J. D. Heyes
October 15, 2013
Despite the fact that her department had years to prepare for the official roll-out of Obamacare, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius blew it – big time.
And yet, there has been stony silence from the White House – where Sebelius’ boss resides – over the manner in which she botched her job.
Because of the huge implications that a negative roll-out would mean for President Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment, Sebelius should have been camped out in the Obamacare IT department night and day ensuring that the system was not only operational and on schedule but fully functional.
Obviously, she didn’t do that, and that has left more than a few people scratching their heads as to why this woman hasn’t been fired and is still being compensated by American taxpayers.
Because if Sebelius had been working for a private firm, that’s exactly what would have happened – she would been tossed out on her behind and told never to come back again.
Whiffing on Obama’s signature law should have meant instant dismissal, but…
“Sebelius’ department had 3 1/2 years to prepare to implement the Affordable Care Act. No one ever suggested that commandeering one-sixth of the American economy would be an easy task. (Many Republicans suggested the opposite and were dismissed as killjoys for their efforts.) But after the debacle of the last two weeks, liberals and Democrats – not conservatives or Republicans – should be calling for Sebelius’s head,” writes Tom Bevan at RealClearPolitics.
Bevan says that, while a certain degree of political loyalty is in play here, as it is in every presidential administration, this time is different.
Not only is the Affordable Care Act Obama’s legislative namesake, its pathetic roll-out is likely to be very damaging not only to him but to the party he belongs to and the party which garnered the only votes to pass Obamacare into law.
Then again, not all of this bad news is on Sebelius, as Bevin notes:
“The administration’s handling of the implementation of Obamacare over the past three years has been a slow-moving train wreck: a mixture of embarrassing delays, hard-to-justify waivers, and assorted bad news about the unintended consequences of the law.
But as roll-out neared, Sebelius and her department became the focus, for if it wasn’t smooth – or even successful – it would be hard for her to shift the blame.
“The crowning blunder came 10 days ago with the rollout of [the] healthcare.gov website, the centerpiece of the administration’s effort to sign individuals up for coverage through the government-run health care exchanges that are at the heart of the legislation. To say this was vitally important to the overall success of the law is an understatement,” he says. “It is the aspect of Obamacare that the president himself has said is utterly essential – and backed up those words by letting the federal government shut down rather that give in to Republican demands to gut it. Nonetheless, its premiere was a giant flop – and Kathleen Sebelius is responsible.”
Site wasn’t even tested
Worse, the amount of taxpayer money spent to “build” this flop was beyond excessive – as spending for government-created, government-centric things tend to be. At a reported $500 million, the ACA’s Healthcare.gov cost more to build than “LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Spotify,” but it has been a disaster from the get-go. (Writer’s note: When I visitedHealthcare.gov during the writing of this story, just to see how much progress has been made to fix the glitches, I was redirected to a page where I was asked to wait. In all fairness, my wait didn’t last long, but I didn’t go any further in the sign-up process.)
All in all, Sebelius is ultimately responsible for this roll-out disaster. Yet, despite her department’s poor performance (Healthcare.gov wasn’t even tested prior to launch, reports said), she remains gainfully employed on the taxpayer dime.
This article was posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2013 at 4:54 am