What does a president say when his biggest domestic policy is falling flat on its face?
The truth of the matter is, is that while ultimately, healthcare.gov, the website, is going to be the easiest place to shop for and buy these new plans — and it’s getting faster and more stable — it’s not where it needs to be yet.
Don’t be so hard on yourself, Mr. President.
I’m not happy about it, as you might imagine. (Laughter.) I’m not happy about it because I know that people need health care and this is the right place to get it.
Notice how the terms “health care” and “health insurance” have become interchangeable to this administration. I guess they’re hoping we’ll ignore the CBS News headline, “Affordable Care Act Could Be Further Hamstrung by Shortage of Doctors.”
I know you’re not happy about it because as long as the website is not working the way it should, it makes it harder for you to help them get covered. And that’s unacceptable and I’m taking responsibility to make sure that it gets fixed. And it will be fixed. We’re working overtime to get it fixed. (Applause.)
Notice there’s no indication in his statement about when it will be fixed.
But in the meantime, as you go back to your home states, I just want to remind everybody that they can still apply for coverage by phone, by mail, in person. There was a time when the Internet didn’t exist. (Laughter.) It wasn’t that long ago. A lot of programs like Medicaid still don’t operate electronically. And so there are ways for us to still work to make sure that people are getting the opportunity to buy affordable, quality health care.
Paper applications aren’t moving any faster, Mr. President. “The paper applications allow people to feel like they are moving forward in the process and provides another option; at the end of the day, we are all stuck in the same queue.”
This also dodges the question of how a purchaser evaluates and compares the details of multiple plans over the phone.
And remember, we’re only one month into a six-month open-enrollment period. Everybody who wants to get insurance through the marketplace, they’ll be able to get it. It’s not as if this is a one-day sale or something. (Laughter.) So we’ve just got to keep on working.
I’m glad the president and his fans can find a lot to laugh about in this situation.
Finally, the whopper, a giant revision of the president’s oft-stated, “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” promise:
Now, if you have or had one of these plans before the Affordable Care Act came into law and you really like that plan, what we said was you could keep it if it hasn’t changed since the law was passed.
No, Mr. President, that’s not what you said. You said, “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan, period.”