The Right wants to spin the dysfunctions of the ACA federal website as the train wreck they predicted. But dread pirate mistermix writes,
I’d have to consult a psychiatrist or a circus owner to get an expert opinion, but I have a couple of unschooled guesses why the Obamacare rollout isn’t occupying banner headlines on Fox and shooting to the top of Memeorandum.
First, the right is dealing with an audience that’s been told that Obamacare will lead to an end of the American way of life as we know it, create panels that determine whether you live or die, and make you stand in line for hours to get even a band-aid from some doctor (not your own) toiling under the thumb of faceless bureaucrats. Compared to all that, a website that crashes or takes a long time to complete an enrollment is almost a good news story.
Second, if you start talking about exchanges having trouble signing people up, you must acknowledge the fact that people are signing up. If you acknowledge that, you acknowledge that a four year effort to kill off Obamacare has amounted to precisely nothing.
Much of the debate about the Obamacare rollout has centered on whether or not its early troubles will turn people off the idea that government can do big things well. But people do not turn to government programs because they believe in them. They turn to them because they need them, and the market is not meeting their needs. When your alternative is not something excellent but nothing, you use whatever is there. A bad lunch is still lunch, an overrun city college is still a pathway to prosperity, and Medicaid is far better than six months of calls from debt collectors.
That’s going to save the Obamacare rollout.
For now, the big news about Obamacare is the debacle of HealthCare.gov, the Web portal through which Americans are supposed to buy insurance on the new health care exchanges. For now, at least, HealthCare.gov isn’t working for many users.
It’s important to realize, however, that this botch has nothing to do with the law’s substance, and will get fixed. After all, a number of states have successfully opened their own exchanges, doing for their residents exactly what the federal system is supposed to do everywhere else. Connecticut’s exchange is working fine, as is Kentucky’s. New York, after some early problems, seems to be getting there. So, a bit more slowly, does California.
Professor Krugman also points out that the “rate shock” some experts were predicting isn’t happening, in spite of the bold-face lies on Fox News that it is.
The problems with the federal website are seriously bad, however, and may take weeks to straighten out. If it isn’t fixed by December 15, this could have an impact on the ACA rollout. So let’s hope it gets fixed.