Politico.com used a laugh-out-loud headline today: “Obama’s goal: Avoid ‘Mission Accomplished’ moment.” Ha! I would say he is well on his way of achieving that goal… or even of accomplishing that mission.
Here’s the scenario the Obama administration wants to avoid at all costs on Saturday: It declares the Obamacare website fixed, a bunch of cable news network anchors try to log on again on live TV, and they get more error messages.
And suddenly, everyone’s showing that clip of George W. Bush standing on the USS Abraham Lincoln in front of the “Mission Accomplished” banner.
But Democrats on Capitol Hill have their own nightmare scenario, too: The White House gives them nothing to brag about, no evidence that the site is actually better — just as some of the most vulnerable Democrats are getting ready to blast the administration if they’re not convinced it’s fixed.
That leaves the administration with two jobs ahead of the deadline Saturday when the federal Obamacare enrollment website is supposed to be fixed — or at least useable for most Americans. They’ll tiptoe to avoid declaring victory on the site too soon, but still give those vulnerable Democrats something to seize.
What Politico.com seems to be doing is muddying the waters so that whether or not the Obama Administration meets its self-imposed November 30 deadline to fix Healthcare.gov becomes impossible to confirm or deny. As they put it, the administration “will just have to make the most of whatever improvements it can show in the enrollment website for individuals.” Or,
Expect to hear a few technical metrics of speed and lower error rates over and over again, plus one fuzzy broad theme: It’s better than it was.
“The website’s working continually better, so check it out,” Obama said Tuesday in a speech at DreamWorks Animation in California.
What the article reveals while simultaneously trying to hide is that Healthcare.gov is still a huge failure. Buried on the second page:
A POLITICO reporter testing the site this week got all the way through to file a simple, no-subsidy application in less than an hour, although there were still errors like a blank screen during an attempt to log back in. And the crucial next step, browsing for health plans, couldn’t happen because the application was still being processed. Other POLITICO reporters who tested the site on Monday encountered more error messages, and later confirmed that the applications system was down for an hour.
The bigger issue, though, is that even if the site is faster and better on the front end, insurers say they’re still finding a lot of mistakes on the back end — the transmittal of accurate enrollment information from the website to insurers. Administration officials say they’re still working on that part and it’s a top priority, but insurers say they’re still finding that some enrollment records are duplicates while others aren’t getting through at all.
“The enrollment process has to work end to end” for consumers to actually get their health coverage, said Robert Zirkelbach, a spokesman for America’s Health Insurance Plans, the main trade group for insurers. “If it’s working at the front end, but it’s not working at the back end, those enrollments can’t be processed.”
It seems the media and the Democrats are in a delusional state. They are hoping somehow it all works out. I hate to get our own hopes up just in case something happens that somehow saves the Affordable Care Act. But rationally speaking it is unlikely.
But neither the Dems nor journalists seem to want to mess around with rationality right now. What they would see is too scary for them to contemplate.
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