“The rollout is unacceptable,” Time magazine senior political analyst Mark Halperin accused on “Morning Joe.” “The secrecy is unacceptable. It begins with not saying how many people have enrolled. I don’t understand why they can’t release that figure on a rolling basis.”
“But in addition, you search in vain for answers to lots of questions. … Reporters have asked them every day for basic information. When governments are in crisis, they withhold information, and sometimes they don’t tell the truth,” he said.
The panel agreed that the administration’s attempts to explain away the problem as a website developer issue have been unacceptable.
“I’m not being ideological,” host Joe Scarborough said. “These people want to run our health care system, and they want to be the grand organizers of what’s most important to most Americans over the age of 35 or 40. And yet they’re not telling us what’s going wrong with our system that they want to run?”
Journalist Mike Barnicle jumped in to accuse the administration of “lying” about the Obamacare enrollments figures.
“They’re lying about it now,” Barnicle said. “They’re not depriving us of information, they are outright lying … about the numbers of who have enrolled, the numbers who have made the process complete, the numbers of people who have actually signed up, a couple others things. The larger point is they keep using the word, ‘unacceptable.’ This is not unacceptable, this is outrageous.”
The Huffington Post’s Sam Stein agreed that the exchange failures have been unacceptable, adding that someone is going to be held responsible.
“Up until recently, they didn’t realize how bad this was going to go out,” Stein said. “No one beta-tested the site, which is almost criminal, when you think about it. The president was caught off-guard, which is really unfortunate and also really kind of messed up.”
“So you need someone who brings accountability to the process; I wouldn’t be surprised if a few people lost their jobs. But this starts with basically explaining to Congress and to the American public what went wrong. I think that’s a very low bar for the administration to hit,” he said.
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter