Has Obamacare Been Rescued by the Administration's 'Tech Surge'? Don't Bet On It

Whitehouse.govWhitehouse.govIs Obamacare back in action? For the last two months, Healthcare.gov, the federally run insurance portal at the heart of the law, has experienced numerous technical troubles. The administration vowed to fix those problems by the end of November, and today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it had met the goal of making sure that the site “worked smoothly” for the “vast majority of users.”

In a conference call this morning, a spokesperson for HHS said, “we believe we have met that goal.” A six-page progress report released by the administration this morning touts technical progress as well as managerial improvements, declaring that the team making the improvements is now “operating with private sector velocity and efficiency.”

Anyone else catch the irony there? Set up a vast, government-managed tech operation, watch it fail—and then, as it attempts to reboot itself, boast of private-sector quality work?  (Also, let’s not forget that the original failed work was in fact done by private contractors working under the managerial bumbling of the federal health bureaucracy.)

So it’s all fixed, and Obamacare’s going to be great, right? Not so fast. The White House’s stated goal of improving the website so that 80 percent of users can get all the way through the system still means that one in five users won’t make it through the digital gauntlet. It also claims that the site is stable and accessible 90 percent of the time, a figure it only gets by excluding the hours of scheduled maintenance it undergoes each day.

And that’s if the website even works as well as the administration says it’s supposed to. Which is, at best, a very big if. According to The Washington Post, some progress has been made, but the techies and bureaucrats attempting to patch together the site have not fully met their own internal goals for performance yet. That would certainly fit the pattern. All throughout the development of the online insurance exchange system, the administration has claimed that Obamacare’s tech is working, or just about to work—but its promises have repeatedly been proven wrong.

Given its history, the administration’s claims have to be taken with a cargo ship full of salt—especially since there’s no good way to independently confirm that the website is working as well as the administration claims. You just have to take their word for it.

Even if the website appears to be working on the user end, there’s no guarantee that less visible functions are performing adequately. Insurers have been reporting dropped or incorrectly transmitted enrollment data since the exchanges launched. And according to The New York Times, the repair team prioritized front-end fixes for consumers over accurate insurance-company connections. So the site might appear to be working just fine, until you try to actually use the insurance that you thought you purchased. 

These are just the known problems. There are plenty more opportunities for technical troubles down the line, particularly because when administration officials say the website is working better, they mean the portion of the website that's actually been built. Yet by the reckoning of a senior Obamacare tech official, some 30 to 40 percent of the exchange functionality has yet to been constructed, including some of the crucial insurer payment systems. ("It's not built, let alone tested," one insurance industry official told The Washington Post.") So the best possible scenario here is that the 70 percent of the site that's been built works for about 80 percent of the people who want to use it. 

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  • ||

    Was there ever any doubt the WH wasn't just going to wave its hands and say it was pretty much okay? Expect to hear a lot about outlying anecdotes from the dog-washers in the next few weeks.

  • Mokers||

    It's already started happening. Stories of people who have been canceled who like their ACA insurance plans, anecdotes of how much easier the process is.

    Expect to hear some intrepid reporter who interviews a person as they sign up and find it only takes 15 minutes. Bonus points if they work at WalMart and aren't paid a living wage. Of course nobody will ask if all of this could have been accomplished in two months, what was happening the last three years to make the original experience so terrible.

    I'm thinking that the fix is that they have taken a lot of the verification process out of the website. They process things quicker on the website and just send applications with more errors to the insurance companies.

  • GILMORE||

    "I'm thinking that the fix is that they have taken a lot of the verification process out of the website."

    This is pretty much guaranteed.

    From what I've been lead to understand, the major problems were with the "confirming income and subsequent subsidy approval-process"...

    and what they've decided on in the meantime is to shove applications forward to the insurance companies, allowing them to then send enquiries back to the gov about subsidy verification.

    There will likely be major errors of mis-pricing in this process - but there *was* some backup cash built into the 2014 implementation year to cover any unexpected losses for insurers that were the responsibility of the federal process...

    ...that cash was intended to be only for outliers - however, now its basically an open ended promise to the insurance companies= "sign as many up ASAP. If they turn out to be priced wrong, we'll cover you for *now*. But if they don't get signed up at all, the breakdown of this shit is going to cost everyone a whole lot more"

    The guy who was calling for an emergency "Plan B" in mid-November outlined this plan himself, and it looks exactly like what he proposed.

    http://healthpolicyandmarket.b.....ation.html

  • GILMORE||

    "4.Build, as the very top system priority, the subsidy calculation bridge the insurers and private exchanges have been requesting for months but the administration made a lower priority well before October 1. If insurers and private exchanges have the ability to access the subsidy calculator and enroll people in the subsidy program, the administration will have built a workaround system for the interim so people who could not otherwise afford coverage would be able to get a subsidy"

  • CherylMcDaniel31||

    I quit working at shoprite and now I make $35h - $80h...how? I'm working online! My work didn't exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new… after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn't be happier. Heres what I do,...

    ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇

    WWW.JUMP85.COM

    ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇ ▇

  • Bryan C||

    Yep. They've gutted the verification, and the site still can't reliably send even this unverified information to the insurance companies. Who have no way of knowing if what they're getting is correct or not. And, needless to say, there's no security.

    But the media is now contrite about lashing out at their boyfriend, and eager to make it up to him and his friends any way they can. Wink Wink!

  • Brian H||

    I wonder how the 700+ spoof sites McAfee identified are working.

  • pan fried wylie||

    70% of the time, it works 100% of the time.

    Sex Panther, For Men.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    That doesn't make sense.

  • Dweebston||

    It's perfectly cromulent.

  • ||

    70% of the time, Fist is 100% first.

  • Rufus J. Firefly||

    I think that's an Anchorman reference.

    San Diego is German for a whale's vagina.

  • Jordan||

    Meanwhile, the site is still a security disaster.

    “Given Healthcare.gov’s security issues, and assuming for the moment that you would be personally responsible for all damages incurred from your advice, would any of you advise an American citizen to use this website as the security issues now exist?” asked Rep. Brooks.

    Every witness said no.

    Kennedy offered three recommendations to Congress. The best option, he said, is to create “Healtcare.gov 2.0,” a completely redesigned second website that will work in conjunction with the original. He estimated it would take about six months to complete.
  • hot frog||

    There is so much focus on Healthcare's website allowing access that the issue of security is being mentioned less and less.

    In fact, as accessibility increases, the risk of identity theft increases as well; Healthcare.gov is inviting you to play Identity Theft Roulette:
    http://thefrogpot.com/roulette.htm

  • andarm16||

    Why does something tell me they just increased the hardware ten fold, and guessed that they could thus support ten times the users?

  • ||

    They also upgraded to the latest version of MS Access.

  • ||

    In 2007 we had a surge to kill more Iraqis. 2013 the surge is to destroy what? Incompetence?

    Is surge going to be the new euphemism for "war on..."? Surge on poverty. Surge against Republicans. Surge against trans fats...

  • fish_remote||

    2013 the surge is to destroy what? Incompetence?

    Sorry Jesse...there's no amount of troops, weapons, or what have you that can defeat that particular foe!

    Incompetence will always win the day!

  • Jordan||

    Sorry Jesse...there's no amount of troops, weapons, or what have you that can defeat that particular foe!

    Which makes it a perfect new war for the State to wage! Even more perpetual than the War on Drugs and War on Terror.

  • wadair||

    And "perpetual surge" is deliciously oxymoronish.

  • ||

    Surge is the new euphemism for "doubling down" (in the commonly used meaning of the term). In other words, taking the war to 11, or getting in even deeper, or digging faster.

  • ||

    Athiest surge in War on Christmas with simultaneous attacks on North Pole and Hallmark Channel. News at 11.

  • SIV||

    Happy Holidays!

  • Free Society||

    I prefer "balls deep", which means that you're really in there.

  • juris imprudent||

    And we survived the Santorum surge of 2012.

  • Res ipsa loquitur||

    Did we though ?

  • ||

    I like how the use of the word "surge" is an implicit admission that the Iraq surge was successful. Obama would not be adopting the word "surge" if it wasn't generally recognized as a successful strategy.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    How was the Iraq surge successful? We killed more Iraqi freedom fighters?

    You reek of neocon.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Ask your OFA handlers now that Obama has co-opted the word.

  • Res ipsa loquitur||

    How did that "Surge" into Afghanistan go ?

    Oh shit...I was there. From the front it didn't look too hot, but thankfully, war is only bad if a Republican is President.

  • Acosmist||

    I'm with PB. The surge was not successful, and there is a greatest prime number.

  • prolefeed||

    and there is a greatest prime number.

    The fuck?

    http://primes.utm.edu/notes/pr.....clids.html

    Oh, wait, did you mean to sarcastically say the surge WAS successful?

  • ||

    Despite a spate of recent violence, there does not appear to be a civil war going on, and the government seems fairly stable and capable of handling it.

    If the point of the whole thing was to stabilize the country so we could leave, that was accomplished. It's been 7 years since the "surge" started and the Iraqi government hasn't collapsed.

  • ||

    You do realize your cock master used the same tactic in Afghanistan right?

  • JohnD||

    And you reek of Stupidity.

  • LarryA||

    Obama would not be adopting the word "surge" if it wasn't generally recognized as a successful strategy.

    Mmm-Hmmm.

    So why does every tech-savvy person use surge protectors?

  • UnCivilServant||

    Actually, surge protectors were insufficient for the electrical instability I had to deal with, so I had to go to uninterruptable power supplies (which also act as power conditioners) to stop the computers from burning out.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    I like how they keep touting how they've made "400 bug fixes" in the past two months, but for a software project of this size that started out dead in the water, that's a miniscule number. Playing to the people who don't know any better as always.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    If they tell you the number, the story is in the percentage - and vice versa.

  • AlmightyJB||

    OT: Great. Douchbag Dewine doubling down on the WOD. Ohio's already bad enough when it comes to this.

    http://www.nbc4i.com/story/240.....ng-suburbs

  • MSimon||

    They are protecting Oxy and big pharma.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Expect to hear a lot about outlying anecdotes from the dog-washers in the next few weeks.

    I was just reading a story in the Missoulian about a fifty-ish woman artist who was dropped by her evil insurance company, but when she went shopping for a new policy, found a better policy with more coverage and lower deductibles and no coverage caps. And the best part? It was (after magical government subsidies) practically FREE!

  • Dweebston||

    At first glance I thought you were reading a periodical for all things Italian fascism.

  • prolefeed||

    Almost the same story was running in the newspaper at the Durango, CO hotel I was staying at (I think the paper was the Durango Herald).

    "Look! After getting free money, I got a better deal than I was getting, so this proves Obamacare is working!"

  • blcartwright||

    She'll get a letter in a month informing her there was an error, she doesn't qualify for a subsidy, please send $500/mo

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Douchbag Dewine doubling down on the WOD.

    They should totally make it a crime to have anything which could conceivably serve as a place of concealment for drugs in your home.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    Colostomies for everyone!

  • Tulpa (LAOL-VA)||

    Reminds me of a quote from Walter Matthau: "My doctor gave me six months to live. When I couldn't pay the bill, he gave me six months more."

  • GILMORE||

    Henny Youngman

  • ||

    From the The New York Times story:

    For 90 excruciating minutes, a furious and frustrated president peppered his team with questions, drilling into the arcane minutiae of web design as he struggled to understand the scope of a crisis that suddenly threatened his presidency.

    Wow.

    Inside the West Wing, where junior researchers monitor Twitter and other social media, officials knew the political controversy had moved beyond the broken website. Now it was about a broken promise. But for Mr. Obama, the mounting criticism was more than political. It felt personal.

    “He was uncomfortable,” one senior adviser said. He hated the idea that so many Americans had received cancellation letters from their insurance companies and were angry because “of what the president had said — that this wouldn’t have happened.”

    Maybe he really doesn't have any clue what he's doing.

  • ||

    drilling into the arcane minutiae of web design

    Sure he was. I bet he discussed the merits of Javascript and CSS and HTML5 with the team at length, understanding all of it. Because that's just the kind of guy he is.

    Of course, web design isn't the main issue here, it's communication between all the backend systems. Did they also drill into the arcane minutiae of web services and REST and and SOAP and authentication and so on? And when do we get to the databases themselves? I'm sure Obama has a firm grasp of the whole shebang.

  • juris imprudent||

    You can bet when there were questions on data modeling, the Obamacle answered them.

  • SusanM||

    Bet he spent 10 minutes demanding Comic Sans

  • 0x90||

    Of course, web design isn't the main issue here, it's communication between all the backend systems.


    I don't even want to think about it...

  • LynchPin1477||

    I wish he would spend just 30 minutes listening to someone lecture on basic economics.

  • Bryan C||

    Nah, then he'd spend the next two hours calling on plants in the audience and stuttering about how we're all gettin' bamboozled.

  • Pulseguy||

    People forget he is adept at virtually anything he puts his attention on. The only world leader who can come close to him is Kim from North Korea who actually shot a 54 in his first golf game. Apparently he beat Tiger Woods.

    He himself noted he was a better speech writer than his speech writers, and a better campaign chairman than his campaign chairman, etc. I doubt very much any of the code writers in the room can write code as well as Obama can.

  • MSimon||

    I think shot 54 is more apt.

  • Lonely Stalker||

    Well, after his presidential escapade is over, I sure will offer him a job in this here web development firm, where can code the socks off our devs and also community organize the herd of cats they are. Doing that will take some black magic though.

  • ArbutusJoe||

    No, he leaves implementation to the development team. He is the Scrum Product Owner, adding his desired goals to the product backlog, grooming them incessantly and monitoring that the definition of done has been met. His is, in a word, The Scrum King. "Le Produit, C'est Moi!"

  • Sevo||

    ..."Now it was about a broken promise."...

    Only sycophants would use the singular here.

  • GILMORE||

    "...he struggled to understand the scope of a crisis that suddenly threatened his presidency..... He hated the idea that so many Americans had received cancellation letters from their insurance companies and were angry because “of what the president had said"...

    "...and, first wiping away his magical Tears of Concern, Obama then waved his Healing Hands at the many Democratic staffers, who burst into flames of Ecstasy, screaming, "WE DIE FOR YOU!!!", and lo, all the errors of the Website were fixed, and the Liberal Press was relieved."

  • Bryan C||

    Inspiring!

  • ArbutusJoe||

    Testify!

  • G3||

    "...But for Mr. Obama, the mounting criticism was more than political. It felt personal."

    Exactly. Once this president realized that his personal brand was becoming tarnished, he called for 'all hands on deck'. Prior to that, not so much. Very telling, indeed.

  • Homple||

    The initial failure of the website has actually been a good thing for Obamacare: it delayed the full impact of higher premiums and disappearing doctors, thereby avoiding a critical mass of outraged citizens.

    Postponing the employer mandate until after the 2014 elections was necessary as well. Democrats were quaking with fear of the electoral consequences of employees biting into their scat soufflé just before voting.

  • PapayaSF||

    But have they delayed the employer mandate by enough (just after the elections)? What's to stop the companies from letting employees know what'll happen to their insurance a month before they are required to?

  • Homple||

    They might, but it won't be directly associated with the official start of the mandate and it will be easier to shuffle blame on to the employers and insurers.

    They've thought this out and planned how to spin it, you can be sure

  • Lonely Stalker||

    They've thought this out and planned how to spin it, you can be sure

    Well, basically that's their job.

  • Dweebston||

    Delaying the mandate was necessary but won't clinch it for the Democrats: at this point the ACA debacle is less a sword of Damocles hanging over the election and more of a guillotine.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Like I have explained to the Peanuts once before - this is the High-Anxiety phase of Obamacare. All bad news and no coverage of benefits while the media is desperate for a new fake scandal to replace the nothingburger of Benghazi.

    Version 2.0 will plod along and be barely sufficient while the successes of the Ca, KY, and NY websites "burrow" the law into permanent place.

    The end result will mean almost nothing in the midterm elections. In fact I will bet anyone here health costs decrease in 2014 as a percentage of GDP.

  • PapayaSF||

    You are whistling past the graveyard, dude.

  • ||

    No.

  • ||

    That's a nice little weasel there since health costs as a percentage of GDP doesn't mean dick about them increasing.

    And Bengazhi is a big fucking deal that the media hasn't bothered to really talk about. Fuck off demfag.

  • SusanM||

    And who in the general public understands the GDP?

  • GILMORE||

    "I will bet anyone here health costs decrease in 2014 as a percentage of GDP."

    by "costs" you will mean total insurance spending/GDP, which is naturally going down because millions will be without coverage in 2014, thanks to the ACA

    If you mean, "Average costs to insure a family of 3" will go down... sure I'll take your money, you assclown.

  • Pulseguy||

    Good comment on Benghazi. Glad you made it. Buttplug is evil and he doesn't know it.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    D-

  • Homple||

    "In fact I will bet anyone here health costs decrease in 2014 as a percentage of GDP."

    You're a lot more confident in the expectation of significant GDP growth than I am.

  • prolefeed||

    "In fact I will bet anyone here health costs decrease in 2014 as a percentage of GDP."

    Considering that millions of people are about to lose their health insurance coverage and might have to start doing without health services (or buy health services in cash that doesn't show up in government reports), that might actually be possible.

    How exactly an anonymous HNR poster can make a bet with another HRN poster that can actually be confidently predicted to be fulfilled is kind of a mystery, tho.

  • GILMORE||

    "How exactly an anonymous HNR poster can make a bet with another HRN poster that can actually be confidently predicted to be fulfilled is kind of a mystery, tho

    It involves Invisible Money, HTML Bookies, and Rocco The Debt Collecting Virus when you pull a Matt Welch.

    Yes, its complicated.

  • Brian||

    Palin's Buttplug:

    All bad news and no coverage of benefits while the media is desperate for a new fake scandal to replace the nothingburger of Benghazi.

    They can try, but there's no fake scandal like Bush's Turkeygate.

  • Brian||

    Palin's Buttplug:

    The end result will mean almost nothing in the midterm elections. In fact I will bet anyone here health costs decrease in 2014 as a percentage of GDP.

    Really, because it's trending upward in every social democracy of any size on the planet.

    Do you just think next year will be a dip in the noise? Or do you think that Obamacare has paved the way for the USA to be a magical outlier compared to all other western democracies?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I think even if the site was brought up to Amazon.com levels tomorrow the damage has rightly been done. It can not erase the fact that the same administration that is going to be taking over the much more difficult task of centrally administering everyone's health insurance plans and issues could not get the initial website up and ready with lots of time for preparation. I predict Obama's poll numbers will never get better, and he will be like an albatross around the neck of any Democrat Party politician running for office outside all but the blue-est of states for years to come.

  • wadair||

    Just like Clinton--a lame duck for much of his second term.

  • wingnutx||

    90% uptime is terrible.

    And that's not counting scheduled outages.

    LOL.

  • juris imprudent||

    the site “worked smoothly” for the “vast majority of users.”

    Which reminds me of a system that I worked on where the design goal was to handle 80% of the routine transactions. Trouble was the supposed "routine transactions" were only about 20% of all transactions.

  • Homple||

    That's just shy of 17 hours out per week; 72 hours (i.e. 3 days) per month; 36 days per year.

    If other new federal medical systems perform like this one it might slow the work of the death panels enough to prolong a few lives now and then.

  • Nick M||

    I'm surprised this isn't being mentioned more by the press. 90% uptime (not counting scheduled outages) is pathetic. Amazon and Google offer products (some with SLAs) with 99.9+% uptime.

    If ehealthinsurance.com ever had 90% uptime for an extended period, someone would get fired.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    In fact I will bet anyone here health costs decrease in 2014 as a percentage of GDP.

    I see you've been reading Krugabe.

    Bending the kost kurve is easy! We just pay the doctors less; what could possibly go wrong?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    No, I haven't. My bet is mostly on a higher GDP relative to health costs. The competitive market effect of the ACA in 2014 will be minimal then lower costs in future years.

  • Dweebston||

    The same competitive market effect driving insurers out of the market, ahead of actually taking effect? (You can keep your plans—until the end of 2014.) Does your higher GDP account for increased Medicaid spending, or will that fall under "health costs"?

    Or will the ACA cut costs by dint of rationing service?

  • Sevo||

    Whatever lie works for that POS.

  • GILMORE||

    "Does your higher GDP account for increased Medicaid spending, or will that fall under "health costs"?"

    Oh, snap.

    Yes, it really is a wonderful 'market effect' when you can simply mandate that the Numerator become the Denominator.

  • Lonely Stalker||

    My bet is mostly on a higher GDP relative to health costs.

    CASH FOR CLUNKERS!

  • Sevo||

    From two threads over:
    Update:
    "Officials claim partial repair of Obamacare website, fail to meet user success target"
    [...]
    "The claims of technical success are also questionable...."
    [...]
    "Zients declined to answer some awkward questions"...
    [...]
    "Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, declined to say they have met the administration’s November goal of allowing four out of five visitors to enroll on the site."...
    [...]
    "Zients didn’t mention growing concern about the danger that hackers could steal Americans’ private data"...
    [...]
    "The officials also declined to identity the website as the “Obamacare” website, reflecting the administration’s post-October effort to distance the president’s name from the unpopular system."...
    http://dailycaller.com/2013/12.....z2mFDZXJ4L
    But it's FIXED, I tell ya!

  • Boisfeuras||

    If the Obama administration were to announce that the sky is blue, I would go look out my window.

  • JWatts||

    If the Obama administration announced the sky was blue, I'd stay the hell away from the windows.

  • GILMORE||

    if the Obama administration announced the sky was blue....

    THERE IS NO MORE SKY

  • evnthrzn99||

    Obamamath; 70% built X 90% available X 80% accessible = 50% = private sector efficiency?

  • ||

    Friend of mine in Kiev just got back from the protests. Is it just me or is this being almost completely ignored in the mainstream Western media?

  • ||

    He described the scene in Maidan Square as "very calm and peaceful".

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Media had a Benghazi boner for months until 60 Minutes killed it.

    Now it is all about a bungled web site. We have important shit to discuss here!

  • Dweebston||

    Shorter PBP: There's nothing to see here! Move it along!

  • ||

    If only the media was nice to Obama like they were to Boooosh.

  • ||

    Damn, I must have missed that wide spread media boner. And how did 60 minutes kill it?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Kiev is on the front page at HuffPo.

    They are protesting to join the freedom of the EU!

  • DJF||

    They are tired of living under an evil system which does not standardize sausages across all of Europe under the beneficial rulings of EU officials

  • ||

    Actually it's more about being fed up with the current extremely corrupt administration which is in the pocket of east Ukrainian Russian oligarchs and Russia itself.

    It seems like Yanukovich is history

  • Homple||

    I hope they free Yulia Timoshenko and put Yanukovich in her vacated cell.

  • Ted S.||

    The choice is living under the EU yoke, or living under the neo-Soviet (er, Russian) yoke. That the EU looks less bad to them says something about Putin.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    That could be, or maybe it's just the way the western grass looks from Kiev.

  • ||

    Well, the grass actually is a lot greener in the EU compared to the Ukraine.

  • Kid Xenocles||

    I don't know either way, but I wouldn't be surprised.

  • Ted S.||

    There's also the gravy train aspect of it.

  • Dweebston||

    This is my thinking. I'd protest to get at that open line of credit from wealthier neighbors via the ECB.

  • ||

    Perhaps the gravy train aspect is important, yes. It seems, from my friend's first hand accounts, that is more about being fed up with a corrupt regime that kowtows to Russia. Keep in mind there's the issue of vocal ethnic Russians settled there during Soviet times. Same as what countries like Latvia have to deal with.

  • Redmanfms||

    Keep in mind there's the issue of vocal ethnic Russians settled there during Soviet times. Same as what countries like Latvia have to deal with.

    Given what happened during the Soviet years I'm really surprised there wasn't a furious bout of ethnic cleansing and displacement after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    The Soviets fucked the other republics hard to the (sort of) benefit of Russians. The Russians who moved to those states were also far better off (on average) than their ethnic Latvian, Estonian, Lithuanian, and Ukrainian neighbors because the only people who were allowed to move between republics had connections in the Party.

  • Bryan C||

    They're one of those very rare cases where the EU seems like the least awful choice.

    At least until they get in, and discover that they've exchanged a walk-on-part in a war for a lead-role in a cage.

  • Ted S.||

    I listen to various international broadcasters. CBC's morning news today mentioned it (and the Thailnad protests) as their top story. I've also heard mention of it on Radio France International, and Radio Romania's English broadcast yesterday mentioned it. Of course, some of these don't count as mainstream....

    I can't speak for US news sources.

  • ||

    Okay. I'm sure Reason's great int'l journalist of note, Feeney, will cover it eventually. Hope he supplies plenty of footnotes.

  • Sevo||

    Snark Plissken|12.1.13 @ 1:42PM|#
    "Friend of mine in Kiev just got back from the protests. Is it just me or is this being almost completely ignored in the mainstream Western media?"

    AP's got some coverage:
    "Anti-gov't mass rally in Ukraine turns violent"
    http://www.sfgate.com/news/wor.....025479.php

  • Specail Sauce||

    Please tell me there is an organized effort by groups of concerned citizens to constantly log onto the website effectively exacerbating its inherent problems.

    And I'm sure the left in this country wouldn't oppose such an act of civil disobedience against a law that the majotity of people never supported... right?

  • ||

    David Burge ‏@iowahawkblog 3h
    Complaining about a broken Obamacare website is like complaining about a blown head gasket on a molester's van.
  • Dweebston||

    Winner.

  • Rich||

    The man is a national treasure.

  • GILMORE||

    Something tells me the guy is actually trying to defend Obamacare but is just really bad at analogies.

  • PapayaSF||

    Looks like the IRS is still up to its illegal partisan tricks.

    A couple of weeks back, cancer patient Bill Elliot, in a defiant appearance on Fox News, discussed the cancelation of his insurance and what he intended to do about it. He’s now being audited.

    Insurance agent C Steven Tucker, who quaintly insists that the whimsies of the hyper-regulatory bureaucracy do not trump your legal rights, saw the interview and reached out to Mr Elliot to help him. And he’s now being audited.
  • Ted S.||

    FAKE SCANDAL! FAKE SCANDAL!! FAKE SCANDAL!!!

  • Dweebston||

    It's only a scandal if it's picked up by mainstream outlets. It's fake if nothing comes of it.

    -PBP's school of political theory

  • Homple||

    Faux News! Faux News!

  • TallDave||

    Koch! Koooooooch!

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    If this guy is truly a self funded cancer patient then he will blow by his 2% medical cost expense deductible allowance and be sitting in the high no-tax cotton.

  • Redmanfms||

    It is Tucker who is being audited you colossal imbecile.

  • PapayaSF||

    *Both* of them are being audited.

  • Redmanfms||

    Shit, missed that part.

  • Pompey||

    I see what you did there with the timestamp.

  • Rich||

    Maybe it's the ghost of Suki?

  • TheLoneCabbage||

    I guess they are saving on traffic, by blocking out of country access.

  • VictorMHuff||

    My Uncle Jeremiah got a nine month old Dodge Journey SUV by working off of a pc online. try this website
    http://www.max34.com

  • Bryan C||

    My Aunt Matilda got six hours of error messages and learned she was heir to a Nigerian fortune by working off of a pc online. try this website!

    http://healthcare.gov

  • TallDave||

    My cousin got billions from the Koch Brothers by watching Faux News!

    www.badgers.com

  • VictorMHuff||

    My Uncle Jeremiah got a nine month old Dodge Journey SUV by working off of a pc online. try this website
    http://www.max34.com

  • VictorMHuff||

    My Uncle Jeremiah got a nine month old Dodge Journey SUV by working off of a pc online. try this website
    http://www.max34.com

  • devan||

    Will Obamacare be repealed or won't it? Will Congress fund it or won't it? Blah, blah, blah. We the people just need to do what we need to do and Congress be damned. Resist. Refuse. Revolt. EXEMPT OURSELVES! We did not comply with Prohibition and we simply should not comply with Obamacare. For religious reasons. For privacy reasons. For the cause of liberty and freedom and in protest of the idea that the federal government (under one party rule, no less), can force private citizens to purchase anything with our own money. Are we citizens or subjects? Mice or men(women)? Just say NO to socialism and to the corrupt, unionized, far left IRS, the gestapo of America's political class. After all, the federal government ignores millions of illegals who are breaking U.S. immigration law. Our Founders pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. All we have to do is just say no to a scheme we all know is un-American and a violation of our most basic founding fundamentals of privacy, self reliance, limited government and individual freedom.

  • GregMax||

    Why would ANYBODY believe a thing this administration says?
    "Oh, I was drunk, I'll never cheat (beat, abuse, denigrate)on you again, babe."

  • Jill00||

    Loise, you create $27h thats nice going lady sensible for you! My story is that I quit engaging at shoprite to figure on-line, seriously i could not be happier I work once I wish and wherever i would like. And with to a small degree effort I simply heralwww.bar29.ℂom

  • ||

    America If you lose your coverage, your doctor, your insurance BLAME a Democrat. Next time you go and vote...remember WHO did this to YOU! DEMOCRATS!

  • Lonely Stalker||

    You mean Republicans, don't you?

  • World watchers||

    Just remember when the Chicago gangster Politics website gets running give all your personal information see how fast someone uses it and that's not a good thing for Americans!!

    But then again nothing he does is good for American's !

  • World watchers||

    Don’t any of you understand health care down, just another delay!! You can go through each and everyone of their scandals
    talking about the Obama administration any of you know fast and furious completed its task itself on fast n The giving out of almost 3000 semi automatic weapons and there were also grenades!!. Why would someone do that! Knowing that these weapons traveled south mostly to the cartel and their allies. If Mr. Terry had not been murdered it would still be passing out weapons in America. No one ever talks of any of them they all gathered around the next stalling tactic. Each and every task that they complete takes another brick out of America. Used to be a song about taking brick in the wall. The true-story will be extremely remarkable. Just as it was in the 60s and 70s they were all able to building scheme’s sentences would have flipped the pie over under sideways or down. Exactly what they have accomplished the antiwar movements united all around the world against United states of America. And they're done it again swept through the college's and universities they are the ones that now hold power! second time that they have United world's anarchists and leftist they have included octopi Wall Street people this time around in this world to hate America again.

  • parkerbce586||

    until I looked at the draft that said $8761, I have faith ...that...my best friend had been actualie erning money part time at their laptop.. there mums best friend has been doing this 4 only about 8 months and resently repaid the morgage on there villa and purchased a brand new Aston Martin DB5. see here now
    ==============================
    http://www.fb49.com
    ==============================

  • TallDave||

    “operating with private sector velocity and efficiency.”

    I assume they're using Solyndra as the benchmark here.

  • zaphod||

    Private sector efficiency would have resulted in the canning of the leader of the debacle. But I'm sure somebody in government will be held accountable for this. Right? Just like the failures of the bank regulators in 2008?

    Has anybody asked the question why we need (what will be) a billion dollar website to go shopping for health insurance? What super functionality are we paying for that we can't get by following a link to a health insurer's website for information?

    Oh well, Central Planning still showing that it's not up to the job. Again.

  • plusafdotcom||

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