OMG! Obama Crashing Health Care Site On Purpose!


So screams the headline from the Worldnetdaily: “Obama ‘Crashing Health-Care Site on Purpose.'” That article is based upon a column from Avik Roy in Forbes which doesn’t actually say that. What it does say is that a decision was made to have that website do more than the bare minimum so that visitors to the site would be informed. Here’s what Roy wrote:

A growing consensus of IT experts, outside and inside the government, have figured out a principal reason why the website for Obamacare’s federally-sponsored insurance exchange is crashing. Healthcare.gov forces you to create an account and enter detailed personal information before you can start shopping. This, in turn, creates a massive traffic bottleneck, as the government verifies your information and decides whether or not you’re eligible for subsidies. HHS bureaucrats knew this would make the website run more slowly. But they were more afraid that letting people see the underlying cost of Obamacare’s insurance plans would scare people away.

“Healthcare.gov was initially going to include an option to browse before registering,” report Christopher Weaver and Louise Radnofsky in the Wall Street Journal. “But that tool was delayed, people familiar with the situation said.” Why was it delayed? “An HHS spokeswoman said the agency wanted to ensure that users were aware of their eligibility for subsidies that could help pay for coverage, before they started seeing the prices of policies.”

But there is a big difference between claiming that HHS made a decision that increased the burden on the server and saying that they are intentionally trying to crash the site. A very big difference. But there is little room for rationality in the Worldnetdaily’s form of “journalism.” Nor is there any discussion as to whether the HHS was right to make that decision or not. It seems like a perfectly reasonable choice to me. If you’re trying to get predominately poor people to sign up for insurance and they are eligible for subsidies, it’s a good idea to make sure they know that they can get those subsidies or they may just give up on the whole thing.

As for those high prices, I registered on the site and went through the whole process and was very surprised at how relatively inexpensive the policies are. I currently pay $420 a month for my health insurance and that’s for a very crappy policy with a high deductible. I can get a much better policy in the ACA health care exchange for much cheaper. Even a platinum plan that pays 90% of the costs of my health care is $132 a month less, without any subsidy. That’s going to save me thousands of dollars a year.

And by the way, the healthcare.gov site now does have an option for looking at the prices of policies without registering and going through the entire signup process.

Comments

  1. doublereed says

    THERE ARE TRADEOFFS BETWEEN SERVER-LOAD AND ENSURING PEOPLE CAN MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS?! THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS!

  2. Doug Little says

    Fuck these people are stupid, they must think everything happens by magic.

    The Internets, How the fuck do they work?

  3. Hercules Grytpype-Thynne says

    According to many Republicans, every decision Obama or his Administration makes is made for the express purpose of screwing somebody or other.

    It’s called projection.

  4. raven says

    Don’t explain by malevolence that which can be explained by incompetence.

    This rollout of the ACA was chaotic and didn’t work so well.

    Some states have enrolled zero people in Obamacare because their websites aren’t working right yet. They were supposed to be up and running October 1.

    Way it goes. We won’t know for many months how many people sign up for the ACA. It might even be years until the steady state enrollment is reached.

  5. colnago80 says

    I really get a kick out of some of the complaints claiming that it demonstrates the incompetence of the government. Anybody ever heard of Windows 8 or Windows Vista or Windows Me? Three turkeys, the subject of much levity in the IT community. Even with more successful systems, Windows XP and Windows 7, how may updates have there been? At least 3 “service packs” for XP when I stopped using that system.

  6. hunter says

    It must be really strange to live in a world where everything works perfectly the first time you try it.

  7. says

    As for those high prices, I registered on the site and went through the whole process and was very surprised at how relatively inexpensive the policies are. I currently pay $420 a month for my health insurance and that’s for a very crappy policy with a high deductible.

    That’s not “crappy”. That’s Freedom.
     

    I can get a much better policy in the ACA health care exchange for much cheaper.

    Yes, but math aside, Obamacare will cost you more.
     

    Even a platinum plan that pays 90% of the costs of my health care is $132 a month less, without any subsidy.

    Moocher!
     

    That’s going to save me thousands of dollars a year.

    Sure, but on the other hand, you can’t put a price on actively fighting to prevent other people from getting health insurance, even if it’s cheaper, better, or for you. It’s the Teabagger health program (for those Patriots who are too young for Medicare). Malevolence and spite are Teabaggers’ cardio and free weights. True story.

  8. Michael Heath says

    I’ve always been a fierce supporter of Obamacare, just as I was for Hillarycare.

    I found it deliciously ironic how the Republican party spectacularly failed politically in regards to the massive pratfall roll-out of Obamacare. Rather than the media featuring some of the embarrassing weaknesses of the roll-out, they instead correctly focused on Republicans risking an implosion of the economy. Meanwhile I hope the government furiously focused on fixing what they rolled-out.

    I registered at the site this morning though I first attempted to do so last evening. I was laughing at how badly the website’s tech support systems and processes failed me in what is a very simple registration process. Far worse than any I’ve ever encountered before. Chat, their phone system, and the support the chat tech support could handle (“call the phone number”), were all ‘worst in class’ relative to my experience.

  9. Doug Little says

    Yes, but math aside, Obamacare will cost you more.

    ““Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better or is this real?””

    Megyn Kelly speaking to Karl Rove.

  10. Anneliese says

    Several years ago I was looking for an individual policy — I was well over 50 and had been spayed. The only policy I could have purchased would have cost 155% of my income for premiums and deductible. Because of my medical history there was no coverage for anything respiratory or orthopedic. But the agent offered me at no extra cost a really great maternity plan! I have been uninsured for some time and thanks be my health is pretty good.

    The new system will put me on Medicaid which for most things for people over 55 is not insurance. It becomes an amortized loan and when you die your estate is charged for your “benefits.” (That is what I am getting from some Medicaid people in my area.)

  11. Trebuchet says

    As I understand it, the software for the ACA site was done by a Canadian company. Clearly it’s a Canuckian plot to defeat Obama and install their Manchurian Candidate, Ted Cruz, as president so they can take over.

  12. magistramarla says

    I got quite a giggle yesterday when I read the comments of the tea thugs in my local paper.
    One of them griped about how expensive the premiums were on the ACA website, so he went to the website of an insurance company, found a less expensive private insurance policy and bought it.
    His comment was “Take that, Obamacare!”.
    How is it that he doesn’t get that the ACA website is an exchange that is meant to help him make choices to find exactly what he found – private insurance?
    My thought was that Obamacare won and this guy didn’t even realize it – one more uninsured person just got insured, and I’m sure that the policy that he bought had to contain the features which were mandated by the ACA.

  13. caseloweraz says

    Even Avik Roy’s story doesn’t make much sense. Had people been allowed to browse the options at the exchanges before signing up, they still would have known the “underlying cost” for those options.

    Also, there’s no reason they could not have been told their likely eligibility for subsidies without signing up — something like, “If your income is between $20,000 and $25,000 you are eligible for x% of the premium as a refund.”

  14. exdrone says

    Canadian software helpdesk here. What I want you to do is reboot your system, and when the opening screen comes up, I want you to click on the Single Payer icon. After that, you should see the screen expand to universal size, and the system should work fine. It is not guaranteed to work in other modes. Is there anything else I can help you with today?

  15. Nibi says

    exdrone

    Canadian software helpdesk here. What I want you to do is reboot your system, and when the opening screen comes up, I want you to click on the Single Payer icon. After that, you should see the screen expand to universal size, and the system should work fine. It is not guaranteed to work in other modes. Is there anything else I can help you with today?

    Yeah – my Single Payer icon seems to be grayed out.

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