The first sign that these people are still not ready for primetime is their pledge to scour the earth to find "the best and the brightest" minds to fix the troubled HealthCare.Gov. site. The Best and the Brightest, as you may recall, is the title of a scathing book by David Halberstam about how a group of so-called White House intellectuals made a total botch of Vietnam. Think Team Obama is sending us a subliminal message?
The rest of their announcement is just simply Orwellian, if not weirdly jingoistic. Some snippets:
Initially, we implemented a virtual “waiting room,” but many found this experience to be confusing. We continued to add more capacity in order to meet demand and execute software fixes to address the sign up and log in issues, stabilizing those parts of the service and allowing us to remove the virtual “waiting room.”The earth-tone Naugahyde couches and ratty copies of People magazine have been removed in the interests of your mental clarity. Because we know that when you're feeling ill, you really need the fixes to be executed. So while you're waiting to see an actual health care provider in our maze of confusion, you may now proceed to shop around for your middleman in the thousand aisles in the virtual Walmart. And then on to the next phase of your medical shopping experience: The Tech Surge!!!!!
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. We're also putting in place tools and processes to aggressively monitor and identify parts of HealthCare.gov where individuals are encountering errors or having difficulty using the site, so we can prioritize and fix them. We are also defining new test processes to prevent new issues from cropping up as we improve the overall service and deploying fixes to the site during off-peak hours on a regular basis.Oh jeeze. In America, you are not automatically entitled to medical care as your basic human right. You're a soldier on the virtual battlefield who has to spill blood for it, a consumer in the marketplace who forks out the cash to buy it, a team player who has to compete in the arena for the prize, a loyal citizen ready and willing to even jump off the operating table to help your own surgeons scrub up! Just as the troops are forever deployed by the American hegemon, so too are the Obamacare fixes. And the monitoring, of course, will be aggressive.
For a country embroiled a forever War on Terrah, I guess the bellicose symbols are bound to extend to our grand public-private partial insurance program. In his column yesterday, Ross Douthat wrote:
Like the Bush administration in Iraq, the White House seems to have invaded the health insurance marketplace with woefully inadequate postinvasion planning, and let the occupation turn into a disaster of hack work and incompetence.......Where, Ross moans, is there a tech-savvy David Petraeus to save us from the terror?
Just what we need. Another wanker with a surge to throw gasoline on the sectarian flames of a civil war that never really ended.
* Update: Obama now has spoken for the consumers and wounded civilian warriors of America. Some money quotes:
"And I think it's fair to say that nobody's more frustrated by that than I am. Precisely because the product is good, I want the cash registers to work, I want the checkout lines to be smooth, so I want people to be able to get this great product."
"They're reaching out. They're offering to send help. We've had some of the best IT talent in the entire country join the team. And we're well into a tech surge to fix the problem. And we are confident that we will get all the problems fixed."
"But I just want to remind everybody, we did not wage this long and contentious battle just around a website. That's not what this was about. (Cheers, applause.) We waged this battle to make sure that millions of Americans in the wealthiest nation on Earth finally have the same chance to get the same security of affordable quality health care as anybody else. That's what this is about." (Applause.)Got that, virtual consuming citizen soldiers of America? Some of you, not all of you, will have the chance and the privilege of purchasing health care product under the aegis of a virtual three-tiered class system. So please do not confuse this equality of opportunity with fairness of outcome. Depending on where you live, your money will either be gladly accepted by the free market of the wealthiest enclave of wealth on earth -- or it won't. Because like all wars, Class War is Hell. (Applause.)