The Obamacare Blame-Game Begins
As part of their investigation into the glitches that plagued the rollout of the cornerstone provision of the Affordable Care Act, the individual insurance exchanges, the Republican-led House of Representatives launched a series of hearings aimed at determining the party responsible for the technical problems and uncovering whether any of the decisions that led to healthcare.gov’s poor design were politically motivated.
The Obama administration has indicated that the high traffic numbers experienced by the federal web portal healthcare.gov, which links consumers to the 36 federally-facilitated exchanges, have exacerbated the technical problems. But the fact remains that software errors have caused hours-long wait times, prevented potential customers from creating accounts and completing the 30-step enrollment process, sent insurers the wrong information, and made it difficult for customers to get an accurate cost estimate.
Exchange glitches have been a particular rallying point for those that oppose the Affordable Care Act, and even President Barack Obama himself, speaking from the Rose Garden of the White House on Monday, admitted, “there’s no sugarcoating it: the website has been too slow.” He also argued that “nobody is madder” than he “about the fact that the website isn’t working as well as it should, which means its going to get fixed.” Obama maintained that purchasing insurance via the online marketplaces is still easier than buying a policy in the private market; there are no longer pages and pages of medical history to fill out, and thanks to the online marketplaces, customers need only visit one website to compare policies rather contact numerous insurers to determine the plan with the best value. But even so, he admitted he wanted “the cash registers to work” and “the check out lines to be smooth.” There are “no excuse for the problems,” the president added.