Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (D) offered a new perspective on the bumpy Obamacare rollout on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Thursday, assigning Republicans a share of the blame for the marred online implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Dean, a 2004 candidate for the Democratic nomination for president, said Republican strategies to delay and defund the launch of the Affordable Care Act contributed to the rollout’s struggling debut.
"First of all, in fairness you've got to blame the Republicans for some of this because they delayed everything they possibly could, threw as many monkey wrenches into the process as they could, and there's some success here," Dean said.
Dean added that the 36 states that relied on the Department of Health and Human Services to operate the new insurance marketplaces -- as opposed to setting up their own state-run exchanges -- should have been split up into four or five different regions to prevent one consolidated source from crashing.
"And then put each of these regions out to bid, so you don't have one single contractor who, if they screw up, screws up the whole system, which is what's happened," Dean said.
States that opted to run their own insurance marketplaces, including New York, California and Kentucky, have been faring much better than states relying on HHS.
Dean argued that "because the Republican governors refused to accept exchanges,” the Obama administration had to resort to a single federal marketplace, resulting in the technical malfunctions that have been called "excruciatingly embarrassing” by former White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
Although Republicans may not have been directly responsible for the rollout’s technical fiasco, "they did slow the process down considerably and that time does make a difference in the website," Dean said.
Politicians and the media have blamed the administration for not properly testing the online insurance marketplace before the Oct. 1 rollout. A group of Republicans has called for Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius’ resignation over HealthCare.gov’s unresolved enrollment glitches.
Congressional oversight hearings called to assess the problems in launching the federal health insurance exchange began Thursday.
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