Dems desperately try to blame 'Big Business' for Obamacare rollout woes
It's not the law, you see, it's the people who built the website who are responsible for the Obamacare disaster.
So say Democrats who are truly disgusted they aren't getting anywhere trying to blame Republicans for the Obamacare mess. Over the Christmas holidays, several Democratic lawmakers changed tactics and are now blaming companies like Oracle, IBM, and CGI for their constituent's troubles in signing up for Obamacare.
Facing an onslaught of constituent frustration over problems with online exchanges, several Democrats have started pointing fingers at the companies and senior executives in their home states that have contracts to get the health care websites up and running.
Democrats have made a version of the argument in Washington in recent months, defending the health care law not only from Republican attacks that it's a failure -- but from the line that government itself can't do big things.
Now that rhetoric -- blame the contractors -- is hitting local events.
Case in point: Sen. Jeff Merkley.
The Oregon Democrat called out software developer Oracle and its president and Chief Financial Officer Safra Catz by name in town hall meetings and to local media over the Christmas recess. He said they're responsible for the state's "Cover Oregon" website problems.
"We have a horrendous state software glitch," Merkley said at a town hall in the Portland area. He also told constituents that Catz took full responsibility for the problems in a conversation he had with her.
"I called the president of Oracle. Her name is Safra Catz. She wouldn't even let me talk for 10 minutes; she just apologized saying they've never had a failure like they've had for Oregon," Merkley told local CBS affiliate KOIN.
While Oregon had been an early supporter of the president's health care law, moving swiftly to set up its own online exchange for uninsured residents to buy health insurance, the website rollout has been widely panned. Cover Oregon still does not have a fully operational online exchange and enrollees have had to use paper applications. Last week, Cover Oregon Executive Director Rocky King resigned. In December, Oregon Health Authority's chief information officer, Carolyn Lawson, who was responsible for setting up the exchange, departed.
This isn't the first time Merkley has said Oracle is to blame for the state's online exchange problems but the attack is notable for his singling out Catz, a major political donor to both Republicans and Democrats.
Merkley isn't the only Democrat piling on big business to shift blame away from themselves. Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has criticized IBM for not delivering on their website promises. And CGI, who was the lead contractor for the federal website is also taking heat in Massachusetts from politicians who are blaming them for troubles with their state exchange.
The bottom line is simple: No one believes them. Democrats have zero credibility. The fact is, the companies can only design a website according to specifications. They didn't come up with those specs, government did.
Blaming the companies is like blaming a contractor for building you an ugly house. It's not their fault that you were dumb enough to rely on an amateur architect.