Anatomy of a Clusterf**k


Believe it or not, WaPo: How political fear was pitted against technical needs

In May 2010, two months after the Affordable Care Act squeaked through Congress, President Obama’s top economic aides were getting worried. Larry Summers, director of the White House’s National Economic Council, and Peter Orzag, head of the Office of Management and Budget, had just received a pointed four-page memo from a trusted outside health adviser. It warned that no one in the administration was “up to the task” of overseeing the construction of an insurance exchange and other intricacies of translating the 2,000-page statute into reality.

Summers, Orzag and their staffs agreed. For weeks that spring, a tug of war played out inside the White House, according to five people familiar with the episode. On one side, members of the economic team and Obama health-care adviser Zeke Emanuel lobbied for the president to appoint an outside health reform “czar” with expertise in business, insurance and technology. On the other, the president’s top health aides — who had shepherded the legislation through its tortuous path on Capitol Hill and knew its every detail — argued that they could handle the job.

In the end, the economic team never had a chance: The president had already made up his mind, according to a White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to be candid. Obama wanted his health policy team — led by Nancy-Ann De­Parle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform — to be in charge of the law’s arduous implementation. Since the day the bill became law, the official said, the president believed that “if you were to design a person in the lab to implement health care, it would be Nancy-Ann.”

Three and a half years later, such insularity — in that decision and others that would follow — has emerged as a central factor in the disastrous rollout of the new federal health insurance marketplace, casting doubt on the administration’s capacity to carry out such a complex undertaking.

“They were running the biggest start-up in the world, and they didn’t have anyone who had run a start-up, or even run a business,” said David Cutler, a Harvard professor and health adviser to Obama’s 2008 campaign, who was not the individual who provided the memo to The Washington Post but confirmed he was the author. “It’s very hard to think of a situation where the people best at getting legislation passed are best at implementing it. They are a different set of skills.”

The White House’s leadership of the immense project — building new health insurance marketplaces for an estimated 24 million Americans without coverage — is one of several key reasons that the president’s signature domestic policy achievement has become a self-inflicted injury for the administration.

Based on interviews with more than two dozen current and former administration officials and outsiders who worked alongside them, the project was hampered by the White House’s political sensitivity to Republican hatred of the law — sensitivity so intense that the president’s aides ordered that some work be slowed down or remain secret for fear of feeding the opposition. Inside the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, the main agency responsible for the exchanges, there was no single administrator whose full-time job was to manage the project. Republicans also made clear they would block funding, while some outside IT companies that were hired to build the Web site,, performed poorly.

There is a lot more and you should go read it. I’m gonna go make a little snack while you’re gone.

{{♫ Musical interlude ♫}}

Oh, back already? Okay, let’s talk.

I think my favorite part is the way they blame the Republicans for . . um, . . uh, . . being big meanies or something. The truth is that the GOP didn’t do anything to screw up or ‘sabotage” Obamacare.

They tried to block it, but they failed. They challenged it in court, but they lost. They tried to delay implementation, but that didn’t work either. The Democrats cannot point to a single act by the GOP that caused the current clusterfuck.

The Republicans didn’t award the website contract to Michelle Obama crony CGI with a no-bid contract – the White House did. The GOP didn’t promise “If you like your plan, you can keep it” over and over and over, knowing it wasn’t true – Obama did. The Republicans didn’t issue executive orders granting waivers to favored constituencies – Obama did.

Obama and the Democrats own this pile of shit. Every single butt nugget is theirs, and theirs alone.

About Myiq2xu - BA, JD, FJB

I was born and raised in a different country - America. I don't know what this place is.
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34 Responses to Anatomy of a Clusterf**k

  1. DandyTIger says:

    Dems (Mommy) made a mess. They (She) claim to have had good intentions, but they (she) is just not very mechanically minded. So Repubs (Daddy) is supposed to fix it. Well, here’s the deal Dems, fuck you. It’s your mess. Enjoy.

  2. John Denney says:

    Remember when Nancy Pelosi said of the obamacare bill, “We need to pass it to see what’s in it”? Coincidentally, that’s the definition of a stool sample.

    Hat Tip to Diogenes Sarcastica

  3. DandyTIger says:

    So things are more interesting in the VA Gov. race. By some polls it’s now a 2 point race from a 12 point race. I suspect Obamacare is behind the change. It’s also come to light that the third guy in the race isn’t really a libertarian. He’s a tax and spend, big government, “social libertarian”. AKA, a Democrat. Likely funded by the DNC, but we don’t know for sure. He’s still pulling around 10%, but because of his positioning, me may be pulling more from McAuliffe than from Cuccinelli . Funny that.

    But here’s the cold water. Terry McAuliffe has all of the money and the Chicago DNS machine behind him. And Ken Cuccinelli has made stumbles with the Tea Party. He put down the shutdown and Cruz. And he’s put down a few other Tea Party issues. Ken has a stunningly bad campaign. And much less money. And as with everywhere, the split Repub party is taking its toll. But the big issue, just like in national races, the media is with Terry. Also the current Repub governor has very negative ratings (hand in candy jar). So it will be interesting to watch.

    Given everything, anything other than a 5 point win by McAuliffe should be thought of as a blow to Dems. But that’s not how it will be spun. It’s currently touted as the definitive bell weather measure of Obama vs. the Tea Party, or even of the viability of Obamacare. There looks to be quite a bit of shenanigans in some polling districts. Probably the same infrastructure set up in Ohio, VA, PA, etc. is still there.

  4. angienc says:

    Doesn’t matter — the idiot Obots (you know, the same ones who believed that if you like your plan, you can keep your plan & that the GOP wants to outlaw birth control) will fall this line of bullshit too & blame the GOP. They are already demanding the GOP “help fix” this pile of shit — no thought at all of, you know, passing a good law in the first place.

    • 1539days says:

      I still remember the day after the election when I was in line at McDonald’s and I heard employees talking about how Romney would “Get rid of Medicare.” I can’t even work up enough bitter glee in knowing those same people lost their hours and their health insurance because they supported the other guy instead.

  5. The Klown says:
  6. helenk3 says:

    I brought this up from downstairs

    GET OVER IT. If Tennesse re elects this fool the whole state should be boycotted

  7. 1539days says:

    This goes to an observation I’ve made about Barack Obama. He takes risks whenever he has the opportunity. They’re not usually calculated, but the sheer ridiculousness of them often paralyzes his opponents. The GOP never takes risks. Their last “risk” was nominating a governor who hadn’t already lost a presidential nomination.

    This is why Obama often fails against bold opponents like Putin, Netanyahu and Tea Party legislators in general. When you are risk-seeking, you create situations of conflict. When Republicans don’t bend to his will, they become the enemy forever.

    If this were a game of chicken, he would be the damn fool who drives off the cliff instead of stopping short. This is what Republicans need to know.

    • The Klown says:

      I disagree. When it comes to governing Obama is almost pathologically risk-averse. He dithers and equivocates.

      His problem is he opens his mouth without his brain engaged.

      OTOH, when it comes to self-promotion he is fearless and shameless.

      • 1539days says:

        Governing doesn’t require taking risks, it involves taking responsibility. Obama could care less about being responsible for things. He will take credit, but that’s it.

  8. The Klown says:
    • 1539days says:

      This goes back to Obamacare being bad law. SCOTUS deemed the ACA legal, but not good. The White House used all the political and regulatory power at their disposal to make the law work, but they ran out of both time and money. Obamacare defunded itself.

      As a state, MA had the power to compel people to buy a product. Obamacare could not do that, so they devised a complicated system of taxes as fees to discourage non-compliance. That backfired because the same lifetime limit cap and preexisting condition rules they were cheered for in 2010 made every insurance plan so expensive the average healthy person could pay cash and wind up better off.

      The only thing the Republicans did was show people they could fight the law. Frankly, they didn’t even do it. Almost all the (effective) opposition to Obamacare came from the Tea Party. If they didn’t exist, the Republicans would be bitching about high Obamacare tax rates while taking insurance company donations on the side.

  9. The Klown says:
  10. Lulu says:

    Nancy-Ann is a busy crook. She also jumped ship before it all came crashing down probably the better to leverage it all. “DeParle has drawn criticism for her lucrative service on corporate boards after her tenure in the Clinton administration. reported that she was paid more than $6 million, and served as a director of half a dozen companies that faced federal investigations, whistleblower lawsuits and other regulatory actions. Many of these companies have a stake in the health care reform that she led.
    She served as a director of Accredo Health Inc., Boston Scientific, Cerner Corp., DaVita, Guidant, Medco Health Solutions, Speciality Laboratories, and Triad Hospitals. She was a managing director of CCMP Capital.”

    CCMP Capital CCMP Capital is a private equity investment firm that focuses on leveraged buyout and growth capital transactions. Formerly known as JP Morgan Partners, the investment professionals of JP Morgan Partners separated from JPMorgan Chase on July 31, 2006.”

  11. Lulu says:

    I have read the whole thing and it is nothing but ass covering and blame shifting. Disgusting. Obama did zero (as usual) except declare “you’ve got to get it right”. Talkie-talkie is the extent of his abilities. A B Stoddard (The Hill) said in early October that the WH was “worn out” over the legislative battle and did not want to “think” about it anymore. They wanted to “move on” to something else therefore did very little for years but delegate everything to people who didn’t want to be near the mess (civil servants mostly). Make a mess and then hand it off just like Syria and the Arab Spring. The claim that they didn’t have enough money is blatantly false as they had plenty of billions to pass out to their friends who fucked up the website. By dumping it off the existing civil service who already were being paid by the taxpayer (and had existing duties like running Medicare) they saved a lot of money to spread around to incompetent crook cronies.

    The fear of any criticism by Republicans or anyone who has common sense is their justification for lying. Childish and stupid is the best that can be said about them. By feeding this butt covering garbage to the WaPo they know they are in very deep shit.

  12. swanspirit says:

    Mitt will be on MEET THE PRESS this morning , I hope he goes for the throat , and puts the blame where it belongs , but my expectations are low in that regard . I suspect they :”the press” are just dragging him out to deflect more blame .

    • elliesmom says:

      Romney has the balls to do it if it suits him. Whether he does or not largely depends on why he agreed to go on Meet the Press in the first place. It must fit in with some personal agenda. Unless he’s going to be there to pitch a book, there has to be something political in it that would make him willingly walk into the lion’s den. He’s not stupid.

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