Peggy Noonan discusses ObamaFail and offers an important caveat to those drawing analogies to that earlier classic of technological hubris meeting nemesis, namely, the Titanic:
...in fairness, the Titanic at least had three good days...
As to the inevitable death spiral, the bad news is that a case can be made for optimism (that's bad becasue it means that denial is an option). The death spiral argument is that only the sickest will have the motivation to crack the ObamaFail code and get themselves covered. Since the insured pool will skew old and sick, insurers will take a bath in 2014 since they based their rates on a projected pool that included more of the young, hale and hearty. Come 2015 they will charge higher rates, the less-sick among the few who bought insurance will be deterred by the higher prices, and the death spiral will be underway.
Well, maybe. But the rate setting process is meant to be forward-looking, based on the likely future experience. Past experience is one useful guide for making that estimate, but if - IF! - insurers can be convinced that 2014 was anomalous due to the failed website, they might be inclined to re-offer 2014-level pricing in 2015 even though 2014 is likely to be a money-loser. This would be different from the death spiral experienced in New York when it adopted community rating, where insurers could look to the future and not see it being notably different from the past.
And this may amount to predicting yesterday's news today, but Obama For America morphed into Organizing For America and ought to re-brand for 2014 as Enrolling For America (or, Enroll America). If Team Obama offered to make their e-mailing lists and outreach abilities available to market health insurance, that might help bring in some gullible, idealistic youth.
SMILE AND THE WORLD SMILES WITH YOU... UNTIL REALITY ARRIVES. The NY Times reprises the rosy September forecasts made by Team Obama. The word "cakewalk" does not appear, but late in the story the politics get a mention:
Some Democrats said that, given the Republican assault on the measure, the White House was right to deliver upbeat presentations promoting it.
“To downplay expectations would have fed into the Republican narrative,” said Jim Manley, a former top aide to Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, who attended a session in the Roosevelt Room of the White House with other allies of the administration.
Well, sure, but the website was due to be experienced by millions in early October; September spin was bound to be overtaken by events.