We brought you MSNBC's Obamacare misadventure yesterday; now CNN has gotten a first-hand look at the "Affordable" Care Act's dysfunction. Be sure to watch through the very end of the clip, when the reporter reacts to President Obama's "no worries, this is just like Apple's iPhone glitches" excuse:
She notes that of the 20 CNN staff members scattered across the country who tried to enroll, just eight met with any success -- which makes CNN's battling average infinitely better than MarketWatch's. Incredible:
President Barack Obama was right when he said there would be a few glitches when signups for the Affordable Care Act began on Tuesday — there were at least 51 of them. A quick check of all the state Web sites where exchanges have been set up — plus the HealthCare.gov site that will service three-fourths of the country — shows that it was virtually impossible to sign up on the first day. MarketWatch went 0-for-51 in trying to apply online for Obamacare in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Well, really 0-for-15 for D.C. and the states setting up their own exchanges, and we also struck out on HealthCare.gov, which is handling applications in the other 36 states. Let’s call it 0-for 16.
Neither MSNBC nor CNN could overcome the law's failures, televising error messages and crashed sites for the nation to see. MarketWatch went oh-fer. But the Obama administration would like you to know that lots of people visited the program's website, even as they keep one especially relevant statistic to themselves. See if you can piece together a possible motive behind this baffling puzzle:
Millions of Americans visited websites for Obamacare health-insurance exchanges when they launched on Tuesday, leading many of the sites to crash from heavy volume. Despite the clear interest, federal officials would not say how many people actually signed up for new coverage. During a conference call with reporters on Tuesday afternoon, officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) refused to disclose the number of people who bought insurance through the online marketplaces that are a centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). “We have just decided not to release that yet,” said Marilyn Tavenner, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Perhaps they're withholding that information to themselves because they know how damning it would look? If they had millions of people trying to sign up, but only a trickle managed to succeed, that would only highlight the unpreparedness and ineptitude of the government. These widespread glitches, in turn, might cause even more Americans to doubt whether the government's healthcare overhaul was such a good idea to begin with. The law was signed 1,290 days ago, and this was what they came up with? The New York Times paints a dreary picture of consumer frustration and technological snafus in Florida:
All day, trained application counselors typed in “Florida,” or got as far as entering some applicants’ personal information, before the system crashed. Sometimes the crash came when it was time to answer a security question. Other times applicants put in their security question answers but could go no further. Out of nearly 72 applicants who sat down with counselors by noon, none were able to access the marketplace. All of the applicants were given appointments to come back another week.
Yesterday's mess -- documented in great detail here -- has spilled over into day two. The problems and hitches could endure for weeks or even months. I'll leave you with two quotes. The first from a reporter marking "progress," the other from a Boehner spokesman asking a pertinent question:
Just successfully created a user account with http://t.co/Q1m2DstQBW. Still can't log in, though.— Peter Suderman (@petersuderman) October 2, 2013
What if there was a law that fined (taxed) you if you didn't buy a product from a website that doesn't work?— Brendan Buck (@Brendan_Buck) October 2, 2013
The answer may depend on how one defines "work."
UPDATE - Via CBS News, "Obamacare marketplaces raise data security concerns."