• With: Dan Henninger, James Freeman, Kim Strassel, Joe Rago, Bret Stephens

    GIGOT: So here's the thing. Will they really be willing, this group of Republicans, to refuse to raise the debt limit? Is that what they're saying now?

    STRASSEL: At least some of them are now saying that you have to continue to not blink on that issue as well. Now, that is going to be a much harder thing for many in the Republican caucus to do because they are very concerned about the president's ability to claim default. And even if you didn't go to default, what would happen with the markets and the economy as a result of that?

    GIGOT: Gentleman, what's going to happen?

    FREEMAN: I think you probably get some or a format of this. But I would just like to emphasize the fact that Republicans may not have a perfect strategy or tactics right now doesn't mean they're not right on the underlying argument.


    FREEMAN: We have too many entitlements. And here's another one. I don't think the fact that Barack Obama passed this law means that it can ever be changed.

    GIGOT: No, of course not, but the question is, about the raw political math, if you on have one house of Congress, you can't expect to get everything you want.

    HENNINGER: And the other piece of raw political math is, if it begins to look as though some Republican Senators are not going to -- candidates are not going to succeed in taking those six Democratic seats that they've targeted, and if some of the congressmen from moderate seats in the north begin to look in peril, I think they'll be tremendous pressure on these people to start to look for an exit strategy.

    GIGOT: The 2014 election prospect.


    GIGOT: When we come back, lessons from the ObamaCare rollout. We'll tell you what to make of this week's glitches and what to watch for in the weeks ahead.



    OBAMA: Consider that just a couple weeks ago, Apple rolled out a new mobile operating system. And within days, they found a glitch so they fixed it. I don't remember anybody suggesting Apple should stop selling iPhones or iPads.


    GIGOT: President Obama Tuesday comparing the glitches in this week's ObamaCare rollout to launch of Apple's new operating system.

    Wall Street Journal editorial board member, Joe Rago, has been following the Affordable Care Act from the start. And he joins me now with a look at what happened this week.

    ObamaCare, or as we fondly call it, the Joe Rago Lifetime Employment Act.


    Steve Jobs, you think he would have rolled out ObamaCare with this?

    JOE RAGO, EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBER: No, he would have fired the person in charge of it. It takes a lot of hubris, I think, to compare the launch of the Affordable Care Act with a world-class product. I guess the other point I would make is that in cell phones, you have the choice with the Samsung Galaxy or whatever --

    GIGOT: Right.

    RAGO: -- and all the rest of the phones. Here, you're mandated to buy this specific product. And as we learned this week, it's full of glitches.

    GIGOT: So how serious are these technological issues with this rollout? Scot Gottlieb, who is our friend and contributor, wrote an interesting piece this week saying that they're actually pretty serious, particularly the data control and entry, and the risk of fraud is really serious.

    RAGO: Right. What we saw this week was a kind of comic "catch me if you can"-type caper where journalists were trying to track down the one guy who was able to enroll through these exchanges. But the point that Scott makes is these are much deeper technological problems. They go to the real information technology architecture of the plan, the states that are going to be bouncing information off the IRS and Social Security and Health and Human Services Department and all the rest. He's saying this is really a weak system. It's going to expose consumers to identity theft. There's going to be all kinds of much larger problems in terms of reconciling who gets subsidies, who qualifies for coverage and so forth.

    GIGOT: You know --


    GIGOT: Go ahead, Dan.

    HENNINGER: Well, the political problem is, to the extent consumers, the uninsured, are having these bad experiences and may have them over a period of time -- the real enrollment is around January 1st -- to what extent will this ObamaCare act lose elevation with people, simply lose heart and decide it's too difficult, I've got other things to do? They need big numbers of enrollees for the insurance pool to work. And so this is a serious problem for them. It's like, sure, if your Smartphone doesn't work, you're going to go over and start looking for something else. And I think that's the risk they're running, that people go elsewhere.

    GIGOT: You know, Kim, the president implicitly conceded that this wasn't ready because -- in two ways. He delayed the business mandate for a year. He delayed the government's testing of income limits for people who would enroll. So if you're making $1 million, technically, you can apply for subsidies and get them. The government may catch up with you later. But having made those concessions, why didn't the president then just delay the whole thing for another year? So we could avoid some of these problems and the dangers that Dan talked about?

    STRASSEL: Because he couldn't or at least he felt he couldn't politically. If you -- what he conceded in the end and what he exempted in the end was what he felt was the outer limits of what he could get away with. Had he --

    GIGOT: Why couldn't he do that politically, Kim? Why couldn't he just delay it?

    STRASSEL: Because if you acknowledge that it's not ready now, you move into next year's election and the reality is that the public opinion on ObamaCare has no way improved. It just continues to get worse. Democrats are increasingly worried about this law and what kind of liability it is for them in an election.

    And, by the way, Paul, a lot of the Democrats who actually voted for this law in the first place, they're gone. They're not even here. You have a new generation of Democrats who don't necessarily have the same fealty to this law as the older generation. And so the fear I think for the president was that his own party, if this got delayed --

    GIGOT: Right.

    STRASSEL: -- may lose its nerve and bolt on this and it might never become a reality.

    GIGOT: One other thing, Joe. I think that the president wants to get the subsidies started. Because he wants to get the body politic, if you will, on the I.V. drip of subsidies. Because history shows that once he starts to hand out subsidies, you get something free that somebody else is paying for, you don't want to give it up.

    RAGO: Right. I think that's definitely part of his goal. I might question how successful that's going to be. As we've discussed, these are going to be very limited networks of doctors and hospitals, a kind of Medicaid-plus. And the other thing is, for a lot of consumers, they don't qualify for a lot of subsidies. And --


    GIGOT: So they'll be paying a lot of money.