The national news media always prefer to run bad news to happy news. “If it bleeds, it leads” is the traditional slogan to describe this preference. ObamaCare’s computer system is bleeding. This story will be irresistible for the media. There will be endless reports on what is not working.
The mainstream media focused on the House of Representatives’ bluff to refuse to approve the increase in the debt ceiling, if ObamaCare was not delayed for a year. It was a fake threat from day one. It was in 1995, and it was in 2013. Ron Paul accurately predicted the cave-in when he was on Jay Leno’s show in late September. He said the voters want their “goodies.” The media correctly perceived that the public was turning against the Republicans.
That story is now old news. It will be forgotten in six months. What will not be forgotten is the programming disaster that now faces Obama. He cannot hide from this. The law has been on the books since 2010. The government did not get the sign-up system into beta-test mode in three years.
The Administration has gone into panic mode. On the Health and Human Services website, we read this:
To ensure that we make swift progress, and that the consumer experience continues to improve, our team has called in additional help to solve some of the more complex technical issues we are encountering.
Our team is bringing in some of the best and brightest from both inside and outside government to scrub in with the team and help improve HealthCare.gov.
So, Health and Human Services says it will hire an A-team to fix it. This raises a question: Why did HHS hire the D-team in the first place? Why didn’t the programmers get it online anywhere near on time? Why was there no warning of the imminent failure?
From now on, “Where’s my ObamaCare?” will dominate the news cycle. It will be an on-going story, because the deadline to sign up is fixed: March 31. Who gets how much subsidy? What insurance policies are available in what states? What will the tax/fine be on each family? How will this tax/fine be imposed?
Politically, the longer the uncertainty goes on, the worse it is for the Democrats. This is a partisan issue. The Republicans uniformly voted against it in 2010. They don’t have to say what they would substitute for ObamaCare. They need only remind the voters that the government has failed to deliver.
The program is not going to be repealed before 2017, if ever. The government will eventually get the programming fixed. At some price, it can be fixed. But in the meantime, the non-functioning sites will build the program’s reputation as a disaster. Politically, this label will stick. There will be millions of unhappy voters, due to the actual legislation. They will remain unhappy. This will be a large swing vote. The Republicans will go after it.
When it comes to the swing vote, “if it bleeds, it leads.” This swing vote will be bleeding from now on.