OBAMACARE | Barack Obama har sett sig själv som garanten för att den federala nivån skall leverera moderna och effektiva tjänster till medborgarna.
Den bilden fick sig en rejäl knäck vid den katastrofala lanseringen av hemsidan healthcare.gov i oktober.
In i det sista försökte Obama få det att låta som om problemen bara handlade om att tjänsten var så populär hos medborgarna. Men till sist gick det inte att förneka problemen längre.
Så här skriver t.ex. Zeke J. Miller och Massimo Calabresi i Time:
At the time, President Obama was still arguing that the main culprit for the breakdowns was the popularity of the site. “The website got overwhelmed by the volume,” he said on Oct. 4. The reality, of course, was far more dire.
After three weeks of breakdowns, Obama decided that he could no longer stand by his own spin. “Nobody is madder than me about the fact that the website isn’t working,” he said Oct. 21 in a Rose Garden speech that instructed others to stop “sugarcoating” the problems. In fact, the warning signs have been clear for months inside government, even if the White House failed to sniff them out. Federal auditors raised alarms in June, warning of missed deadlines and unfinished work. Administration officials have since put out the call for new contractors, and Silicon Valley talent, to fix the work.
Och Ezra Klein i Bloomberg Businessweek fyller på:
In the 2008 election, President Obama’s advisers talked of their boss’s belief that it was time for an “iPod government.” Obama, a technology addict who tools around on his iPad before going to sleep and who fought the U.S. Secret Service bureaucracy for the right to carry a smartphone, would be the first president truly at home in the Digital Age. That put him, he thought, in a unique position to pull the federal government into the Digital Age, too. His administration wouldn’t just be competent. It would be modern. And it would restore America’s faith that the public sector could do big things well.
The disastrous launch of healthcare.gov,the online portal that was supposed to be the linchpin of the Affordable Care Act, has dealt a devastating blow to Obama’s vision. In the months leading up to the Oct. 1 rollout of the site, the president rarely compared his signature policy achievement to Medicare or Social Security. Instead, he favored analogies to e-commerce sites such as Orbitz (OWW), Travelocity, and Expedia (EXPE). Obamacare was supposed to be the model for a 21st century social program, not a replica of programs built in the 20th.
Even Obama’s allies acknowledge that the healthcare.gov debacle could do damage beyond the health-care system. “This plays into the suspicion that resides in really all Americans that, outside of narrow functions they can see and appreciate like Social Security and national parks, the government just can’t get it done,” says Austan Goolsbee, who was Obama’s top economic adviser during the 2008 campaign.
Jeffrey Zients, the White House official tasked with running the rescue of Obamacare, promises a swifter recovery. He says that “by the end of November, healthcare.gov will work smoothly for the vast majority of users.” If he’s able to deliver, that will leave the law plenty of time to stabilize. Like Medicare Part D, it could emerge from a troubled launch to become a wildly successful program. But reviving the idea that government can do big things right will be harder.
Läs mer: “The Obamacare Website Didn’t Have to Fail. How to Do Better Next Time” av Paul Ford i Bloomberg Businesweek.
Tidskriftsomslag: Bloomberg Businessweek, 4-10 november 2013.