Tuesday night's Fox News Special Report with Bret Baier featured an "All-Star Panel" discussion of the technological issues surrounding the introduction of Healthcare.gov. One question raised was whether the White House realized the site had technical issues before it went live on October 1. Fox's Juan Williams opined that the White House must have known the site had major flaws but kept it secret for political reasons. Williams condoned the lack of transparency by saying it was necessary due to the harsh criticism of Obamacare coming from Republicans. Williams' approval led to a heated debate between him and The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes.
Host Bret Baier started it off:
Is that something bad for Sebelius, the fact Jeff Zinst has to come in and manage something that she was supposed to manage?
I don’t think that she’s a technological manager; I think that you as HHS secretary is supposed it assign this to people who are supposed to make the technology work. I do think that given what we heard in that sound bite from, I forget the expert’s name, that people were told, and I think Nina is exactly right that people in the White House and in HHS felt there is such massive opposition from the Republicans that they did not want to say, you know, we need to slow down a little bit because we don't have the technology in order. So they were willing to say let's roll it out, see how it works for now. And so over the first 20 days it has not worked well, but I would just caution in the midst of all of this piling on that, gee you know, it's been three weeks, I think 20 days it's out. It’s supposed to be a six-month rollout. President Obama says I believe 20 million people have visited the site, half a million people have already signed.
I think what you [Juan Williams] said is interesting and compelling. They did this because they didn't want Republicans to have a talking point. They did this for purely political reasons, which is inexcusable. By your characterization, they said let's take our chances because we don't want to give Republicans the talking point. If that's true, if that's close to being true, that is outrageous on another level.
Well, hang on a second. You mean to say in the midst of all the political polarization around this issue Obamacare that you are going to slam the Obama administration for making a decision to try to go ahead so as not to feed the critics?
Yes, that's absolutely what I’m going to say.
I don’t think that’s fair.
That's outrageous. I think it won't -- if they have tests that suggest it's going to fail and fail miserably, they are going to go ahead and do it at potential tremendous cost to the American public?