ABC News’ Jon Karl highlighted another Obamacare deception Nov. 4, prompting White House spokesman Jay Carney to retaliate with mockery, mimicry and misdirection.
Carney is having a tough few weeks because he volunteered to defend President Barack Obama’s catastrophically mismanaged rollout of the Obamacare network.
On Monday, Karl cited White House memos released by House Republicans which indicate that Obama and his deputies are deceptively suggesting to Americans that they can enroll quickly in the Obamacare network via phone.
On Oct. 21, Obama went to the Rose Garden to urge Americans to get enrolled via phone.
“Yesterday, we updated the website’s home page to offer more information about the other avenues to enroll in affordable health care… you’ll find information about how to talk to a specialist who can help you apply over the phone or to receive a downloadable application you can fill out yourself and mail in,” he declared.
“You can talk to somebody directly and they can walk you through the application process… Once you get on the phone with a trained representative, it usually takes about 25 minutes for an individual to apply for coverage, about 45 minutes for a family,” he said.
But people can only register their applications via the phone.
The crippled website is blocking people from taking the next steps, which include gauging eligibility for subsidies, picking a defined-benefit plan offered by a company in their county, submitting an application for the plan, and receiving confirmation of acceptance into the plan.
Obama downplayed the blockages during his Oct. 21 presentation, which also featured a woman who was showcased as a successful user of the website. In fact, the woman had bypassed the critical but crippled subsidy portion of the website.
To fend off Karl, Carney narrowed Obama’s “enroll” and “apply” term to describe only the touted “25-minute” registration process prior to applying for subsidies and insurance.
“The whole point was to alleviate the frustration that so many Americans were having online and to take that frustration away from them and allow a live person at a call-in center to handle their questions and their sign-ups and their enrollment for them,” he told Karl.
He also downplayed the subsequent stages of the long process, suggesting that the phone service was only meant to save the applicants time and trouble.
“The person who calls isn’t the one who continues to wait after the application is [registered or] filled, right?” he sneered at Karl.
Karl responded by quoting Carney’s words from a Oct. 21 press conference, which took place after the Rose Garden episode.
“There are ways to enroll through the toll-free number, in person, as well as by mail,” Carney said after the president spoke. “You can enroll over the phone, you can enroll in person,” he said.
The website “prominently features a pathway to allow you to enroll through call centers,” he said.
Carney ducked, dived and dodged Nov. 4. “What I said and what everybody said… [is that people] can get on the phone and call and the paperwork is filled out for them and the process is taken over from there,” he insisted.
“I think everybody else here understands what I’m saying,” Carney said. “I’m sorry I can’t say the same for you.”