The Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 10, 2010 — over three years ago. Before its official roll-out date, hundreds of millions of dollars were spent creating a website that doesn’t work. It’s alive, but … it’s basically dead. The federal government had three long years to build the website of their dreams. It had enough taxpayer dollars to fill up endless swimming pools in Scrooge McDuck-ian mansions. In the end, the consumer got something that resembles the tortured soul from Brad Pitt’s 1995 classic ‘Seven.’ For this, no high-ranking officials have lost their jobs.
How bad is it? On Oct. 8th, Ars Technica reported that of the few users who were able to get in, many of them had to have their passwords reset or were put into “authentication limbo.’ Did you waste hours trying to figure out a website that IT professionals have said resembles something from 2003? Then waste a few more hours and hope (and change) you get out of ‘authentication limbo.’
Amid all the attention, bugs, and work happening at Healthcare.gov in light of the Affordable Care Act, potential registrants talking to phone support today have been told that all user passwords are being reset to help address the site’s login woes. And the tech supports behind Healthcare.gov will be asking more users to act in the name of fixing the site, too. According to registrants speaking with Ars, individuals whose logins never made it to the site’s database will have to re-register using a different username, as their previously chosen names are now stuck in authentication limbo.
Even worse, the “fixes” that are slowly rolling out are arguably worse — and misleading for individuals who want an accurate assessment of the costs they face.
As President Obama promises to fix HealthCare.gov, his administration is touting what it calls “improvements” in design, specifically a feature that allows you to “See Plans Now.” White House press secretary Jay Carney has said, “Americans across the country can type in their zip code and shop and browse.” …
Industry analysts, such as Jonathan Wu, point to how the website lumps people only into two broad categories: “49 or under” and “50 or older.”
Wu said it’s “incredibly misleading for people that are trying to get a sense of what they’re paying.”
Prices for everyone in the 49-or-under group are based on what a 27-year-old would pay. In the 50-or-older group, prices are based on what a 50-year-old would pay.
CBS News ran the numbers for a 48-year-old in Charlotte, N.C., ineligible for subsidies. According to HealthCare.gov, she would pay $231 a month, but the actual plan on Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina’s website costs $360, more than 50 percent higher. The difference: Blue Cross and Blue Shield requests your birthday before providing more accurate estimates.
The numbers for older Americans are even more striking. A 62-year-old in Charlotte looking for the same basic plan would get a price estimate on the government website of $394. The actual price is $634.
President Obama now says that top experts from Silicon Valley have been tasked with fixing healthcare.gov. Question: Shouldn’t top experts from Silicon Valley have been working on the website from day one?
Working for the federal government means never having to take responsibility for your own incompetence. Hundreds of millions of dollars spent on a website that doesn’t work, and Kathleen Sebelius keeps her job. The president of the United States essentially pulls a Ned Flanders, says “Whoopsie Doodle,” and the money hose is turned on again. And then, talking heads on television who are so ideologically invested in “the fight” defend the indefensible. Amazingly, Jon Stewart is not one of them.
“The f**king calculator doesn’t work? The one thing that’s been included in computers since 1972? You couldn’t make that work!? … How does the calculator not work?” — Jon Stewart on healthcare.gov.
While many pundits seem to content to play the role of the evergreen air fresheners that hung over the decomposing body in Brad Pitt’s ‘Seven,’ Jon Stewart (at least for now) has taken on the role of Morgan Freeman’s “Sommerset.” Bravo.
If you haven’t seen the full clip yet, I suggest watching the full ten minutes.