New, improved, exclusive!

Last month Time’s Joe Klein decried the Obama administration’s “incompetence” implementing Obamacare. This week Klein expressed relief in an “Exclusive” report.

In his “Exclusive” Klein praised the administration for streamlining the complex 21-page online Obamacare application to a mere three pages. Klein called it “a spiffy, new three-page application for individuals (find it here)” (footnote omitted). He added: “There will be a seven-page application for families (11 including the appendix), but even that one will be far better designed than the initial effort (find it here).”

Obama bragged about the new, improved version at his 100-days press conference this week: “We put together initially an application form for signing up for participation in the exchanges that was initially about 21 pages long. Immediately everybody sat around the table and said, ‘Well, this is too long. . . . Let’s streamline this thing.’ So we’ve cut what was a 21-page form now down to a form that’s about three pages for an individual, a little more than that for a family.”

How’d they do it? At NRO my daughter Eliana explains how:

That draft form released in March was designed not for an individual but for a family of six, including four children. The new “family” form, which runs seven (numbered) pages, includes paperwork for just two people. It instructs applica[nt]s, ”If you have more than two people to include, make a copy of Step 2: Person 2 (pages 4 and 5) and complete.” Thus, eight pages were shaved off of the new form – two pages for each of the four children no longer included.

The administration also creatively took four pages from the 21-page draft and made them into “appendices.” Two separate pages requesting information about an applicant’s existing employer-provided insurance have been moved to Appendix A, so they are no longer included in the seven numbered pages (or the three pages the president cited for the individual form). The same is true for the page that requests further information from American Indians and Alaska Natives and the page that allows applicants to authorize to discuss the application with the government on their behalf — now Appendix B and Appendix C, respectively.

And the first page of the application, which includes basic information and answers to frequently asked questions, now has no page number, taking another page off the official count without actually altering anything.

The family of six for whom the president said 21 pages was “too long,” then, would still have to fill out the seven pages included in the new application, plus two additional pages for each of four children, plus the five additional pages. That’s a total of 20 pages — not as short, or as simple, as the administration would have us believe.

I would love to have been a fly on the wall as the geniuses of the Obama administration sat around the table deliberating how to “streamline” the 21-page form and peddle the story of the new streamlined application as an “Exclusive” to Time. Klein having heralded its coming, the new, improved Obamacare application was ready for its rollout at the press conference (video below).

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