News to amuse: Sebelius says the ObamaCare marketplace 'is working'
By Andrew Malcolm
Posted 09:02 AM ET
If by "working" she means entertaining millions of Americans with late-night jokes that turn President Obama's promises into guaranteed laugh lines and threaten the political viability of his stuttering second term.
"President Obama met with American Indian tribal leaders this week. He promised them, 'If you like your medicine man, you can keep your medicine man.'" -- Jay Leno.
"That smiling woman on the Healthcare.gov homepage had her photo removed after being cyber-bullied. She's now hiding where no one can see her: At Healthcare.gov" -- Conan O'Brien.
"The ObamaCare website is emailing thousands of people desperately trying to get them to try the website again, adding, "But one at a time please." -- Jimmy Fallon.
“The marketplace is working, people are enrolling," claims Sebelius, who's from Kansas.
If by “enrolling,” Sebelius means a total of 777 people in each of the 35 state exchanges being run by the feds during enrollment’s first 33 days.
Even by adding the 79,000 enrolled on only 15 exchanges run by states and the District of Columbia, that falls somewhat short of ObamaCare’s first month enrollment goal. If by falling “short,” you mean 394,000 off the planned pace of 500,000.
“We expect these numbers to rise," Sebelius said. If by “expect” you mean cross your heart and pray to God.
After the Obama administration took more than three years to fail at constructing a workable website, Obama last month called in a private industry online expert to repair the $600+ million fiasco by the end of November. If by “the end of November,” you mean sometime later in 2014.
With the end of November arriving in -- Oh, look! -- only 12 days, administration officials have taken to claiming the site will be substantially better by then. Gone are suggestions of fully fixed.
"The Obama White House website still says if you like your health plan, you can keep it. That's false, of course. The president says they're trying to correct it, but his website people can't seem to log-on." -- Leno.
Americans know better. Only 31% believe the site will be fixed by month's end, according to a new Fox News Poll, with fully 69% saying 'No way.'
Opinion of Obama's handling of healthcare is also sinking. His approval fell 20% between October and November, from 45 points to 36 points, while his disapproval jumped from 51% to 61%.
There is, however, a minor logistical problem: At the current enrollment pace, by Nov. 30 millions of people who’ve had their existing policies canceled will have only two weeks left before the enrollment deadline to start Jan. 1. Website disaster coordinators told Congress the other day the site can now handle 20,000 to 25,000 people at one time.
AP (You can fool enough of the people some of the time.)
Which will make for a pretty crowded website during those last 336 hours of holiday healthcare shopping.
Of course, we've also had another blame-shift pivot by Obama. After refusing Republicans' idea of a delay for the individual mandate, Obama now says it's actually OK by him if insurance companies sell their previously canceled policies for another year.
Which, of course, they can't logistically do, having spent the last three years preparing for the legally-required move to new, more expensive policies. But the Democrat hopes voters will blame the cooperative insurance companies instead of his political party. 'The buck stops over there' is his leadership style.
The president also recently bemoaned the last half-decade of dysfunction in the nation's capital and called on someone to do something about it.
Here’s another problem: Although word of the bureaucratic mess enveloping his signature legislation did not reach Obama in the Oval Office until several days into it, most Americans have heard a little something about the disaster.
And their negative reaction augurs ill for the remainder of Obama's term (1,159 days, but who's counting?). Half of Americans now believe the Democrat knowingly lied about satisfied policy-holders keeping theirs, the Fox News Poll found. You can't regain credibility by throwing speeches at such popular lack of trust.
"More than one million Californians are losing their health insurance under ObamaCare. Many are so angry they’ve already gone back to Mexico." -- Leno.
Speaking of lying, you may have noticed that even ex-President Bill Clinton, who helped sell ObamaCare, opined the other day that Obama should honor his commitment to the American people about keeping their health policy. Yes, yes, it is strange to hear someone of Bill Clinton’s character advising another about honoring personal commitments.
However, Clinton's statement was designed not to convince Obama, but to help provide Hillary political distance from the community disorganizer heading toward her likely 2016 White House bid.
Thank goodness though we have the new Obama meme: Noting the approach of Thanksgiving, Leno reminded his viewers the other night that the holiday's first celebration occurred in 1621 when the newly-arrived “Pilgrims feasted with the Indians and told them, ‘If you like your land, you can keep your land.’”