Dysfunction of health care website unacceptable
Published: Thursday, October 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 24, 2013 21:10
This is an embarrassment. It has been over three weeks since HealthCare.gov – the website for the new health care law – opened and it has yet to become fully functional. Filled with glitches and insufficiencies, consumers are denied the ability to easily sign up for a new plan – something the administration promised.
They have had over four years to get this right and it is absolutely mystifying that, one, the website wasn’t prepared for the high volume of visitors in the first place, and, two, that they haven’t been able to fix what’s wrong with it.
And this website belongs to the administration; they created it, so it is their responsibility. There is no excuse for President Obama and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius that the website was not ready.
The dysfunction of this website has been a source of endless frustration for millions of Americans interested in obtaining information on the new policy and acquiring coverage. With over 46 million Americans uninsured, it should have been expected that this website would receive an endless amount of hits.
It is unfathomable that this administration did not anticipate the high demand of consumers entering the online marketplace. And this is something that the president has not explained – not even in his address in the White House Rose Garden on Monday.
President Obama was right to say in his speech, however, that this law was not created for a website; it was created to make health care affordable and accessible to all Americans. Whether it manages to accomplish that is the ultimate test of his signature law’s efficacy. But this is ridiculous.
This mess has also become a talking point for the opposition: If they can’t even get a website to work, how on earth will they get the actual law to work?
Sebelius’ appearance on The Daily Show on Oct. 7 didn’t help alter this perception, either. She seemed confused – embroiled in a mess of this administration’s own making. The appearance probably wasn’t too far from the reality, however, that there are no acceptable answers for the technical mess that is this website.
And they have lost credibility with some who question whether they should delay the individual requirement. How can people be expected to pay a fine for not signing up for the health care law if they can’t even sign up for the health care law?
Of course, they can do so over phone, but there is no denying we are living in a highly technology-dependent age. It was also promised that Americans would be able to sign up for health care coverage as easy as they could make online purchases of clothing.
Broken promises are not a good precedent to set, especially for something related to a piece of legislation as gargantuan and important as health care – for the outcome of this law’s effectiveness is something that will set the trajectory for this nation.
We support this law and believe it will work better than most of its critics are claiming. Most of the opposition from the public that has surfaced is against ‘Obamacare’ as some abstraction – one that has been mostly propagated by a misinformation campaign.
Jimmy Kimmel invoked the way this propaganda has been dispersed with a bit on his show of random surveys in which people support the “Affordable Care Act” yet oppose “Obamacare.”
And it’s important to note that the opposition voiced against Obamacare is its totality as idea – not what it does.
When you get into individual components of the law, people like what it has to offer – people like being protected against discrimination for pre-existing conditions; people like young people being able to stay on their parents’ plans until they are 26; people like subsidies it provides.
One thing that will happen if the law was to go away is that Americans would be losing a lot of good stuff.
We want Americans to have access to all that good stuff – and we presume the president does, too. He did, after all, pass the law. But it’s a major problem that the website for the new law is not working and Americans are not able to sign up for coverage. Making sure the technology operates properly is the first step to making the Affordable Care Act work.
It needs to be repaired now.