LA Times Pulls out the Pom-Poms for Obamacare

A trio of LA Times reporters - Chad Terhune, David Lauter and Maeve Reston - donned their short skirts and picked up their pom poms to do a little cheerleading for Obamacare.

This is either the most obtuse job of reporting imaginable, or the Times has simply given up trying to hide their outlandish biases:

After months of technical glitches and political tumult, a burst of last-minute insurance shoppers illustrated the growing appetite for Obamacare and the enormous challenges ahead in making the massive healthcare expansion work.

Stop right there. Hold the phone. Does the "burst of last minute insurance shoppers" really illustrate "the growing appetite for Obamacare?" Or is it more likely that there is a hunger to avoid a big fat fine by the IRS for disobeying our masters in Washington by not purchasing mandated insurance?

The problem with judging enthusiasm for Obamacare simply by counting the noses of people who have signed up for insurance is that it is impossible to say who is enrolling because they think the law is so wonderful and who is enrolling because they don't want to fall afoul of the law and have the IRS on their tail. You can't even count those who sign up for Medicaid - that's a freebee and who wouldn't want free health care - as bad as Medicaid care can be?

On Monday, the crush of consumers prompted the Obama administration to put thousands of applicants on hold and push back another key enrollment deadline to Tuesday. This unexpected move came despite weeks of computer fixes aimed at improving the troubled website. The administration did not put "thousands of applicants on hold." The website kept crashing. As in, "blowing up." Putting people "on hold" suggests something entirely different than having to deal with the monumental frustration of trying to sign up using a dysfunctional website.

California officials said some technical headaches were inevitable, but the state website was working well enough to have enabled more than 400,000 people to enroll in private health plans as of Sunday. Nearly 30,000 people were picking out coverage daily, not counting thousands more Medi-Cal enrollees.

"The Affordable Care Act is taking off in California, and that bodes well for the nation," said Peter Lee, executive director of the Covered California exchange. "It's exciting to see a state coming together and say: 'Let's make the Affordable Care Act work. Let's put politics aside.'"

Even with the late surge, national enrollment in private health plans remains well short of the administration's goal of roughly 3 million by year end. Federal officials didn't release new figures Monday.

Bank on this: If the numbers were even remotely encouraging, they would have been leaked all over Washington. The fact that the question of how many Americans have signed up for insurance under Obamacare is being treated with the same level of secrecy that we use to guard our nuclear launch codes should tell us a lot about how badly things are going.

It's always unseemly when a media outlet with the reach of the LA Times abandons all pretense of objectivity and goes in the tank for the president. Of course, it's not unexpected. But that doesn't make it any less an egregious violation of standards and pracitces.