cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
What are we to believe? Is the awkward debut of the federal health insurance marketplace caused by too many people trying to obtain health care coverage? Or is the breakdown of that marketplace due to the actual software development and the actual system architecture?
The answer is probably ‘Yes’. The inauspicious debut of the system, which is the system that drives the Wisconsin marketplace, is probably due to ‘all of the above’. People who know about system architecture are quoted as saying the website is troubled by coding problems and by flaws in the architecture of the system. It wouldn’t take in enormous number of hits to cause the problems that have been experienced.
If we depend upon the word of the people who have the responsibility for making this happen, we would buy the simply answer that the breakdown is due to the high demand for ObamaCare. The millions who wanted to get subsidized health care coverage just made the darned thing crash.
If we depend upon the opinions of the experts in this area, if the basic system architecture is at fault, even in part, there will be difficulties in quickly creating fixes that depend upon the addition of servers and some programmatic changes. If the basic architecture of the system is at fault, simply adding servers isn’t likely to go very far to making the system support the demands upon it.
I participate in a national e-mail system comprised largely of people who are active day-to-day in the world of enrollment of people into ObamaCare. This large group of people has reported their individual inabilities to log on to the system. They have reported that the very occasional log on success then devolves into wait times of hours during which nothing happens until they are mysteriously logged off the system. They have logged on during the hours after midnight, and had similar experiences.
The federal government apparently has determined that the fixes will require time. It has created the mother of all spreadsheets listing the 36 states relying upon the federal exchange, and every county in those 36 states, showing the various insurers that have policies available in the ‘marketplace’ and the premium costs for each. This is the “work-around”, apparently, for the non-functioning federal exchange. There is no enrollment capability nor is there any capability to determine the tax credit one might qualify to receive. Enrollments would have to be done on paper or laptop and then sent for processing. There will be no immediate way to ascertain the tax credit that might be possible since the marketplace system was supposed to handle that functionality.
It seems unlikely that this effort would’ve been undertaken if there was any assurance of a prompt solution to the problems found at www.healthcare.gov although that site seems to be up this morning.
The actual enrollments that have been reported by the insurers that are offering products on this exchange are in the few hundreds of people for those companies reporting. Some 7 million need to enroll in this first wave according to the federal government to make this work as they have told us it would from January 1, 2014 and beyond. Given about 12 weeks remaining until that date, more than 580,000 people need to enroll every week if that number is to be reached.
It is very reasonable to expect that those who have been uninsurable due to pre-existing medical conditions will be a major part of that initial open enrollment mix. That requires a big chunk of “young invincibles” to have enrolled as well to offset high claims costs that will flow from those with pre-existing conditions, many of whom have presumably not been treated since they had no health insurance.
The “young invincibles” will not even face the meager fine of $95 or 1% of gross income for having no insurance in 2014 since that part of ObamaCare has been waived by the Administration. This does not seem to bode well for ObamaCare’s debut.
But, maybe the fix will go smoothly and the system will be running 24/7 by the end of this week and will support the onslaught of those desiring health insurance.