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Megan McArdle

Obamacare Needs a Drop-Dead Date

Set Nov. 15 as the deadline for deciding whether Obamacare should be delayed for one year.

Exactly how bad are things on the federal health-care exchanges? The working assumption among most journalists, including me, is that they would be fixed in a few weeks -- that is, by the end of this week. But yesterday's New York Times brought a deeply reported piece from Robert Pear, Sharon LaFraniere and Ian Austen. There is too much information in the piece for an excerpt to do it justice, so I'll summarize, with some editorial comments -- but you should read the whole thing to get the full flavor:

-- One person familiar with the project says it's only about 70 percent of the way there, and has heard estimates of somewhere between two weeks to two months to fix it. As a programmer I know points out, "two weeks to two months" is the programming equivalent of "40 days and 40 nights": "A long time, but I have no way of knowing how long." When I used to hear estimates like that, I used to assume it would be coming in on the late end of that range, earliest.