It seems we cannot open up a newspaper, or listen to a newscast these days without hearing reference to how troubled the "rollout" of "Obamacare" is.  This seems a dominant media narrative, deserved or not.  

Just for kicks, I did a quick and (I am sure not exhaustive) search on "Lexis/Nexis" to see how many references I could come up with to this.  Using just the parts of the database limited to "all news (English)" and "broadcast transcripts" and limiting the search to articles posted on October 1 through today (thus, 61 days), I found 1,351 references using the search terms: "Obamacare" and one of the following: "Debacle", "Disaster", "failure", "failed", "train wreck".  (And again, I bet this is a vast underestimate of the times Obamacare has been described this way).

Now there is no doubt that the rollout of the website healthcare.gov has been very problematic -- no one can deny this, and the problems with this website irritate everyone, from ACA advocates to Obamacare critics.  However, when the narrative includes references, such as in the New York Times to "the disastrous rollout of the health care law" and compares this to Katrina, under President GW Bush, there is a strong narrative (New York Times, 11/14/13).

What also seems problematic are these points:
  • the healthcare.gov website, now seems to be equated to the entirety of the Affordable Care Act, which suggests a deep misunderstanding of the many provisions of the law (since the website only focuses on the implementation of an electronic portal to the Health Insurance Marketplaces);
  • this narrative ignores other provisions of the law already implemented and helping millions of Americans, such as:
    • enrolling over 741,000 people so far into marketplace plans and Medicaid;
    • expanding coverage to 1-2 million dependents up to age 26; 
    • eliminating lifetime limits and pre-existing conditions for children; 
    • closing of the "doughnut hole" for 8.9 million elderly in Medicare, 
    • and many other provisions; 
  • the narrative that "Obamacare is a failure", drawn only a few weeks into the open enrollment period, ignores that the open enrollment period only began two months ago, and will not close until the end of March (four months from now).  Thus rendering judgement on the Marketplaces now seems similar to claiming a football has failed if they are behind at the end of the first quarter.