On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough disclosed that in off-the-record briefings prior to the rollout of the Obamacare website, Obama administration officials were "extraordinarily confident" of success. They displayed a site that Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski said looked "great," "very user friendly" and "very simple." View the video after the jump.
Former Barack Obama campaign manager and current MSNBC senior political analyst David Axelrod today immaturely taunted those who disagree with him on Obamacare by tweeting the following question: "Isn't it ironic that the most ardent opponents of the Affordable Care Act are now complaining that people can't sign up fast enough?"
At first blush, it would appear that Axelrod's tweet might be out of bounds even at MSNBC. Based on the splash which greets those who enter "msnbc.com" in their browser's address bar, you would be wrong:
Friday's CBS This Morning zeroed in on a HealthCare.gov glitch that is jeopardizing the privacy of millions of Americans. Jan Crawford noted how the "glitches have, in fact, made the website unusable for most", but also pointed out that "the problems go beyond the enrollment process. Most troubling...insurance companies report receiving duplicate sign-up...and records of people enrolling, un-enrolling, and then, re-enrolling. Those forms contain highly personal information."
Crawford also underlined that these "duplicate and incomplete enrollment forms" are indications that the "problems are pervasive" with the ObamaCare website. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
The following sentence appeared in a writeup on the ongoing failure known as HealthCare.gov by Politico reporters Kyle Cheney, Jason Millman and Jennifer Haberkorn: "President Barack Obama has gotten surprisingly few questions about the enrollment problems as the country — and Republican critics of the health law — focused on the government shutdown and the debt ceiling battle."
Gosh, President Obama has been in front of the press several times during the shutdown. Whose fault is it that no national establishment press reporter has questioned him about HealthCare.gov? Excerpt from the three Politico stooges' report following the jump (bolds are mine):
No major legislation has ever been passed like Obamacare -- and I'm using the word "passed" pretty loosely.
It became law without both houses ever voting on the same bill. (Say, is the Constitution considered "settled law"?) Not one Republican voted for it -- and a lot of Democrats immediately wished they hadn't.
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]
The Obama administration and HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius have had 3-1/2 years to get ready for Obamacare's rollout. Though we have yet to learn all of the gory details, America already knows what an unmitigated disaster HealthCare.gov has been thus far. But at least one could argue (not successfully, in my opinion, but work with me on this) that "programmming is hard."
That's not the case with another aspect of Obamacare implementation, namely the handling of exemptions from the individual mandate. The forms involved, the generation of which should have been a relative breeze and which obviously should have been ready eons ago, are at least a month away. Instead of describing this situation as yet another miserable failure, Kyle Cheney at the Politico, perhaps signaling to other establishment press outlets that they shouldn't consider this a big deal (though it clearly is), merely characterized it as "another big hurdle," and kept "individual mandate" out of his headline. Excerpts follow the jump (HT to a frequent emailer; bolds are mine):
Nicolle Wallace is the perfect MSNBC kind of Republican: the kind who isn't sure if she opposes Obamacare.
On today's Morning Joe, Joe Scarborough was seeking to make the point that while Republicans are divided over tactics, they are ideologically united in opposition to Obamacare. To demonstrate his thesis, Scarborough asked Wallace whether she supports Obamacare, taking it for granted that she would express her opposition. Amazingly, Wallace responded that she "wasn't sure anymore," then quoted her [former Bush aide] husband who had wondered "what do we hate about it?" She did then catch heself and admitted to not supporting Obamacare on the grounds that the government is not a competent deliverer of healthcare. Too late: Wallace had already betrayed her RINO roots. View the video after the jump.
Kathleen Pender at the San Francisco Chronicle (HT Zombie at PJ Media) had some Obamacare-related financial advice for her readers on Saturday: "Consider reducing your 2014 income by working just a bit less," because doing so could get you a "huge health care subsidy."
This is not news to anyone who has studied Obamacare in detail, and shouldn't be a revelation to anyone in the business press, especially a financial advice columnist like Pender. Among several others, Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation and yours truly sounded the alarm about Obamacare's work-demotivating impact — as well as how it will encourage marital breakups and discourage couples from getting married — in early 2010. I also wrote related columns here and here in late September. Excerpts from Pender's prose follow the jump (bolds are mine):
The healthcare sector, particular hospitals, is hitting a wall. In a Sunday morning writeup, USA Today reporters Paul Davidson and Barbara Hansen considered this news "surprising," because Obamacare is supposedly going to bring hospitals so much new business.
Well, guys, that new business needs to be profitable. Odds are it won't be. The staff cuts also appear to foreshadow the rationing so many people have predicted would result, and which has resulted under state-run healthcare in U.S. states like Massachusetts and other countries, if Obamacare passed. Of course, the USAT pair didn't recognize that possibility. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Three New York Times reporters' coverage of HealthCare.gov's systemic failures is inadvertently funny. Its opening paragraph quotes Henry Chao, described as "the chief digital architect for the Obama administration’s new online insurance marketplace," as "deeply worried about the web site's debut" way back in March, and hoping that "it’s not a third-world experience." The Third World, many of whose developers have shown that they can design functional interactive web sites, should feel insulted.
That's an amazingly low number, considering Ms. Packham's aggressive attempts to gain visibility in her job as a lead Obamacare navigator in Florida, and the utterly ridiculous assertion she made earlier this week about the impact of credit scores on healthcare premiums — an assertion she has retracted without anything resembling an acceptable explanation (HT Conservative Intel; video at link; bolds are mine):
In the current fight over the government shutdown, Republicans are simply representing the views of the American people.
Americans didn't ask for Obamacare, they don't want it, but now their insurance premiums are going through the roof, their doctors aren't accepting it, and their employers are moving them into part-time work -- or firing them -- to avoid the law's mandates.
This post follows up on Noel Sheppard's item this morning on the progress of ObamaCare enrollment in Iowa, wherein we learn that there have been a "Hardy Handful" of five sign-ups thus far, with no identified press coverage outside of the Hawkeye State.
A search on "Iowa insurance" (not in quotes) at the national web site of the Associated Press done at 1:30 p.m. returned nothing recent. AP has covered the story, but has from all appearances limited its exposure to a five-paragrapher at its Iowa feed. The Iowa story's headline is definitely from the "Let's deceive readers and hope they don't read the story" branch of media brinkmanship (presented in full for future reference, fair use and discussion purposes; bolds are mine):
Andrew Couts at Digital Trends is apparently the one who has broken the story (link is in original) that "The exact cost to build Healthcare.gov, according to U.S. government records, appears to have been $634,320,919, which we paid to a company you probably never heard of: CGI Federal." Without getting into minutiae, some of that amount may not be directly related to HealthCare.gov, but Kathleen Sebelius's HHS is obviously nowhere near done spending development money yet.
The bio for Couts says that he "covers a wide swath of consumer technology topics, with particular focus on the intersection of technology, law, politics, and policy." His represented background would seem to indicate that he should know that the pin-the-blame-on-Congress game he plays in his writeup is misleading and irresponsible. Excerpts follow the jump (links are in original; bolds and numbered tags are mine):
Can you tell that "Bulgarian," "Sunbeam," and "Vladivostok" are different words? Congratulations: you're smarter than the Obamacare website! Just for fun, I tried to create an Obamacare account at Healthcare.gov this morning. At 6:48 AM CDT, I had no trouble getting in. Things were going swimmingly . . . until it came time to choose security questions and provide answers.
As you'll see from the screengrab, I was informed that my account could not be created because "two or more answers to the security questions cannot be the same. You must provide distinct answers to the chosen security questions." President Obama, Secretary Sebelius, or anybody else out there, please tell me, which of the following words are the same: "Bulgarian," "Sunbeam" and "Vladivostok"? Because those are, as you'll see from the screencap after the jump, the three answers I gave. Note: the first time I tried and failed, I supplied real answers, but for purposes of this blog, when I tried again I used fanciful ones. Didn't want the whole world to know that my favorite cuisine is actually Indian. Oops!] More after the jump.
While a great deal of attention has deservedly been given to Kathleen Sebelius's refusal to directly answer comedian Jon Stewart's question about why Obamacare's individual mandate was not been deferred until 2015 like the employer mandate was, at least one of her other comments about the wonders of the government-controlled "marketplace" has been ignored, and shouldn't be.
Her supposedly expert observation, staring at about the 4:35 mark of the video found here (HT Hot Air): "People who have been waiting for a long time finally have a market to choose from." ... "You can also then figure out if your doctor's in the plan that you want, if the network of hospitals is in the plan you want, what kind of drugs you take, is that in the plan you want. You've never been able to do that before." She took it further, saying that if you tried to shop around for insurance companies, "You would never know what's there. You might deal with one agent, one broker. ..." Stewart asked, "So this is the first mall?" Sebelius answered, "You bet." What horse manure.
Early Friday afternoon, USA Today's Tim Mullaney excused HealthCare.gov's "glitches," confidently predicted that "they'll get fixed" (in about two months!) and pronounced the enterprise "an out-of-the-box success for consumers shopping for health insurance" which will "sell tons of insurance," even though he had to go to a canned calculator found elsewhere to do much of his work. As to "selling tons of insurance": Well of course it will, if allowed to continue. Thanks to a Supreme Court majority led by John Roberts, it's a legal requirement to do so under penalty of law.
Mullaney also contended that HealthCare.gov's virtual failure to sign up "consumers" — a situation that certainly was not remotely remedied when he submitted his column — was little different from what many private-sector companies have experienced and overcome. Excerpts follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Earlier today, I noted (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog) that "Obamacare Poster Boy" Chad Henderson, who was written up in the Washington Post, Huffington Post and several other news outlets, and who at one point was scheduled to appear on a Health and Human Services Department conference call (but ultimately didn't), has not purchased health insurance on the Obamacare exchange.
Before letting all of this fall down the media memory hole, John Sexton at Breitbart.com reported that Henderson "claimed earlier this year that he'd 'traveled to Florida' to help with Obama's reelection and also donated $1000 to the campaign" — leading to a further claim, complete with a photo of the alleged invitation, that he had been invited to the 2013 Obama Inaugural Ball. There's even more in Mr. Henderson's Instagram collection for the lazy establishment press to digest, including something they'll secretly love — an immature attack on Sarah Palin — after the jump.
(UPDATE: See Chad's response to Washington Post's Sarah Kliff at the end of this post.) If what Reason's Peter Suderman is reporting is correct — and he certainly appears to have done the kind of digging you would expect conscientious journalists to do — the establishment press's lionization of Chad Henderson the Fantabulous Obamacare Enrollee is about to fall apart.
Suderman spoke at length with Chad Henderson's father, Bill Henderson, and uncovered a litany of contradictions, inconsistencies, and what should have been red flags to journalists who apparently decided that the story was too good to check (links are in original; bolds are mine):
Appearing as a guest on Thursday's PoliticsNation, during a discussion of the government shutdown, MSNBC's Krystal Ball characterized congressional Republicans as "tak[ing] the whole government hostage," and "threaten[ing]" the "constitutional balance."
After host Al Sharpton fretted over the operation of FEMA and the National Hurricane Center during the government shutdown, Ball responded:
While the media are busy painting Republicans -- particularly Tea Party-friendly conservatives in the House -- as the legislators who are ultimately responsible for the government shutdown, they are failing to note that "[t]he Democrats and the president have offered nothing" as a counteroffer on the continuing resolution to fund the government, NewsBusters publisher Brent Bozell noted on the October 3 edition of Hannity.
The Media Research Center founder argued that it's the same biased narrative with the liberal media as the last government shutdown in 1995, when Bill Clinton vetoed funding bills that had passed both houses of Congress. In this instance, it's a Democratic Senate refusing to sit down with a Republican House to hammer out a deal. "In the media coverage, 21 stories blaming Republicans, not one story blaming Democrats. And you know what's more interesting? You go back to 1995 and you will find the same networks, 23 times they blamed the Republicans. Not once did they blame the Democrats," Bozell noted. [listen to the MP3 audio here; watch the full "Media Mash" segment below the page break]
On Thursday, MSNBC's Chuck Todd, in the introduction to his "Daily Rundown" program, characterized both the response to the Obama administration's barricading of the World War II Memorial and Harry Reid's response to a question about helping children with cancer by funding the National Institutes for Health ("Why would we want to do that?") as "manufactured outrage."
World War II ended in 1945, 68 years ago. That war's vets are mostly in their late 80s to mid-90s. Those who don't live within driving distance of Metro DC are running out of time to see the memorial dedicated to their heroic, world-saving efforts. Accordingly, charities such as Honor Flight have been set up to give vets who might not otherwise be able to visit because of finances or infirmity the chance to do so. No one had to "manufacture" outrage over the Obama administration's proactive and vindictive effort to prevent long-scheduled visits from occurring. It came quite naturally. Video (HT Twitchy), relevant portions of Todd's program introduction, and additional comments are after the jump:
Imagine that Jeff Bezos asked his vice-president for sales IT how many people had purchased products from Amazon the day before, and the veep said he'd get back to him "in a few weeks." How many nanoseconds do you think that hapless employee would last in his job?
But on today's Morning Joe, there was the Obama admin's David Simas, sporting the lofty title of Deputy Senior Advisor for Communications and Strategy, smiling insouciantly while saying that it would be a "few weeks" before the Obama admin would say how many people had signed up for Obamacare. Conclusion: either: 1. the Obama admin's information technology planning and implementation is grossly incompetent; and/or 2. President Obama doesn't want Americans to know just how few people have signed up for Obamacare--particularly in the young-and-healthy demographic, upon whose willingness to make the uneconomic choice of signing up the entire house of cards hinges. View the video after the jump.
When you have to toss out in the midst of your race-baiting article that you are in no way insisting that conservatives are racists, well, that's pretty good evidence that you're doing just that.
"No, this is not a convoluted way of calling Republicans racists,"Jamelle Bouie insisted -- and which editors placed into a pull quote -- in his October 3 story "How the South Blocked Health Care for Those Who Need It Most." "Thanks to Republican legislators in old Confederate states, universal health-care won’t be so universal" laments a front-page caption accompanying a stock image of a black girl being attended to by two black medical personnel in surgical scrubs. [see image below the page break] Here's how Bouie opened his story on the lack of Southern states participating in a Medicaid expansion available to them under ObamaCare:
Politico's Dylan Byers is determined to tell us that we didn't see and hear what we really saw and heard, and that Matt Drudge is a filthy liar (Update, 8:20 a.m., Oct. 3: as well as Real Clear Politics —"Reid To CNN's Dana Bash: 'Why Would We Want To' Help One Kid With Cancer?") for relaying what CNN's Dana Bash saw and heard — and reported.
Today, after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid whined about House Republicans “obsessed with this Obamacare thing” and asserted that "they have no right to pick and choose” which programs to fund and not fund (actually, the Constitution gives them that right, Harry), card-carrying liberal Bash asked him: “But if you could help one child with cancer, why wouldn’t you do it?” Instead of turning the tables and saying, “I’ll be glad to do that when I get a clean bill,” he appeared to be on the verge of going into expletive mode, but then answered with a question of his own which should haunt him from here to eternity:
On Tuesday's PoliticsNation on MSNBC, during a discussion of conservative figures comparing ObamaCare to drug addiction, guest Joe Madison attacked Rush Limbaugh as a "fat ass," and raised the talk radio host's past addiction to the painkiller Oxycontin as the liberal talk radio host bristled at the comparison of drug addiction to government-run health care. Madison began his rant:
Move over, Lord Voldemort. Ted Cruz has taken your place as the man so evil he must not be named . . .
Today's Morning Joe featured a strange trope in which Cruz was being unmistakably referred to by various members of the panel, but, at least in the first hour, never mentioned by name. Instead, Joe Scarborough, Mike Barnicle and Willie Geist variously alluded to Cruz as "one Republican senator specifically" or as one of "a couple of Republican senators" or "certain members of the Senate." Why the aversion to calling Ted Cruz by name? Were the Morning Joers trying to deprive Cruz of publicity? View the video after the jump.
Only at the very end of their article did Rogers and Miller mention that the Democratic National Committee is having a fundraising field day off the work stoppage. There was, however, no mention that the DNC desperately needs the cash because they're drowning in red ink. Reported Fortune magazine's Tory Newmyer yesterday morning:
Michelle Malkin's Twitchy.com has capsulized the Obamacare exchanges' opening day as follows (links are in the original): "HealthCare.gov tried to kick off the Obamacare marketplace this morning … and failed miserably. The website is an error-ridden mess and users are being asked for their patience as the marketplace works out “known issues” with security. But never mind the pesky bugs preventing people from signing up — HealthCare.gov is psyched!"
On the pretty safe assumption that the problems continue, three key questions arise. First, how much exposure will the establishment press give the snafus? Second, to the extent they give them attention, how will they present them — i.e., as "normal startup problems" or "poor execution and planning"? And third, how effective, if at all, will center-right truth-tellers be at breaking through to the general population? Hadas Gold and Kyle Cheney at Politico obsessed over these matters Saturday morning, and in essence virtually begged everyone to be patient (bolds are mine):