Barack Obama did his best today to allay concerns over the star-crossed website of his star-crossed health care law. He had three (count ‘em, 3) actual living and breathing Obamacare enrollees join him in the Rose Garden, where he said with a straight face:
You probably heard the new website where people can apply for health insurance and browse and buy affordable plans in most states hasn't worked as smoothly as it was supposed to work. The number of people who visited the site has been overwhelming which has aggravated some of these underlying problems.
Then he added, to the delight of Twitter cut-ups everywhere, “Let me remind everybody that the Affordable Care Act is not just a website. It's much more.”
Enter the photoshopped image of Vince Shlomi (aka, the fast-talker who promotes ShamWow) with Obama’s face grafted in, the inexhaustible parade of tweeted quips, and even a nod from The Onion, which promises a “New, Improved Obamacare Program Released On 35 Floppy Disks.” (Image here)
Suffice it to say that the speech by the world’s best speechifier ever didn’t do much to quell the unrest. Which led the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake to ponder the new eternal question this afternoon: Will the problems with the health-care law's Web site lead to a delay in the individual mandate?
Blake goes on to quote Obama straight man, Jay Carney, who said, when asked this afternoon about a delay:
We're way still early in the process. So you're talking about a Feb. 15 and a March 31 deadline. It is Oct. 21 today. So let's be clear about that. We're three weeks into this.
Whatever conclusions you draw about the way the law is written, I think you can draw. The law is clear that if you do not have access to affordable health insurance, then you will not be — being asked to pay a penalty because you haven't purchased affordable health insurance.
In other words, Carney answered a question other than the one he was asked (repeatedly), which means either (1) he doesn’t know, or (2) he’s not saying because admitting the delay makes his boss look bad.
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