Meet the Press   |  December 01, 2013

Where's accountability on Obamacare website?

A Meet the Press roundtable talks about what will happen moving forward with the Affordable Care Act website and how to manage expectations.

Share This:

This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> welcome, stephanie rawlings-blake, mayor of baltimore, first time on "meet the press." mayor since 2010 , serves on the national democratic committee as well. nice to have you here.

>> nice to be here.

>> the question is how good are things, really, and chuck, there are so many stories about how angry the president is. they want to separate the president from all the problems, but where is the accountability? does someone have to be fired before americans think we're on the right track?

>> if this doesn't turn out to be the fix, if this website fix doesn't turn out to work as well as they're promising right now on various conference calls , what they're promising as far as the public is concerned, then i think you would see republican accountability and some demand for action. all of these reports and all of this weekend sort of placement of where the website is at this point, all of it seems irrelevant to me because we haven't had a real test of the system. they say it can handle up to 50,000 at one time. okay, let's see what happens. they're hesitant to market it this week, and they're not going to -- this is a soft launch, this is a beta test.

>> it's also the fact of what happens when people actually start enrolling and insurers start interacting and bills have to be paid when people put claims in? all those larger tests are so far down the road. it seems to me to put out a fact sheet today and say they have 400 bugs fixed, what kind of bugs? big bugs, little bugs? but the bigger question is also going back to how this happened, what is the management inside the white house ? how much is the president reaching out to outside advisers? is he only consulting with friends who are his top advisers inside the white house , or is he really getting the best opinion behind the management consultant trying to fix this.

>> here's something put out in the " washington post " by dan balz . by almost any measure, this has been a lost year for obama on the domestic front. the flawed rollout of the health care law , the most important initiative of his tenure, has been a huge setback.

>> i think that's a bit of an overstatement. a lost year? focusing on trying to get more people affordable health care ? at the end of the day , everyone knows, we can all agree the rollout could have been, should have been better. but underneath all that is democrats and the president trying to make sure the people have health care . that is the side that we should be on, not this sort of is it right, is it wrong, should he be mad about it, should he not be mad about it? this is about making sure people can live.

>> can government be nimble, can government learn from its mistakes? i would say the website is just a small symptom. government slik an offensive lineman. it can do blocking, it can create order. when you ask the government to be a wide receiver , you're asking them to do things they can't do. republicans win elections when the government asks them to do things they can't do.

>> page three of the report it says here, the team is reacting with high pressure velocity and effectiveness. that's an acknowledgment that, you know what, this was a government operation for a long time and it failed. now we're bringing in the private sector folks. that is an indictment on the whole idea of government as a solution, frankly, when you look at this.

>> and the president as a manager, and people around him who can get the bureaucracy to move in a particular direction, which is not easy, but this is your point on how nimble government is.

>> the challenge is i think the goals are laudible, mayor, and it's something the president articulated brilliantly as an election and reelection mantra. but this is a tough bet, and he had a responsibility to make sure the rollout was not this disastrous in order to achieve these goals. because now they're at risk of losing the credibility of government as an agent of change.

>> republicans are insist he nent in relentless pursuit of failure. we have democrats, we have republicans, nobody is rooting against each other. we know that when cities succeed, the country succeeds. in congress, we have people that are standing on the sidelines rooting for failure. we know the rollout was botched. but democrats are focused on trying to build and trying to fix it.

>> i'm just saying the president gave his opponents, and you can certainly make the argument that he has had this monolithic republican opposition in congress, and that's a good and valid excuse. but he gave them a weapon against him.

>> you're conservative about saying, look, you have a big idea . you have to execute.

>> people said that about iraq, too, so we've had a couple execution failures. i asked president obama , what did you learn being president that you haven't learned before? he said there is a passive government. government can do things really well, social security , move checks here and there really well. this sort of nimbleness, this is a lot tougher. adjustment to failure, a lot tougher. it doesn't mean you're hating government all the time, but there are a lot of roles.