Today was the first official day of the ObamaCare health insurance exchanges, with open enrollment taking place across the country. It went just as well as one would expect an undertaking of this magnitude to go, especially when it’s handled by the government. Across the country today, from Hawaii to Miami and everywhere in between, reports are flooding in of major complications for Americans trying to sign up for insurance.
The interesting part about the difficulties, especially online, is that they aren’t caused by a massive influx of traffic. If they were, the sites would have crashed under the pressure, producing error messages from server companies that the websites were down. The issues being reported are entirely design-based: drop-down menus that weren’t populated with text and coding gibberish on several pages that was never replaced with the appropriate language. Many of the pages were entirely inaccessible, with error messages asking visitors to “Please wait” and later, after going through the steps to open an account an error message told users “Your account couldnt [sic] be created at this time.”
The most troubling of these “glitches,” (which Kathleen Sebelius called “a great problem to have”) takes the form of lax online security. Numerous fake websites have apparently emerged by third-party websites aimed at stealing the information respondents enter online. The security of the exchanges themselves have also been brought into question: is the information that Americans are entering on the site and sharing with ObamaCare “navigators” safe from outside hackers and identity thieves?
Today Market Watch attempted to sign up for exchanges in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Their batting average was .000; not a single website was operational for the competent and educated reporters attempting to discern if the average American would be able to sign up for health insurance in their own state. Even MSNBC highlighted the impossibility of signing up on the site as a reporter experienced error message after error message while trying to showcase how easy signing up for health care would be live on air. Today the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin expressed her utter frustration with the lack of coverage of the ObamaCare exchanges disaster in light of the government shutdown:
The conservative media assured its audience the shutdown would not overshadow the Obamacare rollout glitches. So far, the coverage ratio is about 80-20 percent in favor of the shutdown.
The shutdown squad said public opposition to Obamacare would tip support in favor of the shutdown. Polls suggest this hasn’t happened.
Instead of making the story about ObamaCare, Republicans have done Democrats an incredible favor and dimmed the spotlight on it during its disastrous public debut. Unfortunately, the reality for most Americans is that they will come to discover how unworkable and unaffordable the “Affordable Care Act” is in their own time, as the uninsured begin to try to sign up and as the many Americans who are losing their insurance daily thanks to ObamaCare’s regulations attempt to do the same. Will the realization that these long waits and error messages are the future of American health care if ObamaCare is left as-is resonate with Americans in the voting booth? Or is this our new normal? Only time will tell, but if the story remains focused on the shutdown instead of on ObamaCare, we all better get used to getting the DMV treatment when we’re in need of medical care.