Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post writes:
President Obama’s just-completed press conference was arguably worse than the Obamacare rollout. Alternately confessing, apologizing and blame shifting, he inadvertently made the case against his own executive skills, Obamacare and big government in general.
His announced fix is aimed at remedying the mass cancellation of individually-purchased insurance plans by letting insurance companies re-offer non-compliant policies. This makes clear that contrary to the statements from Jay Carney and Valerie Jarrett, Obamacare and not the insurers were the cause of the cancellations. Obama let slip that this is one big blame-shifting exercise when he announced that no one would be able to say Obamacare caused them to lose insurance. It is of course false because it is unlikely all the canceled policies can be restored.
Obama is losing Democrats in Congress who fear for their seats because of this. Several of them are signing up to Republican bills to change the law. If they pass, will Obama veto them?
Rather ironic that the Republicans fought so hard to defend Obamacare. Their best strategy would have been to step aside and watch it fall apart 🙂
Rubin quotes some lines from the press conference:
“We fumbled the rollout on this health-care law.”
“I completely get how upsetting this can be for a lot of Americans.”
“It is a complex process.”
“I was not informed directly [How about indirectly?!] that the Web site would not be working. . . . I don’t think I’m stupid enough to go around saying this is going to be like shopping on Amazon or Travelocity, a week before the Web site opens, if I thought that it wasn’t going to work.”
“With respect to the pledge I made that if you like your plan you can keep it. . . that there is no doubt that the way I put that forward unequivocally ended up not being accurate.”
“The federal government does a lot of things really well. One of those things it does not do well is information technology procurement.”
“What we are also discovering is insurance is complicated to buy.”
Obama’s answers were long, rambling and at times hard to understand. What is clear is there is no arguing Obamacare can’t be touched or that this administration knows what it is doing. It was a remarkable confession about his own and the federal government’s ineptness, a virtual ad against big government — especially ones dependent on IT procurement. In admitting this was about shifting blame to insurers, he made crystal clear that his conduct is and has been about damage control, not permanently fixing an unworkable bill. He certainly gave satisfaction to Republicans who have been making many of these arguments all along. And it will no doubt convince Democrats to run as fast and as far as they can from this hapless president.
The deadline for the website to be working is now 30 November. If they fumble again, it will just get worse.