The willingness of the media to embrace a carefully chosen cover-word favored by the Obama Administration to try to minimize the disgraceful failure of the Affordable Care Act website to function by deceiving the public regarding its seriousness and implications must be condemned, while not minimizing the blatant absence of respect and transparency President Obama is displaying by allowing such Orwellian tactics to take place with his approval.
Ah, that “transparent” administration! Where did it go? How despicable, and the sycophants, media hacks and Obama apologists are equally despicable for winking at such a cynical attempt at brain-washing by euphemism. The message: “Hey, no big deal! Nothing to see here! We’re doing fine! It’s minor!” It’s not minor. The episode, typical of the whole Obama experience, is reminiscent of one of my favorite exchanges in “Jurassic Park,” after the computer system has failed and prehistoric carnivores are running amuck:
John Hammond: All major theme parks have delays. When they opened Disneyland in 1956, nothing worked!
Dr. Ian Malcolm: Yeah, but, John, if The Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don’t eat the tourists.
The catastrophic failure of Healthcare.gov is no “glitch.” Look it up! A glitch is a minor flaw; every definition of it includes “minor.” Most include “self-correcting.” The horrible design of the website has stalled the effective launch of Obamacare, wasted hundreds of thousands of hours, foiled many millions of dollars worth of efforts to correct the problem, and remains unsolved after three weeks! That’s no “glitch.” That’s not minor. That’s not just an inevitable flaw that even the best systems have to adjust to when they get started. That’s a failure. The O-ring that blew up the Space Shuttle wasn’t a glitch, and nobody had the wretched bad taste and disrespect for the victims to spin it as such. Three Mile Island wasn’t a glitch; the Eastern Seaboard Blackout wasn’t a glitch; 9/11 wasn’t a glitch; Benghazi wasn’t a glitch. Neither is this.
The ridiculous failure of the website has real consequences, serious ones, that threaten the operation of the entire ACA scheme—for a scheme it is—and that may cost billions of dollars. As Michael Gerson correctly points out…
“The greatest risk in the implementation of Obamacare was always adverse selection — that the exchanges would not attract enough young and healthy people to make them economically viable. If there are too many sick people in an insurance system, premiums rise, further discouraging younger, healthier people from participating, resulting in higher premiums, etc. — the insurance “death spiral.”No one even considered the scenario we are now seeing: a partially working system in which it is difficult to sign up but not impossible. This means that the most motivated consumers (the sickest) are likely to persevere in creating accounts, while the younger and healthier are more likely to skip an unpleasant process and risk a minimal fine. “If they don’t get the necessary volume and demographic mix in the exchanges,” Yuval Levin of National Affairs told me, “it could set off a catastrophic adverse-selection spiral that would not only render the exchanges inoperable but badly damage our large health care systems.”
Maybe that won’t happen, but it’s no glitch. It is serious. The failure–that’s failure, not “glitch”—of the website might have the opposite effect, too. I heard a PhD computer programmer on the radio yesterday explaining his experience, which involved multiple calls to the 800 hotline and over four hours of effort. He finally opened an account, but it is “pending” while his financial data is being checked. He noted that he is well-educated, computer savvy, and probably of above average intelligence. “Obamacare was designed for a group that is largely poor, less well-educated and less technologically savvy,” he said. “What good will the system be if it is too frustrating and too difficult and time-consuming to use for the very people it needs to serve?”
Hey, don’t worry! It’s just a glitch!
This morning CNN Headline News babe Robin Meade cheerily said, “Well, you don’t have to use the website, right? You can do it over the phone!” WRONG, oh comely abetter of Obama Administration spin and accountability avoidance! That 800 number just gives you pleasant encouragement and guidance about the system that isn’t yet working…glitches, you know. How dare the media participate in this deception? But I must admit, Robin looked fetching, as always…
The utter dishonesty and disrespect for the public being displayed here is appalling. Here is our contemptuous President, “levelling with the American people” yesterday regarding the fiasco…I’m sorry! “Glitch”:
- “Of course, you’ve probably heard that healthcare.gov, the new website where people can apply for health insurance and browse and buy affordable plans in most states, hasn’t worked as smoothly as it was supposed to work…” Deceit and an insult. The website has not worked.
- “…the number of people who’ve visited the site has been overwhelming, which has aggravated some of these underlying problems.” Lie. We know that the problem is systemic, and is not merely a matter of too much volume.
- “You may not know it, but you’re already benefiting from these provisions in the law. For example, because of the Affordable Care Act, young people like Jasmine Jennings and Jessica Ugladai and Ezra Salap — all of whom are here today — they’ve been able to stay on their parent’s plans until they’re 26. Millions of other young people are currently benefitting that — from that part of the law.” Deceit. Who -is “you”? “You” are benefiting already, because Jasmine and Jessica and Ezra are benefitting? How is that possible? I am not benefiting, because I can’t get the damn website to work!
- “So there are a wide range of consumer protections and benefits that you already have if you’ve got health insurance. You may not have noticed them, but you’ve got them and they’re not going anywhere and they’re not dependent on a website.” Lie. The ACA is an integrated program, sold, dishonestly, to the American people on the optimistic claim that it would address the insurance problem without costing more money than it brings in. If the website undermines the delicate balance of incentives, the system will be expensive and inefficient.
- N“So the fact is, the product of the Affordable Care Act for people without health insurance is quality health insurance that’s affordable. And that product is working. It’s really good. And it turns out there’s a massive demand for it. So far, the national website, healthcare.gov, has been visited nearly 20 million times.Twenty million times. And there’s great demand at the state level, as well because there are a bunch of states that are running their own marketplaces.” No, it’s NOT working, because people can’t access it. This spin is so insulting, such obvious, contemptuous snake oil, that the news media should be screaming, shouting, protesting. No, they’re talking about glitches. How dare the President boast about twenty million visitors to the website when those visitors were frustrated, cut off, and bounced around, their time wasted and misused? This is like a restaurant that gave its customers salmonella boasting about the fact that there was a waiting list to get in! How dare our leader talk to us as if we’re idiots? How dare the news media treat it as acceptable?
- “Every day people who were stuck with sky-high premiums because of pre-existing conditions are getting affordable insurance for the first time, or finding . . . that they’re saving a lot of money. Every day women are finally buying coverage that doesn’t charge them higher premiums than men for the same care.” Again, deceit. James Taranto explains:
“If Obama is accurately describing the typical ObamaCare enrollee, then the program’s economic death spiral is under way. ObamaCare can work only if people without pre-existing conditions prove willing to pay jacked-up premiums and, since he mentioned it, if men are willing to pick up the tab for those lowered (or less steeply raised) premiums for women.”
- “Keep in mind the insurance doesn’t start until January 1st. That’s the earliest that the insurance can kick in.” Double talk . So the insurance is “working already,” but it hasn’t started yet. If it hasn’t started yet, it can’t be working.
That’s enough. We cannot trust a leader willing to look us in the face and utter such transparent (though designed to avoid transparency) garbage. We should not trust a massive new system managed by a bureaucracy that cannot get a key operating component to work after years of lead time and three weeks of furious repairs. We should regard with undiluted disgust a journalistic establishment that allows itself to be complicit in insulting and misdirecting the public by calling such a ominous mess effecting millions of Americans a glitch.
It is not a glitch, and anyone who calls it that is a liar and trying to mislead you.