I see what you’re saying here, Lisa, and it is indeed wise not to get too focused on the Healthcare.gov crash. As everyone with a computer background has been saying since the outset, every data processing problem can eventually be solved… given enough time and money.
One of these days, millions of wasted dollars from now, the exchanges will work reasonably well. I rather doubt it’s going to be the end of November – a relaunch date HHS Secretary Kathleen “Whatever” Sebelius promised today, with the very same enthusiasm she once displayed for the October 1 launch date – but if the money spigot is not turned off, it’ll happen eventually. We don’t want the other failures of ObamaCare to be obscured by the inevitable, and comically inappropriate, crowing. (“Yeah, we ignored every warning and blew half a billion on a black-hole website that devoured a million man-hours of the American people’s valuable time, causing untold anxiety and economic damage, but now it works, so it’s all good!”)
Your additional point about the importance of personal narratives seems to have been well-taken by the Republicans, who did a bit of that during the hearings today. Democrats, by contrast, contemptuously dismissed suffering Americans who lost their insurance to ObamaCare as “red herrings” and “Chicken Littles.” It was a stunning contrast. I would suggest in the future, Republicans in both House and Senate begin every speech and committee statement with something like this: “Let me start by telling you about a ‘red herring’ who lives in my district. Her name is Jane Smith, and she wrote to tell me about tripled insurance premiums and doubled deductibles, which are nearly impossible for a working mother of three to pay…”
But I think we do need to keep a spotlight on the ObamaCrash too, and today’s hearings illustrated why. The case against Obama’s disastrous plan must be made without remorse, on both moral and practical grounds. It’s wrong, and it doesn’t work. Watching House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans dissect Sebelius and reduce her to a hot mess of silly evasions, incredible protestations of ignorance, and outright lies was very instructive, as were the Democrat members’ embarrassing antics and callous rhetoric.
It’s not OK that this project launch was an utter disaster after three and a half years of planning, and hundreds of millions of tax dollars spent. It’s not OK that they lied to us before, during, and after the rollout, from Obama’s endless lies about being able to keep your plan if you liked it, to the ridiculous fibs about heavy web traffic being Healthcare.gov’s major problem – and what a wonderful problem it was to have! Sebelius actually tried to claim Healthcare.gov has never crashed today… and it was down while she was speaking! CNN even put the error message on a split screen next to her!
These things are not OK, and they never will be. Nothing that happens next excuses the failures to date in any way. House Republicans did very well today, and they set the template for Senate hearings to come. The American people deserve a relentless prosecution of this disaster, culminating in the total repeal of a plan that never should have been implemented in the first place – sold to the American people with outright lies, and executed with shocking incompetence.
Here’s how merciless I would be: at one point in her hearings today, Sebelius either ignorantly or fraudulently claimed she was legally barred from enrolling in the ObamaCare exchanges. I wouldn’t have merely corrected her on the point. I would have put a laptop computer in front of her and compelled her to sign up and purchase an insurance policy on the spot, on camera, to show us all how easy it is, after advising her that the hearings would be paused until she completed the process.
The critique of Healthcare.gov should flow smoothly and easily into the critique of ObamaCare in general. It’s a full-spectrum disaster that deserves to be assaulted on every front.