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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Possibly feeling sorry for the ex-rancher-turned-dog-portrait-painter, Fox News even went so far as to dub this president’s mealy-mouthed apology “Obama’s Watergate.” Meanwhile, a bunch of ostensibly liberal Washington courtiers/pundits proved their independence by joining the excited throng declaring Obama’s presidency finished.

Except wait a minute. Didn’t many of the same savants declare the GOP defunct after the government shutdown a few weeks back? Well, that was melodramatic nonsense too. While much of their intended audience dozes, headline-hungry, ratings-driven, click-soliciting news organizations act increasingly like a litter of kittens in a room full of balloons—excitedly chasing the next big political scandal or a glimpse of Miley Cyrus’s nipple.

Whichever comes first.

That’s life at CLNN, “Where the Sky Is Always Falling.”

Comparing a health insurance fib to a botched natural disaster or a catastrophic war is morally grotesque to begin with. Goodness, nobody died. If this the worst falsehood President Obama emits, he’ll go down as one of the least mendacious pols in living memory.

Also, let’s not pretend that public ignorance and sloth weren’t a big part of the problem. Anybody who paid minimal attention understood that phasing out Brand X health insurance was the whole point of the ACA. That’s probably why you never heard Mitt Romney take serious issue with Obama’s promise. He probably heard it, as did most informed people, as a mild exaggeration.

As Sarah Kliff explained on her Washington Post “Health Care Watch” blog, “the whole point of the health care law was to eliminate insurance plans that didn’t offer robust enough coverage. Giving these plans another year on the market would be a step backward …The wave of insurance cancelations happening right now is a feature of the law; not a bug.”

So anyway, what really set the kittens amongst the balloons was the flabbergasting failure of the Healthcare.gov website—a Rube Goldberg contraption assembled by 55 private contractors with nobody in the Obama administration seemingly taking charge. This unaccountable failure led to millions of consumers abruptly dumped by their insurance companies having no easy way to learn that for the great majority, better options exist.

Fix the website, and the political problem fixes itself.

AFP Photo/Karen Bleier

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