Is a one-year delay of Obamacare's mandate tax starting to go mainstream? In elite circles, that is -- the American people have hated that tax from the get-go. On Monday, Jon Stewart grilled HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius over the administration's unequal treatment of big business vs. small businesses, families, and individuals. That interview culminated in Stewart wondering aloud if Sebelius' answers were lies. Then came CNN's Wolf Blitzer, who suggested yesterday that maybe the GOP was onto something with their delay demands. The law is obviously not ready, he reasoned, why not shelve it for a year and get some of the kinks worked out?
It's perfectly sensible, of course, but it's a nonstarter at the White House. Why? Because, one presumes, a delay would be both (a) an admission of failure from an arrogant crowd that's still peddling this nonsense, and (b) a political victory for Obama's biggest enemies. A harmful, humiliating trainwreck is evidently preferable to bruising The One's ego any further, so expect to keep reading a lot of these stories as the "third world experience" careens forward:
Amid all the attention, bugs, and work happening at Healthcare.gov in light of the Affordable Care Act, potential registrants talking to phone support today have been told that all user passwords are being reset to help address the site's login woes. And the tech supports behind Healthcare.gov will be asking more users to act in the name of fixing the site, too. According to registrants speaking with Ars, individuals whose logins never made it to the site's database will have to re-register using a different username, as their previously chosen names are now stuck in authentication limbo....The contractors responsible for the exchange...are scrambling to deploy more fixes. Technical support call center operators continue to handle an onslaught of calls from users who can't get back into the system after registering. In addition to would-be Healthcare.gov registrants notifying Ars about the password reset and login limbos, Ars learned that changes made to profiles already within the system may not be saved either—a problem that is only indicated by a very non-descriptive error message.
So the small number of people who have enrolled are already having their passwords reset, and their profiles may not have saved properly within the system. Also, as we learned on Tuesday, enrollee data is not being transmitted properly to insurance companies, which will likely result in coverage disruptions. In short, people who think they've signed up might, in fact, be signed up for nothing at all. And how many of those people even exist? Prominent Democrats are either saying "get back to us," or -- comically -- that it's "unfair" to ask such a question. The people whose job it is to know the answer to that question remain in the dark:
Iowa’s insurance commissioner says he doesn’t know if any Iowans have managed to sign up for policies on the government’s new health insurance exchange. The exchanges, also known as online marketplaces, have been plagued with technical problems since opening last Tuesday. Iowa Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart said Tuesday that he has not heard of any Iowans successfully enrolling via the new system.
Was Team Obama blindsided by these looming issues? Not in the least. Again, the word "arrogant" comes to mind:
Major insurers, state health-care officials and Democratic allies repeatedly warned the Obama administration in recent months that the new federal health-insurance exchange had significant problems, according to people familiar with the conversations. Despite those warnings and intense criticism from Republicans, the White House proceeded with an Oct. 1 launch. A week after the federal Web site opened, technical problems continued to plague the system, and on Tuesday people were locked out until 10 a.m., although some applicants were able to sign up as the day went on. Officials said they were working 24 hours a day to improve the system and that they were confident it would soon be able to meet the demand.
Sigh. Once again, "we weren't ready for high demand" is both an indictment of their competence and a woefully incomplete excuse, given the scope of the coding problems. Techies are taken aback by how buggy and unready Obamacare's website has proven to be:
CBS News reports that tech experts see major flaws, and one online programmer said he would be “ashamed” and “embarrassed” to have produced the health care website. “It wasn’t designed well, it wasn’t implemented well, and it looks like nobody tested it,” Luke Chung, an online database programmer, told CBS News. “It’s not even close. It’s not even ready for beta testing for my book. I would be ashamed and embarrassed if my organization delivered something like that,” he said.
I'll leave you with an Obamacare bug that no army of programmers working 'round the clock will ever be able to fix: