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."
By the time Tuesday's Today arrived, the ObamaCare coverage was centered on touting President Obama's efforts to "focus on the broader benefits of the health care law...as he tries to move past all the website woes," according to news reader Natalie Morales.
In the brief report that followed, chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd proclaimed:
The White House is confident enough that HealthCare.gov is working well enough that they can do something that they've tried to do many times before, launch a coordinated campaign led by President Obama to tout the benefits of the health care law....he's gonna talk about the bigger picture, the benefits that people are getting from the law when it comes to no more pre-existing conditions being used against you, getting insurance, the added preventive care aspects. And every day, sometimes it'll be President Obama, sometimes it'll be other Democrats, but every day between now and December 23rd....you're gonna see some event launched here at the White House touting this health care law. And all of this, Natalie, because they believe finally HealthCare.gov is at least a workable website, if not a perfect one.
That "logistical nightmare" Alexander mentioned was no where to be found.
Here is a full transcript of Alexander's December 2 report:
TAMRON HALL: Well, two months after the trouble-plagued ObamaCare website went live, officials say it's working better and faster but it is still not perfect. NBC's Peter Alexander is at the White House for us this morning. Good morning, Peter.
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: ObamaCare Website Working?; Official: "Night and Day Difference"]
PETER ALEXANDER: Hi, Tamron, good morning. 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. The jury is still out just how well the site is working.
Two months since it stumbled out of the gates, the ObamaCare website – administration officials insist – can now handle 50,000 users at a time. At least 800,000 a day. They're just-released progress report says the tech team is "operating with private sector velocity and effectiveness."
JEFFREY ZIENTS [MANAGEMENT EXPERT]: Bottom line, HealthCare.gov on December 1st is night and day from where it was on October 1st.
ALEXANDER: Still, officials are cautiously managing expectations, hesitant to aggressively market the site. Three weeks til' the next key deadline, December 23rd – the last day to sign up for coverage beginning January 1st – the political stakes are still immense.
REP. MIKE ROGERS [R-MI]: We've broken the system to help a few. Nobody would fix a problem that way.
REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN [D-MD]: Yes, there are problems. There's no denying that. Let's work to fix them.
ALEXANDER: In Virginia, Thelma Bali, who's helping others sign up, says she's already seeing a difference.
THELMA BALI: We have been pretty successful in terms of getting people logged in and with their accounts created.
ALEXANDER: But not everybody is satisfied. Representatives for insurance companies tell me this morning they are still not getting all the information about individuals who sign up for coverage, it's not coming in accurately always, which is already causing a logistical nightmare. Tamron.
HALL: Alright, Peter, thank you.