HealthCare.gov Becomes Glitch.gov

Tuesday, 22 Oct 2013 08:13 AM

By Rich Lowry

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
In a White House speech, President Barack Obama assured the public that his new healthcare law is up and running even in the absence of a functioning website.

He told people they can call an 800 number instead of buying coverage online. Reporters duly called the number and got busy signals, or when getting through and following the directions, got referred back to HealthCare.gov.

This, no doubt, is another "glitch," the administration's catch-all word for the fact that it is almost impossible to enroll for insurance under Obamacare.

It is a sign of just how bad it is that a new word has been added to describe the dysfunction, which is now occasionally referred to as "glitches and kinks." If the website ever has to be abandoned entirely, the president and his spinners will surely maintain it was undone by "glitches, kinks, snags, bugs, and hiccups."

Euphemism aside, it must be dawning on the White House that it is presiding over a fiasco that threatens the viability of its healthcare law and spotlights President Obama's central conceit that the mandarins of the administrative state are wise and capable enough to manage a large portion of our national life.

They aren't even wise and capable enough to develop a website when given three years and $400 million to do it.

The initial excuse for the failure of HealthCare.gov was sheer volume, but only the molten core of the president's loyalists still mouth this line. People whose job it is to successfully use the website have barely been able to successfully use the website.

It took a CNN reporter a week to create a login and two weeks to proceed with her application. HealthCare.gov is worthy of a Joseph Heller novel.

Consumer Reports tried to give potential users some advice. First, follow very carefully the needlessly complicated instructions for creating a password that has at least seven characters and at least one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter, one number and one symbol.

Second, as soon as you encounter a problem logging on, start over, since you can't believe what the error messages tell you.

If you happen to make it through, keep a sharp eye out for an email confirming your account, or you'll soon be timed out.

Finally, when verifying your identity on the site, you may want to do it from a different browser than the one you registered from.

Got it? The publication's bottom line: "Stay away from HealthCare.gov for at least another month if you can."

Going old school isn't much easier. Megan McArdle of Bloomberg View talked to a representative at an Obamacare call center who said you could fill out a paper form, but it would take three weeks for it to be sent to your house and, after you send it back, a couple of more weeks until you are notified of your eligibility for subsidies. The representative wasn't clear on what happens next.

The Medicare and Medicaid agency running the HealthCare.gov project took upon itself the overall tech management of it rather than handing that task off to a contractor.

Managing a tech project of this size is not a core competency of government, but then again, neither is taking over the individual insurance market.

Obamacare already risked creating a so-called adverse selection death spiral, i.e., sick people disproportionately signing up for the exchanges. The website increases the chances of it by deterring less motivated consumers from enrolling.

Presumably the administration can get the website to work eventually, although it will almost certainly be more difficult than the promise of a "tech surge" suggests.

Once government has fouled up a project like this, it isn't so easy to untangle. Britain undertook a program to upgrade the information technology of the National Health Service in 2002. Nine years and 6 billion pounds later, the government had to scrap the program entirely.

It must have run into a glitch.

Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review and author of the best-seller “Lincoln Unbound: How an Ambitious Young Railsplitter Saved the American Dream — and How We Can Do It Again.” He has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal,  and a variety of other publications. Read more reports from Rich Lowry — Click Here Now.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Hit ISIS, Move Past Stunning DC Indecision

Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 09:24 AM

We have as close to a national consensus as possible in the war against ISIS. And yet Congress can't bring itself to vot . . .

Obama Wages Halfhearted War

Friday, 12 Sep 2014 10:26 AM

Only President Barack Obama would feel compelled to mention the success of the American auto industry in a speech rallyi . . .

Immigration Is Politics for Obama

Tuesday, 09 Sep 2014 09:21 AM

The White House let it be known over the weekend that it is putting off executive action on immigration at least until a . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved