HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius contended in an interview with CNN’s Sanjay Gupta that the administration needed five years to build the Obamacare website, just a few years less than it took America to land a man on the moon.
We talked about having testing going forward, and if we had an ideal situation and could have built a product and, you know, a five-year period of time, we probably would have taken five years but we didn’t have five years.
On May 25, 1961, John F. Kennedy announced before a special joint session of Congress the goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Eight years later, on July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 fulfilled the mission.
FIVE YEARS TO BUILD A WEBSITE? A team of a couple dozen monkeys typing randomly on keyboards could probably have accidentally designed healthcare.gov in that amount of time.
In the interview, Sebelius tried to protect President Obama, suggesting he was not aware of the problems with the website before the launch.
Oops, bad idea. In trying to immunize the president, she made him look like a foolish chief executive who wasn’t getting the information he needed. White House Press Secertary Jay Carney was forced to clean that up, saying that the president indeed expected some problems – just like everyone in the administration did – just not a certifiable meltdown.
Secretary Sebelius was referring to what I have said and what the president himself has said, which is that while we knew that there would be some glitches . . . we did not know until the problems manifested themselves after the launch that they would be as significant as they have turned out to be . . . we did not expect – and by we I mean broadly, the administration – did not expect the scale of problems that we have seen.
The problem for the White House is that ultimately the buck stops with the president. This was not just a website, it was the cornerstone of his signature initiative. Even if he wants to fire Sebelius, he can’t because she knows exactly how attentive or inattentive to this process he was, and he needs her to go out there and take the blame for him.
Here’s Gupta’s interview with Sebelius. He calmly asked her questions to which she had no answer and could only happy talk about how wonderful Obamacare is, minus the website.