January 21, 2018

Have you been able to sign up for Obamacare?

Have you been able to sign up for healthcare through the federal government’s site? Reports are widespread that few people have, and those who are trying are finding the site has serious technical problems. If you have, or have not, been able to get your healthcare through the federal website, I’d like to hear your experience. 

With the shutdown over and the budget crisis averted, or at least put off for a few months until we do this all over again in January, let’s get back to what we were doing before–trying to figure out Obamacare.

And by ‘we,’ I mean the whole country.

Just over two weeks ago, the Obamacare website went up, and almost immediately it became clear that the Obama Administration had overpaid a Canadian company to create a site that is, to put it mildly, glitchy and unreliable.

Take the case of my good friend Curt Bentley. Never a huge fan of the healthcare law, he is nevertheless exactly within the class of Americans for whom the law was designed.

Nearly three years ago, I left a solid, good paying job to strike out on my own in the legal business, and in so doing, left behind medical and dental benefits along with a steady paycheck.

Did I mention he has five kids under the age of ten? I don’t know how he managed it.

Required to sign up for healthcare by the law, Curt headed over to healthcare.gov to sign up and began entering his information to get a quote and find out what healthcare was going to cost him.   Immediately he faced problems.

I chose a username and password, and was directed to a page where I supposed to enter answers to security questions . . . except the security questions didn’t appear.  I tried reloading the page, same problem.  I tried going back to the beginning of the account creation process, same problem.  I then thought there may be an issue with my browser (Safari on a MacBook Air) correctly processing the javascript that’s populating the form fields, so I tried in Firefox and Chrome — same problem.

I then tried to click on the link for online support chat, which opened, took my name, and promptly died.

So, I gave up for a few hours.

When I came back later in the day, I wasn’t even given the opportunity to try and create an account, the link simply directed you to a dead end page that said the website was having trouble due to excessive demand.

I called it a day.

You would too.

It was eight days before Curt was able, after going to the site each day and making the attempt, to create a profile. Despite the slow response time on the site, Curt plowed on, and 45 minutes later he submitted an application.

I then submitted my application, waited, waited, and waited some more, and then finally received an email stating that the verification system was not functioning.  My application was labeled “In Progress.”  So, I left and went on to other things, figuring that verification would eventually happen.

Returning on Day 9 to check on the status of the submitted application, the site told him the application was incomplete, then started him up again halfway through the application (which he had already completed and submitted the day before). Day 10 through 12 were much the same, and by now, says Curt, it was starting to feel a bit like Groundhog Day.

He decided to contact customer support on Day 13.

After struggling with this for 10 minutes or so, I clicked on the live chat support link.  This time I was connected with a representative, who cheerily asked my how she could help.  When I started to describe my problem, she simply wrote, “Please call telephone support.  Have a nice day!”

When he logged out, the site provided him with a notice in Spanish, “despite asking repeatedly over the last week to designate my preferred language — English.”

The next day it asked for his immigration papers, even though Curt was born in Iowa.

Read the blog post at Utah Political Summary.

In what is supposed to be the holy grail of the bleeding hearts on the left to give healthcare to the masses, Obamacare’s entry site has largely failed to serve its intended targets. From the front lines, for example, Wisconsin is reporting that less than fifty people have signed up in the last two weeks.

Less than fifty.

Federal officials have so far refused to provide data showing just how few, but Wisconsin officials did their own survey and Insurance Commissioner Ted Nickel says fewer than 50 people were able to sign up through healthcare.gov during the first week.

Meanwhile, in neighboring Minnesota which is not relying on the federal website, 5,500 have signed up.  This is after the federal government gave $50M to a Canadian company to set the site up.

Money can’t buy you love, nor can it solve the world’s problems, no matter what bleeding hearts of the world may hope. But don’t expect that to change how liberals form public policy or govern.

About Daniel Burton

Daniel Burton lives in Salt Lake County, Utah, where he practices law by day and everything else by night. You can follow him on his blog PubliusOnline.com where he muses on politics, the law, books and ideas. He is active on social media, Republican politics, and has been named to PoliticIt’s list of the “Top-50 Utah Political Opinion Leaders” on Twitter. You can reach him directly at dan.burton@gmail.com

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