Breaking: Obama to Rename Health Care Reform "Sebeliuscare"


Well, actually, he's going to call the ongoing screw-ups at Healthcare.gov "unacceptable":

President Barack Obama will declare the glitches in a new healthcare website "unacceptable" on Monday and outline ways for consumers to sign up for insurance while his team scrambles to fix problems that have tainted the rollout of his signature healthcare law.

More at Reason 24/7.

As Reason's Peter Suderman has pointed out, the administration has really blown its credibility with the "disastrous" rollout of Obamacare. And the problems are not simply all at Healthcare.gov:

The problems aren't confined to the federal exchanges either. Maryland's system, which President Obama praised a week before the exchanges opened, is still broken. Hawaii's system, built by the same contractor that built the federal exchange, was shut down on October 1 after crashing, and did not reopen until October 15, at which point it briefly went down again. Oregon delayed online enrollment even before opening, and was still stymied by technical glitches at the beginning of the week

Over at The Daily Beast last week, I wrote that "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." The administration has recently said that about half a million people have taken steps to "enroll" in Obamacare, but as Politico stresses, that figure "still leaves a lot unknown or unsaid":

To get covered, people have to create the application, shop and compare health plans, find out if they qualify for a federal subsidy and how much in total they would have to pay, and then actually select and enroll in a specific health plan. Millions of people have smashed into cyber-brick walls as they try to get through the flawed computer system which must process the information supplied by the applicant and check a massive "data hub" drawing on information from several massive federal agencies.

And even when people do manage to choose a plan, insurers and industry consultants say that the federal government is having trouble transmitting accurate and consistent data about who is signing up for which health plan. That indicates the online system has problems at the back end, not just at the consumer entry point.

The feds are running exchanges in 36 states and, according to Politico, about half of the "enrollees" are in state-operated exchanges. Among state-operated exchanges, those in Kentucky and Washington are reported to be running pretty well. Yet enrolling does not equal getting insurance. In fact, it doesn't even necessarily mean picking a plan, much less paying for coverage. I may well be counted as an enrollee: After several attempts over two days, I succeeded in creating an account for the Ohio exchange (which is run by the feds) but have not been able to get back into the system since. Or even have the system recognize my username and password (the reset password function does not work, either).

The Advisory Board, a business group that tracks health industry developments, tallied up the state figures available as of Friday and found that about 192,000 people had applied, and roughly 55,000 had selected a health plan (although not all of them had paid in advance for the plan, so technically enrollment wasn't completed).

Read more here.

Obama addresses the nation around 11.30am ET today, to discuss screwups. Or maybe to re-brand Obamacare as Sebeliuscare. In any case, should be an interesting chat.

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  1. That indicates the online system has problems at the back end, not just at the consumer entry point.

    You know who else had problems at both the back-end and the consumer entry point?

    1. But at least he made the trains run on time.

    2. John Holmes?

      1. +1derland

    3. That poultry processing plant that locked their employees in and then burned them to death a few years back?

      1. What? On purpose?


        Was that a steven king story or are you not kidding?

        1. Can I just say, this is the reason I read the comments. Libertarians are awesome.

      3. A few years back? Are you talking about the one that happened in NC in 1991? The one where the plant purportedly had locked doors, but come to find out, the doors weren’t locked (as evidenced by employees dragging other employees out?)

    4. Jenna Jameson?

      1. Her? No problem at all….

  2. As this thing gets worse and worse, how long before leftists start turning on each other? Some of them are going to start to admit this thing is a disaster at some point, if for no other reason than as an excuse to push single payer. But a lot of them are way too emotionally invested in this program and Obama to ever admit his signature achievement is a complete disaster. Right now they can still live in denial. But at some point this thing is going to become so unpopular that many leftists will no longer want to be associated with it. When that happens, the real dead ender Obamabots are not going to be happy.

    1. Most of the lefties I’ve talked with are disappointed that Obamacare didn’t go far enough. They all want single payer, and will only have nice things to say about Obamacare if it becomes a bridge to that holy grail of single payer.

      1. Sure they do. They also want to round people like you and I up and shoot us too. They unlikely to get either.

        The point is that to admit that Obamacare is a failure is to admit Obama is a failure. No way is the media going to buy into that narrative. And no way are a lot of other lefties who have convinced themselves admitting any fault in Obama is racism. They are going to turn on each other like wolves. You watch.

        1. They are going to turn on each other like wolves. You watch.

          Ezra Klein posted several columns calling the website a complete failure. The comments section was amazing in the level of hatred that was directed at him.

      2. If they are going to get to single payer, then they better start making good on that threat to round up all of the GOP and teabaggers and making them disappear, because otherwise, it’s only a fantasy.

        1. If they can push amnesty through, the Dems will never have to worry about losing an election again. Especially if the GOP splits along its libertarian/conservative/moderate lines.

          1. If they can push amnesty through

            They won’t have the votes for that. Besides the fact that the current bill is a complete clusterfuck that doesn’t address immigration problems at all, which is why libertarian members of congress (all 3 of them) won’t vote in favor of it’s passage. They’ll actually read part of it before voting.

            1. If you’re referring to Dr. Paul as one of those “libertarians” then the only immigration “reform” he would favor is to line the borders with electric fences and alligator moats.

              1. I think you are getting Rand Paul confused with John McCain, or something like that.

              2. Did a comment get deleted?

            2. I think you’re right. It’s sad really because every true immigration legalization effort has come from the right and been shot down via insanity from the left. Always the same thing: the right proposes a simple reform bill, and the left adds unicorns and daisies.

  3. Maybe the government should have used Amazon.

  4. Hiccups.

    Don’t worry.

  5. Another thing to point out is that they’re using the same sites for Medicaid enrollments.

    So essentially the true sign-up number will be the published number MINUS the standard statistical noise of average monthly Medicaid signups.

    I don’t see how Vermont’s site can sign up anyone. It simply will not give you any plan details until after you accept the plan offer. I hope there are not any people in my state stupid enough to buy something where they’re not allowed to see the price beforehand.

    1. it’s the state that elected Howard Dean and keeps electing Bernie Sanders. The stupid question has long since been answered.

    2. “So essentially the true sign-up number will be the published number MINUS the standard statistical noise of average monthly Medicaid signups.”

      Does the minus sign get past the squirrels?

    3. You have to accept it to find out what’s in it.

      1. that’s what she said

      2. Chlamydia? Syphilis? Goat Cheese?

      3. The social contract!

    4. I hope there are not any people in my state stupid enough to buy something where they’re not allowed to see the price beforehand.

      Unfortunately pretty much the entire healthcare “market” relies on exactly this. Unless you managed to find a doctor that will accept direct cash payments as opposed to requireing insurance.

    5. I hope there are not any people in my state stupid enough to buy something where they’re not allowed to see the price beforehand.

      That’s the modern medical system in a nutshell. Try asking your local hospital how much it costs to fix a broken arm, and the odds are quite high that no one will be able to give you a quote.

  6. I saw a front page newspaper article about a guy who successfully navigated the Montana website, so shut up you racists.

    1. Was his name Chad? I got bad news…

  7. I hope there are not any people in my state stupid enough to buy something where they’re not allowed to see the price beforehand.

    How can they calculate the price until they know how many people want it?

    1. How can they calculate the price until they know how many people want it?

      Haven’t you heard? Everyone wants it!

  8. so the WH press office puts out the announcement that he’ll call this clusterfuck unacceptable. Wow. That changes everything, almost as much as his apparent call for the best and brightest. I wonder if that group bears any resembleance to the connected: http://reporting.sunlightfound…..ntractors/

    1. I think the actual “best and brightest” programmers are aware that they can command much higher salaries at private companies that make popular consumer products.

      1. As a software engineer, the last career move in the world that I would make, would be to get my name associated with that clusterfuck.

        1. me too. This is the IT profession’s chance to go Oath Keeper on tyranny.

    2. Best and brightest? You mean, TOP MEN?

      1. By best and brightest he means people who are just as smart as himself and Sebelius. IOW, they are totally fucked.

    3. I can only tell you that my relative who worked on the state system in Oregon is (as of today) the only programmer who worked on his part of the project who didn’t walk out. Anytime one of them told the people in charge the thing was a nightmare, the people in charge told them they were stupid and wrong. Eventually, the bosses simply ignored the tech crew altogether in meetings. There hope that they’ll get help is crazy. They shoot the help around there.

      1. errr…there=they’re; my grammar is atrocious.

        1. grumble; their; are you kidding me? One word, three homonyms…

  9. From the balimer paper:
    “Once you get beyond the slick-looking front page, it looks like something a college kid may have put together in an afternoon. It’s rife with weird programming, verification errors and dead ends,” said Jim Fortney of Silver Spring, who has built some small websites himself and says he supports the health care program. He has been trying to enroll himself and his 12-year-old son on the Maryland site.
    Sadly, he and his son will probably die before it’s fixed.

    1. he supports the health care program

      That’s because he hasn’t been able to get into the site and ‘find out what’s in it’, yet.

  10. ‘Sebeliuscare’ – Nick, you so funny.

  11. obviously another Obama speech will fix everything. Is there nothing that the power of words can’t do?

    1. We’re always just one God-King Lightbringer speech away from perfecting society, but unfortunately those wreckers and kulaks keep getting in the way! /derpity derpty doo

  12. President Barack Obama will declare the glitches in a new healthcare website “unacceptable”

    I declare Obama “unacceptable”.

    1. racist, straight up

    2. Know who else thought black people were unacceptable?

      1. Michael Jackson?

        1. +1 jug of skin whitener.

      2. Evil Dr Klahn from Kentucky Fried Movie?

        1. Let’s all give him a big hand.

          1. You have our gratitude.

  13. and, as any IT geek knows, throwing more and more personnel at a problem does not necessarily make the solution come any quicker.

    In my past and current job, I have to hack through others code. That takes patience and time trying to understand wtf the previous guy was attempting to do.

    1. In my experience with the government being the customer, their solution to everything is to put a committee in charge. And once they put a committee in charge, work pretty much stops. I mean, I need to get committee approval to fix misspelled words. It’s fucking ridiculous. That’s why I waste so much time here. I’m waiting for committee approval before I can do actual work.

      1. You can’t be allowed to fix misspelled words without a committee, because if you did so that would create a situation where somebody got blamed for misspelling the word, and somebody got credit for fixing the misspelling.

        And nothing fills a bureaucrat with more terror than the prospect of anyone taking responsibility, receiving blame, or getting credit.

    2. Especially when there are zero comments in a few hundred thousand lines of code…

      1. Ever had to debug code written by someone from India? I don’t know what they teach over there, but not only are there no comments, nothing is mnemonic. Got to rewrite it every time.

      2. I’ve gotten complaints about my “lack of program documentation”.

        My reply: job security!

        1. If it was hard to write, it should be hard to read.

          (nah, I strive for self-documenting code)

          1. I strive for self-documenting code


        2. That’s all good until one morning you need to revisit some code that you wrote 2 years ago and are staring at your monitor thinking “WTF is that? Did I write that? WTF was I doing?”.

          1. My favorite comment?

            # Screw you, future self.

          2. “Who wrote this piece of shit?!?”

            … git blame …

            “Oh shit, I did.”

            1. that’s my favorite.

          3. Seriously, I do use smart variable names and do some minor commenting. But I’m not going to write a novel of remarks explaining each and every line.

            1. Too many comments are counter-productive.

              int index = 0; // an integer index

              Comment on *why* you did it, not *what* you’re doing.

            2. A novel isn’t needed, but there are some key parts of the code that I recognize, I should put a comment here because this might be difficult to figure out what I’m doing here when I need to revisit in the future.

              1. Exactly. I am by no means a highly experience programmer but I have needed to program for more than 1 project and I have kicked myself more than once for not adding a quick small comment telling myself why this function is accessing this module, etc.

        3. You also anchor yourself to your current position. May cause promotions to pass you by.

          1. the current place I’m at, there are no promotion possibilities. A manufacturing IT department of a dozen people with only two coders isn’t exactly the place to be for career advancement.

            I’ll have to move along to an ERP software company or a related custom/consulting house. The reason I haven’t is the time benefit I currently get: I’m at the office for only 30-35 hrs a week plus many “work from home” days if I need to get something personal done.

            1. Sounds like a decent job and that is the perfect place to anchor yourself to your code. I am not a programmer but a professor I had for a process control course (writing the software that regulates pumps, valves, etc.) warned about this problem for this position.

              1. “This position” being a process control engineer. Sorry for my poor english this morning.

    3. Mythical man-month will hit pretty hard with this one. There can’t be that many people who really know the inside guts of the app well enough to work on most of the problems.

      So, each person you add to the project needs time to get up to speed on it. Could be like 6 months to really know what they are doing.

      Each one you add slows the project down.

      1. and meetings! Plus meetings to discuss all the meetings.

        1. We’re going to need a pre-meeting for that.

      2. If a good coder actually does get on this project, my guess is that a very high percentage, if not all of the existing code, will have to be scrapped and rewritten. Working with a really poorly designed and badly coded site is not worth the effort. So we’re probably looking at a complete rewrite. Why any good coder would touch this thing is beyond me to figure out.

        1. And even if the world’s greatest coders were on the job, they’d still have to deal with the program requirement to contact a variety of government databases to do data verification, which means they’d crash into uncooperative bureaucrats and inscrutable, 1990s-era kludgeomatic databases.

          1. I keep having this mental image of a bottleneck whereby information is needed from the IRS and instead of accessing the database electronically, a guy in a drab little office gets an email then retrieves the info from an old, duty filing cabinet.

            1. …and then manually types the required information into the online form, and he still gets half of it wrong even though he went to a week long training course to be taught how to manually enter shit on a webpage.

              JERBZ CREATED ER SAVED!!!!1

              1. manually types the required information into the online form onto an 80-column punched card , and…

                just sayin.

    4. When you bring new people into a project, they have to get up to speed on the project. Everyone has to stop what they are doing and explain to them the situation and why the obvious solutions haven’t worked. Assigning more people to a late project just ensures it will be more late as the organization slows down to absorb the new people. I believe in management lingo that is called Brooks’ Law, after a guy named Brooks who coined it back in the 1970s.

      1. “”…that is called Brooks’ Law, after a guy named Brooks…””

        I LOL’d, I cried.

  14. it’s the state that elected Howard Dean

    There was a time when I thought Howard Dean might not be a complete idiot/charlatan; like when he was accusing George W Bush of being a Peronist.

    Haha, those were the days.

  15. The administration has recently said that about half a million people have taken steps to “enroll” in Obamacare

    These steps, no doubt, include “thinking about enrolling”.

    Looking forward to the 1130 snarkfest.

  16. Clusterfuck – ENGAGE!

    I cannot begin to tell you the satisfaction I draw watching the CF unfold before our eyes in real time. Schaenfreude? Yep.

    Lovin’ every minute of it…

  17. These steps, no doubt, include “thinking about enrolling”.

    While consumed by fear, uncertainty, and dread.

  18. Tigers Manager Leyland stepping down

    Press conference at the same time as Obama. Which will be more useful?

    1. I’ll go with Leyland’s muttering while smoking a cig.

  19. Each one you add slows the project down.

    This conjures up a phenomenon I have observed innumerable times.

    You have a group of people, all engaged productively in a variety of individual tasks. One of them takes up some new project which any single one of them could do perfectly well in a short period of time. Somebody else notices, and asks, “That’s how you’re going to do that?”


    1. the true Charlie Foxtrot (clusterfuck) begins when someone decides to end the gangbang of stupid by….going to a ‘superior’ and getting ‘management’ involved!

      sort of like the ‘change for a dollar’ sketch from Mr Show

  20. 5 million lines of code need re-written


    We’re the government and you need us to do everything for you, because we do things better than a free market ever could! Just trust us!

    1. Unless the back end is crazy complex (and maybe it is), I can’t imagine the whole “product” is 500 million lines long.

      1. can’t imagine the whole “product” is 500 million lines long.

        What that means is that one of us backwards private sector redneck baggers could make a workable site with about 40k lines of code, maybe 45 if you count the SP coding on the DB.

    2. That’s only 1% of the code, you nasty teabagger.

      I will admit to not knowing anything about coding, but 500M lines of code seems excessively inefficient.

      Skyrim managed to be massive, detailed (and buggy as fuck) with 50 million lines of code.

      1. Site itself should be in the 30k – 100k range, as as SWAG. It’s not that complex of an app.

        Actually managing to have it communicate with the 50 other agency systems it needs to? That’s the hard part. Making all those systems produce data in the correct format, etc….

        I’d imagine some of those systems are things like compiled binaries they don’t have the source for (just a hunch).

  21. The Late P Brooks|10.21.13 @ 10:55AM



  22. Good old Doctor Parkinson.

  23. “”President Barack Obama will declare…””

    wait, wut? is it SOP to spoiler his own PR stunts? or is the idea that TEAM BLUE needs to ensure the media will have the right spin prepared in advance, and all the obamabots can echo on cue (snapping fingers like hipster at a poetry reading)… i suppose now they’ll drop the well worn ‘its like an Apple launch!’ and ‘everything has bugs; they get fixed’ defenses and now switch to an indignant “BLAME SOMEONE AND GET TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS” and make serious sounding remarks about how now we’ll put some TOP MEN on the job, and we think maybe the Canadian suncontractors are to blame….

    no, really = do presidents normally “declare”? after 2 weeks of something being obvious, they need to hold a press conference confirming it? i dont get it.

    1. When they start to call it “HeritageCare”, you’ll know the fuckup is complete.

    2. Living in a reality-based community means that the only objective truth comes from a person pre-determined to be correct.

      Obamaites are quite Calvinistic in that way.

      1. Bill Clinton recently said, with regard to the shutdown, politics is not religion. It really is always projection with these people.

    3. The need to form a committee to get this sorted out. Not just any committe, a blue ribbon commission…that’s the best kind

    4. “‘…make serious sounding remarks about how now we’ll put some TOP MEN on the job…”

      holy shit, they really are doing this! =

      “”the Department of Health and Human Services announced in a blog post they are seeking the “best and brightest” tech experts from both the public and private sector to work on HealthCare.gov””

      Because up until now we had the Worst and the Dumberest on the project?

      1. Yeah, and oh by the way, can someone please replace the “HHS seekers” with the best and brightest of seekers to seek the best and brightest of tech experts?

  24. I just saw 2 seconds of Obama on tv, and he said, “…the product, the insurance = its working. its really good…”

    Which raises the question = then why are you standing there blabbering?

    1. Because stupid wrong people are complaining about it and hurting Obama’s feelings.

  25. Every time I hear the word “glitch” now, I think of that scene from Robocop, when the robot malfunctions during demonstration, and boss man says, “Dick, I’m very disappointed” and Dick says, “I’m sure it’s only a glitch; a temporary setback” and boss says, “You call this a GLITCH?”

    That scene never made me laugh before.

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