CBS News is reporting that the White House knew about “the risks” involved in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act years before October 1 of this year.
Three years ago, a trusted Obama health care adviser warned the White House it was losing control of Obamacare. A memo obtained by CBS News said strong leadership was missing and the law’s successful implementation was in jeopardy. The warnings were specific and dire – and ignored.
David Cutler, who worked on the Obama 2008 campaign and was a valued outside health care consultant wrote this blunt memo to top White House economic adviser Larry Summers in May 2010: “I do not believe the relevant members of the administration understand the president’s vision or have the capability to carry it out.”
Cutler wrote no one was in charge who had any experience in complex business start-ups. He also worried basic regulations, technology and policy coordination would fail.
“You need to have people who have understanding of the political process, people who understand how to work within an administration and people who understand how to start and build a business, and unfortunately, they just didn’t get all of those people together,” Cutler said.
The White House dismissed these and other warnings. It relied on appointed bureaucrats and senior White House health care advisers. Fearful of constant attacks from congressional Republicans, the White House became secretive about the law’s complexity and regulatory reach.
Cutler said: “It is frustrating any time you really want to see something succeed because you believe it’s good for people, and it doesn’t get off on the right foot.”
It is great to see this come to light but I would really like CBS to give us access to the entire memo. Cutler’s and CBS’ spin was that his warning was about the website. But notice what he says. He “worried” that “basic regulations” and “policy coordination would fail.” “The law’s complexity and regulatory reach” are a problem.
It isn’t just about the “user experience” of the website. Obamacare is a Rube-Goldberg machine of laws and (much worse) calls for the creation of new regulations and authorities to make decisions. It is essentially a collection of wishes about outcomes.
But the outcomes are mutually impossible. Obama once claimed Obamacare was necessary to get the deficit under control. Now everyone is emphasizing Federal subsidies. Rates are supposed to go down, but pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage.
Cutler wrote, “I do not believe the relevant members of the administration understand the president’s vision…” But the president doesn’t understand his vision either. They have no idea what they are doing.
Because it can’t be done.
But now we’re all caught in his mouse trap.