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Obamacare’s Rocky Rollout: What Happens Now?

A terrible rollout of the sign-up system for the Affordable Care Act. We’ll ask why, and what it’s going to take to fix it.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius arrives before President Barack Obama speaks during an event in the Rose Garden of the White House on the initial rollout of the health care overhaul on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 in Washington. (AP)

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius arrives before President Barack Obama speaks during an event in the Rose Garden of the White House on the initial rollout of the health care overhaul on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 in Washington. (AP)

Go to HealthCare.gov today, and the home page pops right up.  The photos are great.  The message is very appealing:  Affordable health care coverage available here!  Come and get it!  But dig on in and you will very likely hit the wall and the snags that have snarled and stymied sign-up for Affordable Care Act coverage – Obamacare – since the day the exchanges opened, October 1.  It’s has been a mess on the federal site.  Botched.  Now there’s a “tech surge” on to fix it, we’re told.  There had better be.  The stakes are over the moon.  Up next On Point:  Obamacare’s rugged rollout, and where it goes.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Jenny Gold, healthcare reporter for Kaiser Health News. (@JennyAGold)

Jonathan Cohn, senior editor at The New Republic, covering public policy and politics. Author of “Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crisis — And The People Who Pay the Price.” (@CitizenCohn)

Armando Fox, professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley.

Gene Cronin, vice president of marketing at Priority Health of Michigan. (@PriorityHealth)

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal: Health Website Woes Widen As Insurers Get Wrong Data — “Emerging errors include duplicate enrollments, spouses reported as children, missing data fields and suspect eligibility determinations, say executives at more than a dozen health plans. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Nebraska said it had to hire temporary workers to contact new customers directly to resolve inaccuracies in submissions. Medical Mutual of Ohio said one customer had successfully signed up for three of its plans.”

The New Republic: The Truth About the Obamacare Rollout — “HHS is working feverishly to make improvements and the system’s performance has improved incrementally. But people are still getting hung up at the initial stages, which means they never get the chance to apply for financial assistance and shop for plans. A study following web traffic showed a sharp drop-off in users at each successive stage of the online application process, which suggests the system was stopping a lot of people from moving forward. And that’s just the part of the system visible to consumers. Insurers say that the system is producing some incorrect information about the few people who make it through the process—a fixable problem, for sure, but a warning that other flaws may yet lurk undetected.”

Washington Post: We know 476,000 Obamacare applications have started. We don’t know how many will finish shopping – “Measuring enrollment is a difficult proposition. Most health insurance plans don’t count shoppers as enrolled until they’ve actually submitted a check for their first month’s premium. That means they’re entitled to start using the benefits of that health plan come Jan. 1, when any coverage purchased on the marketplace right now starts.”

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  • OnPointComments

    I’m not surprised that …

    …the Obamacare website is a disaster. The Obama administration gave a no-bid contract to a company of questionable competence, at an astronomical cost in excess of $600 million dollars, has over three years to create the website, and it fails miserably. The website was the easy part; thousands and thousands of companies set up websites every day, yet the government failed. President Obama made the excuse that less than 20,000 website visits overwhelmed the site; by comparison, Amazon flawlessly handles hundreds of millions of account transactions each month, and is able to ship product for delivery within days of the order. Why would anyone trust the government to facilitate their healthcare when it can’t even set up a website within three years that functions correctly?

    …nobody involved in the website fiasco will be fired. Kathleen Sebelius? President Obama has faith in her. If the same error was made in private business, the person responsible would be fired. Have you ever listened to a conference call of a Fortune 500 company? Company spokespersons cite in-depth statistics about everything, yet Ms. Sebelius and her minions can’t even say how many people have bought insurance since October 1st. It’s epic incompetence.

    …President Obama used the occasion of his speech today to once again make partisan attacks. Has he ever given a speech that he didn’t attack somebody or some group? Divisiveness is President Obama’s standard operating procedure.

    …the Obama apologists will populate this comment board with excuses. President Obama spent over $600 million dollars, and gave the company three years to create the website, and everyone involved failed, yet the same people who always make excuses will continue to make excuses in the face of abysmal failure.

  • hennorama

    Obamacare, also known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has been “rolling out” for more than more than three and one half years, since it was signed into law on March 23, 2010.

    Tens of millions of Americans have already benefited, including million who have gotten preventative care without co-pays or deductibles, millions of seniors who have saved on prescription drugs, millions of young people who have gotten coverage on their parents’ health insurance plans, and hundreds of thousands (and perhaps millions) of small businesses that have claimed tax deductions for providing health insurance to their employees.

    Not to mention the many Americans with a pre-existing medical condition who can now get affordable health insurance, and who would not have access to necessary, affordable care without the PPACA.

    The difficulties with the healthcare.gov website are significant but temporary.

    Many are arguing that people will wait until they get sick before they sign up.

    There’s a slight problem with that argument, as most people who have health insurance can attest – unless you have an “event” in your life, the only time you can buy or change plans is during the open enrollment period. The health care insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act have been designed almost exactly as most employer insurance plans are, with brief open enrollment periods.

    When the initial open enrollment period for individuals ends on March 31, 2014, future open enrollment periods will be the same as those for Medicare, running from October 15 to December 7 each year.

    So that argument is FALSE.

    See:
    https://www.healthcare.gov/glossary/open-enrollment-period/

    What happens now?

    The website will get fixed, and millions more Americans will benefit from the provisions of Obamacare.

    • HonestDebate1

      It is no longer insurance when pre-existing conditions are not considered. You can argue it’s a good thing but it’s not insurance. You can’t buy fire insurance for a house that has already burned down.

      • jefe68

        Let me unpack this gem of a comment. So you think people with pre-existing conditions should be denied health insurance. That’s your position.
        Pathetic.

        • Fiscally_Responsible

          People with pre-existing conditions should be able to get medical coverage. At the same time, we need to recognize the financial burden that this will create and identify a responsible way to cover the cost other than simply running the government printing presses and passing the burden down to the next generation.

          • Ray in VT

            I believe that that is being attempted by getting everyone to contribute/participate in the system, making sure that money is being spent on care and by attempting to curb the growth in the rate of health care cost increases.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            “attempted/attempting”
            These are goals but are they working?
            Even if overall health costs are reduced what if this is done at the expense of quality of outcomes?

            Are there any unintended consequences such as hours being reduced to under 30?

          • Ray in VT

            It is probably too early to tell with some things, like getting people into the system and bending the cost curve. Considering that in some areas we already achieve lower quality outcomes than other industrialized states, it seems like there should be room to improve, and of course there are always unintended consequences, such as some hour reductions, as many American companies have become long accustomed to not providing good wages and benefits while reaping large profits. In some cases it looks like that is their business model. I suppose one question that we can ask is whether or not that is the way that we want things to operate in the wealthiest nation on the planet.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            We can have laudable goals but central planning rarely works. However, I’m sure we’ll disagree.

          • Ray in VT

            Care to provide an example of a first world country where they’ve let the market dictate the health care system and have achieved these goals? Central planning, which you have so often decried lately, obviously has its challenges, however the free market seems to not have an answer when it comes to providing access to health care for the poor and the aged.

          • HonestDebate1
          • Ray in VT

            That figure represents “The count of uninsured people includes unauthorized immigrants as well
            as people who are eligible for, but not enrolled in, Medicaid.”

          • HonestDebate1

            During the campaign Obama included illegals, those already covered by other entitlements and those who could afford insurance but opted not to have it. That’s how he got HIS numbers.

          • Ray in VT

            Which numbers? I was talking about the numbers you cited.

          • HonestDebate1

            When Obama said there were 40 million uninsured so we need his plan.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            We already had a safety net for the poor and aged. And yes, those systems have flaws.

            And yes, the current system needed reforms; it is not a true free market. One of the biggest problems is the unfair tax treatment for those who purchase on insurance as individuals. We need more competition and more transparency on costs and outcomes.

          • Don_B1

            More honest, transparent competition is what is driving the healthcare insurers to offer lower premiums for coverage under the PPACA.

            The ways the insurance companies have been tricking insurees to select policies that they do not have to deliver care on have been largely eliminated and a set of coverages that are similar across all the insurers allows anyone to compare the costs on a rational, easy to determine basis.

          • TFRX

            Uh, that hour-shaving has been going on for decades. Employers have been caught flat-out lying about lots of things here.

            Crappy insurance–tying folks to a job–which can’t compete with something from the exchange.

        • HonestDebate1

          No, that is not what I wrote.

          • Ray in VT

            Then why not illuminate it for us? There needs to be a mechanism to discourage people from waiting until they are sick to seek care/coverage, however the private insurance market has quite repeatedly shown that it will exclude those who are liabilities, even if those are children born with birth defects. There’s little profit to be made from covering a baby with a bad heart.

          • HonestDebate1

            First, I never said anyone should be denied anything. I just said it’s not insurance. If I total my car I can’t buy insurance the next day to cover the pre-existing condition.

          • Ray in VT

            That does not address anything that I said.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s not insurance.

            You asked me to illuminate what I said not what you said. All you did was pull emotional strings. Let’s just buy new hearts for the kids, we’ll save money.

          • Ray in VT

            Not if you allow people to wait, which is why there is a mandate, which would make it insurance.

            I forgot. I’m not allowed to cite stuff from the real world where these decisions are life and death for some people. Maybe the market should determine whether or not a child with a birth defect lives or dies. That’s liberty.

          • jefe68

            You’re a real piece of work.

          • J__o__h__n

            Aren’t you required to have car insurance?

          • Ray in VT

            That’s like requiring people to buy a product from a private company. One wonders if the Tea Party will be waging a war against that infringement upon liberty.

          • Labropotes

            Hi Ray, I am one of the nuts that think that the mandate to buy auto liability insurance is an injustice. I think folks who want to be indemnified for any bad thing that happens to them should have to buy their own insurance. I’m an actuary in the property/casualty insurance business and I cringe to see the wealth extraction perpetrated upon the working poor — most people — via insurance mandates. I’m not saying the insurance companies rip people off, but that most of their customers would never enter the market without a mandate to buy.

          • Ray in VT

            But then what do to about uninsured drivers who get into accidents and hurt others? It’s a bad situation to be in if one is the victim when the other guy doesn’t have insurance or assets to sue him or her for for compensation. It seems to me like an acceptable cost for participating in driving on the public roads.

          • Labropotes

            Like I said, you can buy insurance against being harmed in a car accident. The cost wouldn’t even change. The insurance would cover you if someone else was at fault.

            I’m not saying the mandate is modern day slavery, I just think it misallocates some capital that could be serving people better. On the ski hill of life, we each must accept the risk of collision due to error, as we each impose that risk on others. Mercy and grace are a kind of insurance.

            We invent so many mechanisms to make people whole in the event of serious losses… we need to pull these programs together.

          • Don_B1

            What you are proposing sounds a lot like No-Fault Insurance which was tried in Massachusetts a few decades ago and it did not work out that well and is no longer allowed. In a real rural state, maybe it would work, but in a densely populated state, not so much.

          • hennorama

            Labropotes — it’s difficult to imagine that the “cost wouldn’t even change” if what you described as “the mandate to buy auto liability insurance” was tossed out. If there were a larger number and percentage of uninsured motorists, then the risk of the “at fault” driver in any multi-vehicle accident being uninsured would increase. Wouldn’t this also then increase the risk that damages would be unrecoverable, and therefore premiums would need to rise to account for this?

            Please explain.

            And, as you know, it’s not actually a “mandate to buy auto liability insurance,” but rather that all states require that you demonstrate financial responsibility before being allowed to operate a vehicle on the roadway. Most people do this by purchasing auto insurance, but some use a bond or some other approved means that shows the ability to pay if they cause damages in an accident.

          • Labropotes

            What Don says below is basically right. My idea would be that you buy insurance against bodily harm and economic loss to yourself caused by yourself or others. The expected loss would be the same as covering the other guy if you assume you’re as likely to hit as to be hit.

            In my view, one who drives a car shouldn’t have an obligation to be able to make whole another who also freely embraced the risk of mingling with his fellow humans, a notably imperfect species. “I’m leaving my house now and I must be assured that if harm comes to me by honest mistake, criminal intent or negligence, everyone else that is permitted out of doors must be capable of making whole my loss if they are at fault.” I disagree. Not that they can’t file suit, just that they can’t impose the obligation to have access to the means. Yes there is a risk that someone who needs and deserves compensation will go without.

          • hennorama

            Labropotes — thank you for your explanatory response.

          • HonestDebate1

            No, only if I decide to have a car.

          • Don_B1

            Correct again!

            The trolls here need to be reminded again, since while they know it well, they refuse to admit it here, that the individual mandate was first proposed by people at the Heritage Foundation (and at least one other conservative group).

            They are just as deceptive as the health insurance industry used to be and would return to if the ideas of these trolls were accepted.

          • jefe68

            What you’re talking about is someone getting insurance after an accident or there house burns down. That’s not only not even remotely the same thing as having a pre-condition nor is that how insurance works.

            Everyone should have decent affordable health care. End of argument in my opinion.

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes it is. If one person buys insurance when they are 20 and keeps it until they are diagnosed with cancer at age 65 then they have paid in of 45 years. The actuarial tables work and that is insurance. If someone else never buys insurance, is diagnosed at 65 with cancer and then buys insurance it’s not insurance. The actuarial tables don’t work.

        • hennorama

          jefe68 — please allow me an attempt to explain.

          The comment above, “You can’t buy fire insurance for a house that has already burned down” is completely inapt.

          Let’s return to the real world, shall we?

          As an example:

          An uninsured person finds out they have a chronic medical condition, such as emphysema. They go to the doctor, get treatment, buy drugs to help, go to smoking cessation classes, start exercising, etc., etc., all of which they now must pay for out-of-pocket. Since they are uninsured, they will be charged the highest rates for these services and products.

          Realizing the error of not having health insurance, the person decides to get insurance coverage, to protect from FUTURE health care expenses, not past expenses.

          Now let’s look at another example.

          An uninsured person has a snowboarding accident and tears the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).on one leg. They go to the hospital, get treatment and surgery, buy drugs to help with the pain and inflammation, get physical therapy, etc., etc., all of which they now must pay for out-of-pocket. Since they are uninsured, they will be charged the highest rates for these services and products.

          Realizing the error of not having health insurance, the person decides to get insurance coverage, to protect from FUTURE health care expenses, not past expenses.

          Looking at the house example used above, let’s say you own a house but don’t have fire insurance, and your house burns down. You have to pay to rebuild, and with great struggle are able to do so. Again, realizing the error of not having fire insurance, you decide to get insurance, to protect from FUTURE expenses associated with the risk of fire.

          Hope that helps.

          • jefe68

            Shall we take wavers on this chap disagreeing with your spot on examples…

          • Ray in VT

            That’s sick.

          • HonestDebate1

            They missed the mark big time. A torn ACL is not a preexisting condition. Cancer is.

          • HonestDebate1

            Lame.

            It’s called “pre-existing”. Why should I pay into the system until I get sick?

          • Don_B1

            There is more than one way to have a “pre-existing condition” when applying for healthcare insurance (pre-PPACA):

            1) Have had a disease or even mutant genes and not had insurance before.

            2) Have lost your job or are changing jobs, going to one without employer-provided insurance so an individual policy is needed, and cases such as starting your own business, where policies are individual and not cheap.

      • Jasoturner

        You also cannot buy fire insurance if the insurance company simply refuses to sell it to you. Which is the unfortunate situation our pre-existing insurance arrangement left many people in.

      • JGC

        My house has pre-existing conditions (old roof, heating in the winter sometimes with a woodstove), and my insurance company adjusts its price to accomodate their perceived risk.

        • HonestDebate1

          Exacty as it should be. If they did not adjust for the price they could not stay in business.

      • Don_B1

        @hennorama:disqus @jefe68:disqus @rayinvt:disqus @Fiscally_Responsible:disqus

        [Dis]HonestDebate has been dishonest in a really deceitful way here:

        A burned down house cannot be insured and then the insured paid for his previous loss – everyone understands that. But a fire-damaged house that has been rebuilt can be insured for future fires.

        And just as that new policy does not account for a different risk, the new policy for someone who has had cancer, say, does not need to include the risk of new cancers, which is usually higher, because the initial coverage for health insurance for each individual’s risk of cancer should have the risks of more cancers once one occurs built in.

        But Mr. Dishonest Debate has a bone in his teeth and will run with it until he is thoroughly beaten with it.

        • HonestDebate1

          You’re over thinking it. A burned down house is still a house, it just has a pre-existing condition like cancer or diabetes.

          • Don_B1

            Really ! ! !

            How many people live in burned-down houses?

            I guess you will have to define what “burned-down” means. But of course you don’t want to do that because then the inanity of your argument will become even more obvious, and even most ideologues will have to at least gulp before swallowing your drivel.

        • hennorama

          Don_B1 – thanks for the shout out.

          I pointed out something similar in my post to [jefe68] below.

          And of course my original post wasn’t really about pre-existing conditions or underwriting and actuarial standards, but instead contained three main points — that millions of Americans had already benefited from the PPACA/ACA/Obamacare, that the healthcare.gov website will get fixed, and that limited open enrollment periods obviate the argument that people will wait until they get sick (or injured) before they sign up.

          As I’ve written previously multiple times, you can lead someone to logic, but you can’t make them think.

          Thanks again for the shout out.

          • Don_B1

            No problem. Thank you for your appreciation and I had noted your calling his analogy inapt, but I thought it might be useful to make it a bit more explicit.

            I had thought about the inanity of DisHonest’s analogy as I read on down the thread, but moved on and forgot with the shortness of my time.

            But looking at it today, I just could not let it stand, and I wanted anyone who might not come back this late to know how to stomp all over him when he repeats that again, as he surely will.

          • hennorama

            Don_B1 — backatcha. And no worries — we’re on the same page.

            I just thought it would be useful to refute the “you can sign up on the way to the hospital” nonsense that has been floating around, and which hadn’t been refuted in any meaningful way.

            Have a good one.

    • John Cedar

      Do you know if Obamcare specifically spells out this enrollment restriction, or if it is one of the rules (the agency totalitarians) are vested with the power to make up and enforce? Seems like we would have heard about this restriction back in 2010 if it existed back then.

      Are the Obamcare aunts really so cold hearted that they would deny the grasshoppers coverage, simply because they chose not to starve rather than buy insurance they didn’t think they needed?

      What if the newly afflicted starts a new business? Would they qualify for the 365 continual open enrollment that new business are entitled to?

      Who is going to verify if an “event” occurs? Will it be like the Obama SOTU Address lie, where Illegal aliens are not covered, but really are covered, because it is against the law to check if they are illegal aliens? Will it be like the Obamacare income verification that the GOP had to shut the government down to get Obama to include? Or will it be like voter ID laws, where fraud is virtually non existent and any verification requirement is nothing short of transparent racism and disenfranchisement. If it is all one big happy high risk pool then what financial motive does the insurer have to turn down anyone, regardless of some open enrollment technicality?

      More dramarama Kool Aid please.

      • hennorama

        John Cedar — Thank you for your response.

        You can do your own research.

        • Don_B1

          That might force him to actually read and learn about what he is disparaging out of ignorance, feigned or real.

    • Don_B1

      Additionally, no one should have expected an enmass signup starting on 1 October anyway. (The Obama administration, instead of just saying that they would not have numbers until November, should have indicated that it would take some people a while to evaluate the options and decide which policy was best for them, possibly in consultation with their doctors for some with known significant health problems.)

      When Massachusetts started up Romneycare, it took as much as six weeks before a significant number of previously uninsured signed up.

      But the MSM grabbed hold of a false meme (Republican inspired?) and is running with it because it creates additional dissention and distracts from a discussion of what really happened in the development of this healthcare access program. There is no question that there are problems which are inexcusable in a reasonable world, but there are any number of reasons that this has not been a reasonable development cycle at least in part because of continuous Republican actions to make implementation harder, from preventing fixing aspects of the PPACA that the Senate did not write well and would have been fixed in a conference committee between a filibuster-proof Democratic Senate and a Democratic House, to stripping as much money from its implementation and raising small changes that kept delaying the start of the implementation.

      • hennorama

        Don_B1 – Thank you for your thoughtful response.

        The website issues are real, and serious, but will be fixed. As OPC helpfully pointed out above, the issue of not being able to seeing pricing info without entering lots of personal information has been addressed, although the net cost to individuals after potential subsidies is still not easily available.

        And as you point out, it would not be terribly surprising if enrollment spikes as the deadlines approach, whether the healthcare.gov site was functioning perfectly from the get-go or not. It’s human nature to put things off, and as most of those signing up through the exchanges will not have had health insurance for some time, if ever, it’s also not surprising if they would take time making a decision.

        The PPACA will eventually be improved in a bipartisan fashion, as the reality of its implementation and its benefits sink in to the opponents of the law. Until now, it’s been an all-or-nothing affair, and will remain so until the current furor subsides.

        This too shall pass.

        As will the nonsense about “everyone will wait until they get sick or injured to sign up,” as the reality of the limited open enrollment periods sink in as well.

        As I wrote a few days ago, I find it interesting that President Obama and supporters of the PPACA have allowed others to negatively define Obamacare. The disinformation campaign has worked to a large extent, and the website issues do not help AT ALL.

        But they will get fixed.

        Thanks again for your thoughtful reply.

  • Shag_Wevera

    Maybe we should just go back to what we had before, 40 million uninsured with 20% per year rate increases.

    • pete18

      It was better than Obamacare.

      • Shag_Wevera

        By what do you measure this, pete18?

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    This is only the beginning of the disaster about to unfold. What happens next is we spend billions of dollars trying to band aid an inferior website that is poorly designed and was never tested until it went live, and in the name of expediency, use the flawed/incorrect information that the system is generating, ignore verifying people’s incomes who apply for the tax credit from the federal government, then we enroll millions of illegals who will then encourage millions of others to flaunt our sovereignty and cross our borders so that they can take advantage of free health care, and then pay billions of dollars for questionable/fraudulent medical services that they bill the federal government for. And then we blame it all on the Republicans for sabotaging the system (“it would have worked if they had been cooperative!”).

    • Shag_Wevera

      The republicans wouldn’t consider sabotaging the lawful operation of the elected American government. Would they?

      • Fiscally_Responsible

        The Democrats wouldn’t consider sabotaging the fiscal solvency of the American government by insisting on implementing a law that they know is fatally flawed and will bankrupt the country (even though we are already bankrupt), would they?

        • Don_B1

          First the Democrats know no such thing about the PPACA, and know that the Tea/Republicans have no basis for their claims either.

          But the Tea/Republicans are so afraid that the PPACA will work so well that they feel they will lose voters that they are making a last ditch, scorched-earth attempt to prevent it, so overt that if they fail, it will further taint their “brand’ for decades.

    • Shag_Wevera

      I don’t think it’s gonna be free. It isn’t single payer. Insurance companies helped design the ACA, remember?

      • Fiscally_Responsible

        With a gun to their head.

    • Shag_Wevera

      What sort of fraudulent medical treatments do you mean?

      • Fiscally_Responsible

        60 Minutes has had a number of stories over the years of how fraudulent people set up “medical clinics” in strip malls and either pay people to come in for phony medical services (giving them a cut of the amount billed to the governement) and then bill the government or steal identities and bill for services that were never provided (or provided to dead people). By the time the FBI catches up with them, they simply close up shop, move to another strip mall, and re-open for business under a different name. Medicare fraud costs tens of billions of dollars per year. This program, with less accountability and many more dollars and services flowing through it, will make medicare fraud look like child’s play.

  • pete18

    “Why Obama Should Be Freaked Out Over Obamacare.

    http://www.nationaljournal.com/white-house/why-obama-should-be-freaked-out-over-obamacare-20131021

    “Finding and motivating people to take action online is the founding strength of Team Obama. This is what they do best. Managing a complex law is a different matter, and it’s fair to question whether the president and his team are up to it.

    How do you convince healthy young Americans to pay for insurance they may not need in order to fund the program? Do companies shed workers and working hours to avoid coming under the law? Are people with cheap
    catastrophic plans forced to pay more in the exchanges? Tricky questions likes these will soon make the hard art of website design look like fingerpainting. “The online federal health care exchange, the heart of the Obamacare project, is such a rolling catastrophe that it may end up creating a major policy fiasco immediately rather than eventually,” wrote Ross Douthat in a New York Times column titled, “Obamacare, Failing Ahead of Schedule.”

    • Shag_Wevera

      I’m a bit confused by your quotation marks.

      • pete18

        Read the lined article that they come from.

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    If The Affordable (or Unaffordable if you prefer) Care Act does not deliver the benefits to the economy as promised over some reasonable grace period, this could spell disaster for the Democrats. Such an event would be a disaster for the American people, also. The Republicans will force us back into a system that was also in failure mode. Cost will soar, and positive healthcare outcomes will decline in number. The Republicans failed to offer an option that was saleable. The Democrats failed to offer a simple, trimmed down, Single Payer Plan, that would force all Americans to buy into, as they do with Medicare, that would have given the “Average Joe and Jane”, and their employers the leverage they needed to bargain with multi-billion dollar healthcare providers.

    It would have required a very small additional “Medicare Type” supplement tax to achieve the much needed balance of power correction. Most of a person’s healthcare cost occur late in life, under Medicare, ( I think it is something like 80 or 90 % of lifetime cost). We have created ever more paper shufflers and introduced increased entropy, and will now be delaying much needed cost savings that could have been achieved by “New Think” methods and approaches that the “industry” would have had to adopt to remain solvent. What is needed are massive attempts to implement AI in medicine. AI that is directly accessible to the person on the street. Failsafe expert systems in operating rooms, including robotic surgeons, and robotic nurse assistants. This country expends huge sums of money on computing power, that helps to defend the interest of internationalist and to promote spying ( as one example of waste) on its’ own citizens. There are some very brilliant people in this world that would be very willing to help make these types of advances come to fruition but have been sequestered by the misallocation of resources.

  • Shag_Wevera

    I wish the right would shut up and wait to see whether the ACA works or not. If it doesn’t work they can beat the left over the head with it for many years to come and stave off single payer healthcare indefinitely. If it DOES work, everyone wins. I can always dream, can’t I?

    • pete18

      If you can see by the architect’s plans that a building is incapable of standing and as the workers start to build the foundation they show great ineptitude, do wait for them to build the entire structure and then let it fall over before you
      try to stop the process?

      • Shag_Wevera

        And YOU can see this?

        • pete18

          Yes, it was pretty obvious from the start that the promises of the plan could never be fulfilled. It is inherent in it’s structure.

        • HonestDebate1

          The question is, how can you not see it?

          • Don_B1

            Because, unlike you, he (and I as well as others) sees the echanges working well in those states which are implementing their own websites, so the claims that the difficulties here portent difficulties on the following stages of getting insurance are fake arguments raised by you trolls and the Tea/Republicans.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      I understand your sentiment but you assume that failure is both unlikely and benign. Even with the best designed central planning scheme there will be unintended consequences. Not warning of these problems would be malpractice.

      I’m surprised that more Democrats are getting out ahead of this and suggesting we should put the brakes on this monstrosity. Since the ACA has been played up as the signature achievement of Mr. Obama they are holding back out of loyalty to the President. However, the minute they see any threat to their political fortunes (2014) they will run like rats fleeing a sinking ship.

      • Don_B1

        It is the Tea/Republicans who, by refusing to set up their own state exchanges, are giving even a semblance of truth to the generally false charge that the PPACA is “central planning.”

        The PPACA basically sets guidelines for what private insurance companies must offer in their policies to ensure transparency and comparability as well as availability in their policy offerings. It creates an open marketplace where the insurance companies can compete on the basis of value, not trickery.

    • Jasoturner

      When you see people describing this newly rolled out initiative as a “disaster” or a “failure”, keep in mind that you are reading the words of defeatists. Can-Do Americans will try it out, will be open to implementational tweaks, and will strive to make our healthcare delivery *truly* the best of the world. You can do more than dream.

      These people willing to panic at the first bump in the road, well, let’s just hope they aren’t first responders ’cause they sure can’t deal with anything not meeting their pre-conceived notions and comfort zone.

  • Wm_James_from_Missouri

    Response to Barry Kort: about being way off topic, yesterday.

    Barry, I like your offbeat spirit but I must disagree in this respect. On this site we are offered problems presented as a radio show. Of course the “On Point” broadcast uses words as the code that falls on our ears. The problems offered are a small sample of the Universal Set of All Problems. We humans can sight many unsolved problems. Why? Because we don’t have the tools that would help to solve them. We also do not practice solving problems. What is worse, most people don’t care if a problem is solved or not, they prefer to express themselves using emotional responses that are rooted in the brain’s most inner and thereby most ancient biological systems. These very common responses ( I too use them.) can only be modified by a willful decision to abandon standard methods of discourse. You have read my wild wanderings into a particularly difficult math problem. You certainly recognized my constant shuffling of words in and out of various contextual meanings. From math to politics, to religion, music, movies, and more. You see, I have found in my life, often serendipitously, that the difficult solutions can only be found when you have been subjected to startling new, external and internal environments. This forces your brain to form new connections, new paths to new possible relationships!

    This evening I watched a “Nova Science Now” Dvd, called, “What makes us Human?”. Among the subject covered was the theory that the Acheulean hand axe may have played a role in the development of human language. I add this to this conversation because during the show, the narrator said that language may have developed because this particular type of hand axe was more complex than some others. This somehow, is assume to have played a role in the development of language, due to the fact that Broca’s area is located near the area of the brain that helped humans work this tool. It would appear that forcing the brain to deal with complexity also stimulates other processes NOT related to the particular task at hand. Whether we are talking about complexity of a physical object or speaking metaphorically and literally about complexity in some esoteric form!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ovate_handaxe

    .

    .

  • Yar

    Mitch McConnell said “the government simply isn’t going to get this job done correctly.”
    Kentucky’s government built a website that works. They even used the same sub- contractor as them federal site.
    It is politics.
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/10/22/239197047/how-politics-set-the-stage-for-the-obamacare-website-meltdown

    Article in today’s paper. http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20131021/PRIME07/310210061/Kentucky-insurance-exchange-website-avoids-federal-pitfalls-despite-same-contractors

  • Ed75

    I heard one person in Delaware successfully navigated the system.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    It’s no surprise that the rollout was a disaster… Things like this happen all of the time in private business on much smaller scales. Aside from ordinary incompetence and magical thinking of managers, architects and programmers, that you find in business and government alike, this was a single day rollout on a massive scale. To turn everything on without a rigorous integration plan was ambitious and utter madness. In my world we say ‘That’s why we test!’ I’ve been watching ‘professionals’ make the same mistakes like this over and over again for 30 years. And this is a perfect moment to repeat ‘Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.’ for those who deny the relevance of historical records going back 100, 50 and even 10 years ago.

    The Republcans keep saying that something like this can only happen in Government. Well yes, in the sense that in private business, you don’t have the CFO publicly declaring that they will do everything in their power to make you fail and risk default on your creditors to do so… Only that can happen in the bizarro bubble of extremist political crusade strategy.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      I didn’t EXPECT this disaster but I’m not surprised.

      However, what I find shocking is the costs involved. I would have expected the three year development of a web portal to come in at under $5M. It was reported that their original budget was $94M and they have blown through that by $100s of millions. I’m as cynical as the next guy about government waste but this is ridiculous. This is worse than the $500 toilet seat stuff we usually see in military spending.

      • pete18

        That’s what spending other people’s money and lack of competition creates. Amazon and other private companies handle much larger daily traffic
        visits without any problem.

      • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

        On the price tag I don’t know the details but can add the following:
        In an effort to keep itself from being ripped off by contractors, the USG requires
        1) government contract oversight which adds significant cost and time.
        2) government accounting rules add cost, delay and limit who can bid on contracts and supply materials.

        I don’t know how much hardware, software, office space, equipment space, security (physical and cyber), service contracts and new employees are involved in supporting this very large system, but its not just a bunch of boxes taken care of of by robots, sitting in a nondescript building out in the middle of a field in Virginia. ;^)

        There were also delays associated with the Supreme Court hearing and the last election cycle. Uncertainty in the market so to speak, in this case, did not help with the price tag or the execution of an accelerated schedule.

        Amazon and E-bay don’t have to deal with all of these issues, and… They evolved and grew up over a more than a decade… Not effectively overnight.

  • JGC

    Sebelius is safe. If she were to leave, the Republicans would throw up so many roadblocks to naming a new head of HHS, the post would remain vacant until at least 2015, further undermining the rollout of ACA. Which of course has been their action plan from Day 1.

    • HonestDebate1

      Republicans have nothing to do with the disaster of the roll out but I do agree Sebelius is safe. If Holder is still around then no one is going anywhere.

      • JGC

        It’s always nice when we can agree on something!

        By the by, I listened to the first hour of Limbaugh’s program today. He immediately started off by blaming the Republican party for not having a strong organized response to President Obama’s statement yesterday. Great team-building exercise, Rush!

        It was worth listening to anyway, because I got a great lead on some kind of teeth-whitening miracle treatment from Alec Baldwin’s “Hollywood Celebrity” brother. I just have to go on that website and plug in the promo code “RUSH” to get 10% off my first order. Sparkle, sparkle!

        • HonestDebate1

          Congrats on the smile! I wonder if Tom Ashbrook has a promo code I can use for Liberty Mutual.

          I actually do analogize your listening to Rush with my listening to On Point. I think it’s good to get differing views. I always try and credit Mr. Ashbrook for being more balanced than the blog. He does a good job as much as I disagree with his politics.

          I would think you also understand Rush is not mean-spirited, radical or a racist. And as you point out, he criticizes Republicans. Whoda’ thunk?

  • JGC

    “Become a CGI owner and share our dream.”

    http://www.cgi.com/en/canada/dream

    CGI is under orders to get their A Team in place, and are still trying to hire an additional 900 people in systems integration and outsourcing services.

    Must be fluent in COBOL, BASIC and var’aq.

    Benefits include unlimited punch cards and Canadian healthcare.

  • J__o__h__n

    Obama should have contracted with Disqus.

  • toc1234

    before Oct 1st, Obama is comparing his website to hotel.com. Right after Oct 1st it all about ‘traffic, good problem to have’. 3wks later after the traffic decreased 90% his site is still broken and he’s ‘mad’. which handlers tell him to say these things to the public? The same ones that told him to tell everyone that Benghazi was b/c of an amateur video?

  • OnPointComments

    From FMS Software developer Luke Chung: “My overall sense, right from day one, was it was created by people who had never created a commercial database application before. At $200 an hour, that would be a million man hours, 5,000 man years. I don’t think they had time to use 5,000 man years. So I don’t know where the money went. I don’t know what these people were doing. There’re not that many web pages. I don’t get it! Where’d the money go?”

  • HLB

    The Blue Screen of Death!

    The “smartest” folks to ever occupy the White House & D.C. government agencies invent.. MS DOS. We’re back in the early 1980s again. At least Obamabots can claim they created the first working time machine.

    Up next, Obama declares: The time for Pac-Man is NOW.

    Thanks much. Hoober Doober {old school liberal}

    * Who says they’re the smartest? They do.

  • MrNutso

    The ACA is not a web site, but many seem conflate the two to be one and the same.

    Given the real disaster that was the rollout of Medicare Part D, this is not so bad.

    Also, given the active effort on the part of some states, state officials and private actors to impede implementation or worse, things are going better than I expected.

    I can only wonder what the situation would be if more states had set up their own exchanges and work actively working to get people enrolled.

    • OnPointComments

      Amazon.com is not a website, but if the company’s website fails spectacularly, chances are the company will also fail spectacularly.

  • Coastghost

    The Affordable Care Tax Act: Taxing your time, too!

  • toc1234

    Next headache for Obama… all the hundreds of thousands of notices telling people they can’t keep they current plan b/c it doesn’t conform w what Obama has decreed should be in a plan. So much his promises…. and too bad the ovine press corps didn’t bother asking any questions 3 or 4 yrs ago…

    Insurance companies are also already sending out notices to millions of consumers cancelling individual policies because they are non-compliant with ObamaCare’s new mandates. Kaiser Health News, usually a cheerleader for the law, reports that “Florida Blue, for example, is terminating about 300,000 policies, about 80 percent of its individual policies in the state.” Kaiser Permanente in California has sent notices to 160,000 people, Highmark in Pittsburgh is dropping about 20% of its individual market customers, and Independence Blue Cross of Philadelphia is dropping about 45%.

  • ToyYoda

    Another massive delay in the software industry. This par for the course. As a software engineer, I see this all the time. We should really expand this discussion as to why -over the last 40 years- software management engineering is still mediocre at best

    I know hindsight is 20/20, but I was surprised that they were going to roll this out all-or-none. I thought it would be better from a technical point of view to sign up different parts of the country in piecemeal manner, that way you can get a gauge on real life use cases and traffic measurements. And your servers wouldn’t be hit so hard all at once.

  • Coastghost

    Obama may not be ready to shove Sebelius out in front of the next available bus: but with this marvelous debut of Obamacare, why would Obama want to hang on to Sebelius an hour longer than he has to?

  • LisaR

    ToyYoda is right. I’ve been involved with “Healthcare Rollouts” for large employers and they are always nightmares the first time large programs are introduced. AND out insurance company websites and programs rarely work correctly.Why is NPR sounding the alarm as though this is a new disaster? It was expected by anyone who knows what they are doing.

    • MrNutso

      I second that. Even renewals of our current insurance are loaded with snafu’s. This year the insurance company issued new ID cards with last years plan numbers on them. A small issue perhaps, but it’s a national insurer.

  • Jo Bleaux

    Considering the years of attempts to destroy the ACA at the congressional level, is it paranoid of me to wonder if there’s any sabotage involved? Hearing opponents of the plan saying the technical glitches are indicative of the worthlessness of the entire program doesn’t do anything to disabuse me of this suspicion.

    • OnPointComments

      Yes, you’re paranoid. It’s just as likely that the Democrats, liberals, and the Obama administration sabotaged the ACA because they really want single payer.

      • nj_v2

        That’s inane, even for you.

  • HLB

    Give me your aspy, your wonky-honky-tonky, your tired, your bleary-eyed slideruler guys. And I will give you working health care for all Americans. Now.. where did I live my putter.
    –Barack H. Obama {The Messiah for Modern Times}

    Thanks much. HLB {registered electrical engineer}

    “working” subject to specific government dictionary definition. Void where actual 21st century smart phone connected human beings live and work. Not compatible with sound principles of engineering.

  • M S

    Of course this happened the company responsible for the project were friends of the Administration, not the right people for the job…but then again it the Obama Administration.

    • HLB

      We only give jobs to well-qualified fundraisers. –BHO

    • OnPointComments

      CGI was given a no-bid contract. Sounds like the company had friends in the administration.

      • M S

        They did…an executive, was in Government and had face-to-face meetings at the White House and had donated to Obama in the last campaign.

        • Ray in VT

          According to opensecrets.org that same executive also made an equal donation to Mitt Romney’s primary campaign, and I don’t exactly think that a $1,000 donation by an executive makes a company a friend of the administration.

  • toc1234

    of course Obama’s handlers withdrew the code once it was obvious that the thing was a piece of crud…

  • Doc Gordon

    Obstruction (lawsuits, refusal by states to participate, etc.)and a refusal to fund at the level needed (on the part of conservatives terrified of the ACA’s success) have to be factored in. It’s hard to dig a ditch when someone insists on standing on your shovel.

    • OnPointComments

      Five days before the rollout, President Obama said that it would be as easy as booking a hotel room. If he believed this, then it’s obvious that no one was monitoring the progress on creating the website.

      • Doc Gordon

        true enough — but that doesn’t negate the reality.

      • Marc Prufer

        “He” is used here instead of “administration?” What is the role of a president in terms of oversight of each and every aspect of a huge administration?

        • Ray in VT

          Everything just so long as it is a guy you don’t like.

    • Coastghost

      But it’s Obama’s Administration’s responsibility to exercise the political skill necessary to implement the policy the Administration is foisting. Id est: the failures of Affordable Care Tax Act rollout remain the Obama Administration’s.

      • Doc Gordon

        granted…. if one is to deem it a failure after two weeks. research the history of Medicaid and SS rollouts.

        as for political skill — it could be argued that the political opposition to everything and anything Obama has been unprecedented in modern history.

        if one prays for failure one will most certainly find it — but one must look into why that is what’s being prayed for.

        • Coastghost

          The Democrats assured us that the country was ready for Obama (just as Obama assured us the country was ready for the Affordable Care Tax Act). The political miscalculation–that Obama would succeed as one of the more polarizing Presidents in US history–was built into the Democratic Party’s Presidential nomination process. Anybody with a single eye could’ve seen in Oct 2008 that Obama would prove to be a divisive figure. Obama has not disappointed.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, I’ve never seen a segment of the population so dedicated to hating one guy. It is a truly great achievement, but I think that a good part of it has nothing to do with him, at least not what he has done, but maybe what he represents.

          • nj_v2

            ^ Profound and disturbing convoluted nonsense.

          • Doc Gordon

            looks as if i’ve been moderated.

            let me just say the “divisive” line is very reminiscent of the wife-beater who whines “she didn’t give me a choice — she MADE me do it”.

            speaks volumes. we’re done here.

      • TFRX

        “Exercise the political skill necessary”.

        Getting the WATBs to quit their bitching and actually help try to govern, when they’ve dedicated themselves to destroying the country to destroy him from 2008?

        That’s not “political skill” needed to do that. We have enough Beltway Inbreds saying “Obama needs to lead by conceding things”. You’re not sounding smart by imitating them

      • Marc Prufer

        There are a lot of failures on the part of the federal, state and local governments that have cost a lot more than this one — like the 25 billion shut down. Does the F22 fighter ring a bell?

      • nj_v2

        Haha!

        If a crazy passenger is yelling and thrashing and grabbing the steering wheel, it’s the driver’s fault for not being a skilled enough driver if the car lurches wildly down the road.

        You partisan hacks are a riot.

  • toc1234

    so why did Obama tell everyone it was a traffic problem??? he has a problem with making lame excuses…

  • HLB

    Don’t blame me! I was on the golf course.
    –Barack H. Obama {@golfprodude}

    Aide: Nice shot, Mr. President.
    Obama: I stick with what I’m good at.
    America: Why didn’t you leave an adult in charge, Mr. President?

    Thanks much. Hoober Doober

    • TFRX

      “Just watch this drive”.

      • Ray in VT

        Don’tcha know that he gave that up for the troops?

        • Don_B1

          And was seen golfing after saying that he had given it up.

          • Ray in VT

            I’ll make sure to tell my neighbor up the road, who came back from Iraq as a quadriplegic, about the great sacrifice that was made for him.

  • jefe68

    The right wingers are having their fun today ridiculing the ACA.
    The problem is the Republican party that they support has no plan to fix the dysfunctional fee for service health care system.
    None. They all quick to say this is a disaster, which remains to be scene, and yet they have offered no alternative. Other than tort reform and doing away states rights to regulate insurance companies. Which is funny being that the GOP has been all for states rights becoming stronger.

    So I’m sure there will miles of diatribes, inane comments, and the usual memes about the ACA. All of this is just a load of bunk as it does nothing to forward anything in terms of how do we deal with the huge problem we have in this country with health care. It’s failing over 30 million people every year, it’s the largest cause of bankruptcy for people with insurance, and the results are not very good when compared to other industrial nations who cover 99% of their populations.

    • Ray in VT

      They gave the President six weeks in his first term to declare that his policies were a failure. I guess they cut it down to 3 weeks this time around.

      • OnPointComments

        He had over three years to get it right. He failed.

        • Ray in VT

          I’m patient. I’ve got the time to see how this shakes out. I don’t need it all right now, and neither do the people who need to buy insurance through the exchanges. If this drags on for weeks, then it becomes more of a concern in my book.

        • jefe68

          There were a load of things going on that you leave out. The states not taking part, the general election, and the party of no, the GOP. But why should you care, you want everything Obama does to fail.
          Which really means you want the US to fail.

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    Two words:

    Single Payer

    • HLB

      The only solution that works for every American: Single Payer. HLB

    • nj_v2

      Which is why i oppose(d) Obama’s Health Insurance Company Windfall Act.

      The insurance companies—who got all kinds of concessions in addition to millions of forced, new customers—will now have enough money to hire battalions of lobbyists and buy Congress many times over to practically guarantee that single payer won’t have a prayer of happening in the imaginable future.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Great. Reward government incompetence with more power and control.

      • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

        Who has the power and control over our healthcare *now*? How’s it working for you?

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Actually, there are many flaws in the system. Obamacare does little to rectify them.

          Romneycare didn’t address those problems either — see Charlie Baker’s ideas. He is an EXPERT.

          • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

            I agree – our current system is pretty bad, and it has lots of flaws and obviously millions and millions of people don’t have any coverage. I personally have some of the best coverage, and yet there are things which I absolutely need – but my insurance would not cover at all.

            I can only imagine what crappy coverage leaves out.

            How do you know what the ACA does or doesn’t do? It makes some big improvements, and it certainly can be improved and tweaked over time.

            Healthcare here in Massachusetts is better than it was, and it will also be improved over time.

            We do pay way too much for healthcare in the US – at least 2X more than any other system, and much worse coverage.

            We need to switch to what all the other countries with less expensive AND *better* coverage use: single payer.

            Remove the profit, and control costs and cover everybody automatically. It works very well, costs about HALF as much, and it is *simple*.

  • HLB

    Please listen to all my acolytes & apostles making excuses for me on all the web fora. I haven’t a clue as to what’s going on in my own government. Now where did I leave my ostrich leather golf bag?*
    –Barack H. Obama {@visionaryzenmaster}

    Thanks much. Hoober Doober

    *These are actually made in China.

  • E Travis

    This situation is a common problem with large complex projects. According to an article I read this morning, the problem is less an issue with the progammers and more due to the project management (or lack thereof). Too many requirement changes, too little scope control, and badly done scope management.

    Check out this AP article:

    http://news.yahoo.com/builders-obamas-health-website-saw-red-flags-070429400.html

  • HLB

    YES! Sign up for 21st century health care via black bakelite rotary telephone. Alexander Graham Bell waiting to take your order. Sorry: 800 numbers not available. Write if you get it working.
    –Administration for the ACA, Agency Head on Permanent Vacation

    Thanks much. HLB

  • Call_Me_Missouri

    CGI Federal is a HORRIBLE contractor. I can assure you they deliberately underbid the project then after the first contract term expired they extorted (by holding back nearly completed software) an additional $200 million from the government.

    I divide the problems into two categories… Performance issues and Functional issues. The Performance issues I can almost excuse because I don’t think people thought there would be that much interest… The Functional issues, like writing bad policies, I am less sympathetic with. Insurance is *way* more complicated than you might realize and the devil is in the details and this software is writing policies for many vendors, but they have had plenty of time to get this core functionality tested.

    The biggest issue is the December 15th deadline to get your policy written for January 1st coverage.

    • OnPointComments

      THE OBAMACARE WEBSITE – THE BIGGEST TECH GAGGLE EVER?
      http://siliconangle.com/blog/2013/10/10/the-obamacare-website-the-biggest-tech-gaggle-ever/

      “… it is undeniable that this launch has been an incredible technical failure. Straight up – an absolute failure.

      “This is really playing out as a clinic in how not to launch a major website project, failing in every respect across the board, from planning, to the communications, to testing and everything in between…The contractors behind the exchange were CGI Federal, who built the site, Quality Software Systems Inc. (CSSI) – a Canadian company that built the information hub, and Booz Allen who is responsible for enrollment and eligibility technical support. Somewhere in that soup of contractors, they built a site that – /wait for it/ – was built for 50,000 to 60,000 concurrent users at a total cost (so far) of $634 million. Feel free to replay that ratio. $634,000,000/50,000. [That works out to $12,680 per user]. Here’s another ratio to ponder – 50,000 users in 50 states.

      “Ladies and Gentlemen, this is about as ugly any kind of site deployment gets. They had three and a half years to get this right, do better and more testing. They have failed miserably and they are handling it miserably.”

  • rich4321

    As a senior software engineer, I can tell you first hand that a massive deployment is never easy, but it can be done with the
    competent people. eBay did it, Amazon did it, Netflix did it. Makes me wonder what kind of people the government hired?

    Most of the failures start on the planning stage.

  • zzowee

    Tom, could you address the government’s contractor selection process? These problems smack of unprofessionalism, pure and simple!

  • Coastghost

    Jenny Gold: “Maybe everything will be okay . . .” — could be a direct quote from Obama himself.

  • OnPointComments

    From Jay Leno last night: the Obamacare website doesn’t work, and the President said that now the government has brought in the best and brightest to fix the problem. Isn’t that just like Washington? As a last resort, they’ve brought in the best and brightest. Why didn’t the government start with the best and brightest?

    • axonneuron

      When the government has to go with the lowest bidder this is what you get.

      • OnPointComments

        It was a no bid contract.

        • axonneuron

          and probably really cheap. which is probably why they went with it.

          • OnPointComments

            The cost has been over $600 million dollars, astronomically expensive.

          • axonneuron

            For a system of this size, I’m not surprised at all. Enterprise software of this size and scale will always be astronomically expensive. Way of the world.

          • OnPointComments

            A comment ago you made excuses and said it was probably really cheap. Now you make excuses and say it was astronomically expensive.

          • axonneuron

            We’re talking scale here. While 600 mil is a lot of money, for something this size it’s probably bargain basement. And astronomically expensive was your term, not mine.

  • HLB

    Computer Science: not ready for prime time. Perhaps we should just go back to real engineering. And real engineers.

    Just a thought. Mother Nature doesn’t care either way. Perhaps you should.

    Thanks much. HLB

    • Joseph Lee

      get off your computer then, right now please

  • Coastghost

    And WHO in the Obama Administration contracted website development to a Canadian firm when American firms could use the business?

  • OnPointComments

    This explains part of the problem:

    Canadian officials fired IT firm behind troubled Obamacare website
    http://washingtonexaminer.com/canadian-officials-fired-it-firm-behind-troubled-obamacare-website/article/2537101

    “Canadian provincial health officials last year fired the parent company of CGI Federal, the prime contractor for the problem-plagued Obamacare health exchange websites, the Washington Examiner has learned.

    “CGI Federal’s parent company, Montreal-based CGI Group, was officially terminated in September 2012 by an Ontario government health agency after the firm missed three years of deadlines and failed to deliver the province’s flagship online medical registry.”

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    For perspective, does anyone run Microsoft Windows? Yeah, I thought so. How many fixes does MS put out for their operating systems? How many years between new releases that then come out with serious problems that require fixing almost immediately?

    Large, complex applications are going to have holes. PEOPLE do things that seem natural to them but were not thought of by those who designed the application. You can’t find a few million people from all over the country to all hit the web site with a variety of browsers at the same time to test it. Yes, you can do some automated testing, but you will NEVER find everything until it goes live.

    Background: I’ve been a software engineer for over 3 decades.

    • Enuff_of_this

      So releasing garbage like this into the wild is okay by your standards?

      • axonneuron

        It’s the way of the world, is what he’s saying.

        • Enuff_of_this

          Maybe in your world, mine has slightly higher standards

          • axonneuron

            In everyone’s world, whether you recognize it or not. Microsoft does it all the time, so do many of the top software gaming companies.

  • Bigtruck

    This is about Insurance not a website. I tried to buy a plane ticket on Jet Blues website the other day. It was all FUBAR so I called Jet Blue and got my ticket from a human. I didn’t care about the website I cared about the plane ticket. Want insurance, stop listening to this shrill nonsense and call a human.

  • HLB

    ACA not ready for prime time. Goodness, it’s not ready for 3 a.m. commercial television aka the Cal Worthington hour.

    Barack Obama and his dog spot. Perhaps some jingles in the wee hours is the answer.

    Thanks much. Far Too Funny

  • HLB

    If you’re looking for a better plan for care
    I will stand upon my head and tear my hair
    I will stand upon my head
    ‘Til my ears are turning red
    Get my plan, get my plan, get my plan.
    –Barack H. Obama {and his dog spot}

    Thanks, Cal.

  • Coastghost

    Yeah, maybe under-30s will exercise lots and lots and lots of patience and procrastination in enrolling for costly healthcare insurance policies they will not be able to afford, for care they likely will not need access to too soon.
    And the Affordable Care Tax Act dies its own miserable death.

  • OnPointComments

    If this article is correct, the blame lies squarely on the heads in the Obama administration.

    “Late in the planning process, the administration decided that it could not allow people on HealthCare.gov to see their raw price increases without also seeing their offsetting federal subsidies (for those who get them) — which means that consumers must provide their financial information before they can browse their insurance options. The techies objected that this would introduce needless complications and reduce eventual enrollments. The Obama administration insisted.”
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/10/22/obamacare_in_need_of_a_doctor_120413.html

    • Joseph Lee

      Not necessarily. The consultants are right that this feature would probably reduce eventual enrollment due to users are usually not inclined to provide financial information first. however, in technical perspective, it actually doesn’t really increase complexity by all too much. What it means is that you’ll need those service calls more up front. but as Professor Fox clearly pointed out, modern software engineering methodology is well adapted to handle such jobs. the problem that the site is currently suffering from seems to be the contractor’s issue. if by april next year when the ACA doesnt have enough enrollment, then you can point all the blame on the administration

      • OnPointComments

        Why does every single commercial website allow you to shop before providing your name and payment information?

        • Joseph Lee

          unless you are shopping for car insurance or private health insurance. then they give you a ton of forms before you can get a quote. again, yes the decision to move financial information upfront would cost enrollment, but currently that is not the main reason why the site is encountering problems

        • hennorama

          OPC – you CAN “shop before providing your name and payment information” on the healthcare.gov website.

          Start right here:

          https://www.healthcare.gov/find-premium-estimates/

          Hope that helps.

          • OnPointComments

            Here’s what Forbes had to say about it. Hope this helps.

            Obamacare’s Website Is Crashing Because It Doesn’t Want You To Know How Costly Its Plans Are
            http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2013/10/14/obamacares-website-is-crashing-because-it-doesnt-want-you-to-know-health-plans-true-costs/

          • Ray in VT

            Thank you former Romney adviser, NRO contributor and Manhattan Institute fellow Avik Roy. I’m sure that he has a totally open and unbiased take on the whole issue.

          • hennorama

            OPC — TY for your response.

            Avik Roy’s opinion is heardly surprising, as he is clearly not a fan of the PPACA.

            Did you go to the site to try shopping?

          • OnPointComments

            It’s a recent change.

            “Over the weekend, the administration updated the website to make it more user-friendly. Instead of the homepage greeting of “apply now,” it gives users links to “apply online” or “apply by phone” at 800-318-2596. Wait times are averaging less than a minute, Obama said, and individuals can fully enroll by phone in about 25 minutes, or families in 45 minutes.

            “After numerous complaints from users, the homepage now allows users to compare the costs of health plans in their areas without opening individual accounts. The administration was reluctant to allow this when the website launched because the plan prices don’t reflect what people would pay after federal subsidies are included for people with low- and moderate incomes. The page now says, “See plans and prices in your area.”

            “In addition, the new design alerts viewers, “IMPORTANT NOTE: The prices shown on this tool don’t reflect the lower costs you may qualify for based on household size and income.”

            Jay Carney reiterated today that there was a change to the website two nights ago. There are numerous articles about the bottleneck that was created when the software contractor acceded to the administration’s demand that registration happen first.

            http://www.bradenton.com/2013/10/22/4785511/obama-no-excuse-for-website-foul.html

          • hennorama

            OPC — Thank you for your grudging non-acknowledgment acknowledgment of your error.

          • OnPointComments

            I cited an article that explained one of the problems with the website when it debuted, which was the insistence of the Obama administration that consumers must provide their financial information before they can browse their insurance options. I doubt that you can refute the information in the article.

            “[Regarding the Washington state site] One big difference from the federal marketplace is that you don’t need to fill out an application to browse prices. This screen right here is literally all the information you need to put in to browse prices. This likely helps alleviate one of the big problems that the federal marketplace is having right now: a bottleneck when people try to create accounts.”
            http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/10/08/heres-what-obamacare-looks-like-when-it-works/

            “The administration exacerbated the problems by requiring people to register and determine their eligibility for subsidies before letting them browse through the offerings at HealthCare.gov. Critics say the administration was trying to mask how high premiums actually were by showing shoppers only the subsidized rates. Whatever the motive, it was a bad design choice that created a needless bottleneck.”
            http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-1020-health-website-problems-20131020,0,6636276.story#axzz2iTpazESL

          • hennorama

            OPC — (in De Niro’s voice, as Travis Bickle): You talkin’ to me?

            If so, then thank you for helpfully pointing out that the healthcare.gov site has been improved. This is a good thing.

            Critics can and will say whatever they want as to why the site was designed as it was.

            An alternative view is that the idea of showing net costs after subsidies was implemented to encourage enrollment. Prior to Oct. 1st, one could plug in a few bits of info, including one’s location and income, to get an estimate of net premiums after any available subsidy. This feature apparently was disabled when the site went “live” for enrollment.

            It’s obviously more customer friendly to provide net prices. In contrast, one can point to some airfare websites, which show only the ticket price, rather than the actual total costs. Or auto rental sites that don’t compare the net pricing, especially the tax component, which can vary significantly for on-airport vs. off-airport locations. Without net pricing, it’s difficult to make informed decisions.

            This will get fixed.

            (De Niro’s voice again): I’m standing here; you make the move. You make the move. It’s your move…

  • BHA_in_Vermont

    Republicans saying “see, we said it wouldn’t work” are doing nothing more than hanging on to whatever they can to “prove” their point. They didn’t want to defund it because they thought the computer systems wouldn’t work, they want to defund it because they do not like the LAW. The technical implementation issues were not and are not their concern, just a convenient excuse.

    • Labropotes

      that’s what opposition parties do. If their complaints are valid, they are behaving honorably. Less shrillness would certainly be welcome though.

  • Cindy C Barnard

    Has anyone yet mentioned the 26 states that did not set up their own exchanges and had to reply on the federal system?

    And what are the inconsistencies between these states considering the wide range of PRIVATE companies offering health insurance in each state? This law benefits private industry.

    The perception of an organization through their website is everything and points towards the importance of web development and user interaction. But has anyone emphasized that health insurance is still available despite the online issues?

    There is a link now on the gov site just to simply find out how much you insurance would cost and it is FAR LESS expensive than any health insurance I’ve had to purchase before ACA.

  • Coastghost

    On track until October 1st. Derailed as of October 2nd.

  • Cindy C Barnard

    I mostly agree with all the criticisms, it is a disappointment – but I
    am also aware of how difficult it has been for this administration to
    walk the political mind field concerning ACA and keep fighting for it
    even after it was signed into law.

    And no thanks to 26 republican governors who decided to fight the law rather than help their citizens #GetCovered.

    Technical
    issues can be fixed, will be fixed. Let us not forget to discuss the
    successful registrations through the exchanges set up by the states ( Go
    Kentucky! ).

    • HLB

      Those 26 states who didn’t provide exchanges include my own PA & OH. But not KY & WV, who did. HLB

      • TFRX

        Funny how many red-state and Tea Party govs don’t want medicaid expansions.

        Let’s have a whole hour on that.

        • hennorama

          TFRX — it’s strange how these governors want the health care providers in their states to be burdened with more unpaid bills from those patients who would be covered under Medicaid expansion.

          One other effect that’s already happening – increased borrowing costs for healthcare-related bonds for hospitals and health-care systems in states that aren’t expanding Medicaid.

          Per bloomberg.com:

          “Health-care related bonds are already posting the biggest losses among revenue debt in the $3.7 trillion municipal market, losing about 6 percent over the past three months, Standard & Poor’s data show. In states that have rebuffed extending Medicaid, securities of hospital systems have less appeal, said Todd Sisson, a senior analyst at Wells Capital Management in Charlotte, North Carolina.

          “We’re going to see spread widening on hospitals in states that are not expanding versus states that are expanding,” said Sisson, whose company oversees about $31 billion in munis. “States that aren’t expanding Medicaid are still going to have a high percentage of the uninsured. The hospitals are going to lose a lot of money.”

          See:
          http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-12/states-refusing-expanded-medicaid-fuel-worst-losses.html

  • ian berry

    How did that old dog that runs the medicare program get this contract? Ridiculous they would give his signature program to those cavemen.

  • toc1234

    “Insurance companies are also already sending out notices to millions of consumers cancelling individual policies because they are non-compliant with ObamaCare’s new mandates. Kaiser Health News, usually a cheerleader for the law, reports that “Florida Blue, for example, is terminating about 300,000 policies, about 80 percent of its individual policies in the state.” Kaiser Permanente in California has sent notices to 160,000 people, Highmark in Pittsburgh is dropping about 20% of its individual market customers, and Independence Blue Cross of Philadelphia is dropping about 45%.”

    • TFRX

      Yeah, let’s all believe insurance companies’ fluff on this.

      Actually, the disinformation campaign against Obamacare is worth its own hour show.

      • toc1234

        keep jamming your head in the sand. The above data were reported by Kaiser health news. of course Tom, being Obama’s biggest fanboy didn’t bother to ask his guest from Kaiser about her firm’s report. as I said, keep jamming…

        • Ray in VT

          What’s in those policies is the question, I guess. There have been plenty of stories regarding people buying policies that ended up not really covering anything when some issue came up.

          • toc1234

            so to sum up… if the plan you currently have does not contain everything Obama has decreed must be in a plan, then you cannot keep your plan. Liberals can try to spin this all they want, but this was not how Obama sold ACA and its going to become an inconvenient lie in the near future.

          • Ray in VT

            Which would include those crummy plans that cost but cover very little. That is not how the ACA was sold, in part, although I do doubt that many will weep over the end of such policies.

          • toc1234

            classic liberal response… a) you assume you know what people need/want (crummy plans) b) you assume that people will come around to your thinking (doubt they will weep) and c) you do not hold Obama accountable for what he says bc he’s on your team (that wasn’t how ACA was sold BUT…).

          • toc1234

            classic liberal response… a) you assume you know what people currently have (crummy plans) b) you assume ACA is exactly what they need c) you assume people will come around to your view (doubt they will weep) d) you don’t hold Obama accountable for what he says bc he’s on team liberal (ACA was not sold like that, BUT…)

          • Ray in VT

            There are plenty of stories out there regarding people having plans that don’t end up covering anything and then getting stuck with bills that they can’t pay. Perhaps there should also be some clear language regarding plans and some minimum standards. The standards bit certainly worked with things such as automobile safety. I’m willing to bet that people with formerly lousy plans will like having plans that actually cover stuff, and I think that there’s plenty of valid criticism of the President, I just don’t like the 5 year witch hunt that has gone on against him from the goons on the right. If such things make for a classic liberal response, then I am glad to have one and to stand by it.

  • William

    Why has nobody resigned?

    • OnPointComments

      Why has nobody been fired?

  • Labropotes

    I work for an insurance company and manage their database. Usually the vagueness of an assignment is the biggest stumbling block in development. Often my asking about certain details of process or pricing is the first time an issue is considered. If these programmers had been given a very clear idea of what they had to do, the product would have been much better.

  • Barry

    Has the website for the Affordable Care Act been hacked to create the multitude of problems that have been occurring? That kind of dirty trick by the far right would not be surprising.

    • OnPointComments

      If the website had been hacked, you can bet that the Obama administration would have been screaming about it at the top of their lungs. It’s not sabotage, it’s incompetence.

    • Labropotes

      This time it’s Iran and Assad. We retaliate tomorrow. /sarc

  • http://www.openeyesvideo.com/ Glenn C. Koenig

    The number of people this system is trying to handle at once is mind boggling. Why didn’t they do a staged roll-out, rather than open the system to everyone on the same day? That’s a recipe for disaster in any system.

    • OnPointComments

      According to President Obama, there have been fewer than 20 million visits to the website. This is not a mind boggling number. Amazon processes hundreds of millions of transactions a month.

    • Call_Me_Missouri

      AMEN! I can’t imagine the traffic on that site between the media and the actual people who desperately need insurance that up until now they couldn’t get.

  • Coastghost

    The Affordable Care Tax Act rollout: Technical failure. Implementation failure. Management failure. Policy failure. Political failure.

  • rich4321

    I wish people won’t blame it on computer glitch.
    IT’S HUMAN GLITCH!!!

    • tbphkm33

      It is actually system design glitch. In a complex system such as this, it is hard to really blame any one person or entity.

      • jefe68

        Sorry, it’s the way it was coded and the lack of testing. This thing should have been put through the ringer before going live.

      • rich4321

        I am not pointing finger to one person. A major system architecture such as this has numerous point of failures(POF), for example starting with the fundamental connection with the IRS server and the homeland security server, that is one potential POF. Internally within the two organizations, how many POFs is unknown. And the bottom line question is, is the ACA web server ready for such a massive http request? Any one person makes a mistake in a node, the entire system goes haywires.

  • Cindy C Barnard

    I am wondering if the development of the online exchange needed far more money then the government gave to it, with prominent oversight? If so, it would have been a political gong for the GOP.

    And I am wondering, if more money was needed, would it have cost more than the recent GOP shutdown of the government at a whopping 24 billion?

    • OnPointComments

      The cost of developing the website is in excess of $600 million dollars, astronomically expensive.
      The $24 billion dollar figure has been debunked. I bet you can’t find the details of how it was calculated.

      • Call_Me_Missouri

        You are mostly wrong on the numbers… CGI Federal was awarded $698 for many services… The Healthcare.gov was awarded $97 Million. Then CGI Federal extorted almost $200 Million more out of the government claiming that more money was needed to accommodate the additional states that signed up for the Federal Exchange.

        From http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/10/16/meet-cgi-federal-the-company-behind-the-botched-launch-of-healthcare-gov/

        How did CGI land the Healthcare.gov contract?

        CGI Federal’s winning bid stretches back to 2007, when it was one of 16 companies to get certified on a $4 billion “indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity” contract for upgrading Medicare and Medicaid’s systems. Government-Wide Acquisition Contracts — GWACs, as they’re affectionately known — allow agencies to issue task orders to pre-vetted companies without going through the full procurement process, but also tend to lock out companies that didn’t get on the bandwagon originally. According to USASpending.gov, CGI Federal got a total of $678 million for various services under the contract — including the $93.7 million Healthcare.gov job, which CGI Federal won over three other companies in late 2011.

        • OnPointComments

          “Federal officials considered only one firm to design the Obamacare health insurance exchange website that has performed abysmally since its Oct. 1 debut.

          “Rather than open the contracting process to a competitive public solicitation with multiple bidders, officials in the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid accepted a sole bidder, CGI Federal, the U.S. subsidiary of a Canadian company with an uneven record of IT pricing and contract performance.”

          http://washingtonexaminer.com/feds-reviewed-only-one-bid-for-obamacare-website-design/article/2537194

          • Call_Me_Missouri

            I never said they were not improperly selected.

            I know they were improperly selected for other government contracts so I would not be surprised to find out that their selection for this contract was also improper.

            One of the articles I read went into the details of CGI Federals lobbying efforts and they got the contracts they paid for with Lobbying money.

          • Ray in VT

            Improper in the sense that they were not up to the task and that should have been seen or more highly considered or improper in the sense that they were supposedly well connected because one guy gave $1,000 in campaign contributions? It certainly looks like the former, given some of their history, although one article that I looked at did say that they did work on some state sites that were working well. It seems like there is a lot of comments alleging the latter.

          • Call_Me_Missouri

            The case I am referring to, improper meant that they should never have been considered for the contract in the first place. When you send in an incomplete application, you are supposed to be disqualified from consideration… Not selected as the vendor.

            I do not know about the application process for healthcare.gov, but based on the treatment CGI Federal has received from the Obama administration in other instances, I would bet good money that no other vendor was even considered for this contract.

            This might have been for expedience purposes… CGI Federal had a much bigger contract that qualified them to work with the entire Federal Government that was worth $698 million. I would not be surprised if, in an effort to get projects started more quickly, they chose CGI Federal because they were already an approved and had money allocated for them.

  • HLB

    If you want excuses for the ACA rollout, please see our official we’re-not-responsible site: MSNBC.
    –Jay Carney {@whitehouseflack}

    Thank goodness no one is too blame. HLB

  • toc1234

    I believe Sebelius has a gala in boston this week… couldn’t skip that of course..

    • HLB

      She didn’t want to forgo the bling bag. HLB

  • Marc Prufer

    F-22? Congressional hearings? Waste?

    • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

      F35 program would just about pay for all health care. $1.5 Trillion goes a long way…

      • hennorama

        Neil Blanchard — $1.5 Trillion here, $1.5 Trillion there, and pretty soon we’re talking about real money. (nod to an unconfirmed quote attributed to Senator Everett M. Dirksen)

        • Ray in VT

          Why, you could almost start and pay for the long term effects of a war in the Middle East with that kind of chump change.

        • TFRX

          Wasn’t that also attributed to Lamar Hunt, after losing $1M the first year running the Kansas City Chiefs?

          • hennorama

            TFRX — I’m not familiar with that particular reference, but many people have said similar things.

            Perhaps in the future, this quote will be attributed to [hennorama]. ;-)

          • Ray in VT

            The Internet has greatly increased the ability of people to attribute quotes incorrectly. Damn you Obama!

          • jefe68

            I thought that was Al Gores fault.

          • Ray in VT

            I’m pretty sure that in addition to Obama being Osama Bin Laden he is also Al Gore.

    • tbphkm33

      I was thinking in the same direction – want to see some real government waste, go poke around the Department of Defense. An expensive fighter jet that is supposed to serve all the branches, yet does not do one mission well.

      • Marc Prufer

        I think I got the jet wrong — F32 maybe — anyway its hundreds of billions over budget. Why is it that you never hear that the Defense Dept. is going broke — only social security and medicare?

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Is that a serious question?

          SS and Medicare are supposed to be ‘self-funding’ and therefore actuarial analysis can predict future costs costs and the unfunded liability can be measured based on the known revenue stream. The spending on these programs is NOT addressed in the annual budget — if we had one.

          The military is funded on an on going basis out of the general revenues. Spending priorities are outlined in the annual budget. Since we are currently running a $700B deficit the military is funded partially on borrowed money.

          • Marc Prufer

            Facetious! Spending on Dept. of Defense, CIA, NSA, and Homeland Security are hugely responsible for our debt, yet untouchable — the supposedly serious talks are always supposed to happen around social security, medicare and other social welfare programs — god forbid anyone cut back on defense spending — out of control!

          • hennorama

            WftC — while it’s true that Social Security is virtually 100% “self-funded” and requires virtually no general Federal revenues, only Medicare Part A is “self-funded” and gets virtually no general Federal revenues.

            Overall, about 40 percent of Medicare costs are paid out of general Federal Revenues, 38 percent from payroll taxes, 13 percent from beneficiary premiums, and the remaining 9 percent paid by states, taxes on Social Security benefits, and interest on the trust funds.

            There are four Parts to Medicare:

            Medicare Part A, Hospital Insurance; (this gets virtually no Federal general revenue)

            Medicare Part B, Medical Insurance; (72% funded from Federal general revenue)

            Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage), which was formerly known as Medicare + Choice; and

            Medicare Part D, prescription drug coverage. (74% funded from Federal general revenue)

            See:
            http://kff.org/medicare/fact-sheet/medicare-spending-and-financing-fact-sheet/

            http://www.ncpssm.org/Medicare/MedicareFastFacts

          • Labropotes

            Why, I’m an actuary, Worried. I’ve done a quick estimate of SSI/Medicare liabilities. Very roughly, it’s about $200,000 per current American worker. That’s a present value figure. The number is about the same for current recipients because some’s been paid out but for the rest there is no discount. Just a WAG, not looking up any population numbers, I’d say the outstanding present value is about 200mm times 200k equals $40 trillion.

            Don’t Worry. We are going to grow our way out of this.

  • http://www.openeyesvideo.com/ Glenn C. Koenig

    I guess our entire culture is going to learn the hard way. The Medical Industrial Complex is the most wasteful in the world at the moment. Just shoveling more subscribers into the system just feeds this industry more money, yet does little to manage it better and reduce costs. The rich get richer and the rest of us get poorer. It’s all just another way to make the distribution of wealth that much worse.
    Better to take care of your own health, as much as possible. Spend your money on locally grown food, give yourself a break whenever possible to reduce stress (one of the biggest causes of bad health), and stay as far away from the medical system as possible!

    • tbphkm33

      I agree, one of the worse things that can happen to you in the United States is having to go into the “healthcare” system.

  • HLB

    Can you imagine what the Obamabots would have done re: rolling out a financial derivatives transparent exchange and clearing house system? The end of financial markets all over the planet.

    They could have called that system: Melancholia.

    Thanks much. HLB

    * It’s a Lars von Trier movie.

    • TFRX

      Lars von Trier? A nice reference.

  • TFRX

    Can we have a whole show about the right’s disinformation campaign of the ACA?

    Can we have an hour on the Traveling Medicain’t Show, the Kochs-fed cottage industry lobbying individucal red- and Tea Party states to keep their working class folks uninsured?

    Can we demand numbers of everyone willing to tell Fox News “I tried to get Obamacare and it didn’t work?” or “I’m against Obamacare and their quote was for $80000 a year?” Either that, or just call them liars?

    The shatstorm has reached the proportions that mere “he said, she said” is a journalistic failure.

    • HonestDebate1

      Like when they said it would lower premiums by an average of $2500 per family? Like when they said the cost was $940 Billion? Like when they said you can keep your plan if you like it? Ditto your doctor? Like when they swore there would be no mandate and then swore the mandate was not a tax?

  • Labropotes

    Does anyone remember that during the Democratic primary debates in 2007/8 that Obama regularly distinguished his health insurance plan from that of his opponents by pointing out that he wasn’t going to mandate purchasing health insurance? It was a principle reason I supported him.

    From the first one, Obama: “the main disagreement with John [Edwards] and I [sic] is John believes that we have to have mandatory insurance for everyone in order to have universal health care.”

    • hennorama

      Labropotes — pray tell how any of that affects the current state of reality, and the issues at hand.

      • Labropotes

        Just feeling wistful.

        • hennorama

          Labropotes — OK, fair enough. ;-)

    • Marc Prufer

      The president took the position of going with a Republican Health Care Plan so as to mitigate opposition – little did he know that he would be opposed on each and every front.

      • Labropotes

        He ran on something else. To me, that matters. That it was a Republican idea doesn’t matter. Didn’t many Democrats once support some position with which many disagree today? I can think of one.

        • Marc Prufer

          The Democrats and Obama ran on single payer (essentially Medicare for all) but when Hillary Care presented that during the Clinton Administration it went down in huge defeat. Obama, once elected, changed his position to something that would pass instead of something that wouldn’t — its that easy to explain — either you have something or nothing? I still don’t see your point though because you’re saying two things at once that are opposed — 1. that you disagree with Obama for changing his mind and 2. that it’s ok for republicans change their minds on a health care plan that they once supported?

          • Labropotes

            Hi Marc, I only meant that just because one or more Republicans support an idea doesn’t make it good. I’m sure you agree.

          • Marc Prufer

            I do agree — I distinctly remember President Obama saying that you can’t give up the good for the perfect — I would be willing to try anything to get people health insurance, even a Republican idea! If only they would be reasonable and now agree that we met them more than half way on this and other issues!

  • Cindy C Barnard

    Signing up for insurance isn’t restricted through the website, Tom, people can still sign up via phone, face-to-face. You make it sound impossible to sign up at all.

    When your company’s network hits a glitch and shuts down for a time, does everyone get to go home because they have nothing else they can do? Does the company close down for good?

    I mostly agree with all the criticisms, it is a disappointment – but I am also aware of how difficult it has been for this administration to walk the political mind field concerning ACA and keep fighting for it even after it was signed into law.

    And no thanks to 26 republican governors who decided to fight the law rather than help their citizens #GetCovered.

    Ironic at how these same governors who argue to keep gov. programs to the state level will now have a major federal program running their exchange, and soon running as well as Medicaid and SS – more efficient and economical than private insurance has proved operate to date.

    Technical issues can be fixed, will be fixed. Let us not forget to discuss the successful registrations through the exchanges set up by the states ( Go Kentucky! ).

  • OnPointComments

    President Obama said yesterday that there was no excuse for the website problems. It’s obvious that many of the “On Point” commenters don’t believe him, because they are blaming everything and everyone except the Obama administration.

    • PithHelmut

      That’s part of the hypnosis. You see his followers only believe what he says regardless of what he does. He said a lot of things and he’s done the opposite but they continue to believe him no matter how many people are homeless or how many of our soldiers are still used as fodder years after 9/11 and even though we “got” Bin Laden. They believe that Obama did that too. Why wouldn’t one believe Obama? He is a wonderful looking man who says wonderful things and is only being hampered by the nasty Republicans (and yes they are nasty). He always speaks with sophistication unlike his counterparts. He’s balanced; he said we must address climate change and went and installed an “all of the above” solution. Regardless of the fact that drilling for oil while attempting to lower the effects of climate change are mutually exclusive, his followers STILL didn’t vote for Jill Stein even though her policy makes sense. But the most loyalty Obama supporters exhibit is that they ignore the fact that Obama could have stopped the XL pipeline years ago. He didn’t need the Republicans to do that. But he has delayed and delayed while protestors trying to save the planet get arrested for getting in the way of contractors THAT ARE LAYING THE PIPELINE WHILE I WRITE. The delays work. Sometimes I even wonder if the real pantomime is all about making us think that the Republicans are such a barrel of idiots that they make Obama look like Jule Brenner. The real war doesn’t need technology. It needs psychology.

    • Marc Prufer

      No – we’re explaining why your party of no solutions and wishful failure needs to take a chill pill.

      • OnPointComments

        Who ultimately bears responsibility for the failure of the website to function properly? Where does the buck stop?

        • Marc Prufer

          http://www.opednews.com/articles/Monumental-Government-Wast-by-michael-payne-Budget-Deficit_Congress_Corporatism_Crisis-131018-820.html

          There is an order of magnitude here that needs to be understood before talking about government failure. What I hear is penny wise and pound foolishness going on.

          • OnPointComments

            While the article is a little off topic, I have no doubt that there is monumental waste in government. If I was forced to give an estimate, I bet it’s at least 25% of spending, if not more. Another problem is that although monumental waste may be identified, for example with the fighter jets, the members of Congress who represent the district where the jets are built will marshal votes to keep the contract, and the lobbyists will pay to make sure that the contracts continue on.

        • pete18

          George Bush.

  • JGC

    One thing I don’t understand is the pricing for the contracts. Vermont signed an $84-million contract with CGI just to implement the Vermont Health Exchange. The first federal contract CGI had was for about $97-million, eventually to cover 26 separate state health exchanges tied into the federally administered exchange.

    • Call_Me_Missouri

      Don’t worry, when more states came on board they increased the amount for their contract from $97 Million to $292 Million.

  • truegangsteroflove

    It’s the end of the world!!! Impeach Obama!!! Abolish all health care!!! Something isn’t perfect!!!

    Leave it to Tom Ashbrook to hype the story up for the usual reason – to hype his show up. Generate interest, yea outrage and rancor, about a non-issue looking for a megaphone. I’m reminded of an old Bob Dylan verse:

    While one who sings with his tongue on fire
    Gargles in the rat race choir
    Bent out of shape from society’s pliers
    Cares not to come up any higher
    But rather get you down in the hole
    That he’s in

    Presidents have attempted to have a national health care program for over a hundred years. Now we have one. There are difficulties in getting it started. There will be other difficulties. It will get better. The sun will rise tomorrow. Tom Ashbrook will hype something else.

    • hennorama

      truegangsteroflove — I’m just glad that I’ve learned to not be sipping my coffee while reading new comments, else my screen would need wiping just now.

      Thanks for the comic relief of your first 4 sentences.

  • PithHelmut

    If the government can’t even handle the website, heaven help us when they have to handle the whole enchilada of health insurance. Oh brother!

    • Call_Me_Missouri

      When will they have to handle the whole enchilada of health insurance exactly?

    • Marc Prufer

      There is so much misinformation out there, people should really make sure they know what the facts are before spreading more misinformation unintentional it may be. The ACA is basically an expansion of the PRIVATE Health Insurance Marketplace — it IS NOT a government take over of health care. Last night on Crossfire I heard Newt Gingrich say, without direct rebuttal, that the Feds would be determining who your doctor is, what hospital or facility you attend, and what kind of care he or she prescribes – utter hog wash! If you went out to buy health insurance before the ACA, depending on the insurance company and plan you select — you would have a limited choice of facilities and doctors — ACA is no different. Fox news is running 24/7 misinformation — come on people go elsewhere for your information!

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        So the 20,000 pages (and growing) of regulations are completely benign? They have nothing to do with the government and getting between the patient and doctor? You sir are naive.

        • Marc Prufer

          First of all, I understand that Sen. McConnell’s web page says that there are 20,000 pages of the ACA – but that is only true if you add in all of the legislation that is connected to the ACA, such as the Republican Medicare Part D Act which was is a part of the 20,000 pages! Give us all a break — realize who you are getting your information from before acting on it.

        • hennorama

          WftC — repeating an earlier question on this topic:

          How’s that accurate statement of the number of pages in the PPACA, and the comparison to the total number of pages in all other U.S. state, territorial and district laws related to health care and health insurance extant prior to the passage of the PPACA coming along?

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Yawn…..defending bad regulations by pointing to other bad regulations == FAIL.

          • hennorama

            WftC — I haven’t said the laws and regulations are either good or bad, and am simply pointing out that you haven’t provided anything one can compare to the 20K figure being bandied about.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Do those 20K pages of new regulations replace all other regulations? I don’t think so.

            #distraction

          • hennorama

            WftC — I agree that bandying the 20K figure about is a distraction, but I doubt that was your point.

      • TFRX

        Newtie on Crossfire, allowing CNN to make sure their new slogan fits: “The large colon of news”.

        It’s the last place before one hits the toilet bowl that is Fox.

  • Jasoturner

    We must be sure, of course, to conflate the problems of this web site with the validity of the ACA itself…

    • hennorama

      Jasoturner — good point.

      That’s one reason for the following posted a few days ago:

      “Please answer the following with the first thing that comes to mind.

      “QUESTION: What is Obamacare?”

      Many Americans still don’t really understand what the PPACA actually entails, with some believing the law was repealed.

      The communication and public education about Obamacare/Affordable Care Act were and are sorely lacking. According to the Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: September 2013,

      “…the public’s level of awareness about exactly which provisions are – and are not – included in the health care law has generally not increased in the three and a half years since the law was passed. Of the provisions asked about, only one – the individual mandate – is recognized by a larger share now than in 2010 as being part of the law (79 percent now, up from 71 percent). Levels of awareness of other key provisions have either remained stable or declined over time.”

      See:
      http://kff.org/health-reform/poll-finding/kaiser-health-tracking-poll-september-2013/

      • TFRX

        If only Chuck Todd were here to explain (sic)government policy.

        • jefe68

          He’s a real piece of work.

    • nj_v2

      It sucks no matter which way one looks at it.

    • Ray in VT

      Like saying that the Supreme Court ruled Obamacare or the ACA a tax, as though the mandate was the whole thing.

      • HonestDebate1

        That argument seems to satisfy the libs when it comes to saying Obamacare was invented by Heritage.

        • Ray in VT

          Considering that parts of it certainly had its origins there, then it fits. Take the mandate, for instance:

          http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/06/28/individual-health-care-insurance-mandate-has-long-checkered-past/

          • HonestDebate1

            “…as though the mandate was the whole thing.”

          • Ray in VT

            Like if someone says something like “the Supreme Court ruled Obamacare a tax”.

          • HonestDebate1

            No, it was a huge deal that the mandate was found unconstitutional under the commerce clause. Now it’s a tax.

          • Ray in VT

            So, it is inaccurate to say that the Supreme Court ruled Obamacare a tax? I am not sure of your position on the accuracy of such a statement based upon your response.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s completely accurate because that’s what happened. What did not happen is that Obama took Heritage’s plan and enacted it into law. If anything he got the mandate from Hilary.

    • OnPointComments

      The website is an integral part of signing up for insurance under the ACA, and the website should have been the easy part. If the government can’t handle the easy part, how does that bode for the rest of the ACA?

      • Jasoturner

        Given that the website is just connecting people with existing insurance providers who already know how to do their jobs, there is no significant linkage with the operation of the web site.

  • tbphkm33

    Most posters here today treat the “website” as something akin to what they might toss together for their kids soccer league. Reality is that the health exchange interface is enormously complex. There is the front end website, but behind the scenes there are thousands of databases that have to work in concert. You also have hundreds of different actors interacting with the service; individuals looking to sign up, nonprofits, medical industry, insurance companies, government agencies, etc.

    The average person on the street have no clue what-so-ever as to the complexity of this challenge. It is easy to get up on a soap box and bitch, much harder to roll up one’s sleeves and accomplish something constructive.

    • jefe68

      I’m not going to mince words here.
      It’s a mess. There is no excuse and you know what a week ago the GOP was on it’s way to losing seats in both houses and the Democrats had a very good chance of taking back the House. Not now. This site screw up is beyond the pale. I don’t care how complex this is.
      That’s not users problem. The idea of a web site, not matter how complex, is to make the user experience easy and not frustrating. There are years of data on how badly designed UI’s can effect people returning to a site and in this case this was not what should have been the result.

      The one thing they should have made sure was working well is not. The Obama administration has now given the GOP enough fodder to go on with this for the next 3 to 6 months. This will be the topic of the midterm elections and Democrats could now lose both the House and the Senate. Way to go.

    • HonestDebate1

      It’s peanuts compared with the actual enforcement of the bill.

  • TFRX

    Ladeeez and gentleman, your new Republican “normal”, Sen Jim INhofe, R-OK:

    “Iif you’re in a country other than the United States– a lot of them — you can’t get (emergency surgery). In my case with my age, it would have been about a six month wait because I hadn’t had a heart attack.”

    “And so, the message there is — and I say this to all of our
    American listeners — let’s hold on to what we’ve got here. You’re talking to someone right now who probably wouldn’t be here if we had socialized medicine in America.”

    James Inhofe is too stupid to live. And he’s not even called one of the crayzees.

    So, Senator: First, stop lying. (Of course, that’s not gonna happen.) Second, let’s get rid of your idea of “socialized medicine”. Let’s get rid of the ACA. As long as I, and everybody else, can have what you’re having.

    Until then, clap your useless yap.

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/gop-senator-obamacare-might-have-killed-me

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      “James Inhofe is too stupid to live.”
      Really? So anyone below Inhofe’s IQ (or some other arbitrary intelligence test) must die? Who gets to make the rules? Can you say ‘death panel’?

      • nj_v2

        ^ Too dense to understand a rhetorical device.

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          Too dense to understand a satirical retort to hate speech.

          • TFRX

            Hate speech?

            Wow, that’s a pathetic feint you got there. Any more marshmallows you wanna attack me with?

          • Labropotes

            I was wondering this morning if humans hadn’t evolved to resemble chimps just so we are NOT threatened by bananas and marshmallows.

      • hennorama

        WftC — perhaps it was just a delayed comment related to yesterday’s topic: Global Population Debate. ;-)

        • WorriedfortheCountry

          LOL!

          Surprised there weren’t any of the usual “soylent green” barbs. Could be worth a few billion in growth — easy!!!

      • TFRX

        Uh, read Rhetoric 101 for dense hacks. Then get back to me.

        (Actually, don’t get back to me.)

  • OnPointComments

    I felt sorry for that woman who nearly fainted during President Obama’s Rose Garden speech. She has a pre-existing condition that causes her to lose consciousness when she is bombarded with misrepresentations and falsehoods.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Sorry, the koolaid OD isn’t covered.

    • nj_v2

      With today’s performance, OPC has now taken the lead in the On Point Forum Troll standings.

      • jefe68

        Well I did mention they would be having good day of pontificating about nothing much. The bottom line is the GOP has no plan of what to do with our dysfunctional, for profit, fee for service health care system. Nothing. Just a lot of bloviating.

        • Ray in VT

          The plan has mostly seemed to be first we get rid of the ACA, and then we’ll tell you what our other plan is.

          • TFRX

            Underpants Gnomery 101:

            Step 1: Get rid of ACA.

            Step 2: ????

            Step 3: Profit!

          • Ray in VT

            My wife and I tell our boys that gnomes, usually of the underpants variety, make their things go missing, but they don’t believe us.

          • hennorama

            TFRX — there is a South Park episode for just about everything.

            For those not familiar with the South Park “Underpants Gnomes,” see:

            http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/151040/the-underpants-business

            (This is South Park, so insert the usual language disclaimer here)

          • jefe68

            They don’t have a plan. Gregg here seems to have some knowledge we know nothing about. My guess it involves Rush Limbaugh and Costa Rica.

          • Ray in VT

            They do have something, but it seems pretty piecemeal.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            There are GOP plans. You probably wouldn’t like them. Fleming is a medical doctor. Tom Price, another medical doctor in congress, recently released a plan.

            http://www.policymic.com/articles/64873/obamacare-facts-republican-alternative-to-the-aca-is-better-for-millennials

            http://theadvocate.com/home/7095427-125/story.html

          • jefe68

            You are correct. They are rubbish.

          • Ray in VT

            I’ve seen the plan that they rolled out, sort of, last month. They finally got something together, but a lot of it looks like they’ve cobbled together a bunch of their hobby horses like tort reform and buying across state lines. I wonder why it took them 3.5 years to put even that together as a supposed counter to the ACA?

          • HonestDebate1

            The fact is, libs have been sold the line they are parroting because the lie is necessary to further the notion that Obamacare is the only choice. It’s that or nothing. That is the central talking point.

        • HonestDebate1

          BS, there were plenty of plans.

          • jefe68

            Name one. It’s been three years.
            Other than trying to defund and overturn the ACA, some 40 + times, what health care plans have the GOP presented?
            Oh you mean the one where they wanted to stop states from having the right to regulate insurance companies and tort reform? That’s kind of of plan, but exactly one that’s going to solve a damn thing.

          • HonestDebate1

            GWB had HSA’s and Medicare D. McCain had a plan in 2008. Paul Ryan and Ron Wyden proposed a bipartisan solution. The Republican Study Committee had H.R. 3121. There were more.

          • jefe68

            That was in 2008. Paul Ryan’s plan is a joke. It’s 2013. The GOP has nothing.
            Zero.

          • HonestDebate1

            There were plans, you don’t have to like them but quit lying.

      • Ray in VT

        How is that measured? Is it like baseball’s WAR or the NBA’s PER?

    • Ray in VT

      Is that why I keep blacking out when I read some of your comments? ;)

    • StilllHere

      How about avoiding the questions people want answered?

  • nj_v2

    In stark contrast to the festering, steaming, malodorous heaps of hyena excrement spread by the lying regressive rightwing mobs, a leftist critique of the Health Insurance Company Enrichment Act:

    http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/obamacare-vs-single-payer-–-top-10-things-aca-gave-us-vs-top-10-we-gave

    Obamacare VS Single Payer – Top 10 Things the ACA Gave Us VS the Top 10 We Gave Up

    What happens when opportunity knocks and you tell it to go away? There’s a term in economics called an “opportunity cost.” The opportunity cost of any project is the negative value of the most favorable option you gave up to get whatever you got. In the case of the so-called Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, the most favorable option not just thrown away, but avoided at every opportunity by the president and Democrats in Congress, despite majority support among their constituents for it at the time, was a single payer health care system.

    Back in the days when President Barack Obama was still Illinois state senator Barack Obama, he too was an advocate of single payer, famously telling audiences that all we had to do was elect a Democrat House and Senate, and put a Democrat in the White House to make it happen. The electorate followed Obama’s advice, but the president went another way.

    What did we gain? What did we lose? Was it worth it? You decide…

    (main points quoted; full article in link)

    1. We got a swiss cheese system that exempts many large corporations from having to ensure their employees.

    2. We got a Medicare expansion which can be thwarted at will by current or future Republican controlled state governments.

    3. We got a chaotic and confusing “marketplace” in which patients with little information are encouraged to conflate low insurance premiums with low-cost quality insurance.

    4. We got an initially unworkable internet front end for our chaotic and confusing “marketplace.”

    5. We gave an ongoing river of cash to private health insurance companies. Millions more are now forced to buy their crappy product, with the premiums funded by billion annually in public subsidies.

    6. The ACA gives us little or no cost control over medical care and even bans most measures that would lower the cost of prescription drugs.

    7. ACA only covers about half the nation’s total uninsured. It leaves two thirds of the blacks and single mothers, along with half the low-wage employed currently without health insurance untouched.

    8. We have to wait till 2016, when the Obama administration is on its way out of office for all the provisions of the ACA to take effect.

    9. Making health insurance and health care privatized commodities instead of human rights granted certain permanent rights to those profits under the currently popular conservative legal “takings” doctrine.

    10. ACA’s scheme of privatized health insurance paid for by public dollars was originally devised by one arm of the ultraconservative Heritage Foundation, and is opposed today by another arm of that same organization. Go figger.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Reward government incompetence with more power and control. Hmmmm…. what could go wrong?

  • NewtonWhale

    I have no trouble believing that the website was badly designed, and that incompetence may be the only reason.

    However, given the fact that Republicans like Ted Cruz say: “I will continue to do anything I can to stop the train wreck that is Obamacare,” why is it that none of the “journalists” who are going ballistic over the poor roll-out have asked whether sabotage is also to blame?

    I do not find it hard to believe that opponents of Obamacare would use cyber attacks, or even inflitrate the private suppliers of code in order to act as a 5th column. After all, if Edward Snowden could do that with the NSA, how hard could it be with healthcare.gov?

    I’m not claiming that sabotage is going on, I just wonder why I have heard absolutely no reporter ask if it is.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      I think you are onto something.

      His nickname at Harvard Law was Ted “the Hacker” Cruz.

    • OnPointComments

      In all seriousness, if sabotage was involved, don’t you think members of the Obama administration would be telling everyone that someone else caused the problem?

      • NewtonWhale

        No.
        There’s no upside in telling people that the website you want them to use to input personal data has been hacked.

        • OnPointComments

          If the website had been hacked, the administration would likely be legally required to let the public know.

          What to Do if You’ve Been Hacked
          http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424053111904265504576566991567148576

          Excerpt: (emphasis added)
          Figure out whom to tell. This is when you bring in the lawyers.

          Forty-six states have laws that specify when a company has to inform people whose records have been exposed in a data breach. And they’re all different. Other entities, such as the federal Department of Health and Human Services, have separate reporting requirements for organizations they oversee.

          Usually, if the data stolen include a name and something like a credit-card or Social Security number, then notification laws are triggered. But sometimes if the data are encrypted or there’s a strong reason to believe that the information won’t be misused, there’s no need to tell anyone. In other cases, credit-card data could be so old that all the cards would have expired.

    • brettearle

      Next thing you know, the Right will soon be saying,

      “The Left claims sabotage, to hide its own incompetence.”

      And then,

      “The Right claims the Left is lying about sabotage”

      And then,

      “The Left claims the Right claims the Left is lying about sabotage.”

      And then,

      “Let’s…..play….Telephone!”

  • marygrav

    Still now way to listen online.

    • tbphkm33

      Try downloading the Podcast and listen to that. Visit your local public library, they should be able to help point you in the right direction.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Did he really say that you can sign up in any of 150 languages?

    • Johan Corby

      Problem with that?

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Yes. If you want to live here then learn English.

        If they want to offer a couple other major languages like spanish or french as a courtesy — fine. But 150 languages is ridiculous. The UN has only six official languages.

        btw – how can they communicate with a doctor if they can’t speak english or perhaps another major language?

        • Johan Corby

          You do realize doctors speak more than English and that if there’s a barrier, the patient knows to bring someone who can help translate.

          English isn’t an official language, simply a common one and the growth and power of the US came on the backs and through the labor of those who did not and still do not speak English.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            I understand that there is no official language and I’ve never supported making English official but boneheaded decisions like supporting 150 languages make me think we should consider codifying English as the official language for government transactions.

          • Johan Corby

            Is 150 excessive? Yeah, probably. But follow this line of thinking: a system like this only works if everyone enrolls, especially young people as they’re healthier, don’t use insurance as often and thus subsidize boomers and older folks who need more care. Immigrants tend to be young (as they’re generally here to work) so accommodating young populations with diverse language options makes it easier to build a base of young, healthy people paying into the system.

          • WorriedfortheCountry

            Why do we have so many young immigrants who can’t speak English coming here to work if we have such a high unemployment rate and such high numbers of folks underemployed and leaving the workforce?

            Are you suggesting that our immigration system is out of control?

          • fun bobby

            you could be out picking apples right now

          • fun bobby

            fiendish

          • OnPointComments

            You never can tell, there might be an immigrant that speaks the Ket language from Central Siberia. The administration wouldn’t want to have the website debut without accomodating anyone who speaks Ket.

          • fun bobby

            not just anyone who speaks ket, those who only speak ket

          • fun bobby

            one would think that same person could help them sign up. they can’t even get it to work in English

        • fun bobby

          we will pay for a translator for them

  • marygrav

    A friend of mine who is a computer engineer told me that at least 2 things could be happening to the Health Hotline: an outside attack and/or a physics engineer did not do his job of interface which is causing the system to crash.

    Obamacare has some powerful enemies in the T-Party. The members of the House who are part of the T-Party and not part of the Republican Party that wants the US to succeed and get itself back online as a world leader in health care for its people, don’t want health care or the economy to succeed as long as President Obama is in charge. Racism is the chief tool that is gluing the T-Party together. To them: BLACKS DON’T LOOK RIGHT IN CHARGE.

    Never mind that the Teabaggers have made the United States the laughing stock of the world, or that millions of Americans need affordable health care. They are determined to destroy the US government and any effort Obama makes to salvage the people and the economy.

    Obamacare is under attack, not because it is bad; not because it will raise the deficit; but because this is the jewel in the Obama regime.

    The T-Party, not the GOP, don’t confuse the two, missed a golden opportunity. Instead of waiting to attack Obamacare through the Congress, they decided to close the government down. Following Canadian born Senator Ted Cruz, the House out of fear, did what all the Communist that J. Edgar Hoover & the Red Scare found within the government, shut the US government down.

    Please ignore/excuse Tom. He is sounding like Chicken Little. The sky is not going to fall. I have faith because I know that this is a social problem; therefore a man made problem, not a divine decree and the glitches in the software can be fixed. Tom must go back into the news and see the roadblock that were put in the path of Obamacare. Somehow I think he has been asleep the past 4 years.

    Software is software and remember the king of software MICROSOFT just had a recall. I still can’t get the software of FACEBOOK to let me change my email contact address forcing me to get an additional account.

    Obamacare is under attack both from hackers and the media. Be calm: THE ONLY FEAR IS FEAR ITSELF.

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      You continue to call the Tea Party racist without a shred of evidence. You damage the ability to call out real racism when it exists with these specious charges.

      Herman Cain was popular Tea Party presidential candidate in 2012. He also happened to be African American. Many in the Tea Party are interested in seeing Col. Allan West and Dr. Ben Carson run for President in 2016. Both African Americans.

      btw – Cain’s candidacy was destroyed by personal life rumors drummed up by a Democrat activist/lawyer from CA who found a woman from Chicago willing to cry scandal. Who else is from Chicago? (hint:Axelrod/Obama).

      • fun bobby

        but that destroys the narrative.

    • fun bobby

      tell us more about your feelings that everyone in the world is laughing at you

    • brettearle

      You give those, on the Left, a Bad Name.

      Stop with the Malicious and Fringe conspiracy theories….

      You are giving the Right, unnecssary fuel. Let the Right be guilty of what they’re good at:

      Malicious and Fringe conspiracy theories

      When you claim Conspiracy, in a way, it’s almost worse than when the Right does it.

      Why? Because you say it with such authority. And that, ironically and foolishly, is in direct collision course with your content.

      Stop now.

      Let the Tea Party fall on its own Sword.

      You are sensationalizing and entering into the Land of Science Fiction…..something we don’t need on the thread, unless it’s Satire.

    • jefe68

      My bet is on bad programing.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Back in the courts….

    “Bombshell: Federal judge suddenly green-lights lawsuit that could stop Obamacare in its tracks”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2471978/Bombshell-Federal-judge-suddenly-green-lights-lawsuit-stop-Obamacare-tracks.html

    • hennorama

      WftC — this issue has been known for some time, and seems to be a simple drafting error.

      Do you have a case name or other designation?

      Right off the bat one wonders how anyone could have standing in this case, especially business owners, as the so-called employer mandate enforcement has been delayed, making it difficult to imagine how they could have been damaged in any way.

      Insert the usual “I’m not an attorney” disclaimer here.

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    Humorous and tragic.
    Jon Stewart on Obamacare Rollout:

    “How are Democrats Going to Spin This Turd?”

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2013/10/22/jon_stewart_on_obamacare_rollout_how_are_democrats_going_to_spin_this_turd-comments.html

    • hennorama

      WftC — it was a well-done Daily Show segment, as usual.

  • fun bobby

    perhaps from now on government contracts should include a clause that the product must work and if it goes more than 2x over its budget the contractors will be shot in the face. that would solve a myriad of problems quickly and inexpensivly

    • StilllHere

      That’s how China rolls.

    • JGC

      An interesting solution, but apparently will not work in this case. According to Limbaugh, CGI got fired in Canada from their incompetancy with the long-gun registration.

      • fun bobby

        time for a preemptive strike to prevent that from ever happening again. we will never forget

    • WorriedfortheCountry

      Sent hunting with Cheney?

      • fun bobby

        and then forced to apologize to cheney on tv!

  • Joseph_Wisconsin

    I guess that I am one of the few people commenting here that was actually able to complete the process. Having worked in web site design for a number of years I waited a couple of weeks before even trying. When I worked for a web design firm it always seemed that no matter how much checking and testing we did when we first put a new feature up live it would take a few days to get all the bugs out of it. That’s with at most 10,000 – 15,000 visitors a day, not millions.

    Anyway last Friday I made my first attempt (using Firefox browser). I was able to create an account, but after receiving the confirmation email I was not able to actually log on. I would just get a blank page after submitting the log in data. This continued through the weekend,until finally yesterday I decided to try a different browser, Google Chrome. Worked the first time. It is a complicated process to get through it all, but I did it and without any problems with timeouts. I think my problem with Firefox as the browser may have had something to do with my security or cookie settings, but I don’t care at this point.

    • JGC

      Were you just checking it out as a problem-solving curiosity, or are you looking at it as a consumer interested in checking healthcare prices and coverage through the exchange for yourself?

      • Joseph_Wisconsin

        Looking for enrollment. I am self-employed and I gave up buying health insurance several years ago. My premiums were going up 10% or so every year, I had a very high deductible to keep the premium down, I have not had any major health problems, and so I was paying a lot for nothing essentially. What I found through the new exchange is that my rates would be about what I was last paying when I stopped buying insurance, but with better coverage actually. That said I still am planning on just paying the penalty for not buying insurance, at least for next year. I’m counting on staying healthy until I can get onto a really good system, that is Medicare in 5 years.

        • JGC

          Thanks for your description of the application and how you went through your process to decide if it was right for you. Real world experiences carry weight, because there is a lot of conjecture and nonsense out there.

          I hope your good health continues. Good luck, and thanks again.

    • hennorama

      Joseph_Wisconsin — thank you for sharing your enrollment story (assuming that you actually enrolled), and your real world experience as to web site design.

    • fun bobby

      so how much money did you save?

    • JGC

      I’ll just belatedly add one comment here: it is discouraging to think it takes someone well-versed in web design to figure out a route into the ACA application process. (Although I know it will be fixed eventually…)

      Maybe here is where the ACA navigators will have to get additional training. And it is also discouraging that many of the 26 Republican-led states are restricting use of the navigators, preventing their citizens from accessing health insurance.

  • hennorama

    Apologies in advance for being Off Point:

    Yet another consequence of the recent Federal partial shutdown:

    “2014 Tax Season to Start Later Following Government Closure; IRS Sees Heavy Demand As Operations Resume”

    “IR-2013-82, Oct. 22, 2013

    “WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced a delay of approximately one to two weeks to the start of the 2014 filing season to allow adequate time to program and test tax processing systems following the 16-day federal government closure.

    “The IRS is exploring options to shorten the expected delay and will announce a final decision on the start of the 2014 filing season in December, Acting IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel said. The original start date of the 2014 filing season was Jan. 21, and with a one- to two-week delay, the IRS would start accepting and processing 2013 individual tax returns no earlier than Jan. 28 and no later than Feb. 4.

    “The government closure came during the peak period for preparing IRS systems for the 2014 filing season. Programming, testing and deployment of more than 50 IRS systems is needed to handle processing of nearly 150 million tax returns. Updating these core systems is a complex, year-round process with the majority of the work beginning in the fall of each year.”

    See:
    http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/2014-Tax-Season-to-Start-Later-Following-Government-Closure;-IRS-Sees-Heavy-Demand-As-Operations-Resume

    • OnPointComments

      Perhaps the IRS can use the extra time to implement the recommendations of the Treasury Inspector General so that it doesn’t pay bogus claims for the Earned Income Tax Credit. The $132.6 billion in erroneous EITC payments over the past decade make the fabricated $24 billion loss from the partial shutdown seem insignificant by comparison.

      “The Internal Revenue Service paid up to $13.6 billion in bogus claims for the Earned Income Tax Credit last year and as much as $132.6 billion over the past decade, according to an internal audit that already has some members of Congress questioning how the agency will be able to administer Obamacare.

      “IRS problems with the tax credit aren’t new. In fact, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration said it warned officials about the problems in 2011 — but two years later, the agency still hasn’t solved the situation and remains in violation of one of President Obama’s executive orders.”

      http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/22/irs-paid-132B-bogus-tax-credits-over-last-decade/

      • hennorama

        OPC – TY for your reply.

        First of all, due to the shutdown the IRS has less time, not “extra time.”

        Second, what “fabricated $24 billion loss from the partial shutdown” are you talking about? Remember, the $24B figure from S&P is an estimate and not a measurement. Others have estimated the impact as ranging from 0.2 to 0.8 percent of GDP for Q4 of calendar 2013 (Q1 of Federal FY 2014), which would be a range of about $8.4 Billion to $33.6 B, based on my “quick and dirty” calculations.

        Notably, no one says the economic impact of the shutdown will be either zero or positive.

        Finally, EITC fraud is a difficult issue to resolve, as the TIGTA Final Report issued on August 28, 2013 indicated.

        “Results of Review

        “A Significant Reduction in Earned Income Tax Credit Improper Payments Will Be Difficult to Achieve Without Alternatives to Traditional Compliance Methods “

        See:
        http://www.treasury.gov/tigta/auditreports/2013reports/201340084fr.pdf (page 10 of the PDF; page 5 of the Report)

        Also:

        “The IRS agreed with [TIGTA’s} recommendation. The IRS will develop the quarterly reports on summary volumes and amounts of post-refund high-dollar EITC payment reversals that the OMB agreed meet the quarterly report
        requirements of Executive Order 13520. Due to the requirements of Internal Revenue Code Section 6103(a), the IRS can only provide summary data to the CIGIE.”

        The IRS will be implementing associated Corrective Action on Sept. 30, 2014.

        (Same source as above, pages 19 and 39 of the PDF; pages 14 and 34 of the Report)

        • OnPointComments

          Even if EITC fraud is a difficult issue, at a cost of $13 billion a year, isn’t it worth it to put forth the effort to correct the problem? If the IRS can find the time for in-depth investigations of conservative individuals and nonprofits, spend $50 million on one conference, produce silly Star Trek videos, pay $70 million in annual bonuses, pay IRS employees $155 million a year for union activities, and countless other wastes of taxpayer dollars, I think it could find the time to root out $13 billion dollars of fraud each year.

          Try to find the details of how S&P calculated its estimate. Try to find out whether S&P factored in the spending that was merely delayed, or whether the spending was lost forever.

          “The news has been full of an estimate by Standard & Poor’s that the U.S. economy suffered a loss of $24 billion due to the government shutdown. Interestingly, the reports contain few if any details of where those losses came from and the Standard & Poor’s website does not seem to have any report backing up the figure either. I have found some of the suggested losses and they are all untrue. In reality, there will be no economic loss to the economy from the government shutdown.”

          http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffreydorfman/2013/10/22/there-will-be-no-24b-economic-loss-from-the-government-shutdown/

          “So while the shutdown likely cost the economy something, much of the normal activity was only delayed or redirected.”

          http://www.forbes.com/sites/merrillmatthews/2013/10/21/what-really-hurts-the-economy-government-shutdowns-or-obamas-economic-policies/

          • hennorama

            OPC – TY again for your response.

            First of all, two op-eds from Forbes contributors are not proof of anything related to the economic impact of the recent Federal shutdown. I understand the arguments, and indeed much of the economic activity was simply deferred or delayed. However, there certainly have been negative and irretrievable impacts. Otherwise, why would several governors have scrambled to pay for the reopening of various National Parks, for example?

            Next, a correction. I wrote “EITC fraud,” when I should have written “improper EITC payments.” These payments are not necessarily fraudulent, and are also not necessarily overpayments.

            One also must note that the article you cited called these improper payments “bogus,” and the headline indicated “IRS wastes billions in bogus claims for Earned Income Tax Credit.” These words imply that the claimants had fraudulent intent, which is often untrue. Simple and innocent mistakes happen for a variety of reasons. And OTOH, there certainly is some level of intentional fraud.

            Please note that the TIGTA report did not characterize the “improper payments” as either “waste” or “bogus.”

            “The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) defines an improper payment as any payment that should not have been made or that was made in an incorrect amount. Improper payments include overpayments as well as underpayments.”

            The IRS has the difficult task of balancing the complicated aspects of the EITC and legitimate policy aims of the credit, with reasonable and realistic enforcement in order to reduce improper payments, especially overpayments and fraudulent claims.

            Per the TIGTA report:

            “The IRS continues to face challenges in reducing improper EITC payments

            “In its Fiscal Year 2012 Agency Financial Report,2 the Department of the Treasury identified a number of factors that continue to serve as barriers to reducing improper payments in the EITC program. These include:

             Complexity of the tax law, including the need for congressional authorization of math error authority.
             Structure of the EITC.
             Confusion among eligible claimants.
             High turnover of eligible claimants.
             Unscrupulous tax return preparers.
             Fraud.

            “EITC eligibility rules are complicated and cause taxpayers to make errors while attempting to interpret and apply the tax laws to their individual situations. In addition, the changing population of taxpayers who claim the EITC increases the difficulty the IRS faces in improving EITC compliance. The IRS has conducted numerous studies showing how taxpayers move in and out of the EITC program. Studies show that approximately one-third of EITC claimants each year are intermittent or first-time claimants. The Department of the Treasury stated that
            none of the six factors listed above can be considered the primary driver of EITC improper payments. The interaction among the factors makes it extremely difficult to address the credit’s improper payment rate while balancing the need to ensure that eligible taxpayers receive the credit.”

            And quoting from a recent (April 2013) article from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, by Robert Greenstein and John Wancheck, titled “Reducing Overpayments in the Earned Income Tax Credit”

            “What Congress Can — and Should — Do

            “There are three steps, all thoroughly bipartisan, that Congress can and should take to shrink overpayments further.

            “First, if the IRS is unsuccessful in appealing the court ruling regarding commercial preparers, Congress should give the IRS the necessary authority to regulate these preparers so that the IRS can undertake this initiative, which is a cornerstone of IRS tax compliance efforts.

            “Second, Congress should adopt a series of simplification measures, most of which George W. Bush’s Treasury Department proposed in the mid-2000s after the introduction of simplified EITC rules led to a 13 percent drop in overpayments. Congress never acted on these proposals, which were included in several Bush budgets. Several have strong merit, including two areas where honest taxpayers unintentionally commit errors: simplifying the rule governing how parents who are separated can claim the EITC, and allowing filers who live with a qualifying child but don’t claim the child for the EITC to claim the much smaller EITC for workers not raising a child.

            “Third, Congress should provide the IRS with the necessary resources to intensify its efforts to use other databases to identify questionable EITC claims. The IRS’ efforts to date, and their impact on the overpayment rate, have been hampered by the limitations of the IRS computer systems and by the lack of sufficient IRS staff to follow up on all questionable cases. (As Treasury Secretary Jack Lew recently told Congress, the IRS has 8,000 fewer full-time employees than two years ago and has had to undertake fewer enforcement actions as a result.[7] ) These shortcomings — which would worsen if the sequestration budget cuts continue — hinder IRS compliance efforts generally, not just with regard to the EITC.

            “Added funding for the IRS to modernize its information technology systems and to have sufficient staff to follow up on more of the questionable claims would far more than pay for itself by reducing errors in the EITC and other parts of the tax code.”

            See:
            http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=3960

            Perhaps this will be addressed in the near future, as part of the next round of budget negotiations.

            I for one won’t be holding my breath.

            Thanks again for your response.

          • OnPointComments

            Actually, Forbes would be ‘second of all’; ‘first of all’ would be that an estimate from S&P is not proof of anything related to the economic impact of the recent Federal shutdown. I wonder if it is simply coincidental that news reports stated the nonessential government services that were shutdown were 15% of the government, and S&P’s estimate of the cost of the shutdown is 15% of average government spending for 16 days.

            Whether the EITC improper payments were fraud or simply incorrect, $13 billion a year is worth correcting. While I’m sure that the IRS would claim that it doesn’t have the resources to intensify its efforts verifying EITC payments, if I were king, I’d tell them to use the money that they previously wasted for in-depth investigations of conservative individuals and nonprofits, $50 million dollar conferences, silly Star Trek videos, $70 million in annual bonuses, $155 million a year to pay IRS employees for union activities, and countless other wastes of taxpayer dollars.

          • hennorama

            OPC – TY again for your reply.

            I have been careful from the very start to describe the S&P figure of $24 B as an estimate, and not a definitive number. It seems that you dispute this estimate, so one would advise directing your dispute to the S&P analyst, whose contact info can be obtained through this link, which is contained in my OP:

            http://www.standardandpoors.com/ratings/articles/en/us/?assetID=1245358642459

            One hopes that the Forbes op-ed contributors took this simple step before disputing the S&P figure, but one doubts that this was the case.

            Improper EITC payments, especially overpayments and fraudulent claims, have been an issue virtually since the credit’s inception in 1975. The issues are not new, and the IRS has been working to reduce improper payments. At present, a significant element of their efforts – Paid Tax Return Preparer Compliance Initiatives – are stymied due to an adverse court ruling, which is under appeal. The IRS estimates that about two-thirds of all EITC claims were filed through paid tax return preparers, making preparer compliance issues a very high priority.

            Unfortunately for all concerned, the IRS doesn’t have a magic wand to make this all suddenly go away.

            Thanks again for your reply.

  • LetsGetReal

    Microsoft foisted its Windows Blue Screen of Death monopoly on us for years, basically using the customer as test bed guinea pigs on which to carry out their product R&D at the customer’s expense turning Bill into a billionaire.

    But that was fine; after all that’s the -can do no wrong- for profit private sector.

    Now the government rolls out a massive, complex, never before carried out program (subcontracted to the for profit private sector) and everyone expects it to to work flawlessly the minute it’s brought on line. Because it doesn’t, they set their hair on fire, posturing in a shamelessly disingenuous orgy of hand-wringing egged on by the likes of Mr. Ashbrook.

    • fun bobby

      I hope they can get signed up for obamacare before they light the match

    • Sy2502

      I don’t remember getting hit with a penalty if I didn’t use Windows.

  • Maggy Bort

    2 points:
    1. Why don’t they contract Zuckerberg? Facebook has more users than healthcare.gov ever will.
    2. I’m pro ACA, but wouldn’t it be better if the fed gov delayed the fine for a year to get the bugs ironed out?

  • hennorama

    MYTH: “Obamacare is forcing people into part-time work.”

    Today’s jobs data again shows this to be FALSE.

    From the Wall Street Journal’s Ben Casselman, “Don’t Blame Health Law for High Part-Time Employment”:

    “[Obamacare's] so-called “employer mandate” requires most midsize and larger companies to offer health insurance to their full-time employees. That, critics argue, provides companies with an incentive to hire part-timers instead.

    “But a closer look at the data provides little evidence for the notion that the health law is driving a shift to part-time work, although it could as the mandate deadline approaches.

    “First of all, over a longer time frame, part-time work has actually been falling as a share of employment in recent years. Before the recession, about 17% of employed Americans worked 35 hours or less, the standard Labor Department definition of “part time.” During the recession, that figure rose, briefly hitting 20%. It’s been trending down since then, but only slowly, hitting 19% in September.”

    http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2013/10/22/dont-blame-health-law-for-high-part-time-employment/

    From the L.A. Times’ Michael Hiltzik, “Obamacare and part-time jobs: The myth exploded (again)”:

    “The report’s most notable nugget is the change in part-time work. Over the last month the number of workers in part-time jobs for economic reasons–slack demand, cutbacks in hours–has remained stable. Over the last year, however, it has fallen by 681,000. Those part-timers also constitute a smaller share of all workers–5.5% in September compared to 6% a year earlier.

    “That puts the lie to the popular conservative meme that Obamacare has transformed America’s workforce into part-timers. The idea is that employers wishing to evade the law’s requirement that they offer health insurance to employees working more than 30 hours a week will cut their hours to 29 or less.”

    http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-obamacare-20131022,0,5237220.story

    From Business Insider’s Steven Perlberg, “The Myth That Obamacare Is Destroying Full-Time Jobs Just Got Debunked”:

    “According to the BLS household survey, part-time jobs fell 594,000 in September while full-time workers were up 691,000.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-obamacare-part-time-jobs-myth-2013-10#ixzz2iV4q4WAZ

    From TIME’s Kate Pickert, “Obamacare Hasn’t Put Americans Out of Work – New federal jobs report doesn’t support claim that the Affordable Care Act will decrease full-time employment”:

    “CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo said as recently as Sunday the health care law was transforming the U.S. into a “part-time employment country.”

    “The problem with this line of thought was that there wasn’t any good evidence to support it. And a new federal jobs report released Tuesday shows that Obamacare’s effect on employment is not what its critics have claimed.

    “After an uptick in part-time work earlier this year, which Republicans seized on to attack the law, the new jobs report shows that, for the second straight month, the number of part-time jobs reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics fell. In September, 691,000 full-time jobs were added to the economy while 594,000 part-time jobs went away. The average workweek remained about 35 hours. Plus, as Ben Casselman points out in the Wall Street Journal, part-time employees were actually working more hours in recent months, and because of differences in the way the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the ACA define “part-time,” there’s no evidence the law has had any impact on part-time employment over the past year. Part-time employment nationwide is higher than before the recession started in 2008, but that trend began before Obamacare became law in 2010. In addition, the health care law’s requirement that employers provide health insurance to full-time workers, doesn’t even begin until 2015.”

    http://nation.time.com/2013/10/22/obamacare-hasnt-put-americans-out-of-work/#ixzz2iVd9Uc3v

    • pete18

      This is only because of the delay in the employee mandate, check back next year to see the real effects on how the law effects employment: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303382004579127162339871336

      • hennorama

        pete18 — TY for your response.

        It appears that your point is that everyone who says this is happening and has been happening has been lying through their teeth.

        If so, I agree.

        • pete18

          Well, thanks for inventing a position for me but that’s not what I said, nor is that what the article i linked to said. Nice try though:

          “To understand ObamaCare’s impact on part-time employment, consider
          the six-month period between the employer mandate’s initial “look back”
          date of Jan. 1 and July 2, 2013, when the administration wisely
          announced it was delaying the employer mandate for a year. This is the
          period during which employers most significantly increased part-time
          employment in reaction to ObamaCare.

          The health-care law’s actual
          consequences unequivocally appear in the jobs data for this period.
          Between Jan. 1 and June 30, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,
          the economy added 833,000 part-time jobs and lost 97,000 full-time
          jobs, for net creation of 736,000 jobs. In reality, the economy overall
          added no full-time jobs. Rather, it lost them.

          It’s not like
          this six-month boom in part-time jobs went unnoticed. In July, Federal
          Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke questioned whether the official
          unemployment rate fairly represented the state of the labor market
          because it didn’t reflect factors such as “underemployment, part-time
          work.” Also in July, three powerful unions wrote to the Obama
          administration complaining that ObamaCare would “destroy the foundation
          of the 40-hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle
          class.”

          In August, Keith Hall, who ran the Bureau of Labor
          Statistics from 2008-12, looked at part-time hiring from the end of
          January through July and told a McClatchy reporter that the results were
          “really remarkable” and “a really high number for a six-month period.
          I’m not sure that has ever happened over six months before.”

          Not surprisingly, full-time job creation rebounded and part-time employment
          subsided following the announcement on July 2 that the employer mandate
          would be delayed for a year. In July and August, the economy lost 20,000
          part-time jobs and added 132,000 full-time jobs. While businesses know
          the administration has put off, not eliminated, the mandate, the clock
          was reset and the surge in part-time employment subsided.”

          • hennorama

            pete18 – Thanks again for your response.

            I read the op-ed, and note that Mr. Puzder is a sort of “go-to” person for this particular point of view, as he has testified about his beliefs about the PPACA before Congress. One also notes that he is the CEO of a company in the fast-food industry, an industry whose average worker is employed about 24 hours per week, and in which the vast majority of its workers have no health insurance through their employer.

            And if, as you wrote earlier, part-time employment has declined “…only because of the delay in the employe[r] mandate,” then you agree that part-time employment has actually declined. This means that everyone who has been saying otherwise is in fact, lying.

            Even the uptick in the first half of 2013 didn’t reach earlier levels of part-time workers as a share of total workers, and was still part of the overall downtrend, as you can see in the chart in the businessweek.com article link from my OP:

            “Check out the chart showing that part-time workers as a share of total workers has, if anything, actually gone down.”

            See:
            http://www.businessinsider.com/the-obamacare-part-time-jobs-myth-2013-10#ixzz2iZ6gXUlk

            And one must ALWAYS remember that the vast majority of part-time workers work part-time voluntarily. As I pointed out recently to [brettearle]:

            “Here are some data points from just after passage of the PPACA on March 23, 2010, and the most recent data. All data is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

            AVERAGE WEEKLY HOURS OF ALL EMPLOYEES (Total private, Seasonally Adjusted, Series Id: CES0500000002)

            March 2010: 34.0
            August 2013: 34.5 (Preliminary)

            Employment Level – Part-Time for Economic Reasons, All Industries (Series Id: LNS12032194)

            March 2010: 9.122 Million
            August 2013: 7.911 Million

            Employment Level – Part-Time for Non-economic Reasons (Series Id: LNS12005977)

            March 2010: 18.279 Million
            August 2013: 19.339 Million

            “The data immediately above shows that there has been an increase in part-time workers who were voluntarily working part-time for non-economic reasons. In other words, they only wanted to be working part-time. That’s an important point to remember any time someone talks about part-time workers – THE VAST MAJORITY WORK PART-TIME VOLUNTARILY.”

            I’d refer you also to research from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, published August 26, 2013,

            “…recent movements and current levels of part-time work are largely within historical norms, despite increases for selected demographic groups, such as prime-age workers with a high-school degree or less. In that respect, the continued high incidence of part-time work likely reflects a slow labor market recovery and does not portend permanent changes in the proportion of part-time jobs.”

            “An alternative interpretation of the persistent high level of involuntary part-time work due to an inability to find full-time work is that it reflects employer anticipation of the 30-hour cutoff for mandatory employee health benefits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) of 2010. Media stories have suggested that some employers are only hiring part-time workers to minimize the cost of expanded health coverage. This phenomenon will probably continue, although perhaps at a slower pace due to the recently announced delay in implementation of the employer mandate to 2015.

            “In any event, both the impact of the law so far and the ultimate effect are likely to be small. Before the law was passed, most large employers already faced IRS rules that prevented them from denying available health benefits to full-time workers. These rules gave employers an incentive to create part-time jobs to avoid rising health benefit costs. Moreover, recent research suggests that the ultimate increase in the incidence of part-time work when the ACA provisions are fully implemented is likely to be small, on the order of a 1 to 2 percentage point increase or less (Graham-Squire and Jacobs 2013). This is consistent with the example of Hawaii, where part-time work increased only slightly in the two decades following enforcement of the state’s employer health-care mandate (Buchmueller, DiNardo, and Valletta 2011).”

            See:
            http://www.frbsf.org/economic-research/publications/economic-letter/2013/august/part-time-work-employment-increase-recession/

            See also the chart on aei-ideas.org in a post titled “Part-time jobs for economic reasons as a share of full-time employment and total part-time jobs have been declining,” published September 8, 2013:

            http://www.aei-ideas.org/2013/09/part-time-jobs-for-economic-reasons-as-a-share-of-full-time-employment-and-total-part-time-jobs-has-been-declining/

            MYTH BUSTED.

    • HonestDebate1

      For one thing your figures ignore the LFPR as a baseline. For another you are going out of your way to ignore the correlation because some liberal told you the causation is not there. Part time jobs are at an all time record high.

  • OnPointComments

    Besides the website not working properly, another concern is that leading up to October 1, Congress and the public were repeatedly assured by Sebelius and Gary Cohen (in charge of setting up the exchanges) that everything was going according to plans. As late as September 20, Sebelius said “We are very much on track to be ready Oct. 1″ and that any “bumps in the road” would be fixed before opening day As this article states, Sebelius either has to admit she was out of touch, or that she was willfully misleading.

    “Will Sebelius now claim she had no idea what was going on when she offered up all these reassurances? The other alternative is that she and her top deputy willfully and repeatedly misled Congress and the American people for months about the status of ObamaCare. Either way, Sebelius has a lot to explain…Remember, these are the same people who will be running your health care in the years ahead.”

    SEBELIUS: A LIAR OR JUST INEPT?
    http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/102213-676223-did-sebelius-lie-about-obamcare-readiness-webhed-is-sebelius-a-liar-or-just-hopelessly-incompetent-.htm?p=full

    • TFRX

      It’s nice to know the crapshlap of IBD editorials will always have a home on public radio.

  • brettearle

    The Medicare Part D Program–conceived and engineered by the Bush Administration–was ungodly and unruly, for the first few months.

    By family circumstances I was compelled to do research–including attending seminars, sponsored by a major hospital and by AARP, respectively.

    Many officials did not have answers or gave the wrong answers. The Carriers didn’t know and understand coverage. The Medicare Web Site was sometimes screwed up.

    The Elder Organization, SHINE, had no clue; that was true sometimes with Blue Cross, as well.

    Occasionally, I had to tell CSRs how to do their jobs–because they had less information than I, as a consumer had.

    Is it any wonder why, the ACA–many, many times more complex than Medicare Part D–has started off this way?

  • pete18
    • jefe68

      You left out some information that was in the second link.
      Did you read the article? I guess the facts don’t match your narrative.

      By all accounts, the new policies will offer consumers better coverage, in some cases, for comparable cost — especially after the inclusion of federal subsidies for those who qualify. The law requires policies sold in the individual market to cover 10 “essential” benefits, such as prescription drugs, mental health treatment and maternity care. In addition, insurers cannot reject people with medical problems or charge them higher prices. The policies must also cap consumers’ annual expenses at levels lower than many plans sold before the new rules.

      • pete18

        I’m not sure what you think doesn’t match the narrative. It is clear that 100s of thousands of people are losing the coverage that they have now, in complete contradiction to Obama’s firm promises. The “better coverage” is offered for “comparable costs” only “in some cases.” Sounds like a lot of people are losing the coverage they want and will have to pay more for extra coverage that they may not want. But hey, why in the world hold Obama to his word as long as everyone’s feeling excited about his good intentions.

        By the way, I’m still waiting for your reading recommendations that show JFK to be a “Keynesian.”

        • jefe68

          I’ll let Arthur Okun explain it, he was one of JFK’s economic advisers.

          So, was Kennedy really a forerunner to Reagan and Bush? Or are supply-siders just cynically appropriating his aura? The Republicans are right, up to a point. Kennedy did push tax cuts, and his plan, which passed in February 1964, three months after his death, did help spur economic growth. But they’re wrong to see the tax reduction as a supply-side cut, like Reagan’s and Bush’s; it was a demand-side cut. “The Revenue Act of 1964 was aimed at the demand, rather than the supply, side of the economy,” said Arthur Okun, one of Kennedy’s economic advisers.

          http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/history_lesson/2004/01/tax_cuts_in_camelot.html

          Or this one.
          http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2011/01/26/the-myth-of-jfk-as-supply-side-tax-cutter

          By the way I’m done with this.
          If you don’t like my point of view, that’s not my problem.

      • OnPointComments

        There have been numerous news reports about the soaring cost of national flood insurance. The solution is to require everyone in the US to purchase a flood policy. Having a large pool of policy owners will help bring down the cost for everyone, and guarantee that those who have homes on the seashore and barrier islands, as well as those with homes in the mountains and high rise buildings, can get affordable coverage. Someone with a home in a high rise building or on a mountain top might argue that they have no need for flood insurance, but if government health insurance can require a 60 year old couple pay for maternity, newborn, and pediatric care, or the life-long abstainer to pay for substance abuse rehabilitation, there shouldn’t be a problem with requiring everyone to buy flood insurance, right?

        • jefe68

          That 60 year old was a 1 year old at one point.

          By your argument, why should a 35 year old pay for a 75 year old. Or a 55 year old pay for someone who is 85.

          Why don’t we just do nothing. Let health care keep on the current path of being dysfunctional.

          By the way, the flood insurance in areas that are prone to flooding is either not being offered, or the premiums are very high. This has happened in Cape Cod, people can no longer get insurance for hurricane damage.

        • ExcellentNews

          There have been numerous news reports about the high cost of living in a civilized society. After all, how many of us have really used the services of firefighters, police officers, or our military defending the homeland (note to conservatives – Iraq or Afghanistan are NOT part of our homeland)? Someone like most of us who have never used these services might object having to pay for them. So why require us to pay? It’s much better to let the oligarchy run its private militia based on free market ideas, and we will be all better off (two hummers in every garage, guaranteed!)

          • OnPointComments

            While there is a possibility that my mother might need the services of firefighters or police officers, just as any of us might need their services, the chance is slim that she will need maternity or pediatric coverage, and if she does need it, I’m sure she’d be willing to personally pay for it out of her Social Security check.

  • JGC

    You can find an estimate of the cost of your health plan at the Kaiser Family Foundation’s ACA calculator at
    kff.org/interactive/subsidy-calculator/

    • hennorama

      Awesome! Thanks JCG!. (and KFF, of course)

      • JGC

        I was just thinking you may have already provided this link at some point, but I guess it doesn’t hurt to occasionally post it again.

        • hennorama

          JGC — while I have definitely been citing KFF a great deal of late, I was unaware of the calculator.

          Thanks for sharing and aware-ing.

  • Central Services

    This show seemed to be more about the IT implementational aspect so I’ll comment on that rather than the merits of the ACA itself.

    Anyone who works on software projects can kind of guess what happened. It’s human nature to downplay the danger of excessive complexity, leading to overconfidence. The business rules are complicated and perhaps a moving target up until the 11th hour. The technologies and govt agency database interactions are complex. A disconnect between the implementors and higher level officials who don’t want to hear about “low level details” and then come in at the last minute with mandatory revisions. End result: panic sets in as the 800 lb gorilla just won’t go out the door, leaving little time for adequate real-world testing, focus groups, etc.

    Remember that old software engineering chestnut “The Mythical Man-Month”, which famously stated “Adding more people to a late software project makes it later”. … will be interesting to see what happens with this Tech Surge now. I hope it works out, we need this.

    Steve

  • susan

    The callers made me laugh on this. I remember when the bill was being passed, Dems rushed through because “OMG people are dying waiting for insurance” or “that single mom is going bankrupt because her son had a ruptured appendix” or some other equally dramatic rhetoric that justified passing a massive bill without any sort of comprehension of it. Now that the website is all kinds of screwed up, the callers are like “relax, this doesn’t take effect until January” blah, blah, blah. I guess the dying people don’t need insurance as urgently anymore? Come on, Dems. Don’t embarrass us like the GOP embarrasses itself.

    • 228929292AABBB

      Agreed, this is the worst part, it not only makes the Republicans look right about Democrats and government, it may effectively give them the delay President Obama just beat back with the first and only gutsy stand of his presidency. What a waste.

  • OnPointComments

    An interesting article about the problems with the Obamacare website. Apparently $600+ million dollars doesn’t get you a good product.

    TO FIX OBAMACARE WEBSITE, BLOW IT UP, START OVER
    http://money.cnn.com/2013/10/23/technology/obamacare-website-fix/

    Excerpt (emphasis added):
    “After assessing the website, Dave Kennedy, the CEO of information-security company Trusted Sec, estimates that about 20% of Healthcare.gov needs to be rewritten. With a whopping 500 million lines of code, according to a recent New York Times report, Kennedy believes fixing the site would probably take six months to a year.

    To put 500 million lines of code into perspective, it took just 500,000 lines of code to send the Curiosity rover to Mars. Microsoft’s (MSFT, Fortune 500) Windows 8 operating system reportedly has about 80 million lines of code. And an online banking system might feature between 75 million and 100 million lines. A “more normal range” for a project like Healthcare.gov is about 25 million to 50 million lines of code, Kennedy said.

    The [500 million lines of code] says right off the bat that something is egregiously wrong,” said Kennedy. “I jumped back when I read that figure. It’s just so excessive.”

    The code is also riddled with security holes, according to Kennedy, who outlined his cybersecurity concerns on Trusted Sec’s company blog.”

  • HonestDebate1

    16 million people are receiving letters from health care providers informing them their current plan is kaput. How does that compare with the number of those who have signed up for Obamacare?

  • ExcellentNews

    This is the government that created nuclear reactors and bombs from scratch in under six years, and that put a man on the moon (to mention but few of Uncle Sam’s achievements). So why it cannot put up a web site that works? In the 40 year period since World War II, our business and industrial elites worked hand in hand with government to build a better country for all. The result was the American dream. Since the 90s, they are however working against the government and against the middle class. The result is the gutting of America (and a web site that does not work…)

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Apr 18, 2014
This undated photo provided by NASA on April 2, 2014 shows Saturn's moon Enceladus. The "tiger stripes" are long fractures from which water vapor jets are emitted. Scientists have uncovered a vast ocean beneath the icy surface of the moon, they announced Thursday, April 3, 2014. Italian and American researchers made the discovery using Cassini, a NASA-European spacecraft still exploring Saturn and its rings 17 years after its launch from Cape Canaveral. (AP)

Oceans in Space. The new discovery on a moon of Saturn, and the possibility of life there.

 
Apr 18, 2014
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a nationally televised question-and-answer session in Moscow on Thursday, April 17, 2014. President Vladimir Putin has urged an end to the blockade of Moldova’s separatist province of Trans-Dniester. Trans-Dniester, located in eastern part of Moldova on border with Ukraine, has run its own affairs without international recognition since a 1992 war. Russian troops are stationed there.  (AP)

Deadly clashes in Eastern Ukraine. A white supremacist rocks Kansas City. The Marathon bombing anniversary. And Bloomberg on guns. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

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