One woman just couldn’t take it any longer.
Barack Obama was droning on and on today about Obamacare being so wonderful!—in fact so wonderful that the President congratulated the 85% of Americans who would not need to use it! But a woman, reportedly diabetic (and pregnant) Karmel Allison, a participant in the Obamacare pep rally, started reaching out for help standing up. She was ready to faint.
Obama, hearing the commotion behind him, turned around and saw Allison wavering. Several other participants reached out to steady her, and the President turned to tell the young woman she was OK, that he had her. He tried to make a joke:
“This happens when I talk too long.”
But it was clear his remarks were being broken up by the worry about the pregnant lady. Obama told her it would be better if she went with someone, and one of his assistants then appeared to take the woman away.
It wasn’t exactly that Obama acted rudely to Allison, but he never asked her if she was OK, but rather ordered her to be OK, because of course he needed her to stop being a distraction from his message.
This was kind of like his treatment of the whole Obamacare website fiasco. Obama refused to acknowledge there was a serious problem with the federal Obamacare website, saying that no matter how many people were not getting served their insurance, “the website is still working for a lot of people.” Obama would not say how many people thought it was “working”.
Reports continue to pile up every day that for those people who can get through to the point of shopping for insurance, their applications and even their enrollments are being kicked out by the Obamacare system. The problem is not just front-end “glitches”, a word Obama did not use in his statement—preferring to call the problems “kinks in the system.” But the concern is that the front-end problems may have been distracting from greater, more fundamental issues with the Obamacare system.
Repeatedly in his comments, Obama mocked that idea that Obamacare is supposed to be about a website:
“I just want to remind everybody, we did not wage this long and contentious battle just around a website. That’s not what this was about.”
While the “battle” to bring Obamacare to legal existence may have been about something other than a website, the federal website, healthcare.gov, has been the primary experience of Obamcare, which the President says has been visited by 20 million people.
While the White House has yet to release any figures on alleged enrollment numbers, nobody is saying they are any but a tiny fraction of the claimed visitor traffic. The real concern for Obama is if the repairs for the website goes into weeks or months. In that case, holding people accountable and penalizing them for failing to enroll in insurance they are obliged to purchase under Obamacare may be seen as unfair, especially since Obama has rejected pushing back the start date of the individual mandate.
Earlier, several media outlets had predicted the President would reject as “unacceptable” the performance of the Obamacare registry and enrollment program. But, Obama never used that word in his comments.
Instead, he encouraged Americans to try to use any means necessary, including using a federal call center, for which he gave out a phone number, to avoid the website entirely and go directly to applying through a human being on a telephone.
In fact, on healthcare.gov, a peculiar button option is now “Apply By Phone”. When you click it, you are given a phone number to call.
It all seems so 1990s.