Leftist Ezra Klein writes about the Obamacare problems in the leftist Washington Post.
Excerpt: (links removed)
As Sarah Kliff and I wrote in our overview of the health-care launch’s technical issues, the challenges right now can be grouped into three broad categories: problems with the consumer experience on the HealthCare.gov Web site, problems with the eligibility system, and problems with the hand-off to insurers.
The problems with the Web site are the difficulties consumers are facing when they try to log on and shop for insurance coverage. These problems — error messages, site timeouts, difficulty logging in to an account — make it hard for an individual to buy coverage through the marketplace. They are the reason why some people have made upward of 20 attempts at purchasing a plan. These are the problems that are being fixed fastest and that are the least serious.
The eligibility problems strike when consumers send in their information and the government’s computer systems tell them whether they’re eligible for Medicaid, health insurance subsidies or nothing at all. The system is returning incorrect data for many applicants — meaning they might be eligible for Medicaid and not know it, or they might think they have subsidies that will later be revoked.
The insurance problems are seen by the insurance companies. Health plans are supposed to get a report when someone uses HealthCare.gov to buy their health insurance policy. Those reports are full of inaccurate data, such as the wrong address, or are being sent in duplicate. (One insurance company reported getting one of these reports, known as an “834 transmission,” that said one individual had three spouses. This person was not, for the record, a polygamist.) And it’s not just private insurers: The federal system is also failing to sign people up for Medicaid.
And here’s moderate leftist Kirsten Powers on the leftist Daily Beast.
The Associated Press reported that “Website builders saw red flags for months.” The Washington Post recounted, “Days before the launch of President Obama’s online health insurance marketplace, government officials and contractors tested a key part of the Web site to see whether it could handle tens of thousands of consumers at the same time. It crashed after a simulation in which just a few hundred people tried to log on simultaneously. Despite the failed test, federal health officials plowed ahead.” Sebelius admitted Monday that the website “didn’t have enough testing, specifically for high volumes, for a complicated project.”
What have they been doing for the last few years? The administration has claimed that it can’t be helped that setting up an insurance exchange is so complex. Sebelius even lamented that she wished she had “five years” to finish this project. Who needs five years to build a website? This isn’t a search for the cure for cancer.
In the week leading up to the launch of the exchanges, Obama assured Americansthat using the health insurance hub would be as easy as buying a plane ticket online. Apparently he wasn’t in on what was happening behind the scenes. Sebelius told CNN that the first the president heard of problems was in “the first couple of days” after the site went live October 1. If this is true, then either the president didn’t ask about the site’s capabilities or someone lied to him. If the former is true, then he has an incredible lack of imagination and curiosity. If the latter is the case, then why hasn’t anyone been fired?
True to form, the Most Transparent Administration in History has not been particularly forthcoming about the problems the site faces. At first, it claimed these were just minor glitches caused by unexpectedly high traffic. The president famously compared these glitches to those that Apple has experienced in the past. He might be interested to know that Apple fired the manager responsible for the last major snafu the company encountered.
Obamacare supporter Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) complained Thursday on MSNBC that the administration “[hasn’t] leveled with the United States Senate. They haven’t briefed us on what they think are the underlying problems. They were supposed to do so yesterday, and canceled the meeting.”
He called for a consideration of a one-year delay of the individual mandate and demanded: “The administration needs to tell us what is going on…[they need] to level with the American people. There needs to be fuller, fairer, more straightforward, and complete accounting for what’s going on.”
It’s the most transparent administration ever! And this non-functional web site only cost $400 million taxpayer dollars. Why so much? Well it was a no-bid contract, so there were no competitive bids. Why? Because a former Princeton University classmate of Michelle Obama works for the company that got the no-bid contract.
I fully expect Obama to come out and blame George W. Bush for this. And many people will believe him, too.