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Government launches are always flawless, don't you know?

There was the "failed" Challenger Launch that has been etched into our collective memories: -- October 31, 2013

For the sake of argument, let’s take a rocket launch. NASA certainly does end-to-end preliminary testing, and yet on the pad, all sorts of missions have been delayed over computer glitches. Sadly, some missions have failed completely, to the tragic loss of life.
Did NASA fold up shop and go home?  Well hardly.  Quitting is not what they do.

And then there was the Presidential assertion that "Major combat operations in Iraq are now over" ... --  April 14, 2003

Although large-scale battles appeared to be over, McChrystal stressed fighting would continue.

"I think we will move into a phase where it is smaller, albeit sharp, fights," he said.

And how many more people died due to that "failed launch" to find those phantom WMD -- that as it turned out did not even exist?  Where was the reflexive GOP Outrage then?

How long was before "the real 9-11 Mission" was actually in fact accomplished?  

And then there's this "failed launch" that was actually a lot more analogous to what's happening now, with the launch of the Affordable Care Act ... -- October 31, 2013

How about Medicare Part D? It was quite a mess for at least six months, as the government struggled (under a Republican administration) to get it right.

That "failed" Medicare Part D rollout even featured a balky website too.  Where was the selective GOP Outrage then?

Answer:  It was nowhere to be found -- because that botched launch, was their botched launch ...

Take that Republican Plan to "Fix Medicare" prescription drugs payment rules ...

THAT Government launch just went flawlessly -- well not exactly ...

Obamacare and the limits of the wayback machine

by David Nather, -- Oct 28, 2013

If it gets fixed, six months from now it will be remembered as a rocky episode and nothing more,” said Mike Leavitt, who presided over the Medicare Part D launch as President George W. Bush’s Health and Human Services secretary. But if the website is still failing by then, Leavitt said, “it will brand Obamacare in a very harsh light.”

Lately, House Democrats have been using the wayback machine to remind the public that the early weeks of the Medicare prescription drug program in late 2005 and early 2006 were pretty disastrous, too. Rep. Henry Waxman of California, ranking member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, released a memo that recounted a host of problems, from a glitchy website of its own to overloaded call centers and seniors who couldn’t get their prescriptions filled.

It’s the Democratic counterpoint to the series of hearings House Republicans are holding on the klutzy start of Obamacare enrollment, which will continue with Tuesday’s questioning of Marilyn Tavenner, the head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and will peak with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s testimony on Wednesday.

MEMORANDUM -- October 23, 2013
To: Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Democratic Members and Staff

Fr: Committee on Energy and Commerce Democratic Staff

Re: Issues with Implementation of Medicare Part D


The website and sign-up process for the Medicare Part D program began in early October 2005 and immediately ran into problems. The Bush Administration was forced to acknowledge that the Medicare & You handbook, mailed to over 38 million seniors, contained inaccurate details and information about the Part D program.[6]

The centerpiece of the new drug program -- the online Medicare Drug Plan Finder, which was designed to allow seniors to search for and sign up for Part D drug plans, was repeatedly delayed. Originally scheduled to go online on October 15, 2005, it was not launched until November 8 -- and immediately caused problems for consumers with long waiting times and slow processing.[7]

Even after several weeks, seniors still faced significant barriers to plan enrollment. Website glitches provided seniors with inaccurate cost estimates.[8] One article described the online experience:

    [Seniors] logged onto, they called Medicare’s information hot line …, and they waited. And they waited. And waited. … Medicare’s computer servers were overwhelmed by the traffic …. And since the phone counselors at the federal agency and at state and local call centers around the nation all use the same Web site, they weren’t as much help as they should have been either. Other frustrations awaited those who managed to get logged on: Information on some plans was incomplete, and people sometimes found themselves referred to other sources to get the information they needed.[9]

And what of that "Medicare Part D" glitchy launch -- that the GOP conveniently ignored at the time?  

Answer: It went on to become an accepted part of the American health care payment system.

Botched Launches aside, the American People still need Health Care. And no matter 'the fumbles' along the way -- those trying provide such 'affordable care' WILL eventually score the goals.

All selective, reflexive, outrageous politics aside ... the ACA will eventually accomplish its mission, if the winning team doesn't fold up shop, and go home.

If we do, they "win" by default ... and we all know what their kind of winning looks like ... a return to the "standard practice" of Medical Bankruptcies anyone?  

Talk about 'failure to launch'!  The GOP really does need to take a long look in their own mishaps mirror ... before blaming others of the same kind of 'flaws'.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I got fired for blogging about Medicare D, so... (4+ / 0-)

    I have not forgotten.

    Hell, for a long while I was a kid I supported Rethugs because they were the only group that would support NASA.  (That was before I figured out it was only to support the contractors, not the actual program.  They then figured out that blowing things up was more profitable than building things.)

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 10:27:23 AM PST

  •  Then there was the surge to save the evil (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Lie that was the "Iraq war".

    How many failed wars have we had & we still try to kill people abroad for no good reason.

    On the positive side, it took a long time before there was civil rights legislation; my ancestors did not give up on that.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 10:32:34 AM PST

    •  The outrage (0+ / 0-)

      displayed by politicians, and the Media

      often does seem to have more to do with

      political upsmanship,

      than actual social injustice.

      Much to all our detriment, in the pursuit of that long arc of history ...

      •  The evil RWMSM has been complicit in the (0+ / 0-)

        Sales of these really stupid wars. Instead of doing their job, they just repeat what the evil RW TGOPers say. A lie= the truth in the current false equivalency sold as TV "news". They are worse than useless because their silence would be better than the lies & misinformation. There also seems to. R some terrible anti-(anyone who isn't a white male TGOP)bias also inherent to the selling of the evil RW TGOP's ideas as the only truth.

        The TGOP "truth" is a particular kind of  "American" xtian white male supremacy which leads to white male rule by exclusion, only, just like the evil old days of 1612-1954 in N. America.

        The evil Conferderacy didn't give up; it changed tactics and was co-opted by the evil TGOP. Now, they are using the law to create Jim Crow again like it worked so well before.

        Good news, women didn't give up on voting although stupid small minded men excluded them from public life for ~140 years.
        Of course, the evil RW TGOP are reminding women, today that they don't want us to vote because their policies are so bad that we don't vote for them.

        And on it goes.......

        nosotros no somos estúpidos

        by a2nite on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 12:33:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The only way out is through. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, a2nite

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 10:34:08 AM PST

  •  Another point of view might be that the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Administration was so arrogant it felt it had nothing to learn from the Part D problems, so didn't got to school on them to try and avoid repetition.

  •  How many generations of website technology (0+ / 0-)

    have taken place since 2005, ten, twenty? Comparing Medicare Part D to the ACA is apples and oranges. In addition Part D was a new entitlement where seniors were receiving a new benefit, unlike the ACA where people are changing their entire health insurance program.

    I am puzzled by this need to compare the stumble of Part D and the ACA. The Bush administration took lots of heat for every part of Part D, including the rollout. Is our message that GWB botched his new healthcare launch so we can too? The rocky start goes directly to the competence of the management of the ACA and we should never use GWB as our standard for what is acceptable. Fortunately the President has stood up and taken the responsibility for the poor launch, and his unmet promises, and acknowledges that he is the one who is responsible for the execution of the ACA.  

    That's how it should be, as a former President clearly stated "the buck stops here".  

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 10:52:14 AM PST

    •  well (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil, jan4insight

      "Comparing Medicare Part D"

      is much more fitting that

      comparing to W's "Katrina Failures."

      Which is the current Media Talking Point,
      if you haven't noticed.

      If the ACA = Apples

      and Part D = Oranges,

      Then "Katrina Failures" =  Spaghetti Squash.

      to follow your line of reasoning, VCLib.

      •  I agree that the Katrina comparison is false (0+ / 0-)

        I think the only risk for the Obama administration is the issue of competence. Katrina demonstrated a lack of competence in the GWB administration and the ACA has the same risks for the Obama administration. Will the public feel that the Obama administration is incompetent and view it through that lens for other initiatives as well? I don't know, but that's the risk.

        The administration has two other big ACA issues to face after the website is fixed. The first is the issue of "in network" and out of network providers. One of the other promises the President made was if you like your doctor you can keep him. Unfortunately that too is not going to be true for some people. The second big issue is that all the problems we are seeing in the individual market are going to be present in the group market next year, just as people go to the polls. The group market is twenty times the size of the individual market and there will be some "losers" when the ACA is implemented for employers next year. I just hope the administration will embrace the lessons learned and get out in front of the predicable challenges that are ahead of them in 2014.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 11:14:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  "We should... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, jamess, nextstep

      never use GWB as our standard for what is acceptable"

      Yes but if you use the worst President ever as your standard, you will always look slightly better by comparison.

    •  The web site had to be ready for millions of users (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jamess, a2nite

      on day 1. It had to draw data from dozens of other web sites. Of course it had problems. Anyone who thinks that something of that magnitude is going to come off cleanly is not living in hte real world.

      The real issue is whether the people running it can fix the problems in a reasonable time. It looks like that is happening, but wait until January (really 2015) to see if it works properly.

      Take a look at the history of Microsoft. Every time they put out a major new software package it was a disaster and all the pundits declared it was the end. Then version 2 came out and MS ended up owning that market.

  •  Why does one need the website to get insurance? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, jan4insight

    I am getting mine without using a website.

  •  without going to CT, there are many folks invested (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, jamess

    in sabotage, so I'm not surprised but ever faithful that truth will out as we march toward single-payer at least, among so many other things in a post-'bagger America

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Sun Nov 17, 2013 at 11:56:47 AM PST

  •  You can go back to the 1950's with the endless (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jamess, a2nite

    string of failed military rocket launches.  They were on the news, it seems every night.

    And a lot of good test pilots gave their lives 'till the designers figured out how to make jets fly without self destructing.

    We take ejection seats for grated now, but they were necessitated by the number of men who died when their jets went out of control and crashed.  At the speeds they went, even after the sliding cockpit cover was developed, there was a tendency for them to get killed when the tail of the plane smashed into them and if they got past that safely their parachutes were designed to open at a couple of hundred miles per hour.

    Lots of failures, lots of deaths to perfect a better killing machine.  


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