Credit to MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts for asking a frank question about the administration’s stonewalling over early enrollment numbers in health care exchanges. And a pox on DNC Chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz for giving a completely (if typically) idiotic answer in an attempt to evade the request, proving once again that the truth can be a harsh master.
A video of the Q and A is here. A transcript follows.
THOMAS ROBERTS, MSNBC: So how would you respond to the messaging and the criticism that there has been about the rollout of Obamacare, the access to the exchanges, the glitches in the system that do exist and the fact that there isn’t any hard data? Even though the government is not running the actual insurance exchanges, it is running the rollout and should be able to provide every curious American about the data and certainly journalists about the data of how many people are actually signing up accessing Obamacare. So where is that number?
REP. DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ (D-FL): So clearly we’re eight days in and to be insisting on data being produced day by day for a six-month enrollment program is a little bit unfair. And, you know, the good news that came out of this problem and HHS has acknowledged that there’s obviously been some technological problems with the server, but the good news out of that is that the servers were apparently designed to anticipate about 50,000 people a day going on the website and moving around and they — it turns out it’s been 250,000 a day. So it’s very clear that there is demand.
It’s also clear that they need to fix those technological bugs. I don’t know any software program or app, for that matter, by any high-tech company that doesn’t have bugs and fixes that need to be made in the first few days of the rollout. And so that’s why, in part, there’s a six-month enrollment plan. So what the analogy that I’ve used repeatedly is that the Republicans, because they don’t like their kitchen redesign, are trying to burn their house down. And that’s what they’re doing by trying to take the government down with them and our economy.
We need and we’ve acknowledged all along, like we’ve done for more than 200 years, Thomas, if there are problems that arise through the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which inevitably with a change this big there will be, we need to work together to fix those. What the Republicans are trying to do, they don’t really want to fix the problems. They don’t even acknowledge or agree that everyone should have access in America to quality, affordable health care. That is the rub.
And they don’t accept that President Obama was re-elected last November. It is time to work together and move on. Even Al Gore, who didn’t — who vehemently disagreed with the Supreme Court decision that made George W. Bush president in 2000 accepted that the Supreme Court’s ruling was the final say and moved on. And the country moved on. That’s what our democracy is all about. We have to work together, accept when we win and accept when we lose and work together to move our democracy forward. The Republicans are controlled by extremists.
Other than taking a gratuitous swipe at the Republicans, who believe that Wasserman Schultz and her ilk can’t handle the truth, her answer is a bunch of incoherent, rambling gibberish about teamwork, the Supreme Court, and much (too much) else.
But claiming that it’s unfair of anyone to ask gives stupidity a bad name. What could possibly be unfair about this demand, other than the fact that it might reveal — to borrow Jeff Dunetz’s formulation — that the numbers really stink? In addition, does Wasserman Schultz believe for a New York minute that if the tables were turned Democrats wouldn’t be seeking the same political advantage?
As for the raw numbers of enrollees, a general picture is beginning to emerge from anecdotal evidence. Erika Johnsen reported at Hot Air yesterday that 326 of Maryland’s 5.89 million inhabitants had signed up. The numbers in other states are more promising, according to CNBC. Connecticut reports processing 1,426 applications since the exchanges went live, and a relatively impressive 9,452 people have fully enrolled in coverage in Washington State.
But when all is said and done, unless the numbers jump up dramatically between now and Jan. 1 of next year when premiums begin to be collected, the law will come nowhere near fulfilling its promise of insuring the 30 million or so Americans who currently have no health insurance.