Thomas Roberts | November 26, 2013
>>> so is obama care turning the corner? the " washington post " reporting that consumer advocates say it's becoming easier for people to sign up and that workers helping people have noticed the site has been running better over the past two weeks but has the damage already been done? sabrina siddiqui is with the huffington post . sabrina , the president is once again on the road. he's visiting dream works where he's going to speak about the economy and the national journal has two different articles up today. one is titled "a better obama care won't save obama " and then "can obama recover, he did already." so which one are you leaning towards? is it more the latter of those headlines?
>> yes, i'm leaning toward the latter because as we know, especially with the beltway media, they like to pick winners and losers. understandably the president was criticized for the botched rollout of the health care law but it's simply too soon to say this has effectively tarnished his legacy and that he can't recover from this. we have already had that conversation several times this year alone, when they failed to pass background checks in congress, there was a "new york times" piece that said this is the beginning of the end of the obama legacy. we also had similar conversation around controversies over the irs, of course the administration's response to syria, the revised focus on benghazi and i think you often see that, especially with the national media and how it covers these issues. the political repercussions of obama care a lot more severe because it is a signature policy achievement, but it's just far too soon to make a declaration like that and say that his legacy will never recover, even as the law starts working and as you see improvements with the website , which we already are seeing.
>> it's such a heavy lift when we go and look at this from engaging the entire social contract that we have in the country on health care . it's a marathon, not a sprint. tim, politico says barack obama has bungled healthcare.gov so badly that he's told senior aides to not even try to pin positive coverage from the press. they have tried to hit the highest concentration of the uninsured. do you think that's the best way to go, all politics being local?
>> i think it would be helpful for all of us if we stopped thinking of obama care as a political scorecard for president obama and started thinking of it as a service. there's a limited amount of time that the uninsured have to sign up for obama care. they are not being given very good information. i must say the press is severely at fault here. i looked at a bunch of newspapers the other day and i found that "the new york times" has published the url for the new york exchange exactly twice, both before october 1st . "the washington post " had published it four times, also before october 1st . the " l.a. times " has published its local exchange url only once. you know, the press is really not providing some basic consumer information that people are going to need in order to avoid paying a penalty.
>> but when it comes to healthcare.gov, tim, it's not the media's fault that the website doesn't work.
>> of course not.
>> it's not the media's fault that republican governors have been obstructionists in states to set up their health care exchanges. it really can't be the media's fault in terms of --
>> the media is not terribly interested in providing much guidance to people who want to sign up through healthcare.gov.
>> most people are going on and trying to sign up for themselves and bringing casts of characters that will do it on television for them. basically unless we go into individuals' homes and sign them up ourselves, how are we supposed to help people any more than we already have?
>> let me give you an example. it's hard to do on tv, i have to say. it's easier to do in the print press. frank lawley, a former editor of "money" magazine had an advice column in parade magazine , an online advice column . terrific kael helpful. they only ran it during the month of october, they pulled the plug on it. about three-quarters of what i know about the ins and outs of signing up for obama care, i learned from that column.
>> sabrina , is time on the side of the administration side, just a lay and wait approach to this?
>> i think they have certainly had a very rough couple of months but we are seeing improvements with the website . their primary challenge now is going to be getting people to sign up for it. there are a lot of people who avoided the website altogether when they heard about the mess. they really have to reach out to younger people as well and they are holding a youth forum next week to try to educate people on the process an encourage them to seen up. that's a sign that they know internally too that the website is improving because they had held back on those kinds of outreach activities when the website wasn't working. so i think that time will slowly be on their side, assuming that things go as planned. we're coming up to that november 30th deadline for healthcare.gov to be functioning as best as it could, so hopefully i think they'll try to focus now on outreach activities andy sure people sign up for the exchanges.
>> sabrina , timothy, guys, great to see you. happy thanksgiving to you. you can find more from our panel on our website , thomas roberts .msnbc.com.
>>> we asked and you answered. do you think immigration reform will happen in president obama 's second term, even if it is in a piecemeal approach. a piecemeal approach it should have passed already. piecemeal is the only way to pass immigration reform . i'm afraid the sour grapes republican house will never let potus accomplish anything. deportations are continuing hoping to force a bill. it won't. keep the comments coming in via twitter or facebook. my