Ezra Klein: Five thoughts on the Obamacare disaster:
So far, the Affordable Care Act's launch has been a failure. Not "troubled." Not "glitchy." A failure…. But "so far" only encompasses 14 days. The hard question is whether the launch will still be floundering on day 30, and on day 45…. As Sarah Kliff noted, Medicare Part D was, at this point in its launch, also considered a disaster…. But Medicare Part D had something the Affordable Care Act doesn't: An opposition party that decided to be constructive. The federal health-care law's not going to get much help from the Republican Party.
Are there problems behind the problems?… The health-care law's traffic problems are beginning to subside…. But most people playing around on the Web site aren't trying to actually purchase insurance. We're far from knowing what the fail rate is for those people trying to take that final step of purchasing a plan.
What didn't the White House know and when didn't they know it?… Early on, President Obama like to compare the launch of the Affordable Care Act to Apple launching a new product. Can you imagine how many people Steve Jobs would've fired by now if he'd launched a new product like this? So is anybody going to be held accountable? Is anybody going to be fired? Will anyone new be brought in to run the cleanup effort? Does the Obama administration know what went wrong, and are their real plans to find out?…
One thing has gone abundantly right for the Affordable Care Act: The Republican Party. Their decision to shut down the government on the exact day the health-care law launched was a miracle for the White House…. Republicans managed to make themselves so unpopular that they've actually made the law more popular. Many Americans believe, reasonably but wrongly, that the reason Obamacare isn't working is that the Republicans shut the government down….
The Obama administration's top job isn't beating the Republicans. It's running the government well. On this--the most important initiative they've launched--they've run the government badly. They deserve all the criticism they're getting and more.