Pat Toomey’s Wife *Did* Get Insurance Through Obamacare

For the past week, Pat Toomey’s been plastered all over whatever device you use to consume political bloviating, crowing about his wife’s failed attempt to obtain health insurance through Obamacare. The Daily News’s Chris Brennan debunked that canard today with a great little scoop.

Toomey’s broadcast left out one significant piece of information: Despite the initial website difficulty, the Toomeys were able to sign up for health-care insurance through an exchange.

Kris Toomey started trying to sign up on Dec. 2 and was successful on Dec. 11, three days before her husband’s radio address, according to his spokeswoman.

Oh, snap. Here’s hoping this doesn’t stay buried in the 21st paragraph of a page seven column in today’s Daily News.

Obamacare’s Awful Choice Between Contraception and Religious Freedom

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Are you for religious freedom or for women’s access to birth control? Me, I’m for both, but it sure doesn’t look like we’ll be able to leave it there.

Soon, the Supreme Court will hear a case in which private employers — including, notably, the craft-store chain Hobby Lobby — challenge Obamacare’s new mandate that employer-provided health insurance policies include contraception coverage. The employers say the edict violates their religious beliefs against birth control; the law’s defenders say that corportations like Hobby Lobby aren’t religious institutions and thus aren’t owed exemptions from a requirement that will be beneficial to millions of women.

And they’re both right.

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Prepare Thyself: How to Civilly Discuss Obamacare at Thanksgiving Dinner

miker /

miker /

Maybe it’s your stoutly Republican Uncle Joe, who you’re sure is gonna ruin Thanksgiving dinner by railing about how the Affordable Care Act is turning Amurrrica into a socialist paradise. Maybe it’s your wifty-liberal Cousin Tammy, who’s thrilled to death to be getting her birth-control pills for free. (Overshare!)

Over at the Washington Post’s Health Reform Watch blog, Sarah Kliff has “A Guide to Surviving Obamacare Debates at Thanksgiving,” which helpfully breaks down how to resolve arguments with, you know, actual information. Not that actual information ever resolves arguments in my family, though.

The Clintons Were Right: Where Obamacare (Maybe) Went Wrong


Watching all the fuss and muss surrounding the launch of Obamacare these last few weeks, I’ve been struck by an unwelcome thought:

Maybe the Clintons were right.

The Clintons — Bill and Hillary both, back when Bill was president — emerged from the last fight for universal health care pretty wounded, politically. The Democrats lost control of Congress for the first time in a generation. The president was reduced to asserting his Constitutional relevance to the press. And the pair seemed to lose the courage of their liberal convictions.

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Did Just Tell Me to Screw Myself?

Curious as to how much I could save with the Affordable Care Act, I tried to sign on to to start the application process. As I typed in the address, President Obama was live on TV apologizing to America and promising that the month-long national Obamacare glitchfest nightmare was over.

I had tried to sign on twice before. When I tried three weeks ago, I was just sharing in the collective misery of my fellow Americans. I got a message that due to volume I had to wait. That was at 3 p.m. The message was still there when I went to bed at 11 p.m.

I tried again earlier this week and I got to the page with the button that read “Create Account.” When I clicked it, nothing happened. I tried another computer, and still the button didn’t work. I clicked on the live chat and when I told “Mahmoud” that the button wasn’t working, he first sent a pre-typed message with a long list of solutions to other problems. When I wrote again that the “Create Account” button wasn’t working, he responded that the site was having problems with “glitches.” Yeah, I heard about that somewhere. He promised that “We’ll continue working to improve the site.”

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Sorry Sorry Sorry Sorry Sorry


I’m sick of “sorry.”

A colossal string of clusterfucks over the past week triggered a litany of public apologies. As luck would have it, the mea culpas were as bad as the screw ups. The apologies were too late, too vague, or too blatantly insincere to assuage anybody.

As Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Apology is only egotism wrong side out.”

CBS’s 60 Minutes spent a year researching a piece on the Benghazi attacks, only to be duped by a phony eyewitness. After defending her reporting for days, correspondent Lara Logan and her boss, Jeff Fager, made the media rounds of “sorry.” Read more »

President Obama on NSA Wiretapping: Incompetent or Unaware?

“Asleep at the wheel” is the idiom we use for a leader who is so inattentive at important moments that he or she is dangerous. For some inexplicable reason, the White House image masters have decided it’s better having President Obama seem clueless than in command.

If we are to believe the administration’s spin, the President didn’t know that the NSA was running a continuous wiretap on the phone of German Prime Minister Angela Merkel and 34 other world leaders, he didn’t know that the Affordable Health Care web site was not ready and when four Americans were being killed during a terrorist attack in Benghazi, the President quite literally went to sleep.

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Expert: Here’s Why Has Been a Disaster

Photograph by Jeff Fusco

Photograph by Jeff Fusco

On Tuesday, the Obama administration announced that it had tapped Jeffrey Zients – a Bain & Co. alum and incoming head of the National Economic Council – to lead the efforts to fix the glitches that have plagued the Affordable Care Act website since its October 1 launch.

Zients–who is credited with helping turn around the malfunctioning website of another government program, cash-for-clunkers–will work with presidential innovation fellows and representatives of federal contractor CGI Group as part of a “tech surge” (Washington sure does love its surges, doesn’t it?) with the goal of having the portal running smoothly before an uptick in enrollment expected around the Thanksgiving holiday. By all accounts Zients will have his work cut out for him; but experts in the know say success is well within his reach.

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Obamacare’s Tech Problems Can Be Solved



It’s been a bad couple of weeks for computer glitches.

Yesterday morning, President Obama publicly apologized in the Rose Garden for the frozen screens and other software flaws that have plagued the Affordable Care Act’s online sign-up system since its debut on October 1st. He pledged to do “everything we can possibly do” to get the system up and running the way it was intended, and to bring in computer experts from inside and outside government to tackle the challenge.

Initial reports of sign-up trouble got lost in the clamor over the Capitol shutdown; now that the government’s reopened, Republicans are taking the opportunity to hammer on the system’s flaws in their fruitless-but-relentless quest to repeal Obamacare. Health and Human Services Secretary Katherine Sebelius is taking heat for the system’s woes, with Republicans demanding that she appear before a House committee to explain the website’s failures. Michigan Congressman Fred Upton dubbed the rollout “a complete mess, beyond the worst-case scenario,” and Senator John McCain declared it a “fiasco.” Read more »

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