In an interview with NPR, Steven Brill, author of “America’s Bitter Pill,” slammed the White House for its Obamacare launch, saying there has “never been a group of people who more incompetently launched something.”
Brill’s premiere Obamacare critique, as he tells host Terry Gross, is that the health care overhaul is “emblematic of what’s eating away at our country,” pointing directly to the politics and the “challenge of governance” it presents. Brill also told NPR that President Obama was largely protected by the likes of Valerie Jarrett, and had no idea of the issues until they ultimately reared their head.
BRILL: In every respect, this whole saga of Obamacare, the politics of it, the bitter partisan of it, the lobbying and, in this case, the challenge of governance all are emblematic of what’s eating away at our country. The incompetence in the White House — there have never been a group of people who more incompetently launched something and it’s principally because the people in the administration who knew it was going wrong went to the president directly with memos in person, to his chief of staff and said ‘we need to bring people in from the outside to launch this,’ and the president was protected, mostly by Valerie Jarrett from doing anything. And, I guess one of the really sadder aspects of this is that nobody who knew it was going wrong spoke out and still hasn’t spoken out, even in the aftermath of the whole thing being a total bust, and for a whole year discrediting the notion that government can actually run a program.
GROSS: So you’re saying Obama was protected by his own people for knowing what was going wrong?
BRILL: He was protected, but you know what, at the end of the day he’s responsible. He kept getting all these reports, he kept getting all these green lights on his laptop on a grid, everything’s going great. Literally the night before the launch on October 1st, his chief of staff called a friend of his and said ‘we’re going to knock your socks off.’ Well, he was right about that. The president, whatever we can say about him on policy and on giving speeches, as a manager, he failed. He did not know what was going on in the single most important initiative of his administration.