Armey, a congressman from Texas serving as House majority leader, counseled them to go easy on their shutdown scheme.
House Speaker “Newt [Gingrich] insisted that presidents get blamed for shutdowns and that therefore we ought to develop a strategy that would take us to a shutdown,” Armey recently recalled in an interview with New York magazine. “My position was that Republicans get blamed for shutdowns, because it’s incongruous to the public to think that the Democrats — who they perceive as people who love the government — would shut down the government.”
The previous shutdown and the most recent one support the theory by Armey, who left Congress 10 years ago.
Yet, it seems someone forgot to tell this to the Obama administration. Its glitch-filled and sloppy rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s online marketplaces argues against Armey’s point, that Democrats appreciate government and desire to make it a difference-maker in the lives of Americans.
Since the start of this month, the online marketplaces have been defined more by what’s not working than what is.
Americans logging on to healthcare.gov have experienced lengthy delays, cyber dead-ends and a host of other frustrating experiences.
“There’s no sugarcoating it,” President Barack Obama said Monday from the White House Rose Garden. “The website has been too slow, people are getting stuck during the application process. And I think it’s fair to say that nobody is more frustrated by that than I am.”
Obama should be frustrated. His administration had more than three years to prepare Obamacare’s online marketplaces for the public.
Obamacare survived too many hostile attacks from its Republican enemies only to be harmed by a self-inflicted tech wound.
The president was right to step up Monday and acknowledge the obvious, namely that the online marketplaces need improvement now. We’re confident that will happen. We’re just as confident that in future years these technological hiccups won’t define Obamacare. The Affordable Care Act’s legacy will be health care for the millions of Americans currently without coverage. This is all the more reason to put the online marketplace malfunctions behind us.