Healthcare.gov: "a colossal, expensive failure that projects a 1970s-era DMV experience into cyberspace"

I've got a new piece up at The Daily Beast. It's about the awfulness of Obamacare's disastrous enrollment website.

Here's a snippet:

After the search for bin Laden, the Obama administration’s biggest manhunt has turned out to be for someone—anyone—who managed to actually sign up for and enroll in an insurance plan offered by the federal exchange. As The Miami Herald declared in a recent headline, “Obamacare enrollees become urban legend.” So far, you’ve got a better chance of turning up a gerbil escapee scurrying down Richard Gere’s leg than finding a couple dozen satisfied customers of healthcare.gov. During a legendarily awful Daily Show appearance, Sebelius lowered expectations yet further by saying that HHS will release enrollment figures on a monthly basis. Right after all the parades for record-setting grain harvests and successful launches of canine cosmonauts....

Of course, this is all a prelude:

After the program becomes fully operational, then the real troubles will begin....

Read the whole thing.

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  • ||

    First?

    /cautiously raised hand.

  • ||

    raises. /slap forehead.

  • ||

    I have a poster for sale.

    It's one in which Obama stands above the USA, arms crossed, chin raised like Mussolini with the caption: Avanti! The Future is forward with futurism!

    Any buyers?

  • Restoras||

    I'll wait for a copy of the photograph depicting the eventual outcome.

  • UnCivilServant||

    A picture of the poster plastered on a slum wall after the collapse in juxtaposition of the empty promices and what was delivered?

  • ||

    Yeah. You can add Obama playing the fiddle (indifferently) while Jefferson's head is on fire and the Colosseum burns.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    As much a portent of the ugly, unyielding state healthcare bureaucracy to come, the problems with the website is nothing but a distraction. The problem with focusing on it is, eventually we will either work around it or get used to it, and at that point Obamacare will be deemed back on successful track.

  • Ted S.||

    Healthcare.gov failed so badly that people can't even obtain alt-text.

  • Swiss Servator, Zurichmania!||

    That is the ultimate sign of failure...

  • Auric Demonocles||

    I was going to post the same complaint, but healthcare.gov squirrels ate it.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    After the search for bin Laden, the Obama administration’s biggest manhunt has turned out to be for someone—anyone—who managed to actually sign up for and enroll in an insurance plan offered by the federal exchange.

    This sort of juvenile snark is why NOBODY TAKES LIBERTARIANS SERIOUSLY.

  • PapayaSF||

    I liked that bit.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I'll wait for a copy of the photograph depicting the eventual outcome.

    CURSES! Foiled again.

  • Rich||

    Someone should interview the young lady on the HealthCare.gov splashpage.

    Surely *she* experienced a smooth enrollment.

  • ||

    Obama: "Say it, say it as it's written, lady."

    /gently pushes revolver into her back.

    "Now lay a egg."

    "What?"

    "You gonna question me, lady? Lay a egg."

    ...to be continued.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    I've been trolling the leftist web, the last week, and raising or echoing the possibility of sabotage - particularly Libertarian Sabotage of the glorious Obamacare website development. Programmers and web developers are known to be infested with kulaks and libertarians. [see the "traitor" Snowden]

    I'm hoping to start the Great Obama IT Purge. Maybe they'll go all luddite and shun technology completely. Either way, they'll fuck themselves up more.

  • SweatingGin||

    So long as it doesn't bleed over to the private sector...

  • steve sturm||

    You're overstating the bad consequences of the website not working.

    First, most of the people trying to sign up are those without insurance. They can't sign up, they'll stay uninsured. No change in the status quo.

    Second, there won't be any death spiral. Obama will simply increase the subsidies available through the website. Oh, he lacks authority to do that? When has the lack of statutory authority ever stopped him before?

    Third, for all the publicity the problems with the website are getting, it is just noise to most people, those who get their insurance through their employer.

    Yes, it doesn't work. Yes, it may never. But it won't turn out to be as big a deal as you think it will

  • Jordan||

    Obama will simply increase the subsidies available through the website.

    Assuming this actually happens (and I doubt it), it would be a big deal, given how much Medicare has overrun its predicted costs.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    "Obamamcare was never about saving money! That's just a right wing lie!"

  • John||

    And we never said you would get to keep your current plan. It was always about helping the uninsured. Of course those who already had care were going to have to pay more and get less care. Everyone knew that and re-elected Obama anyway.

    /Coming Prog talking point.

  • sarcasmic||

    When people start getting penaltaxed for not signing up to a broken system, then yeah it will become a big deal.

  • CatoTheElder||

    It's going to get interesting in the first quarter of 2015 when people do their 2014 tax returns.

    Imagine the surprise of a guy who earns $63000 in 2014 when he finds out that he owes an additional $7400 of income tax on the $960 he earned over the $62040 hurdle (400% of poverty line.)

    Of course, if the guy is a progressive, he'll be too stupid to figure it out. You can bet that the new 1040 will be crafted to obscure this particular feature of ObamaCare.

  • sarcasmic||

    It's worse than that. Every month that you go without insurance means they can jack your rates by 1%. And that's forever. Go without coverage for a year and a half, and your premiums will be 18% higher than if you signed up when you were supposed to, and there's nothing you can do about it.

    That's going to cause a stink.

  • PapayaSF||

    Shit, you're kidding me.

  • ||

    That seems like a ridiculous number, so I'll take it as pretty close to the actual number.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Think you have an extra '0' there. My understanding is that the penalty is the greater of $95 or 1% of income (AGI presumably). Someone making 63k gross probably doesn't even pay $7400 in total today.

  • John||

    Most young people don't want insurance. The website was set up to make it easy for them to get insurance. If they don't get young people to buy insurance, the insurance industry is going to go in to the dreaded death spiral as they are unable to pay for the old and the sick with money from the young and the healthy.

    If the website doesn't get up and running, chances are most young people are going to just give up and pay the penaltax. If that happens, the entire thing collapses.

    In one sense, you may be right because I am not convinced that even if the website had worked young people were going to buy over priced insurance they didn't want anyway. But without the website that is assured. They didn't create the website for no reason.

    Understand too that if the death spiral starts, it will happen very quickly. By the summer of 2014, the entire medical insurance industry could be in crisis and millions of people will watch their health insurance premiums go up like the price of gas during the Arab oil embargo. An insurance death spiral would be a crisis equal to t he 2008 financial crisis. All just a few months before the midterms.

    So yeah, it is kind of a big deal.

  • John||

    According to an April survey by the Harvard Institute of Politics, only 39 percent of young voters count on President Obama to “do the right thing,” and only 22 percent trust the federal government.

    - See more at: http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/.....zxd2N.dpuf

    Reality is a harsh mistress. If you don't trust the light giver in chief and you don't trust the federal government, at some point being a member in good standing of the Prog hive looks a lot less cool than it once did.

  • Alice Bowie||

    Obama did a shitty job on the website. And, it should have included the public option and Medicare for all over 50years of age. However, the people that wanted to take down Obama and those in bed with the Insurance Industry made sure this would fail.

    Obama did not address the main problem we are facing with healthcare. Which is the fact that provides charge whatever they feel like. $10 for an aspirin, $150k for surgery, etc. And, the reason provider charge whatever is because of the THIRD PARTY PAYER.

    It doesn't matter if this third party payer is Medicare, Medicaid, Aetna, or your employer. If the Customer/Patient doesn't pay, the Provider abuses it.

    Solution (1): Medicare for ALL where government CAPS provider cost.
    Solution (2): Outlaw ALL third party payers
    (Medicare/Medicaid/Private Insurance)

    - - Establish Government runned clinics with Providers as employees
    - ONLY Allow the disabled, the public pensioned, and poor, and
    TRUE emergency matters to be managed in these clinics.
    - Use the current EMERGENCY ROOMS that are abused by everyone as
    these clinics. It doesn't really cost $2,000 to give stitches
    in the ER
    - Offer scholarships for medical schools in contingent to workin
    in these clinics for 5-yrs.
    - Have a 100% free market for all that are not handled in the public
    clinic. This way, the provider can only charge what the
    customer/patient can pay without a third-party weasel in the
    middle.

  • FreeToFear||

    Because those pesky insurance companies sure hate the idea of having millions of people forced to buy their product.

    Yes, it really does cost $2000 to get those stitches in the ER, because EVERYTHING needs to be completely sanitized every time somebody goes through there - everything that touched you is either boiled (in the case of linens) or thrown away (everything else). Emergency care ain't cheap

  • John||

    Sure Alice. They can't build a proper website but they totally could have expanded medicare exponentially and essentially set up the world's largest insurance company.

    You should thank God there isn't a public option. If there were, this thing would be a hundred times worse than it is.

  • Alice Bowie||

    The public option could had simply been the existing Medicare system. Just allow Medicare to take in anyone that the insurance companies rejected.

  • John||

    And bringing in tens of millions of people into Medicare would have been easy? It would have been a disaster. And worse, it would have been a disaster that screwed up the health care of old people. You know the ones who all vote?

  • Alice Bowie||

    I don't think so. That being my opinion.

    Yes you bring in a lot of claims. But you also bring in a lot of premiums.

    Take me for example, I pay about $13k in premiums a year for healthcare for the four of us (me, wife, two daughters). THat's about $300/month per person. Plus, I pay lots out of pocket in co-pay, deductible, co-insurance, and all that crap.

    Instead of paying it to my insurance provider, I can pay that to medicare.

  • ||

    Or you could put it in a Health Savings Account so you can use that money when you actually need it.

    Oh wait, you can't cause Obamacare made those illegal.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    So the problem is third party payer (congrats, you took your meds today!) but the answer is more third party payer.

    Everyone worries about our semi-private health care and no one seems to understand the real problems of our single payer education systems.

  • Biden's Scroteplugs||

    I'm trying to figure out the part where we save money by government taking their vig. They take a bigger vig than anyone.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    However, the people that wanted to take down Obama and those in bed with the Insurance Industry made sure this would fail.

    That's some mighty fine True Believin' there. No wonder President Cornball whines so much about people criticizing him instead of taking it like a man.

    Solution (1): Medicare for ALL where government CAPS provider cost

    Wrong. The primary solution is open pricing of services. This will cut the costs of healthcare by 50-80%. Couple it with steep discounts for cash payments, and the cost will drop further. If hospitals and clinics are openly listing their prices, insurance costs will naturally drop as people start paying cash for a multitude of services.

    If the government is capping prices (and we all know how well those price controls worked in the 1970s, right?), then it's not a free market.

  • Alice Bowie||

    You can have a two-tier system.

    Medicare for all (capped by government) along with a free market where NO insurance or third party payer exists. It's important that people pay CASH for medical treatment. This will control cost.

    However, the AMA will not want this. The savings in healthcare will come out of the Provider's pockets.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Medicare for all (capped by government) along with a free market where NO insurance or third party payer exists. It's important that people pay CASH for medical treatment.

    If you can't see how you contradicted yourself here, there's really no point in continuing.

    Price controls don't work to decrease the demand necessary to keep the supply robust. Just ask Venezuela and their experience with the Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2013.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    You don't understand comrade. Venezuela doesn't need TP because they have evolved beyond the cling on! Glory to the Revolution!

  • Lady Bertrum||

    IMO, what's not completely obvious now, but will be shortly, is how awful and expensive the plans offered through the exchange are.

    Really high deductibles and out-of-pockets combined with high premiums. Basically, everyone under 40 without a chronic health condition will be subsidizing the 40+ while receiving very limited benefits - Yeah, that's gonna work. Insurance industry underwriters/actuaries are well aware that men under the age of 35 are cash cows. They rarely require medical care and, typically, when they do it's the one-off type. They injure themselves or experience a short term illness which doesn't require long term continuing care (think torn ligament or bout of pneumonia). Why, oh why, would a young man who is probably under-employed and single sign-up for OC?

    Obamacare is going to DESTROY the individual insurance market. Utterly destroy it.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    And, keeping "children" under 26 on their parent's group plans will also damage OC. The young who previously would have been kicked off may have enrolled in OC and propped it up with much needed premium dollars and low usage.

  • ||

    Shhhh, you'll hurt people like Alice's feelings.

  • Alice Bowie||

    I hope it does destroy the Individual Heath Insurance Market. It's a useless middle man.

    We should have all 300,000,000 people pay into ONE plan. Or, have no insurance or medicare/medicaid and just let people pay what they can.

    We can afford to treat everyone who is sick or injured. This is an ideological argument against taxes and collectivism itself.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Europe doesn't treat everyone who is sick or injured, so why do you think we can? The reality is that we actually treat more than your precious single payer systems (which themselves are an inaccurate description of most of your fantasies about the rest of the world). In fact you are far likelier to get preventive screenings in the US than Europe. You are far likelier to survive a major cancer for 5 years. You are far likelier to be on medically warranted meds for chronic conditions, e.g. statins for high cholesterol, and you are far likelier to get dialysis if you need it as compared to the shining beacons of goodness such as the NHS.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Healthcare.gov: "a colossal, expensive failure that projects a 1970s-era DMV experience into cyberspace"

    I'm a geezer, so I've had plenty of experience at the DMV going back to the "1970s-era".

    Nothing that I've ever experienced at the DMV is remotely comparable to utterly wretched worthlessness of HealthCare.gov.

    You should be ashamed of yourself for comparing the apathetic factotums at the DMV to the multifaceted incompetence that brought us HealthCare.gov.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Obamacare is going to DESTROY the individual insurance market. Utterly destroy it.

    This is my expectation.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    We can afford to treat everyone who is sick or injured.

    WE, Kemosabe?

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