
Such a report occurring during a Republican or conservative administration would spread like wildfire. Sadly and predictably, that hasn't happened with CNN's bombshell. Using search strings which should have surfaced relevant results if present, I couldn't find anything on the topic at the Associated Press, New York Times, the Politco, or Washington Post.
Besides facing a "credibility death spiral" on the issue of ObamaCare, as political director John Dickerson recently put it, Sharyl Attkisson pointed out on Tuesday's CBS Evening News that the very structure of the so-called reform could encounter a separate "death spiral" due to the "enrollment fiasco" surrounding HealthCare.gov.
Attkisson cited unnamed health care analysts, who predicted a doomsday scenario for President's Obama's supposed signature achievement: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
John Dickerson didn't mince words about the "bad launch" of ObamaCare in his Tuesday item for Slate.com. The CBS News political director invoked one of deceased tyrant Kim Jong il's most infamous saber-rattling tactics: "Healthcare.gov launched with the fanfare and success of a North Korean missile."
Dickerson also rephrased his recent contention that "the administration could get into, sort of, a credibility death spiral" on the issue of ObamaCare. He stated that "when the website doesn't work and the promises of 2009 and 2010 are revised, questions of credibility infect everything the administration says. This can lead to a death spiral as administration officials make bold assertions to distract from the current challenges."
43 months after the passage of the Affordable Care Act, another national establishment press outlet has called President Barack Obama's serially made promise that "If you like your health care plan, you can keep your health plan" a lie. Specifically, Washington Post designated fact-checker Glenn Kessler has given it "four Pinocchios," the lowest possible rating on his scale reserved for "whoppers."
Kessler joins other press organizations admitting to the obvious way too late to matter. The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, with rare exceptions (and note that the linked analysis did not directly address the individual market), studiously avoided looking at the truthfulness of Obama's core Affordable Care Act promise for 3-1/2 years. Finally, on September 30, Calvin Woodward in Paragraph 15 of a multi-item "fact check," called Obama's pledge "an empty promise, made repeatedly." Kessler's work has one remaining hole that I will identify after presenting excerpts (HT Twitchy; links are in original; bolds are mine):
On Tuesday's NBC Tonight Show, host Jay Leno provided harsher criticism of President Obama falsely claiming that Americans could keep their current health insurance plans under ObamaCare than any of the network's reporters. Leno told the audience: "Well, it's being reported that the President has known for three years that people would lose their coverage. The press is now saying the President lied." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Leno setup a mock defense of Obama: "But today the White House said that's not true. He did not lie. And they released this tape from three years ago to prove it. Here's what he said three years ago." A comically dubbed-over sound bite followed of Obama saying people "cannot" keep their doctors and health insurance.
Yesterday, I reported that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough and his Morning Joe guests refused to come out and explicitly state that President Obama lied when he repeatedly insisted that those who like their health insurance can keep it under ObamaCare. Well, on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show Tuesday night, Scarborough finally allowed the L-word to escape his lips.
The conservative radio host played a clip of The Chicago Tribune’s Clarence Page saying Obama “probably” lied about his health care law. He then asked Scarborough, “Are you surprised that people like Clarence Page are admitting the president just out-and-out lied?” [Listen to the audio here.]
Jumping in to excuse President Obama for making the false promise (“If you like your plan, you can keep your plan”), ABC News on Tuesday night rationalized how ObamaCare is simply saving people in the individual market from being victims of awful policies forced upon them by insurance companies.
On World News, Jim Avila cited the case of Julie Prince, who has been notified her policy will be canceled. Avila turned to an ObamaCare advocate and asked: “Julie tells us that she doesn’t have hospital care on this cheap insurance plan. Is that dangerous?” Lynn Quincy of Consumers Union agreed: “Absolutely. That’s on enormous hole in her coverage.”
The Hindenburg? The Titanic? Hurricane Sandy on steroids? Any of those might have been a better analogy for the monumental mess that is Obamacare than the lame one Jon Meacham proposed on today's Morning Joe.
The presidential historian somehow sought to analogize the Obamacare fiasco to . . . the classification of ketchup as a vegetable. Huh? View the video after the jump.
You can give MSNBC’s Morning Joe crew credit for this much: they spent almost half an hour on Tuesday’s show discussing the NBC News report that President Obama knew that millions of Americans would lose their current health insurance plans because of ObamaCare. Host Joe Scarborough seemed appropriately outraged that the president knew about this even as he repeatedly insisted that those who liked their health insurance could keep it.
Curiously, however, neither Scarborough nor any of his guests ever accused the president of “lying.” They never called him a “liar,” said he “lied,” or used any form of the infinitive “to lie.” This gave the impression that they remain cowed by the Obama administration. This is MSNBC, after all. The former Republican congressman from Florida may gnaw on the hand that feeds him, but Scarborough knows not to clamp down and break skin. [See video below the break. MP3 audio here.]
Near the end of the fourth story on Monday's NBC Nightly News, White House correspondent Peter Alexander managed to squeeze in a mention of the network's scoop that the Obama administration knew for years that millions of people would be kicked off of their current health insurance plans because of ObamaCare, despite the President's repeated assurances to the contrary. [Listen to the audio]
Alexander provided a mere twenty-one seconds of air time for the revelation: "That millions will lose or have to change their individual policies is not a surprise to the administration. NBC News senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers found buried in the 2010 ObamaCare regulations, language predicting, 'A reasonable range for the percentage of individual policies that would terminate is forty percent to sixty-seven percent.'"
Monday night on her Fox News program, Megyn Kelly played a clip of President Obama going beyond the now-infamous "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan" promise. Earlier Monday, as Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters noted, Lisa Myers and Hannah Rappleye at NBC News revealed that the Obama administration knew three years ago that "more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them."
At the 0:59 mark of the video which follows (HT Mediaite), viewers will see Kelly introduce and then replay Obama's February 2010 promise that "any insurance you have will be grandfathered in," even if it's an "Acme Insurance, just a high deductible catastrophic plan":
On Monday, as Noel Sheppard at NewsBusters noted, Lisa Myers and Hannah Rappleye at NBC News reported that the Obama administration knew three years ago that "more than 40 to 67 percent of those in the individual market would not be able to keep their plans, even if they liked them." This of course directly contradicts President Obama's repeated promises that "If you like your plan, you can keep your plan."
I will get to the gambit the administration used to convince people that it wouldn't do what it originally intended to do in the runup to Obamacare's passage, a strategy which may have resulted from objections raised in a July 2009 Investor's Business Daily editorial, later in the post. But first, we have to look at tweets sent out tonight by three Obama administration officials in response to the NBC report, all of which dodge NBC's substantive point that the Obama administration knew policy terminations would occur, and claim that "the ACA" (the Affordable Care Act) is not to blame:
On Tuesday's Fox News Special report, contributor Juan Williams lamely tried to excuse away the mind-boggling incompetence of the HealthCare.gov rollout by claiming that "massive opposition (to Obamacare) from the Republicans" caused fearful system architects to "roll it out and see how it works for now."
Juan's haughty huffiness was so absurd that the Fox News panel was caught slack-jawed and barely challenged him. That's not what happened Sunday morning on Chris Wallace's Fox News Sunday broadcast when Williams tried to claim that millions of people losing their individual health care coverage are going to be better off with Obamacare policies (video and transscript follow the jump; bolds are mine; HT to Mediaite via Twitchy):
The left has been ridiculing supposedly wildly overstated estimates of the costs of building the calamitous HealthCare.gov website, the fact is that the costs involved are certainly far higher than the figures most commonly cited: "over 500 million" at Digital Trends, "over $400 million" at the New York Times. The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler is claiming that it's really only $170 milion to $300 million.
In Part 1 (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), I noted that Bloomberg Government's Peter Gosselin estimated that costs incurred and costs committed to outside firms alone are already north of $1 billion. Now let's look at how much additional taxpayer money the Department of Health and Human Services may have spent on the Obamacare exchange rollout.
The left has been ridiculing supposedly wildly overstated estimates of the costs of building the calamitous HealthCare.gov website.
Based on a look at one contractor, CGI, which he must have assumed was the general contractor (i.e., the lead entity through which amounts paid to subcontracting firms would be funneled), Andrew Couts at Digital Trends originally estimated a total cost of $634 million. Couts later backed it down to "over $500 million" after identifying non-Affordable Care Act-related work with which CGI was associated. The New York Times has until recently been working with a figure of "over $400 million." All figures just noted are almost certainly miles too low, for two reasons.
David Callaway, Editor-in-Chief of USA Today, is so upset by Republicans using the HealthCare.gov roll-out mess to discredit ObamaCare, that he penned an op-ed for Friday’s edition of the national newspaper to dismiss the problems as a blip with no relevance to the overall program.
Headlined “Obama’s Y2K moment,” Callaway unpersuasively equated the current situation of the ongoing dysfunctional HeathCare.gov with the concerns before January 1, 2000 about how that date change could cause computer havoc. But it did not, so he equated an actual technology mess with one that never occurred, contending the current situation is just like Y2K – a big nothing.
Thursday's CBS Evening News poured cold water on President Obama's now-infamous "if you like your insurance plan, you will keep it" promise. Scott Pelley noted how the President has "repeated one reassuring phrase" about the American people being able to hold onto their health insurance, and bluntly pointed out that, contrary to the Democrat's vow, "hundreds of thousands of Americans...are being told that their health plans are being cancelled."
Carter Evans also spotlighted a California woman's nightmarish experience as a result of the passage of ObamaCare. Her self-purchased health care plan was cancelled, and as a result, she was being "forced to choose from a bunch of new plans...that are all more expensive." [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
In among the more pathetic uses of the passive voice I've seen employed to protect guilty parties, a short, unbylined personal finance-related item at ABC's web site today by the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, identifies "5 KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL HEALTH CARE SHOPPING."
The writeup doesn't mention the fact that shopping for plans in the first place is difficult (actually, closer to impossible, given HealthCare.gov's implosion), and doesn't bring up Obamacare or its more formal name, the "Affordable Care Act," at all. As is the case with arguments favoring gun control, AP blames an inanimate object to shield the real perpetrators of the challenges consumers face. In this case, it's "insurance plans" which are to blame, thus implicating implicitly evil insurance companies and avoiding any mention of Obamacare/ACA, the real cause (produced in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes) —
As HealthCare.gov's disaster has dragged on and grown in scope, it was entirely predictable that doctrinaire leftists in the fever swamps would begin concocting reasons why its epic failure thus far has been the fault of obstructionist conservatives and Republicans.
What perhaps was less expected, but based on history should not have been, is that supposedly responsible Democrats in elected positions have also joined the ranks of "Obamacare Truthers" by promulgating outlandish theories and engaging in intense blame-shifting, both with extraordinary gusto. Perhaps the worst — or, given its absurdity, the most entertaining — is the one tweeted and quietly deleted (HT Twitchy) by Chris Bollwage, the mayor of Elizabeth, New Jersey (population 126,000):
In 2003, Halliburton Company received a great deal of scrutiny from the establishment press over certain no-bid contracts obtained in connection with the Iraq War. Examples, two of which are from the Associated Press, are here, here, and here. A Google News Archive Search on "Halliburton no-bid" not in quotes allegedly returns 1,760 items (Google's counter is suspect, but the list extends to at least 19 pages, or well over 190 items, including multiple items in some listings).
In 2010, the Washington Times was virtually alone among media outlets in reporting that the Obama administration, despite presidential candidate Barack Obama's campaign promise never to entertain such deals, had entered into a no-bid contract with KBR, a former subsidiary of Halliburton, "worth as much as $568 million." It turns out that CGI, the Canadian company which is the lead firm in the design and rollout of HealtCare.gov, also has a no-bid contract with the federal government. But an AP search on "CGI no-bid" (not in quotes) comes up empty. A Google News search on the same string (not in quotes) returns only four times, none of which are establishment press outlets (as would be expected, the Washington Times is one of the four).
Last night on Fox News's Special Report, Juan Williams singlehandedly raised the bar for what qualifies as world-class failure in blame-shifting. Williams excused the mind-boggling incompetence of the Obama administration's HealthCare.gov implementation by claiming that "massive opposition (to Obamacare) from the Republicans" caused fearful system architects to "roll it out and see how it works for now." Gosh, the only thing that remains is for President Obama to say that these poor programmers were "held hostage" by GOP press releases and speeches.
Video and a transcript of the relevant segment follow the jump (HT Twitchy via Hot Air; bolds are mine). Especially note the priceless look on the face of Fox panel member Stephen Hayes at the 1:12 mark of the two-minute vid:
President Obama likened HealthCare.gov to Kayak.com on the day the ObamaCare website went live, but the travel company wouldn't stay in business very long if it gave "incredibly misleading" price quotes, as Wednesday's CBS This Morning revealed about the federal health care website. Jan Crawford underlined how "in some cases, people could end up paying nearly double what they see on the website".
Crawford zeroed in on how the "shop and browse" feature on HealthCare.gov drastically underestimated prices for older citizens, in particular, and cited unnamed health care industry executives' appalled reaction to this latest problem: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]