Obamacare’s Disastrous Start
October 25, 2013
With three years to build healthcare.gov, Obamacare’s central location to enroll, the initial roll out has been nothing short of disastrous. Congressional testimony and real life anecdotes from Americans and the news media have revealed that the site is full of glitches and few have actually been able to sign up for Obamacare. With months left until the site went live, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services didn't give CGI, the website’s vendor, the final technical requirements until May of 2013. About a third of the work the vendor had previously performed had to be thrown out and started over as a result.
Project developers raised doubts as to whether the website could be ready in time and saw red flags for months – ones which Americans are now experiencing firsthand. The introduction was so rushed that, the exchange's computer code contained placeholder language that programmers typically use in preliminary drafts even after the site went live. Additional issues have included incorrect data being displayed, error messages, and redirecting users to different pages.
In the lead up to the launch date the Department of Health and Human Services predicted a 28 minute sign up time for enrollees. President Obama also promised that the site would be as easy to use as Amazon.com – one which millions of consumers use a year. However, all of that has been found not to be true. New reports have revealed that the number of enrollees is in the single digits in some states. So far the Obama Administration has refused to release any solid numbers on enrollment until the middle of November. One enrollee paraded in front of cameras at a recent Rose Garden speech by the president reportedly had to try over 100 times to sign up.
It’s no surprise that all of these issues are having an effect on Obamacare’s standing with the American public. A Washington Post-ABC News poll released this week shows that 56 percent of Americans believe that the Obamacare website’s flaws reflect larger problems with the health-care law. It begs the question: if the website is this flawed, how bad will the insurance itself be?