Sports metaphors and the Obamacare roll-out

Updated: Friday, October 25, 2013
Sports metaphors and the Obamacare roll-out story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - As discontent in the Democratic party grows over the implementation of Obamacare, government officials say they’re bringing in experts from silicon valley to help find a way out of the fiasco that signing up has become.

Tonight, in Tom’s Corner, Tom Van Howe says the administration’s handling of President Obama’s signature legislation is a “how-to” lesson in destroying credibility in record time.

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I’m not a big fan of sports analogies. But sometimes they work.

The late Casey Stengel comes to mind after watching President Obama and his team back-pedal, step up to the plate to accept responsibility, and then point the finger of blame at somebody else.

The administration has had three-and-a-half years to get things ready for this day—for this roll-out of the Affordable Care Act.

Forty-two months to have developed and tested and retested the billion-dollar, new technology that would allow millions of people to effortlessly sign on to, in so many cases, get the the kind of healthcare they’ve never had before.

More than 15,000 days to develop a pretty good sense of how much it would cost to work with insurance companies to gauge whether it would be cheaper or more expensive; to explain  in authoritative detail after detail to a country still divided over the issue.

If Casey Stengel were able to comment today, I suspect it would be similar to what he said about his inept New York Mets in 1968.

“Been in this game a hundred years, “ he said. “But I see new ways to lose ‘em I never knew existed before.”

Where in the world were these people in our nation’s capitol? You know, if there had been only six months to lay all the groundwork, we could say, “well, they did the best they could in the time allowed.”

I know the issue became red meat for conservatives. I know it went to the Supreme Court before becoming the law of the land. I know that had to be distracting.

But good grief! If we have the technology to bug the phone of the Chancellor of Germany, listen in to conversation all over Brazil and in France and who knows where else, you’re telling me we can’t build an Obamacare web site that works?! That works from the beginning?

Instead, look at what we have. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius pointing her finger at the Canadian company who built the system.

Yeah, Canadian.

And that company pointing back at the administration and other companies who helped out.

Sebelius telling us no one—simply no one—and certainly not the President, knew before October 1st this thing would blow up as it did.

Only now is our government turning for advice to the world leaders in computer technology from Silicon Valley.

Today, we learn that we get an extra 45 days to sign up before facing a penalty. But not, we are told, because of the computer “glitch.” Of course not. It's because the public was confused about sign up dates. Really?

Meantime, insurance company insiders are telling CNN that they knew a long time ago that this thing was going to fall like a tent in a hurricane.

Also, today we learned that Sebelius and company are going to start a grassroots effort to boost enrollment in the system so many have already been turned away from.

Where was that effort six months—a year—ago? Honestly!

I believe our country is in desperate need of a well-run, cost-efficient, national healthcare system. But if what we’ve seen so far is any indication...Obamacare will be none of those things.

When he was with the Yankees, Casey Stengel sent a guy down to the minors because he was striking out too much. “Mister,” Stengel told a reporter, “that boy couldn’t hit the ground if he fell out an airplane.”

I think the same can be said about some key people in Washington. Its time to stop the strike outs and get some people on the team who can hit home runs. We’re obviously overdue.

In this corner...I’m Tom Van Howe.

Business News

Last Update on July 06, 2015 07:34 GMT

ECONOMY-THE DAY AHEAD

WASHINGTON (AP) --There are no government economic reports scheduled for release today but the Institute for Supply Management will put out its June service sector index.

Tomorrow, the Commerce Department will report international trade data for May and the Labor Department will release its job openings and labor turnover survey for May.

Also on Tuesday, the Federal Reserve will release consumer credit data for May.

GREECE-BAILOUT

ATHENS (AP) -- Greece's finance minister has resigned following Sunday's referendum in which the majority of voters said "no" to more austerity measures in exchange for another financial bailout.

Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis says he was told shortly after the Greek referendum result that the some eurozone finance ministers and Greece's other creditors would prefer he not attend the ministers' meetings.

Varoufakis has visibly annoyed many of the eurozone's finance ministers during Greece's debt negotiations.

CHINESE STOCK MARKET RESCUE

NEW YORK (AP) -- China has reportedly decided to bar new public offerings of stock and will create a fund to stabilize its stock market, which has been roiled by a wave of selloffs..

Twenty one Chinese securities companies, in a statement released Saturday, said they would pledge no less than 120 billion yuan ($19.33 billion) to invest in Chinese stocks. The securities companies also said they would continue to invest in the market as long the Shanghai Composite index remains below 4,500. It closed at 3,686 on Friday.

Chinese regulators have also decided to suspend new Chinese initial public offerings, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Chinese market has been in free-fall for three weeks, losing 28 percent of its value. Despite the plunge, the market is up 79 percent in the last year.

GERMANY-ECONOMY

BERLIN (AP) -- German factory orders dipped in May as orders from other countries in the eurozone slipped back following a large gain the previous month.

The Economy Ministry says orders in Europe's biggest economy were down 0.2 percent compared with the previous month. In April, orders rose 2.2 percent -- a figure that was revised up sharply from the initial reading of 1.4 percent because of late reporting.

The ministry says bulk orders were below average in May. The overall fall was led by a 1.5 percent drop in orders from other countries in the 19-nation eurozone, which had surged 7 percent in April.

Demand from inside Germany was off 0.6 percent while orders from outside the eurozone climbed 1.2 percent.

STELLA & CHEWY'S-RECALL

Pet food maker Stella & Chewy's recalls some products

NEW YORK (AP) -- Pet food maker Stella & Chewy's is recalling some of its products because a routine test found Listeria in a sample of its chicken freeze-dried dinner patties for dogs.

Listeria can cause serious illness and even death in children, the frail and the elderly. Healthy people may suffer flu-like symptoms, such as high fever, headache, nausea and diarrhea.

The Milwaukee-based company said there have been no reported pet or human illnesses.

A complete list of recalled products can be found at: http://www.stellaandchewys.com/stella-chewys-recall-notice/

Consumers can look at the lot numbers and UPC codes on their pet food to determine if their pet food is part of the recall. If they do have pet food that is part of the recall they can return it to the place of purchase for a full refund or should dispose of it.

GOODBYE TRADING PITS

No more `roar' as famed trading pits come to an end

In those pits, traders yelled and shoved and flashed hand signals, just as they did in the movie "Trading Places."

But faster, cheaper and not nearly as noisy computers have taken over.

BOX OFFICE

NEW YORK (AP) -- "Magic Mike XXL" and "Terminator Genisys" both fizzled over the July 4th weekend, leaving the popular holdovers "Jurassic World" and "Inside Out" to top the holiday box office.

Despite the release of the anticipated sequels, the rule of "Jurassic World" continued with an estimated $30.9 million in its fourth week of release. Pixar's "Inside Out," though, virtually tied it with $30.1 million in its third week. Final figures will be released Monday.

"Terminator Genisys," the fifth entry in the sci-fi series, opened in third with $28.7 million over the weekend and $44.2 million since opening Wednesday.

The male-stripper sequel "Magic Mike XXL," starring Channing Tatum, came in fourth with just $12 million on the weekend. Over five days of release, it made $27.1 million.

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