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.
How does one do a report on an important commerce-related web site without mentioning serious known security problems which are so bad that respected IT experts warn that it shouldn't be used? Ask Kate Pickert at Time's Swampland blog and Kelli Kennedy at the Associated Press, because that's exactly what they did.
Pickert and Kennedy reviewed the new and not much improved HealthCare.gov on December 2 and 3, respectively. No variation of the word "security" is in either writeup. Both reports ignore the fact that IT experts are absolutely appalled at the site's lack of security.
Well now the landing page for the Lean Forward network is hailing HealthCare.gov as the "website [which] might just save your life." The teaser headline links to msnbc.com staffer AliyahFrumin's gauzy treatment of President Obama's latest speech plugging his troubled health care overhaul (emphasis mine; see screen capture below page break):
Anyone doubting Roger Ailes' eye for talent needs to go somewhere else besides his shuffling of Fox News's weekday evening lineup, especially but not exclusively his decision to move Megyn Kelly into the 9 p.m. time slot.
Variety's Brian Steinberg reports that Kelly has put even more distance between Fox and its so-called competitors at CNN, MSNBC, and HLN, while Greta Van Susteren and Sean Hannity have both grown their respective time slots (HT Johnny Dollar's Place; bolds are mine):
Talk about burying the lede. Deep within a 5,000-word story published today in the New York Times about the Obamacare website launch is the very damaging disclosure that the much-vaunted “tech surge” promised by the president in late October was mostly just a publicity stunt. In truth, the number of people brought in to work on the project was no more than “about a half-dozen.”
Not only that, despite the Obama Administration’s claims that it met its November 30 deadline to have things fully operational, it turns out that much of the software code that operates away from website users and passes their information along to insurance companies has not even been written.
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]
MSNBC weekend anchor Alex Witt once again showed that she is a big fan of ObamaCare on Sunday’s edition of her eponymous program. Witt’s guest, Dafna Linzer of msnbc.com, had just criticized one of Rep. Mike Rogers’ (R-Mich.) comments on that morning’s Meet the Press, in which Rogers was critical of ObamaCare.
Witt recalled another problem with the rollout that Rogers talked about in that interview: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Obama sycophant and Hardball host Chris Matthews just landed what MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell called a “big get” interview this Thursday with the president. So naturally he took to the air on Tuesday's Andrea Mitchell Reports to gush about the chief executive who's been known to send tingles up his leg.
Matthews compared President Obama to a “brilliant writer…with a great theme” who “turns in a paper with a lot of misspellings or bad handwriting.” [One wonders if this is in anyway autobiographical, with Matthews thinking of his misadventures in book writing.] [See video after jump. MP3 audio here.]
Leading off a report on Monday's NBC Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander skeptically observed: "The Obama administration says it met it's own goal of significantly improving the HealthCare.gov website, but that's the easy part. That's like kind of giving yourself a passing grade." At the end of segment, he noted insurance companies warning of the "logistical nightmare" caused by inaccurate information being entered into the ObamaCare database. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Despite such critical analysis of the health care law in the nearly 2-minute report, by Nightly News that evening, anchor Brian Williams reduced the news to a mere 28 seconds, emphasizing only the positive: "We have an update now on the HealthCare.gov website. It is now working better and faster, as the White House promised it would by now. But they say they know it is still far from perfect. By 5:30 this evening Eastern Time, the website had logged 750,000 visitors so far today. That's getting closer to that 800,000 daily user goal the rebooted site is supposed to be able to handle."
The folks at MSNBC.com seem to be dutifully following their on-air counterparts in providing cover for the failed rollout of the HealthCare.gov website, even as sister network CNBC is reporting ongoing problems with the site.
In a December 2 online piece, Sarah Muller, Senior Digital Producer for The Last Word w/ Lawrence O’Donnell, wrote a gushing pro-ObamaCare piece exulting that “Major Obamacare website bug [was] killed.”
How hopeful is CNN's Chris Cuomo about ObamaCare? He would still rather defend the law's problems, if he were a Democrat, than pivot to the debt ceiling as a distraction.
"The Democrats going on a three-week campaign tour for Obamacare instead of just dealing with the hard legislative work they need to do down there right now? I'll take that trade," Cuomo asserted on Tuesday's New Day. "[I]f I'm a Democrat down there in Washington, I take the problems with Obamacare over negotiating with you as a Republican about the debt ceiling." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
In a segment on Sunday's NBC Meet the Press that host David Gregory laughably billed as an ObamaCare "reality check," he invited two of the law's biggest supporters to deliver White House spin, former administration health policy advisor and brother of the President's former chief of staff Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel and liberal Washington Post blog editor Ezra Klein. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Referring to the supposed fix to HealthCare.gov, Gregory teed up Emanuel: "Is it good enough progress?" Emanuel predictably replied: "I think it's good enough progress. Clearly, just like Google and Facebook and all the internet sites are constantly tweaking their sites, constantly improving them, this one still has a ways to go. But it is certainly working reasonably well....So I think actually we are going in the right direction."
On Wednesday's All In on MSNBC, during a discussion of how to deal with conservative relatives at Thanksgiving dinner, host Chris Hayes at one point seemed to claim that Republicans "sabotaged" the ObamaCare Web site, Healthcare.Gov.
CBS contributor Nancy Giles also complained that she "hates" it when people who "hate government" get into power and then "dismantle" government.
After a clip of right-leaning FNC contributor Charles Krauthammer asserting that the failure proves that "liberalism doesn't work," Giles made fun of his clothing, and then griped:
It appears that NBC is trying to prepare us for the future of health care scarcity that ObamaCare is likely to bring. On Saturday’s Today, chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman presented a story on a new phenomenon that has popped up in some hospitals and clinics around the country: shared medical appointments. The idea is to put as many as 15 people with similar health problems in the same room with their doctor so they can all discuss their medical issues together.
Although liberals are supposed guardians of the right to privacy, Snyderman’s story had nothing negative to say about this phenomenon whatsoever. Right from the opening lines of the package, Snyderman painted a happy picture. As footage of a group of women talking and laughing appeared on screen, Snyderman reported: [Video below. MP3 audio here.]
Perhaps the White House told Ed Schultz to compare the administration to a powerhouse football team? On Monday's MSNBC program, the liberal host offered a tortured analogy: Barack Obama is just like the University of Auburn's football team and the Republicans are the defeated Alabama. Schultz even replayed Saturday's exciting final play, swapping out player Chris Davis for the President: "Holy smokes, we've got a return by ObamaCare! This is Chris Davis. He's a believer! He's got all those Obama blockers out there!" [See video below. MP3 audio here.]
Screaming as he narrated the game's final seconds, Schultz continued with his fantasy interpretation: "It's going to work! It's going to work! Look at ObamaCare! It's going to work! They ain't giving up. One hundred and nine yards in Jordan Harris stadium!" Considering his disdain for conservatives, the host leveled his harshest comparison at Alabama: "Even the arrogance of Alabama, who thinks they can beat everybody anywhere, any time, any day, even with one second left, they think they're going to get it to you. And that's where they're just like the Republicans!"
On CNN Sunday evening, liberal ESPN columnist LZ Granderson justified the President's repeated lie about ObamaCare, claiming that Americans knew he did it for their own good.
"And, time and time again, Americans have said we can deal with the lies that President Obama tells us because we believe in his heart, he has the best interest for the American people," Granderson claimed. He also accused Peggy Noonan of whitewashing the "atrocities" of the Reagan administration. [Video below the break. Audio here.]
On Sunday's Meet the Press, as Republican Congressman Mike Rogers denounced ObamaCare's "unprecedented confiscation of people's health care," moderator David Gregory interrupted to parrot White House talking points defending the disastrous policy: "...you talk about confiscation, the reality is there's also a lot of people who are going to have the potential to get insurance who never had insurance. And you have a small piece of the market where people may lose plans. Many of those will get better plans in the individual market." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]
Rogers attempted to push back against Gregory's assertions: "But David, that's not true. David – a hundred million people [may lose their insurance]." Gregory just kept talking over the Congressman, citing a poll that 54% of Americans think the ObamaCare problems will be solved and concluding: "That's a level of credibility and belief in the system that presumably is very important."
Potemkin Village, anyone? Joe Scarborough has offered a scathing simile for the new-'n-improved Obamacare website. On today's Morning Joe, he likened the site to the set of a Hollywood Western--pushing back the facade reveals that there's nothing behind it.
Even former Obama spox Robert Gibbs—proudly sporting an Auburn jersey—acknowledged that big chunks of the system, including the payment mechanism for subsidies, haven't even been built. So people can go to the site, receive the illusion that they have obtained coverage, only to find that there is no follow-through. View the video after the jump.
Being a leftist of the Obama ilk, you have to assume that Congressman Keith Ellison thought he was doing President Obama a favor in offering his interpretation of the president's "if you like your plan, you can keep it" line, as well as his subsequent non-apology apology.
But on today's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos," Ellison wound up putting words in the president's mouth that quite literally added insult to injury. Ellison first falsely claimed that Pres. Obama had said "if you like your decent insurance, your insurance that works, then you can keep it." Obama of course never said any such thing. Moreover, according to Ellison, by his apology Obama meant "if you misunderstood what I was trying to say, I'm sorry." So the fault lies not with Obama for having blatantly misled the American people. No, it's those ignorant Americans—too dense to dig the real meaning of the great man's words—who are to blame. View the video after the jump.
As has so often been the case since Barack Obama took office in 2009, the editorialists at a major national business newspaper are reporting facts that the wire services and broadcast networks should have relayed to the American people weeks or months ago.
In this case, it's the Wall Street Journal. A Friday evening editorial published in Saturday's print edition directly refutes the Obama administration's key Obamacare memes involving affordability, choice, and the nature of the once-free health insurance market (bolds are mine):
In the runup to Thanksgiving, Organizing For Action, the group whose sole mission is to promote President Barack Obama's agenda, with the "help" of an absolutely horrid video, encouraged its members to "have the talk with your loved ones" about signing up for Obamacare.
Just before Thanksgiving, as P.J. Gladnick at NewsBusters noted on Thursday, two Huffington Post writers suggested that changing the subject away from Obamacare might be the better move. Even Andrew Rosenthal at the Obama-loving New York Times was concerned: "I question the wisdom of directing people to a cheery ad for the exchanges before they, you know, work. The president’s communications team is just asking for it." Based on tweets collected by the intrepid Twitter monitors at Twitchy.com, they got it (some individual tweets were given minor edits; bolds are mine):
Famous Hollywood filmmaker David Mamet on Monday dared to oppose liberal orthodoxy, slamming Barack Obama as a "tyrant." Appearing on the Hugh Hewitt Show, the writer/director (The Untouchables, Wag the Dog,Ronin) decried the President's deal with Iran over nuclear production.
Mamet assailed, "He's a tyrant. And I give him great credit. He's always said that his idea was to reform the United States." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] He added, "And, you know, like many tyrants, like Wilson and like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, he believes that his way is the right way and that he's going to implement his vision of the world." (In addition to attacking Obama, you don't see too many directors going after FDR.)
The Conservative Campaign Committee says on its "About" page that it is "a traditional Political Action Committee that works with grassroots conservatives across the country to make our movement more effective, hold Barack Obama and the liberals in Washington accountable and support important campaigns and outstanding conservative candidates for federal office." CCC clearly states that its ads and other efforts are "not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee."
Yet MSNBC's Ed Schultz has taken to Twitter to shriek (HT Twitchy) that "Ted Cruz is targeting Thanksgiving" because CCC is running TV ads during Thanksgiving thanking the Texas senator for "doing everything he could to stop Obamacare before it hurt the American people." Meanwhile, Organizing for Action, whose only mission is to promote the President's agenda and whose charter member list came over from Obama's 2012 campaign, is directly targeting Americans' Thanksgiving gatherings by coaching its members on how to talk up the wonders of Obamacare. Obama himself spoke directly to members to encourage them "to talk about the ACA at holiday parties."
CNN's Chris Cuomo called the legal challenge to ObamaCare's birth control mandate a "growing distraction from dealing with the problems of ObamaCare" on Wednesday's New Day.
"It also raises the question at what point do you stop challenging the law? At what point do you accept that this was passed, it was tested by the Supreme Court?" he asked. "To me, it's a growing distraction from dealing with the problems of Obamacare." [Video below the break. Audio here.]
Can you imagine The Washington Post publishing a guide to how to survive your relatives’ negative questions about the war in Iraq? On Monday, Sarah Kliff of the Post’s Wonkblog posted “A guide to surviving Obamacare debates at Thanksgiving.” That’s assuming you’re getting armed to defend Obamacare just like a good Postie.
“This Thanksgiving, it's a pretty safe bet that debates over Obamacare will be just about as central as turkey,” Kliff wrote. “As Wonkblog readers hit the road and head home, we didn't want to leave you totally unprepared.” Don't let the Ted Cruz-heads ruin your meal:
Sharyl Attkisson uncovered another Obama administration falsehood about ObamaCare on Tuesday's CBS This Morning, spotlighting a 2010 document from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services which "estimated ObamaCare would collectively reduce the number of people with employer-sponsored health coverage by about 14 million". This is contrary to the White House's "repeated assurances that nothing will change for those insured through work".
Attkisson featured the cases of two small business owners who had to discontinue the health insurance plans for their employees, including a New Hampshire woman who "remains an avid ObamaCare supporter", despite the problems with HealthCare.gov. [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]
Leave it to MSNBC to see Thanksgiving as a time to be thankful for ObamaCare, Wendy Davis, same-sex marriage, and John Kerry hammering out an interim nuclear deal with Iran.
"In a year where Congress’ approval rating has reached an all time low, an embattled President Obama faces the healthcare challenge that could define his legacy, and the timetable for US troops in Afghanistan remains murky, it is all too easy to become cynical about the public sphere," MSNBC.com writers Johnny Simon and FarraKober confessed in a piece published this morning. "But when members of the msnbc family paused to reflect, what they recalled was a year full of triumph and spirit," they noted in the lead paragraph of their November 26 "Why I'm thankful" slideshow feature.
On October 3, the National Retail Federation projected that "sales in the months of November and December" will "marginally increase 3.9 percent to $602.1 billion, over 2012’s actual 3.5 percent holiday season sales growth." But on October 16, it warned that "the average holiday shopper will spend $737.95 on gifts, décor, greeting cards and more, two percent less than the $752.24 they actually spent last year."
Anne D'Innocenzio at the Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, in a report on the upcoming Christmas shopping season, chose to report the NRF's overall November-December increase, and ignored the obviously more relevant and more recent individual spending expectations. She also held off mentioning the elephant in the room — sharply reduced spending by Obamacare "sticker shock" victims and those who anticipate more of the same during 2014 — until the 19th of her 21 paragraphs (bolds are mine):
How shambolic of a smoking ruin is the Obama presidency? When Tina Brown surveys the wreckage, the best—the best!—thing she sees, the thing she believes will be Barack Obama's shining legacy, is his handling of Iran and Syria, which she declares to be "smart," and of course, "nuanced."
The Obamacare catastrophe? Not to worry. On today's Morning Joe, Brown assured us that those problems are "transient." No, look over here, at President Obama's masterful handling of foreign policy! Yes, years from now, when the minor hiccups of the Obamacare rollout will be long forgotten, people will still be marvelling at how well Barack Obama dealt with Iran and Syria. View the video here.