The editors at Bloomberg Businessweek, no foes of the Obama administration, nonetheless have little good to say about the president’s response to the problem-plagued HealthCare.gov insurance exchange rollout.
In Oct. 21 remarks in the White House Rose Garden, President Barack Obama said healthcare.gov, the website that is supposed to be the conduit through which people buy insurance under the new health-care law, “hasn’t worked as smoothly as it was supposed to.” That’s a little like saying a plane that crashed into a mountain, caught fire, and exploded didn’t land as smoothly as it was supposed to.
Obama didn’t say what went wrong, why, or who was to blame. He offered no details about what the administration is doing to fix it (“We’ve got people working overtime”), or how long it will take. And he expressed no contrition, saying only that “Nobody’s madder than me.”
The healthcare.gov implosion doesn’t say much about the soundness of Obamacare writ large or the philosophical complaints that continue to plague it. The Affordable Care Act is more than a website; it’s a commitment to provide insurance for people who can’t get it.
What the past three weeks have changed, abruptly, is the public’s confidence in the administration. Healthcare.gov is the face of Obama’s signature domestic achievement, rolling out according to a schedule that’s been fixed in law for three and a half years. When the administration blows this kind of big project, it only corroborates Republicans’ feverish arguments that government cannot do anything efficiently.