'Left Burned in Obamacare Rollout'; Was 'Punch in the Gut' for Liberals

On the air, MSNBC is doing its best to level some criticism of the disastrous rollout of ObamaCare but to principally deflect blame to, who else, Republicans. But the Lean Forward network's website today actually published an item headlined, "Left burned in Obamacare rollout."

"President Obama might have said on Monday that 'no one is more frustrated' than he is about the messy launch of his health care website, but he’s got serious competition for the title," noted writer Benjy Sarlin, adding, ""The flubbed rollout was a punch in the gut for the president’s allies in Democratic and progressive circles who fought for the law for years in the face of unrelenting conservatives attacks." What's more (emphasis mine):

Now health care advocates, progressive activists and liberal writers are left to defend a broken website that they were just as blindsided to discover as the rest of the public, despite years of going to the mat for Obama’s signature achievement. 

And while many groups aren’t publicly grumbling, some are left with real problems to manage. 

Health care advocates, for example, stress that they expect the website’s issues to be fixed quickly and that the longer-term impact of the law is far more important. But the site’s issues are troubling. After months planning the best ways to direct people to the online exchange, they’re expending limited time and resources funneling consumers towards an inconsistent site and a still-evolving set of alternative signup methods.

The administration has only so much money to spend on promoting the new exchanges and White House officials for months have emphasized the importance of using outside groups to locate potential customers and guide them through the process. These groups are especially critical in places like Texas, which have both huge numbers of uninsured residents and a state government actively hostile to the health care law.

One major group involved in expanding coverage, Enroll America, is focusing the bulk of its efforts to sign up uninsured Americans on just 10 states–nine of which rely on the federal site. 

Ron Pollack, founder of Enroll America and executive director of FamiliesUSA, says the exchange’s issues have slowed some of their campaigns.

“One thing that’s troubled by the glitches in the computer system is that the most effective way to teach people about how they’re going to get help is by showing them others who they can relate to and who are comparably situated getting enrolled,” he said. “Since we haven’t had as many people enrolled, that’s not been as effective.”

Another group that strongly backs the health care law,, is running ads to attract young people to the exchanges. According to Anna Galland, executive director of Civic Action, her staff plan to “double down” on that campaign and may expand into more direct on-the-ground efforts if needed.

But she’s found it “dispiriting and frustrating” that Tea Party groups like FreedomWorks, who organized a parallel effort to discourage young people from getting insurance at all, are seizing on the glitches to attack the law.

“This, I think, only increases the need for grassroots organizations like ours to help get the message out that Obamacare is here to stay and that people now have an opportunity to get quality affordable health care, in many cases for the first time,” she said.

Groups like MoveOn and FamiliesUSA have generally refrained from taking shots at the White House’s handling of the law. But among progressive commentators sympathetic to the health care law, the site’s weaknesses have unleashed a torrent of criticism. After years defending the law from often outlandish criticisms, there’s palpable disapointment [sic] that the White House let them down by failing to get critical portions right.

Kind of makes you wonder if poor Benjy will get a nasty-gram from Joan Walsh much like Ezra Klein did.

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