February 3
The HealthCare.gov Web site. (Mike Segar/Reuters)
The HealthCare.gov Web site. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

Two stories converge today to illuminate how the White House and the Democratic establishment are attempting to hide the next wave of Obamacare failures. Both Post stories reveal how the president and Democratic leaders at the state level are hiding problems with Obamacare instead of confronting and fixing problems.

First, Amy Goldstein of  The Post reveals that the appeals process guaranteed in the Obamacare law does not actually exist. The story outlines an almost comical process that requires citizens who seek a fair hearing to have an innocent, HealthCare.gov-generated mistake corrected to fill out a seven-page paper form that is then inexplicably shipped to Kentucky, where it is entered into a government database that isn’t actually connected to anything. It’s a digital dead end for those who dare to complain. Typical. As a result, 22,000 Americans who have submitted an appeals request remain without proper coverage and they have no recourse. And, according to The Post, in the latest show of non-transparency from this administration, officials have “not made public the fact that the appeals system for the online marketplace is not working.” There is “no indication that infrastructure . . .  necessary for conducting informal reviews and fair hearings had even been created, let alone become operational,” and administration officials are refusing to give any information as to when the appeals process might start moving. This is an administration that wants to hide things rather than fix things.

Next, The Post’s Jenna Johnson and Mary Pat Flaherty outline how Maryland state officials are trying to block an investigation into the debacle of the state health insurance exchange Web site, which has been plagued with operational problems since day one.  Some Democratic officials — including Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, who is running for governor — don’t want a full investigation because such an investigation could have a negative impact on the upcoming state elections for Democrats. Remarkably, and presumably with a straight face, Sen. Thomas Middleton (D-Charles), the chairman of the Finance Committee, reportedly argued that a full investigation would “distract health officials from signing Marylanders up for health insurance before the March 31 deadline.” Instead, some Maryland Democrats prefer to “defer to a previously scheduled state audit of the exchange that is expected to begin this summer and could take a year to complete.” This would conveniently push any revelations or accountability (the truth) until after the elections.

It is painfully obvious that many Democrats think the best political tactics for dealing with the numerous Obamacare problems are to ignore them, hide them or otherwise deny they exist. Democrats just keep insisting that folks are signing up and “glitches” are being fixed.

These two stories suggest that the Democrats hope Obamacare fatigue will set in and voters will begin to simply shrug as the problems become part of American life, that Obamacare will become another government-supplied annoyance for which no one is responsible and no one is to blame. The problem is that voters can’t just learn to ignore the calamity that is Obamacare because health care and health insurance are vital to the life of every American.

You can bet President Obama has completely checked out from any Obamacare management, and there is zero chance his staff and Cabinet want to bring problems to his attention or ask for his instructions.

Democrats may think they can stiff-arm all the inquiries into the problems with Obamacare, but they can’t.  The Obamacare blight is here to stay and Democrats own it. The best politics for them would be to do everything they can to make sure the system works. But they can’t make sure Obamacare works if they continue to deny problems exist or hide these problems from the public. It is insulting to voters for the Democrats to shamelessly shift blame, plead ignorance and pretend things are fine. The sooner they realize this, the better off they will be in November. Engaging in denial and deceit isn’t a plan, and they won’t be able to maintain multiple cover-ups for the next nine months. The Democrats can run, but they can’t hide.

Follow Ed on Twitter: @EdRogersDC

Ed Rogers is a contributor to the PostPartisan blog, a political consultant and a veteran of the White House and several national campaigns. He is the chairman of the lobbying and communications firm BGR Group, which he founded with former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour in 1991.