Joan Walsh is a bad, bad man

Joan Walsh is the editor of Salon, and she’s really good.  If you’ve ever seen Joan on TV, or read any of her writing, she’s a great progressive thinker and ally, (and she’s particularly adept at taking on Twitter trolls).

But even Joan met her match recently when she penned a piece criticizing liberals for so-quickly declaring Obamacare a train wreck because of the faulty Web site rollout of the federal exchanges.

The reaction to Joan’s piece was blistering, disproportionate, rude and sexist. (My title, “Joan Walsh is a bad, bad man” is a play on the “you’re a bad man and I’m outraged!” ethos that has infected a few too many on the left, who seem almost giddy when they find some reason, any reason, to declare a longtime friend a foe.)

First, an excerpt from Joan’s initial piece, in which she talks about liberal media types who were upset about the Web snafus:

joan-walshAgain, (Ryan) Lizza and (Ezra) Klein are describing real problems with the site, and it’s enough to make those of us who wanted a single-payer system say, “I told you so.” All the biggest problems with the ACA have to do with its commitment to working mostly through the existing patchwork of private insurance programs. That’s also the only way it could have gotten through Congress in 2010, though, so saying I told you so is satisfying but politically irrelevant.

And so is much of the liberal hand-wringing. Does anyone think if the website worked perfectly, dishonest conservatives wouldn’t be pointing to other alleged problems? The sight of people from Sen. John McCain to wingnuts on Twitter, who didn’t want the government to help the uninsured get health insurance, now lamenting the trouble those uninsured are having navigating a new website – well, it would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad and corrupt.

I think the part of the essay where Joan tips her hand as to what’s really bothering her, is this:

Robert Frost famously said “a liberal is a man too broad-minded to take his own side in a quarrel.”

And she’s not entirely wrong.  There’s something to be said for gauging to what degree your criticism may help the other side.  While many of us are journalists, we’re also partisans.  AMERICAblog is admittedly a journal about progressive news and analysis.  We will not lie to our readers.  But we also admit up front that our writing is part of a larger progressive agenda.  And we don’t post stories that don’t further that agenda.

But sometimes, you further the agenda by criticizing your own.  That’s what we did in holding President Obama’s feet to the fire on gay rights all these years, and it worked.  I made a calculation that we needed to hold the President publicly accountable for his gay rights promises if we were going to see those promises fulfilled.  So we did, and it seems to have worked.

But there’s the rub.  I actually did a cost-benefit analysis in my head before writing the gay rights stories in question.

And I can’t speak for Joan, but I wonder if, looking at that Robert Frost quote, this isn’t part of her concern.  That some aren’t thinking before they speak, and that they aren’t even considering whether their criticism might end up helping the Republicans, and hurting the cause of health care reform.

I know when I wrote my pieces critical of the federal exchange site, I thought long and hard about whether I was simply helping the Republicans.  But I decided that it was important to point out some of the specific problems that I felt weren’t getting enough attention; everyone was focusing on the software glitches, rather than the actual layout and design of the site that does not permit you to easily browse health care plans (as I’d written before, you can easily browse the DC exchange plans).  And even now, CNN just reported that when you call the 800 number to browse plans by phone, you can’t.  They need one to three weeks to confirm that you are who you say you are before even giving you the prices and details of the plans.  That’s utterly ridiculous.

I worry that these missteps with the federal exchange Web site are what give Republicans fuel to attack Obamacare.  And I worry that things won’t get fixed in a timely manner because the very design of the site – and of the phone call-in center – suggests that no one thought it important for people to be able to easily browse health care plans, and that, I believe, is a huge mistake.

The best way to sell people on Obamacare is to let them have easy access to all the pricing and plan details, now.  And yes, you need to figure out a way to factor in the subsidies many people will be getting, so you don’t scare them off with the sticker shock of the unsubsidized plans.  (How about a chart that shows the average subsidy for each income category, that people can check out, before you give them the full non-subsidy prices of the plans?)  There are ways around this problem that don’t entail not giving people the information they need to make an informed decision.

When CNN called the other day, and asked me to walk through with them, on camera, my rather horrific experience with the federal exchange, I declined.  In my mind, it’s one thing to write a story expressing my concerns, it’s another to go on TV and kvetch about it. For me, going on TV felt like crossing a line from constructive critic to basher.  And I’m not here to bash, I’m here to help.

Though sometimes, you help by being critical of your own side.  But it’s admittedly a fine line.  You just have to know, and care, when you’re crossing it.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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55 Responses to “Joan Walsh is a bad, bad man”

  1. BillFromDover says:

    Try “Pray ya don’t get sick” policies?

    What the fuck ya mean that I don’t have hospitalization… I’m, paying $58 a month for this policy!

  2. ArthurH says:

    On the October 28 “Crossfire” I heard those $98 a month “healthcare” policies described as “Swiss Cheese Insurance” as they have so many holes in their coverage. Perhaps what ACA needs is some Mr. Mayhem ads used to counter Progressive’s name-your-own-price auto insurance. The ads depicted a catastrophic accident that gets worse when “you find your name-your-price policy doesn’t cover it.”

  3. Sasha K-S says:

    The problem with the ACA isn’t the website, it is the law itself.

    It won’t reduce the total health spending in America, and will in fact increase it.

    Put everything else aside, this is it’s fatal problem.

    It will shift more of the costs to young people, to rich people, and to the government. But what it WON’T do is actually decrease the insane share of GDP we spend on healthcare as a nation.

    Health is currently 1/6 of GDP. Unless we take steps to seriously and creatively tackle this, all efforts are just farts in the wind.

  4. ezpz says:

    She somehow managed to use both words – devotee and obamabot – in the same sentence. What she was trying to say, I’m not exactly sure, but it seemed like she was defending her right to criticize others for being honest when honesty was not flattering to this administration by pointing out that she was not an obamabot?

    Actually, I just don’t know; nor, do I want to get into her head enough to understand. What I do know is that it was off-putting and damaged whatever credibility she may have once had.

  5. BeccaM says:

    You do have a point there.

  6. karmanot says:

    “Am I allowed to be critical of my own side?” The question is even more basic: Do we even have a side? I haven’t had a side since Clinton sold us out on ever single issue that promoted progressive legislation.

  7. karmanot says:

    I think ‘devotee’ is the new ‘bot.’

  8. Houndentenor says:

    It leaves you a member of the reality-based community.

  9. dula says:

    I would look for the info that helps me navigate the problems with registering for the ACA in order to get healthcare, not in order to criticize. Cost benefit analysis as to whether or not it’s good to give truthful info about how the website works is political masturbation. What is “our side” anymore anyway within the lesser of two evils paradigm? It’s not like we are fighting for anything with integrity.

  10. BeccaM says:

    “Liberal hand-wringing” is where she lost me.

    It’s as if she thinks there’s something wrong with being a liberal. And furthermore that we’re effete and ineffectual.

  11. ezpz says:

    It’s hard to take anyone seriously who uses the word “devotee” to describe Obama supporters. It just oozes too much, too over the top with blind loyalty and unhealthy ‘devotion’ being poured onto an elected official. That word should be reserved for religious or cult leaders, not an elected president.

    “Not the last person. Good call,” Walsh said. “But, you know, people who are devotees of our President are sitting in their living rooms saying ‘She’s no Obama-bot.”

  12. BillFromDover says:

    I’m a liberal and can’t afford a taxi, let alone a limousine.

    Where does this entire mess leave me?

  13. BillFromDover says:

    Jesus Christ Arthur, you actually think that your average bagger understands logic?

  14. BillFromDover says:

    But why would any sentient individual choose this option other than a long-time listener, never-time caller?

    Isn’t this a tad like asking “Hey, I’m 27… so can ya tell me about how much income taxes I probably owe… click here for estimates?”

    And this is where we now are for $300 mil?

    How sad is it that this whole mess has become ultra-political rather than simply technical?

  15. BeccaM says:

    I looked into the calling, and you can’t really browse plans. My state’s website lists a whole bunch of ‘registered brokers’ — but no means to tell whether or not any of them are legit, and I found enough evidence to suggest at least some of them probably aren’t.

    My remaining option is to go directly to the health insurance companies themselves, which is my current back-up plan if isn’t working by the end of the month.

  16. BillFromDover says:

    And what do ya expect for a measly $300 million?

    Hell, I got stuck on the DC Metro and missed my bus to the airport for a trifle less that that!

  17. BillFromDover says:

    You do realize that there are three other options for ya, don’t you?

    Never mind!

  18. BillFromDover says:


  19. NCMan says:

    From what I have read, anyone who had a plan with an insurer BEFORE the ACA became law in 2010 was given the opportunity by their insurere to grandfather in their existing plan as long as they made no changes to it. Anyone who bought a plan after ACA became law in 2010 and bought a plan that didn’t meet the minimum coverage of the ACA regulations was told at the time of purchase that there plan would not be available AFTER Jan 2014 because it doesn’t meet the minimums required by ACA. So, in 2014 they would have to buy a new plan that at least meets the “bronze” level in ACA. Depending on how lousy their old insurance was, the new bronze plan probably will cost more than their old plan. But, they will probably also qualify for a subsidy which will lower the cost.

    Additionally, if you live in a state that didn’t build their own exchange and didn’t expand Medicaid, then you state will automatically have plans that cost more than they need to. Both because of lack of competition (in NC only one insurer is in all 100 counties and only one other participates in about half the counties) and higher medical costs being expected in the system with so many still uninsured who would have gotten Medicaid. Anyone who would have gotten Medicaid is not required to buy insurance in the exchange because they won’t qualify for a subsidy since they were supposed to get Medicaid. All those people will continue to head to the emergency room and still put a strain on the system driving up costs that the insurers will recover through higher premiums.

  20. BeccaM says:

    lol. Sometimes I use the term Nuevo Mexicanos just to make the Tea Baggers’ heads explode.

  21. I doubt it works for old Mexicans either.

    Ba dum bum.

    I love that you folks call yourself that :)

  22. BeccaM says:

    Doesn’t work for New Mexicans. It sends us back to the BeWellNM exchange site which doesn’t have anything close to enough information to browse plans, because they were never counting on not working.

    I can look at a page-broken spreadsheet that tells me some of the rates for plans. I can follow another link over to the NM health insurance commissioner’s website, which has individual PDFs I can download and attempt to make sense of the extremely high-level overviews in them. Information about ‘platinum’ plan level coverage is missing entirely. I cannot get information as to what kind of tax credit or subsidy I might be qualified to receive.

    I looked into using one of those healthcare ‘navigators.’ Know what they do? They take down your information and attempt to log you into

    The issue isn’t solved. Sorry, I wish it was. For some folks, I’m sure everything’s great. But for many of us, no, not solved at all.

  23. Indigo says:

    I like your concept of the “framing” machine as a working social paradigm in our public conversations. That makes solid semiotic sense to me. There was one (and only one) point on which I think W got it exactly right and that was his Immigrants Bill proposal which drove his own party ballistic. (And I always liked Ronald Reagan . . . especially in ‘Bedtime for Bonzo.’)

    I think the public is not ready for the discussion on the ACA website because the public understanding of how the system works and how websites are constructed is limited. Unfortunately, that opens the door for Congress of Baboons to have hearings to explain the mechanics of a “series of tubes.” Remember that one?

    There are points that have to be sorted out before a reasonable public conversation can happen but I suspect the IT magicians will have it up and running by Thanksgiving and the entire question will was away with the holiday cheer. (“Aint’ that America . . . ?” :-)

  24. BeccaM says:

    There is that, including several reports that it was HHS that ordered the ability to browse plans anonymously be removed.

  25. BeccaM says:

    In addition to which: HSA is a plutocratic class solution that it just happens some reasonably well-off middle class families can take advantage of.

    But the poor? The unemployed? The disabled and chronically ill? Where are they supposed to get the money in the first place to put into a healthcare savings account?

  26. SkippyFlipjack says:

    It’s not true that the GOP doesn’t have a plan, they just don’t have a plan that addresses any of the actual problems with the current (pre-ACA) system. Tax-deductible HSA accounts? Great, so all your savings will pay for 12% of a serious illness instead of 8%.

  27. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Yeah I don’t get it either. He says “We’re going to have the best and brightest fix it” — why didn’t the best and brightest build it? (Or, based on the reporting we’ve seen, why weren’t the best and brightest managing the project and overseeing the communication between various contract agencies?) I guess $300 million just doesn’t buy you the quality help it used to…

  28. The_Fixer says:

    That does seem like a slam-dunk, doesn’t it?

    But there’s more to it than that. There were specifications changes that came from the government at the last minute, and critical testing was done by the government instead of the people who built it and know what to test for.

    So while the private contractors are to blame for writing some crappy code, the government had a hand in it, too. It’s a shared blame situation.

  29. The_Fixer says:

    What, and have me getting even more E-mail from them?

    “Based on the previous health insurance plans you’ve browsed, we have the following suggestions for health insurance plans for you to consider…”

    Seriously, maybe they did and Amazon turned them down. It’s a big project and they have a lot of irons in the fire already.

  30. chris10858 says:

    I just had a thought… Republicans always talk about how private enterprise can do things better than the government. Well, this site was built by a bunch of private contractors… so I guess Republicans were wrong? :)

  31. chris10858 says:

    Insurance companies being dishonest and screwing people over? I just don’t believe it! It has to be a lie! LOL

    Ive seen Republicans on TV touting these people getting kicked off their policies recently. When progressive pundits respond, they go into this diatribe that is long-winded and complicated to understand for most Americans. They just need to say something like those policies were crappy and stole people’s money.

  32. chris10858 says:

    Part of the problem also is that there is a vacuum amongst progressives in the news media. If the president were a Republican and this was a conservative healthcare plan (oh, wait.. it is.) then they would have conservative talking points everywhere and conservative pundits on every channel and media outlet to prop up the successes of the program. They’d have the president in Kentucky and other states where it’s working well.

    It seems sometimes, progressive/democratic leaders in DC couldn’t even muster up a good PR campaign to support kittens and puppies.

  33. chris10858 says:

    AS you said, the state sites are working very well. Why the heck isn’t Obama and other dem leaders out there on the news media every day touting the successes in each of those states? For one thing, Kentucky is a red state. Anything we could do in that state alone to tout the success of ObamaCare for Kentuckians would be a good political move.

    I really like the president but I swear, he’s horrible at PR. If it were Bill Clinton, he’d be there in Kentucky with his arms around people and giving great stump speeches on the programs success.

  34. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Isn’t there some middle ground? (I know, my previous response didn’t allow for much.)

    I think there’s a society-wide problem these days where everyone thinks — not without cause — that they’re all part of a big “framing” machine, all contributing to the success or failure of an issue they support. Nobody wants to give an inch because their neighbor doesn’t want to either. I found it really tough to give GW Bush props for the good things he did (though I’m struggling a bit to remember one) and I find it tough to criticize Obama for much, particularly when discussing things with Republicans. Nobody wants to give an opponent ammunition, but often the most successful discussions can be had when people share the things they agree about. An honest discussion on this topic would admit that the website has problems but they’ll be worked out and the underlying legislation will be, and is, fine. I’d have a hard time discussing the ACA with someone who thinks that a bad website means the entire program sucks, but it doesn’t mean we can’t try.

  35. chris10858 says:

    I think we should have just went with the Republicans healthcare plan instead of ObamaCare. Oh, wait. They didn’t have one. They still don’t have one.

    I agree with John’s question as to why can’t have a quick’n’easy tool to allow people to just shop for rates and plans and offer in a calculator tool that estimates their subsidy. The Kaiser Foundation has one that is supposed to be pretty good. I hate to sound the conspiracy nut but a part of me wonders whether Koch brothers or other conservative operatives somehow worked behind the scenes to cause so many issues.

    I also saw on the news where the private contractors stated that just days before the website was to go live, someone in the government directed them to re-design the site and force visitors to first register before shopping for insurance.

    We progressives are usually pretty bad marketing our accomplishments to the public. In this situation, Obama should be going to states like Kentucky to show off people who were able to enroll in their state exchange.

    The Kaiser Foundation tool:

  36. Indigo says:

    Not at all. But constant condemnation and a flow of vituperation are not useful unless, of course, the purpose is simply to discredit the entire project and take it down.

  37. BeccaM says:

    Same here: When I wrote my own account of my horrible (and still ongoing*) lack of success in obtaining insurance through the website, I did have to ask myself, “Am I allowed to be critical of my own side?”

    (* = Still ongoing in that it’s now been 10 days and my identity verification continues to be listed as “pending review.”)

    In this case, I felt the answer was yes. My experiences were truthful and factual. For months, they’ve been shilling as the one-stop-shop to compare and sign up for health insurance. It has failed miserably so far on both of those accounts.

    It doesn’t help to say, “But the DC exchange or the California exchange or the New York exchange is just peachy and works great.” Terrific for residents of those states and locales, but the majority of Americans who need to sign up sometime during the next four to six weeks have just the one website and it doesn’t work as advertised.

    Y’see, I’ve felt in recent years that the most important thing that sets us progressives, liberals, and Democrats (not all the same category all the time) apart from the increasingly dogmatic and ideological Republicans is that on average we deal with the world as it is, and not as we’d like it to be.

    If the poll numbers for our candidates aren’t good, we don’t declare the polls to be biased, for instance. One of the cornerstones of the hubris of ‘exceptionalism’ is if something is perfect, there’s no need to fix it. Right now, denying there are serious problems with hinders making it right. It’s not undue bashing to point these problems out.

    On the other hand, as John said — it’s one thing to kvetch on a website, and another to go on national TV when you know the whole story isn’t going to be (the website) is badly broken but cast instead as indictment of the entire PPACA law. And it’s that latter message that must not be supported — not as the radical right and their media lackeys would put it.

    I am pointedly not getting into the entirely valid progressive/liberal criticisms of the law as a whole. At this point, having the laws is, in my personal opinion, better than the previous status quo ante. Extended coverage for young adults. Medicare expansion — now without an asset check. No more coverage denials for trivial or serious pre-existing conditions. No more yearly or lifetime benefit caps.

    The thing is, the Republicans don’t get into these finer points. Sure, some of ’em will say, “Yes, we shouldn’t have pre-existing coverage denials” — but when pressed as to what they would pass to replace ‘Obamacare,’ they have no answer whatsoever. The only thing they want to do is repeal the entire thing and go back to how it used to be. With 50 million Americans uninsured and millions more losing their insurance each year.

    Unfortunately, outlets like CNN buy into that false dichotomy: ‘Obamacare’ or nothing. is broken, therefore we should seriously consider dumping the whole thing and giving up.

    There’s more answers than that. But on TV, they don’t do nuance anymore.

    As for Joan Walsh… well, AmericaBlog readers, welcome to what it means to Blog While Female. We draw more trolls than average and when we do, they’re quite prone to trotting out sexist slurs and insults. Nevertheless, I objected to the content of Walsh’s post not on who she is. Like I said, it’s not seditious to our side to point out when something is wrong. This is what makes us different: We see something wrong and work to fix it; when the radical conservative Republicans are confronted with something wrong, they deny it exists. Or they propose solutions completely unrelated to the problem at hand, to further their political agendas.

    This is Walsh’s mistake, as I saw it: She painted ‘liberals’ as ‘declaring Obamacare a trainwreck.’ That’s an unfair generalization. We are painting the website as a trainwreck, which is at this time a totally fair thing to say.

    I also take exception to her use of the pejorative term ‘liberal hand-wringing.’ Accurate criticism isn’t ‘hand-wringing.’

  38. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Here’s a piece of ACA coverage that I think needs more.. coverage. I’ve seen lots of anecdotal evidence of people with independent coverage getting letters from their health insurance providers saying “Due to restrictions in the ACA we will no longer be offering your current plan; please pick from one of these two [more expensive] plans.” This is being spun as giving lie to the idea that people can keep their own insurance plans, and I think sounds convincing on its face. (This is independent of whether they can get other coverage on the exchanges.) Has anyone investigated what about these plans doesn’t meet ACA standards? Are the insurance companies determining that they need “new” plans in order to add pre-existing condition coverage? Are they just screwing with everyone? Is it that the old plan just doesn’t rise to what they could charge under ACA? The counter to this criticism is facts, and I’m curious about what they are.

  39. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Should people just pretend the federal website works great?

  40. SkippyFlipjack says:

    I agree, the Vietnamese version of the site does have some big glitches.

  41. SkippyFlipjack says:

    It’s really important to mention as well that the state websites are generally working OK. Kentucky’s is supposed to be great; California’s I know from experience works well, and lets you compare plans just by entering a couple of pieces of general demographic data. The federal site doesn’t work well and they spent an inordinate amount of money building it. It’s OK to state the obvious and not let the GOP frame the entire issue and say that Obamacare is a failure just because the website crashes a lot. Ticketmaster (aka, Satan) had a website that used to crash a lot. Many big sites have had high-profile outages. It happens. Learn, repair and move forward.

  42. friv 2 says:

    Tiếp tục mang đến những vấn đề đó đã được giải quyết chỉ làm cho người ta tin rằng những vấn đề vẫn còn tồn tại….

  43. ArthurH says:

    Just slightly off topic, I’ve read some online articles that indicate that a lot of the young people complaining they are getting a big increase in monthly premiums under the ACA actually had bargain policies that provided only limited healthcare coverage and low dollar caps on payments. People who were told by the brokers who got them these bargain policies that they covered hospital stays but later found payments cut off after five days are filing lawsuits that they were misled. One woman required three weeks in the hospital after being hit by a car ended up owing $180,000 as her policy cut off payments at $10,000. And CEOs of companies like Aetna that offered these bargain policies are shouting the loudest about the increases between their limited coverage policies and those that would cover nearly all expenses for a hospital stay. A $98 a month policy might be a bargain if you never have a claim while a $270 a month policy would be a bargain if you have a claim and the resulting costs don’t drive you into long-term penury.

  44. Indigo says:


  45. As informed AMERICAblog readers already know, the “see plans now” button takes you to a page that shows you the price of such plans for a 27 year old (if you select the under “under 49 years of age” button). And what’s worse, all they tell you are the names and prices of the plans, for a 27 year old. You’re not given any info as to what the plans actually are – what they do, what’s the prescription copay, how much do you pay for an office visit, what’s your deductible. Zero details. The very fact that they put that button up there, in order to in essence fool people into thinking they can browse, and then not even telling them that the prices are for a 27 year old when they think it’s for someone their age, just goes to show how f’d up the entire design of the site really is. That’s why I gripe about it – because even this recent fix, adding the “see plans nows” button, is entirely screwed up.

  46. And I also think that there are liberals who either aren’t smart enough, or don’t even try, to figure out whether their constructive criticism is actually helping, or hurting, our side. And that’s a part of it too. Though at the very least, I’d hope that people think first, in order to at least attempt to ensure that their criticism is truly constructive.

  47. slappymagoo says:

    I was in the process of writing a novel of an answer, but what it really boils down to is, that’s why it’s called CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. If you’re exposing and dissecting a problem in the hopes that it might lead to a solution, that’s good. If you’re holding hearing to point out the problems and just how awful they are without offering any solutions (or even if your ultimate goal is to give the impression that there are no solutions), you’re a jackass and shouldn’t be taken seriously.

    Aravosis did the former, as did Joan Walsh; Republicans are by and large doing the latter. It’s our responsibility, as thinking human beings, to be able to discern the difference. If you can’t, what the hell’s the matter with you?

  48. NCMan says:

    Could we please stop talking about the inability to shop or view plans and costs without fully applying as if it is still a problem? That issue has already been corrected. There is a big “See Plans Now” button right on the front page. You just tell it where you live and your age and how many people you want to cover. It then warns you the prices that you will see don’t reflect the subsidies you will probably qualify, shows you salary ranges for subsidies and then you are off to the races and it shows you all the plans available in your location.

    Continuing to bring up issues that are already solved just makes people believe those issues still exist.

  49. Houndentenor says:

    But in the TP bubble, it’s everyone else who is crazy. But agreed, if they don’t get the website fixed soon this will be the focal point for undoing the system.

  50. Houndentenor says:

    Because both the “limousine liberals” and the TPers live in a bubble where they hardly ever have a discussion with anyone who doesn’t already agree with them. I know plenty of both and find them equally frustrating.

  51. Houndentenor says:

    The ACA website is only a problem for those who live in a state where the governor decided not to set up a state exchange. Those all seem to be working quite well and people on those are getting better plans and rates. This has to be one of the most bizarre moments in American politics. Governors who claim to want states to do things, not the federal government, are forcing their own citizens into a federal system rather than a state one.

  52. lynchie says:

    Your points are right on the mark. People in the main know so little about the ACA that it only seems natural that they want to explore to find out more and test the waters so to speak. The federal site seems to require so much up front information that many feel they have gone down a road they can’t return from. They should also allow people to print out the forms to be filled in rather than expect them to stay on line for extended periods. That way they could collect the info they need and fill out the forms in pen and then go on line to complete the process. One of the problems with a lot of the things coming out of the Obama white house is lousy follow up. They seem to be liberal elitists in that they refuse to acknowledge many of the people without insurance are all as “smart” as they are. Many of the uninsured don’t have computers of their own or fully understand how they work. They have also heard the last few years of lies on what is bad about the ACA and are skeptical at best and optimistic as well. As far as how well this works, I believe there was a whole breakdown in testing and simplifying the registration process and like in anything shit rises to the top and people need to be held accountable for spending millions on a non operating system. Sebilius seems aloof, no one in the Congress is supporting the ACA and Obama while taking responsibility for the screw up must have been asleep to believe all his young pups who said all is well. How about simply trying to sign on yourself—Obama, Sebilius, Dem congressmen, etc. As far as the company building the site and developing the software they carry a huge burden as well. Maybe the problem goes away now but at what cost, financial, confidence of the uninsured, meeting the low expectations of the TP and GOP as well as confirming my opinion of the ass kissers and sycophants in the WH who did not have the where with all to make sure this works right out of the box.

  53. Indigo says:

    The reality of the situation is murky at best but for the limousine liberals to leap into rhetoric about how poorly the Obama administration does business suggests an agenda hidden from those of us who tool about in old Jeep trucks. Limousine-thinking dwells in its own realm of fantasy, just like the T-P-ersd do, and, seriously it’s high time for folks to recognize that.

  54. caphillprof says:

    Did no one think about contracting with Amazon?

  55. keirmeister says:

    I guess it’s a calculation dependent on what the Administration does: If the problems are fixed quickly, the criticisms become trivial; however if the problems persist (or get worse), one cannot defend it without acknowledging the reality of the situation.

    That latter option is what Conservatives do. In the presence of all evidence, they stick to their own preferred reality – and that’s why people think they’re crazy.

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