(NaturalNews) During a photo op in the Rose Garden at the White House on Oct. 21, President Obama, there to put a smiley face on the disaster that is the government's online health exchange website, appeared with a handful of Americans who have actually been successful at enrolling for an insurance plan.
That there weren't more was probably a good thing for taxpayers, who most likely would have been footing the bill for the White House to fly them in, but there's another side to that as well - all in all, there just aren't that many folks who've managed to wade through the myriad of technical problems at the Healthcare.gov site. I'd hyperlink it for you, but the site doesn't need any more visitors than necessary, because it already can't handle the number of folks who are there.
So bad has this roll-out been at actually enrolling people that at one point on Oct. 17, when it appeared that Ryan Lizza, a correspondent for The New Yorker magazine would be successful in signing up, his tweets went viral.
'Desperate for any news of success'
As reported by ProPublica's Charles Ornstein, Lizza's ordeal began when he, like many other journalists (including Ornstein), tried over the past three weeks to log on to the government site and sign up for coverage.
Initially, Lizza appeared to be successful - and he tweeted screen shots of his progress as he went along.
"Huh, I just tested http://healthcare.gov for the first time and I was able to set up an account with no trouble," said his first tweet. And the virus began.
"It seems to work..." he tweeted next.
"Next step worked too. It verified my identity," said another message.
Some 40 minutes later, Lizza came to realize what everyone else had experienced.
But at this point, it was too late. His initial tweet caught fire, being retweeted within the White House and even by Press Secretary Jay Carney. Lizza kept tweeting his problems, but those tweets didn't get noticed by federal officials.
A few days later, Ornstein emailed Lizza and asked if he'd been back to the Healthcare.gov site. He said he had not, but he also had some choice thoughts in the way his tweet had been sucked up by a Democrat administration. In an email reply to Ornstein, Lizza wrote:
It seems that the web site launch was such a disaster that the White House was incredibly desperate to retweet any shards of good news.
I considered deleting that tweet because after two senior White House officials retweeted it, it took off and left the false impression that my conclusion was that the site worked, which isn't the case.
It was the Twitter equivalent of blurbing a book using the one positive line from a review that actually trashed the book.
"The moral of the story," writes Ornstein: "Be careful with your first tweet. Even if you later amend it, it could take on a life of its own."
Especially when it comes to anything good about Obamacare.
Obama the petty
By the way, it wasn't as if Obama and his staff didn't know the website was going to be virtually non-functional. As reported by The Washington Post Oct. 21:
Days before the launch of President Obama's online health insurance marketplace, government officials and contractors tested a key part of the Web site to see whether it could handle tens of thousands of consumers at the same time. It crashed after a simulation in which just a few hundred people tried to log on simultaneously.
Despite the failed test, federal health officials plowed ahead.
The paper said the website locked up shortly after it went live at midnight Oct. 1, with only about 2,000 users on the site.
During his Rose Garden speech, Obama said this: "No one is madder about the Web site than I am, which means it's going to get fixed."
Only, Obama was made aware of the problems the site had in functionality months ago. That the site went live when it wasn't ready is because that's what he wanted. Failure wasn't an option, because any delays would be a political win for the other side, you see, and we can't have that.
If Obama's behavior during the government shutdown - ordering sites, memorials and parks closed to American taxpayers and veterans - and this push to have an obviously non-operable site up and running doesn't prove how petty and petulant this president is, nothing will.
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