The appalling mess that has faced people trying to sign up to obtain medical insurance under the new Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is both inexcusable and dismaying. Regardless of what position one takes as to the wisdom of the new law, there can be no excuse for the unbelievable incompetence that seems to have resulted in a “launch” for the new insurance exchanges that has already soured many Americans on the new legislation.
Statements by various federal officials that one must expect “glitches” in a new program or that there will be plenty of time for people to sign up before the deadline simply make the situation worse in my opinion. The new online registration program should have been tested and tested again before the launch date and the federal government should have been certain there would be no “glitches” or, at the very least, these problems should have been foreseen and actions taken to correct them immediately. Instead, the government seems incapable of recognizing how serious a problem it has. Further, nobody seems willing to admit fault for what has happened.
Personally, I find it rather amazing that the same federal government that includes the National Security Agency which seems perfectly able to create and run computer programs that monitor millions of Americans’ telephone calls every year and which seems to have incredibly sophisticated cyber-spying capabilities is incapable of creating a program to permit Americans to sign up for medical insurance. Is it possible that all the competent computer programmers are so busy spying on Americans that none are available to implement the Affordable Care Act?
There is also a very serious potential ramification of the botched launch of the Affordable Care Act. For months we have been told that the economic success of the ACA will depend on healthy Americans signing up to be part of the system. One has to ask whether the federal government believes that the mess that has faced those trying to sign up since Oct. 1 is going to encourage young, healthy people to participate. How many will want to go through the misery of the online mess?
For me, the bottom line is simple. If the Obama administration thinks that the Affordable Care Act is really necessary for Americans then they need to make sure that it’s implementation takes place without the kinds of “glitches” that have plagued the program so far. If they do not think that this is important or are incompetent to make implementation go smoothly, then maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board.