Washington Post columnist and close Obamacare-watcher Ezra Klein told Morning Joe Monday morning that officials at Health and Human Services were aware beforehand of the significant problems with the Affordable Care Act exchange websites, and obscured the issues rather than warn top officials.
“There’s a real management failure here,” Klein said. “It isn’t that nobody knew. A lot of reporters, health care reporters, people who were engaged with HHS and CMS, folks like me and a lot of my colleagues, were going to them and saying, ‘We’re hearing bad things out of your testing. We’re hearing you’re not being able to transmit your data the way you need to transmit it.’ Senior White House staff said, ‘No, we’ve been watching this, we’re talking to people, it’s all fine, bugs are getting fixed.’ Somewhere along the management chain the news, the actual truth of what was going on—because it was not unknown—got lost, got spun, got hidden, got obscured, and they know that.”
“They should have had the information to, at the very least, go out and reset expectations,” Klein said, “to go out and say, this isn’t going to be what we thought it was at the beginning. Or actually do triage on the website, and say we’re just going to be doing window shopping at the beginning, and you have to make a phone call to actually buy a plan. There were things they could have done, and they were not given the information by their own bureaucracy to do it. That is a management failure on them.”
Co-host Joe Scarborough confirmed that the websites had been promoted by the White House as fully operational.
“But it’s not like there weren’t other people like me telling them, you know, you either get this thing up and running pretty quickly or it’s going to be a political mess for you,” Scarborough said. “They were extraordinarily confident that it would be working.”
Watch the full video below, via MSNBC:
[Image via screengrab]
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