Politico Howler: 'Obama Has Gotten Surprisingly Few Questions' About HealthCare.gov's Failures

The following sentence appeared in a writeup on the ongoing failure known as HealthCare.gov by Politico reporters Kyle Cheney, Jason Millman and Jennifer Haberkorn: "President Barack Obama has gotten surprisingly few questions about the enrollment problems as the country — and Republican critics of the health law — focused on the government shutdown and the debt ceiling battle."

Gosh, President Obama has been in front of the press several times during the shutdown. Whose fault is it that no national establishment press reporter has questioned him about HealthCare.gov? Excerpt from the three Politico stooges' report following the jump (bolds are mine):

Two weeks in, Obamacare website still broken [*]


The Obamacare enrollment website remains badly broken despite two weeks of intensive round-the-clock efforts at repairs.

HHS isn’t making any predictions about how long it will take to fix it — or rebuild it. But advocates, lobbyists and industry officials are talking about it as a months-long repair effort.

How many months is an open question — and one with big consequences for the massive effort to enroll 7 million people in the new insurance exchanges and millions more in Medicaid by the end of March. People trying to switch from their current insurance into subsidized exchange plans could also face gaps.

A two-month delay, for instance, would be a different scenario than five or six months, particularly since people can face penalties if they don’t apply by mid-February.

... At a summit of health care advocacy groups at the Newseum on Tuesday, the audience was asked how many had successfully made it through HealthCare.gov even far enough to browse the selection of health plans. Only two out of about 70 people raised their hands.

... The website itself talks about a crush of media questions — but doesn’t post any answers. People trying to sign on get a variety of error messages — including one that says fixes are expected “within 24 hours.”

President Barack Obama has gotten surprisingly few questions about the enrollment problems as the country — and Republican critics of the health law — focused on the government shutdown and the debt ceiling battle. Obama did say in a Tuesday interview with KCCI-TV, “The website that was supposed to do this all in a seamless way has had way more glitches than I think are acceptable.”

... “There’s so much wrong, you just don’t know what’s broken until you get a lot more of it fixed,” he (Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini) said. Bertolini predicted it could take three years to repair, but others in the health care industry are talking about a far shorter time frame, although they don’t want to be quoted by name even talking about “months” while HHS is being mum.

[*] -- Actually, as of the Wednesday evening 7:30 p.m. time stamp, it was just shy of 16 full days.

So we have a President who is still describing problems which are so bad that they'll take months or years to fix as "glitches" — and it apparently took a local TV reporter to even ask him any kind of question in the first place.

Silly question: Who is going to compensate health insurers for the overtime they're going to have to incur in the rush to catch up in processing HealthCare.gov's enrollments if they pour in at or near the legal deadline? Related question: Given that they're only allowed to have a certain level of administrative costs, will they be forced to work at a snail's pace?

If the Washington press corps saw its main mission as journalism instead of running interference for Barack Obama, they'd be embarrassed. But they're obviously not — and in the case of the three Politico stooges cited here, they're so lacking in self-awareness that they seem genuinely surprised that Obama hasn't been more strongly challenged on the systemic failure of what they always call his "signature achievement."

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

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