October 1, 2013

How's that healthcare.gov website working out for you?

I heard it was hinky, but it looks great from here, not that I need to use it. I've had excellent health-care insurance for decades. (The relevant promise for me is: If you like what you have, you get to keep it.) But I went over to healthcare.gov to see if it's up and running, to click on various headings, and run a bunch of searches, and it looked great. The front page came up instantly, and every link I clicked and every search I ran went through instantly. There was nothing slow or unfinished-looking about it.

But Drudge's top headline right now is "OBAMACRASH":

That links to a Twitchy article with the headline "Surprise! Obamacare health insurance exchange websites don’t work; HealthCare.gov a total mess." At that top of that Twitchy page is this blackly comical banner:

The real nightmare for the anti-Obamacare crowd will be if Obamacare works well enough and people are reasonably satisfied. Myself, I'm tired of the drama.

ADDED: "In Debut, Affordable Care Web Site Baffles Many Users," according to the NYT.

While the site’s search feature seemed very intuitive, often returning detailed results for queries, including “sign up for account” or “sign up for coverage,” some questions returned a blank page that simply said “No Results.” In a bit of unintentional irony, the page then asked if an answer was helpful.

Those who did make it onto the Web site seemed to appreciate the design and aesthetics. The site looks like one for a typical start-up, with clean typography and large identifiable buttons that provide direction. Unlike most government sites, Healthcare.gov feels like it was built for today’s Web users, rather than something that still belongs in a 1990s-era Web browser.

But not everyone was happy with the look and feel of the overall experience. Some complained that the site was too busy and complex, and that navigation was baffling....


Bob Ellison said...

Not working for me in Pennsylvania. I got the "please wait" message and then got "The system is down at the moment, followed by a cryptic error message that I'm supposed to report.

Let me please submit that I know a thing or two about the Internet, product roll-outs, and bandwidth issues. I do. You don't have to believe that.

This is a nightmare. Any business that attempted this with such a ridiculous nightmare would be out of business.

NCMoss said...

I couldn't get the "Submit a 911 Request" link to work. Rats.

Unknown said...

You are fortunate to have the type of insurance that will be the last type affected. So you are right to feel the way you do. I wish I could sit back and watch it work itself out.

Deirdre Mundy said...

When I tried, it crashed on page three. It wouldn't let you enter security questions and answers, and wouldn't let you proceed.

Apparently no one bothered to TEST the thing before they flung it up there. Maybe they fixed the glitch by now, but I don't have time to try again.

It doesn't matter anyway, my family falls into one of the loopholes-- we can't afford unsubsidized insurance, but since my husband's job subsidizes HIS plan and offers an unsubsidized plan to the rest of us, we're not eligible for subsidies on the exchanges.

So... we're looking at a minimum of 24K a year for insurance. Not happening. I'm currently investigating those 'Christian health ministries.' Membership in one exempts you from the penalty, and they're pretty cheap--about what true catastrophic plans USED to run before Obamacare loaded them up with mandatory preventative care. (All catastrophic plans now have to include cancer screenings, 3 check-ups a year, and contraception... so they've gotten more expensive.)

wpw said...

For those of us who must use the Exchanges to get healthcare, the #FAIL is real.

The opening looks good. I can click on New Jersey and put in my name and email and pick a username and password... and then receive the same graphic as Drudge.

mccullough said...

Baseball playoffs start this week. No time for political drama. Baseball is the national pastime outside DC.

wpw said...

For those of us who don't have employer-provided insurance, use of the Exchange is mandatory.

Thus off I go to healthcare.gov - at first, all is well. I click through to "New Jersey" and then into the "make an account" link and put in name and email and pick a 'username' and a password... and then...

#FAIL. I get the same screen as Drudge. It's not working.

Alexander said...

Me too! If the proles could just buckle down and do what they're told, it would save me a headache or two.

And no: the nightmare scenario for the anti-Obamacare crowd is that it fails just as spectacularly as predicted, but it's so large and embedded into so much of our economy, so many powerful interests have a vested interest in what is on a national level a disaster, and too many voters have their votes bought by the dole... that it's impossible to get rid of at any point, even when it's proven to have objectively failed.

Compared to that, having to eat humble pie because the system more or less worked would be a relief.

david7134 said...

I went to it as well and clicked through the various options. In the end I was told that obamacare could not help me and that even then it would not start till next year.

Unknown said...

It did not like the browser I usually use, Opera, so I tried it with IE. No problems until I clicked the "apply now" button. I was taken to a page that essentially put me on hold. It informed me that I lot of people were using the site and that I would have to wait to be directed to the login page.

Basically, they did not build in enough capacity to handle the initial volume of users. Not necessarily a bad decision. After all, at some point volume is going to fall off as people get insurance.

66 said...

Clicked through the registration process. The first few layers clicked through nicely. After I picked my state and my insurance type (single or family), I got this message:

Health Insurance Marketplace: Please wait
We have a lot of visitors on our site right now and we're working to make your experience here better. Please wait here until we send you to the login page. Thanks for your patience!


Strelnikov said...

In that case the "anti-Obamacare crowd" has nothing to worry about.

Matt Sablan said...

I think it matters where you try to access from. I had issues on my home computer, but right now, no problems. It may also have stabalized since the wee morning hours when most people got their errors. Any number of issues.

Michael in ArchDen said...

"If you like what you have, you can keep it" Unless the feature you like about it is that it doesn't cover abortions and contraception, 'cause that shit's going away! Maybe you have rationally chosen a bare-bones plan, too bad, you can't keep that! And HHS reserves to right to change their mind about allowing you to keep other things you like having now.

But other than that, yes, you can keep what you like...

Amy said...

Maryland not working for me. AND my current insurance (which is from the state of MD for people with pre-existing conditions) which has worked GREAT for me, is being discontinued. So....I liked mine and I don't get to keep it.
And I've often wondered - if MD could figure out a way to offer insurance to anyone who has preexisting conditions and they offer a lower payment structure for lower income people, why couldn't they leave it alone?
But noooooooooo, the Feds had to extend their over-arching hand.
Well, we'll see how the coverage looks and what happens to my premium when the site finally goes live.

AND I think it is a little bit smug to say (from the lofty perch in tenured academia) that you are a bit tired of all of this. To those of us in the private sector (and the entrepreneurial one, in our family's case), it is, to quote our esteemed VP, a big F'N deal.

Kelly said...

My Dad needs healthcare for four months. He tried to get on it today, but the site wasn't working. Maybe it's overloaded with journalist?

Anonymous said...

I also have good insurance, through employer, but went to the govt website to see what kind of policies are available to me. I was impressed with the professional appearance and feel of the website, entering information just like signing up for any other commercial site. Everything was fine until I got to the security questions:

The System is down at the moment.
We're working to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Please try again later.
Please include the reference ID below if you wish to contact us at 1-800-318-2596 for support.
Error from: https%3A//www.healthcare.gov/marketplace/global/en_US/registration%23signUpStepThree
Reference ID: 0.cdd7c17.XXXXXXXXXX.xxxxd1f

Staying with Blue Cross.

Glen Filthie said...

I am tired of trying to teach math to stupid people, A-house. Good gravy, you can't afford the programs you have now and you are running up massive debts to support them. Now there's Obamacare to pay for.

Yeah, you can bet that as a conservative I am just lying awake at night worried sick that Obamacare will work.

Rumpletweezer said...

We've come to the point where the people in Congress with common sense are being called rabid, right-wing zealots.

MadisonMan said...

I can't log in. It took me a while to recognize that the server was too busy (because the page you are sent to when that happens looks too much like the other pages). So I'm not a fan of the design. I really dislike those "We're working to make your experience better" bromides you get with overwhelmed servers. That's a bunch of BS.

Ooh -- Update! After 5 minutes, I'm at a log-in page.

Given that I was at the DMV yesterday -- NEVER GO THERE ON THE LAST DAY OF THE MONTH!!! -- I can say this isn't as bad as that :)

Rick said...

What a snarky comment. Why wouldn't you be tired of the drama? You're insulated from its consequences and isolated in academia. Those of us faced with real-world choices and real-world costs don't feel as sanguine.

BarrySanders20 said...

Althouse must have that direct-link government computer connection for the connected. Here's what I got on the second link:

Health Insurance Marketplace: Please wait
We have a lot of visitors on our site right now and we're working to make your experience here better. Please wait here until we send you to the login page. Thanks for your patience!

Oh the foreshadowing of the phrase "Please wait."

Phaedrus said...

The delays and error messages appear when you try to sign in to get information specific to the individuals circumstances. All those tabs and information links have nothing to do with access information about the market place. I have been trying to get logged in for over two hours this morning.

This is the first message you get when you just try to log in.

"Health Insurance Marketplace: Please wait

We have a lot of visitors on our site right now and we're working to make your experience here better. Please wait here until we send you to the login page. Thanks for your patience"

If you get a log in screen and enter your info then you a system down message.

I get these even though I registered a few weeks ago in order to avoid delays. That hasn't worked out so well.

I'm Full of Soup said...

I tried it three times and every time it said "we are getting a lot of traffic - please stand by for the login screen" - I am paraphrasing.

MadisonMan said...

Well, roadblock.

You have to enter 3 security questions/answers, and I can't see the questions (nor enter any) so therefore I can't enter the answers. Although I suppose I could just make up answers. Green. Scattering. Obtuse. And try to remember them.

MadisonMan said...

Oh, and LiveChat isn't working, of course.

Still a few Bugs in the system, as Garry Trudeau might say.

Rocketeer said...

Yeah, I can see why you'd be tired. Democracy's exhausting. A break would be nice, don't you think?

dmoelling said...

Obamacare is not primarily the public exchange. I'm still waiting for our insurance broker to get me the updated small business plans for next year. We have 5 people in the plan and know we will get higher rates under Obamacare simply because the younger staff will get at least 50-100% increases. The limit on maximum age differences from a 5-1 to 3-1 ratio will do it. This also applies to families, so if you have college age kids it will cost more than toddlers. In addition, the new tax on insurance policies kicks in etc. The docs will attempt to recover cuts in their Medicare and Medicaid payments.

Most people will not use the exchanges (and the policies with high deductibles, but regular employer based plans will get hit. When places like ours see big costs, then John Q public will really feel the pain

Michael said...

The site has crashed in Georgia. Ditto the telephone service. Ditto the online "chat" feature. Now it may be that evil Republicans are flooding the zone, but I somehow doubt it. Numerous sources, including the president himself, have indicated there were going to be "glitches" but this is, here in Georgia at least, a colossal embarrassment.

SteveBrooklineMA said...

I have doubts about the new law, but find these criticisms of the websites absurd. Of course there will be glitches at first. On the Corner yesterday someone posted an example where page 2 of a document was just a repeat of page 1. The horror!

Scott M said...

True. If it works well, it will be a huge serving of crow for the anti-ACA crowd. However, you're getting tired of the drama is exactly what the pro-ACA people want you to do, whether they're honest with themselves about how this is going to work out or not.

For the record, I was able to get to the site and to my state, but hit a "servers are down" after that.

Balfegor said...

The unfortunate thing for Republicans and the country is that the exchanges aren't the stupid part of Obamacare. The stupid part is everything else -- the Rube Goldberg mechanism of individual and employer mandates (tax penalties), subsidies, tax offsets, restrictive require coverage definitions, and all the rest. Exchanges are actually probably the best part.

It would be a net plus if the exchanges went well, and everything else was just quietly postponed over and over forever.

The Roller said...

Don't forget, it's a tax. And that will be coming to someone's future. Good and hard.

Ann Althouse said...

"Althouse must have that direct-link government computer connection for the connected."

I was using my home desktop computer, which is my own personal property bought from Apple, and I'm connected using my ATT service, which comes into my house via cable, and is on my personal account.

Matt Sablan said...

"Any business that attempted this with such a ridiculous nightmare would be out of business."

-- Not true. Most major MMOs suffer worse roll-outs (in The Secret World, you couldn't even CHAT to other players for the first two weeks. In FF14, you couldn't make characters on most American servers for a week.)

Paddy O said...

The main California site opens fine, but when you click the "start here" button, to you know, actually start the process, you get this page:

"Come Back Soon
Due to the success of the Covered California Marketplace we are experiencing higher than expected users.

To make sure everyone has a great experience while on the site, we need you to come back in a little bit

We're sorry for the inconvenience and we look forward to your
return in a few hours.

Vuelve Pronto
Debido al exito del mercado de seguro de slud Covered California, estamos experimentando mas usuarios que previstos.

Para asegurarse de que cada usuario tiene una gran experiencia en el sitio de web, necesitamos usted que volver en un poco de tiempo

Lamentamos las molestias y esperamos con interes para su vuelta en un par de horas"

Paddy O said...

the link: https://v.calheers.ca.gov/apspahbx/ahbxanonym.portal

CWJ said...

Like Deirdre Mundy @ 9:35

My application also crashed at the security question page.

Phaedrus said...

If you don't understand the difference between accessing the web site and actually logging on to get information about the market place and what it means for an individual and their family then you are probably lucky you already have a qualified plan. Same applies if you think that it makes a difference where you are when you try to access the system

Michael said...

Imagine for a moment that the failures we are seeing were those of a company like, say, Apple. Would apologists abound? Would they be shrugging and saying that of course there are glitches, of course there are problems, of course the sites are crashing. Why no, no they would not.

This is the Apple22 of Healthcare, the greatest launch of all time, the build up has been excruciating, people waiting in lines around the block, the president on stage in his turtleneck. and now this. This high school website. This crashing everywhere all at once. Oh well, just fax in your personal information to whatever number they give you. Your stuff will be fine with these people.

MadisonMan said...

Couldn't create an account. So I got the same message that drudge has up.

David said...

Let's hope it's just the computers that crash.

Richard Dolan said...

Interesting how this tech-y angle has gotten so much play -- as if the point of the exercise was to come up with a nice website that even your average 'low information voter' (a/k/a idiot) could navigate. Both sides want to use the technology as a metaphor for the larger issues -- O-care's fans say that there are always glitches in a 1.0 release, and this is no different; O-care's critics want to talk about the glitches as the first evidence of a 'train wreck' (a weird throw-back to really old techology). You can almost see the message-handlers on both sides trying to reduce it all to a 30-second attack ad. In this case, alas, the message-handlers are mostly journalists of the new stripe -- all opinion, all the time.

Meanwhile, others (economists, mostly, but also some of the business press) are trying to follow the impact of O-care on employment, how its odd incentives (and disincentives) are playing out. It's easy to see why O-care's fans want to avoid that discussion -- so much of O-care's success depends on the hope that many market players will not respond to those disincentives. Why should anyone expect young and healthy folks to sign up, when there is every incentive to avoid the unnecessary cost of insurance today when there is no barrier towaiting until you need health care to sign up. And why should anyone expect employers not to respond to the significant incentives to reduce more employees to part-timers, and to dump employees into the gov-t's exchanges? But I don't understand why O-care's critics want the discussion to focus on whether the website works seemlessly.

If this tech-y angle dominates the discussion about O-care, I think you have to regard that as a messaging win for the O-care fans.

BarrySanders20 said...

"I was using my home desktop computer, which is my own personal property bought from Apple, and I'm connected using my ATT service, which comes into my house via cable, and is on my personal account."

Oh, specially connected cables, eh?

The quip about a special connection for the connected few was a joke to highlight the detractors' prediction that the connected few would get the best care, service, doctors, etc. while the unwashed masses wait.

Our different experiences seemed to highlight that point.

Lucy Elwood said...

In NY State, this is what you get if you want to apply for individual or family insurance:

"SRVE0232E: Internal Server Error.
Exception Message: [null]


IBM WebSphere Application Server"

Lucy Elwood said...

In NY State, this is what you get if you want to apply for individual or family insurance:

"SRVE0232E: Internal Server Error.
Exception Message: [null]


IBM WebSphere Application Server"

MadisonMan said...

Oh, and Dear Government:

The word is couldn't.

What is the deal with ditching the apostrophe? Jeeeze.

Lucy Elwood said...

In NY State, this is what you get if you want to apply for individual or family insurance:

"SRVE0232E: Internal Server Error.
Exception Message: [null]


IBM WebSphere Application Server"

David said...

SteveBrooklineMA said...
I have doubts about the new law, but find these criticisms of the websites absurd. Of course there will be glitches at first. On the Corner yesterday someone posted an example where page 2 of a document was just a repeat of page 1. The horror!

Yeah, why should we expect them to do this competently. Of course if this were a private company which performs a public service (like a health insurer or a bank) the government investigators would be all over it.

The Federal government's deployment of IT is notoriously bad. This is business as usual.

And when (if?) finally get registered and the claims do not work? That will be fun.

Crimso said...

Yes, I feel the fear setting in that PPACA will go quite smoothly and turn out to be something people actually like. It certainly looks more and more likely that it'll work out well. I know that tomorrow when I gaze to the west to watch the rising sun (and the setting moons) and watch as it rises high in the purple sky, I'll feel better about it all.

Matt said...

So because it crashes for some people in the first few hours that means it will somehow be crashing forever and ever? Come on people.

It's amazing how the right wing just fights and fights and fights [so desperately] against the ACA. There will come a time in a few years where very few will fight this anymore and Republicans will even forget they ever fought it. Just like Social Security and Medicare.

Strelnikov said...

We've just been advised that the base premium for our 30 employees will increase by 38% at year's end. We cannot afford and will likely drop this benefit.

I'm not worried this will work so well that we will all finally love Big Brother.

The Drill SGT said...

Marshal Biggs: This is hinky, this guy's a college graduate, he went to medical school, he's not gonna come through all the security, go to the county lockup, to find someone his one people say does not exist. Hinky.

Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard: Well, what does that mean Biggs, 'hinky'?

Marshal Biggs: I don't know. Strange.

Marshal Henry: Weird.

Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard: Well, why don't you say strange or weird? I mean hinky, that has no meaning.

Marshal Biggs: Well, we say hinky.

Deputy Marshal Samuel Gerard: I don't want you guys using words around me that have no meaning. I'm taking the stairs and walking.

Marshal Biggs: [sotto voice] How about 'bullshit?' How about 'bullshit', Sam?

I wonder about the ACA and one-armed men, are they covered?

How about Provasic? Does it make the drug list?

n.n said...

The concern is not technical issues. The concern is that Obamacare does not address health care availability or grossly inflated costs protected by government regulation. Obamacare is a revenue generation scheme. It provides a perception of comfort between subsidized and differential costs.

Obamacare is merely a clump of policies. It is not viable. It is a burden. Dismember it. Vacuum it. Flush it. It's the right choice. It's a citizen's right.

Tina Trent said...

Luckily you have taxpayer-subsidized and guaranteed healthcare. I'd love to be able to buy into the system provided to state university employees. It seems we should be able to do so since we're footing the bills in a wide variety of ways, but there you have it.

Here in the private marketplace, we can't keep our BCBS self-employment plan. Rates are more than doubling for us -- almost tripling We lose the plan we want and can't get it back, at the same time as we're being reamed to subsidize all those people whose lifestyle plan consists whole cloth of forcing us to work more hours to underwrite their personal choices via the government redistribution teat.

So I could not care less that the websites are running on time. Bread and circuses, while we burn.

jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jr565 said...

Rumpletweezer wrote:
"We've come to the point where the people in Congress with common sense are being called rabid, right-wing zealots."

who are these people in congress you say who have common sense? The ones trying to defund Obamacare? Not really.
It's actually insanity to assume that you can defund this law when the president views it as his signature piece of legislation.
Even if the polls say most people don't like it.
Dont get me wrong. I don't want it. I'm just arguing that the Ted Cruz's thinking we can somehow defund it are crazy. And it's turned into a republican fight where if you don't support Ted Cruz you are somehow an obamacare supporter.

We're going to have to see what's in it and live with the consequences to have any chance at overturning this turd.
Right now republicans are just engaging in scare mongering when they point out the actual flaws in the bill (note, I think their arguments are true, but the dems will call it scare mongering) . But soon enough that scare mongering will be a self fulfilling prophecy and republicans can say "See, I told you so".

Anonymous said...

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", in a moment of reasoned lucidity which is almost unique among its current tally of five million, nine hundred and seventy-three thousand, five hundred and nine pages, says of the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation products that "it is very easy to be blinded to the essential uselessness of them by the sense of achievement you get from getting them to work at all. In other words – and this is the rock-solid principle on which the whole of the Corporation's Galaxywide success is founded – their fundamental design flaws are completely hidden by their superficial design flaws."

jr565 said...

Matt wrote:
So because it crashes for some people in the first few hours that means it will somehow be crashing forever and ever? Come on people.

This happened when Bush rolled out the Medicaire D law too. All my liberal friends pointed out how confusing it all was the first month or so as a reason why it was a FAILURE. So, whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

Jane the Actuary said...

ObamaCare was, indeed, designed to have happy customers grateful for their Free Stuff paid for by taxes which are invisible to consumers, from the Medical Devices Tax to the "fee" on health insurers and self-insured employers, tax hikes on the upper middle class, the tanning salon tax, and other provisions which are all designed to send the message that Other People are paying for your new health benefits. In addition, there are all the new benefit provisions (coverage for "adult children", the infamous birth control coverage, etc.) the cost of which most consumers won't be able distinguish from overall premium increases, or won't be able to tell how much of their lousy raise from year to year is due to the employer absorbing these costs. (In the same way, young people entering the insurance market for the first time, won't know that their insurance would be half the cost if they paid actuarially fair rates. They'll just know it costs $X and that's as much as their car payment, or more.)

The Democrats are currently repeating this message over and over again. "We've given The People free stuff. They won't stand for you trying to take it away from them." But this will be a part of future spending battles -- maybe not shutting down the exchanges, but the question of how generous the subsidies should be, for instance. Really, it would be the same thing as if they had pushed through "Food Stamps for all" and Republicans wanted to rescind it, or -- imagine this! -- eliminating the Mortgage Interest tax deduction.

Anyway, what this means is that, in the long term, this'll be an incrementalist battle.
-- and I'm trying out an HTML link to my post here! .

NCMoss said...

Consider next year if Obamacare is still functional that whenever there is a budget impasse that the govt can threaten the loss of my health care to get their way.

test said...

Deirdre Mundy said...
Apparently no one bothered to TEST the thing before they flung it up there. Maybe they fixed the glitch by now, but I don't have time to try again

I don't think this is true at all. They've known for months it wasn't going to work, which is why they've spent those months scaling back the project to minimize the repercussions. They chose to put it up so they can claim it's up.

MadisonMan said...

So because it crashes for some people in the first few hours that means it will somehow be crashing forever and ever? Come on people.

Well, how often are we expected to check back.

I apologize if my expectation for clean-running software on roll-out is too extreme for you. I can only assume you don't write software for a living, because if you do, you and your company will not make it.

jr565 said...

There will be rollout issues with any new program of this magnitude. So the fact that there are problems doesn't mean that it's doomed to failure.
The same thing happened when Bush rolled out his Medicaire D program. And all my liberal friends touted the rollout pains as an example of how it was doomed (this was back when the democrats were talking about Bush's debt as if it was a bad thing. Remember those days liberals?)
However, it wont just be the rollout that will show this is a turd. It will also be the cost overruns, the higher premiums, the loss of coverage, people losing hours at work. etc etc.

Now, I could be wrong, and it may well be a utopia of health care. But my guess is, it will fall on its own weight.

And the democrats will be the ones who controlled this hook line and sinker. The democrats will be then ones calling republicans terrorists for trying to repeal it and even offer modest fixes. (this will come in the next few weeks when we have the discussion of the debt ceiling) and defending this monstrosity.
Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of people.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, whatever will they do when the sky hasn't fallen? Make another crisis so as to make it appear that every single thing that has Obama's fingerprints on it looks like a failure. It's gotten very old and it's going to be reflected in 2014 and certainly in 2016.

jr565 said...

n.n. wrote:

Obamacare is merely a clump of policies. It is not viable. It is a burden. Dismember it. Vacuum it. Flush it. It's the right choice. It's a citizen's right.

You're right about the problems, but wrong about the solution. Even if it's the prudent thing to to, we have half the population that is going to fight us, kicking and screaming, to keep it in place. And they control the White House and the Senate.

Therefore, the way you repeal it is win elections.
This by the way is why I hate libertarians right now. We had our chanced in 2012 before this thing took full effect. But a huge chunk of libertarians figured now was the time to teach republicans a lesson for not electing Ron Paul to not vote for the republican but instead waste their vote on Gary Fucking Johnson.
We wouldn't even be having this conversation right now if we had someone in the White house other than the guy who's name is on the law we all want repealed. That guy will not repeal the law.

So for any and all libertarians and republicans who figured now was the time for a litmus test on republicans rather than electing the guy who had the only chance to overturn the law (and who said it would be the first order of business- enjoy Obamacare.

jr565 said...

Here are some examples acknowledging what happened in the election:





Textbook example of making the perfect the enemy of the good. And textbook examples of why LIBERTARIANS ARE RETARDED.The choice wasnt Obama or Romney or the Libertarian. The choice was Obamacare, or Romney or a wasted vote that led to Obamacare.

Now the tea partiers (many of whom are libertarian) are just incensed that the House can't stop the law by defunding it. That is not going to happen. What might have worked though is if we controlled the White House AND the House and if the guy in the White House wasn't named Obama.

kjbe said...

Today is the first day to apply, correct, with actual coverage beginning in January? If this is still doing this in December, call me.

PB said...

The Illinois site collects answers to 5 questions then asks you to enter an email address so they can mail you a link to access the site. 7 hours and running and I haven't gotten the email.

The site must have been designed for folks with big monitors on their computers (every poor family, of course) as you answer one simple question then have to scroll down to find the "Next" button.

Also, they violated a basic rule of web registration in they only give you one field to enter that email address, when it is best practice to have two field to make theme enter it twice for confirmation.

The really s#!t is going to hit the fan as they process that information (I think a lot of it is going to be printed out and handled manually) and it is available for all sorts of people to see you personally intentifiable and financial information.

This is going to be a boon for LifeLock.

Freeman Hunt said...

I thought we might end up saving money because we were having to pay for two separate health insurance plans. Today I checked to see how much purchasing the same coverage we have now will cost.

An EXTRA $398 per month!

$400 more?!! Per month?!!

For the same thing we have now.

Thanks, Government.

Looks like we'll be buying crummier health insurance.

Seeing Red said...

Well, it'll work until the middle-class marriage penalty kicks in. Another $10K or more out of pocket if you're married. Those lefties, nothing left but the State. The State is all.

redcybra said...

After I entered my state (CT) I was directed to go to a separate website. The cheapest premium offered me (after entering my age and income) was $150 more than the cheapest premium available to me before (by the state Charter Oak program.) I didn't even bother to create an account, which is where it seems most of the problems appear. I'm just going to pay the penalty, since I'm not one of the elite exempted.

Seeing Red said...

Michael, are you saying this is Apple GPS? At least someone was fired over that.

Freeman Hunt said...

So now I just tried to use the government website to see what else might be available.

"Important: Your account couldnt be created at this time. The system is unavailable."

ARGH! So many four letter words! Must sign off.

I'm pretty much always in a good mood, but right now, I would characterize my mood as furious.

mrs whatsit said...

Really, Ann? Do you not realize how smug and ill-informed you sound when you congratulate yourself on having unaffected insurance, while the "promise" of being able to keep previous insurance has been unapologetically broken for so many others? In my family alone, one person has completely lost his previous excellent, affordable coverage, provided by a national professional organization, because Obamacare prohibits such organizations from providing insurance. Now he has to take what he can get -- worse coverage for much higher premiums. What good did Obama's empty promise do him? Another family member is keeping her prior insurance in theory, but it costs twice as much now, and her prior doctor is no longer included in the much-shorter list of approved physicians -- so she'll have to find another who's willing to take new patients (if there is one) and wait much longer for appointments, while paying much more. I'm sure she'll be thrilled, though, to learn that YOUR coverage -- subsidized in large part by taxpayers like her -- is unaffected.

Freeman Hunt said...

"There will come a time in a few years where very few will fight this anymore and Republicans will even forget they ever fought it. Just like Social Security and Medicare."

Are you kidding me?

You think I'm going to "forget" that the government caused my health insurance to be dropped and upped the cost for the exact same coverage by $400 a month? You think I'm going to forget that the government gave health insurance companies a big, wet kiss by allowing them to dump people who'd developed pre-existing conditions while covered, making them sign up for plans that cost hundreds of dollars a month more?

Will. Not. Forget.

Big Mike said...

Myself, I'm tired of the drama.

You were gullible enough to believe in "No Drama Obama"? How do you think "community organizers" work, other than by generating crises?

Big Mike said...

The relevant promise for me is: If you like what you have, you get to keep it.

People are already discovering that that was more like a campaign promise than a real promise.

And, frankly, Madam Professor, your first paragraph comes across a bit like a limousine liberal -- you've got yours so everybody else can go scratch. I already know that I'm paying substantially more in 2013 than in 2012 for a weaker healthcare plan with a much higher deductible. Pardon me if ACA does not seem like a net positive.

gadfly said...

Ann Althouse says:
I've had excellent health-care insurance for decades. (The relevant promise for me is: If you like what you have, you get to keep it.)

As the Daily Caller points out, major health care insurers are bailing out of the ObamaCare exchanges - so it won't be long before the government is the single payer insurance plan.

Of course Obama "fairly" delayed the rules affecting employers but refuses to do the same for individual taxpayers who do not have employer plans. So please don't irritate those who are getting screwed.

ALP said...

Ours is not working here in WA state. I woke up to see the Seattle Times headline:

"Despite politics, health insurance markets open" and right under that -

"UPDATES: Technical problems for state exchange website"

Right out of The Onion.

The Drill SGT said...

As the Daily Caller points out, major health care insurers are bailing out of the ObamaCare exchanges - so it won't be long before the government is the single payer insurance plan.

They are bailing because (as normal) the HHS built in 1 sided risk into insurance. The company sets the rate. If they overcharge, they must rebate, if they undercharge, they eat the loss. Given that the young invincibles may not show up, thus the risk pool will be sicker and older than planed, which side of that risk bet do you think will happen.

Cath said...

Tom Gallagher at 12:15 said the most important thing on this thread.

Paddy O said...

Freeman, our insurance plan (through a broker) got cut off. We were told we need to choose a new plan. The alternatives start at $250 more a month.

So, Matt, it's not just about the website, it's also about it being more costly for those of us who were already operating on a very tight budget. Now, if they called it the Less Affordable More Bother Health Care Act, at least people would know what they were getting.

Bilwick said...

Appropos of which:


Love the photoshopped spoof at the end. As Glenn ("Instapundit") Reynolds often sarcastically comments: "This country is in the best of hands."

Freeman Hunt said...

On a local email list for families, I see some saying they're going to go without health insurance now and work out a payment plan with the hospital if anything happens.

Lydia said...

"Tired of the drama"? Really, Althouse, that's what you think this is, even after reading what Freeman Hunt had to say about her premiums increasing by $400 a month?

Wow. Let 'em eat cake. And you're not the teeniest bit embarrassed.

Tank said...

mrs whatsit said...

Really, Ann? Do you not realize how smug and ill-informed you sound when you congratulate yourself on having unaffected insurance, while the "promise" of being able to keep previous insurance has been unapologetically broken for so many others?

Relax, she's just pushing your buttons. She knows you're being f*****.

Bob Ellison said...

I'm not worried. I can self-insure. I'm observing this train-wreck from a distance. My Blue Cross folks just sent me a letter yesterday saying things are gonna change. Whatever.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...


I'm actually not so concerned about Obamacare. I lived in the Soviet Union. Socialized health care is tolerable, if not actually desirable. Centralization (i.e. monopoly formation) promotes exceptional corruption, but the controlling minority tends to focus and exploit the most profitable and rewarding ventures.

Unfortunately, the majority of Democrats are not simple communists or left-wing ideologues. They have acquired their political, economic, and social capital through denigrating individual dignity and devaluing human life. While Obamacare is tolerable, the rest of their strategy is a sponsor of fundamental corruption, which masks exceptional corruption, and ensures that neither will be addressed.

Anyway, my first concern is that we preserve the intrinsic value of human life. I think it is intolerable for a human life to be treated as a commodity, interchangeable and disposable. Obamacare normalizes this fundamental corruption, and it is therefore unconscionable and unacceptable. This is even before we address the redistributive change scheme which underlies its design, in lieu of actually increasing availability and affordability of health care.

So... Obamacare is merely a clump of policies. It is clearly inviable. It is a burden. Dismember it. Vacuum it. Flush it. It's the right choice. It's a citizen's right.

Please note that I am advocating the abortion of a clump of policies (i.e. Obamacare), and not a clump of cells (e.g. Barack, Harry, Nancy, Anita).

David said...

My high-deductible insurance is being discontinued because it isn't ACA compliant. So I can't keep my insurance even though I like it. Promise broken for me.

I tried to create an account today and met with nothing but failure.

Unknown said...

Nice to know that you're cheering every glitch. They had a million visitors befotre 7 a.m. When I visited in the late morning, everything went smoothly. Obviously, they added more bandwidth.

The real reason you're so much against Obamacare is that you're afraid it might work well.

Molly said...

In Maryland, the website is up and operational, but it doesn't contain any links to see what the premiums are. I expect some will be surprised to see that the lowest cost plans ("bronze plans") have a 40% co-pay.

MadisonMan said...

I agree that the 12:15 Comment is a super-important one.

I see in the paper today that Gov. Walker might be taking away our nice insurance, Althouse. So welcome to the future.


Big Mike said...

@Unknown, please define "works." My company's plan takes a substantially bigger bite out of my take-home pay and the deductible is significantly higher. The documentation sent home was explicit that this was in response to the ACA.

Upthread there are people who are being hit even harder than I am, like Freeman Hunt and Paddy.

I don't see any reason to cheer "every glitch." Three and half years would have been cutting it fine even with outstanding leadership. Sebelius did not provide that leadership and HHS was slow getting off the ground with the system architecture. And, of course, the administration went with the lowest bidder. What idiot expected that the system would be anything other than one glitch after another?

Unknown said...

@n.n. I understand you want to get the basics right, but there is a lot of human dignity to be supplied and denied that simply can't wait until everyone agrees on abortion.

As I've mentioned, I've been in a lot of waiting rooms lately. One story among many: A woman working long hours at law firm temp contract job hoping to get permanently hired so she could get healthcare coverage *again* (after having lost it in the downturn) was hospitalized at 45 within 3 weeks of death with a metastasized cancer. Most likely the stress of her employment situation aggravated whatever condition she did not know she had. I'm not being dramatic. Her organs were shutting down and she was still trying to get a full-time job.

She had a miracle response to heavy chemo and they are now tentatively beginning to talk in terms of five years, but to qualify for coverage under the pre-Obamacare system she had to give up all property - all savings, all retirement, etc.

So not only did she have a terminal cancer diagnosis to deal with, but everything she ever worked for was taken from her so she could undergo the honor of taxpayer-funded, high-dose chemo - which is just a walk in the freaking park -- especially with two tween daughters she would like to live long enough to see walk down the aisle.

She was completely stripped of her identity. No bank or brokerage accounts for her. Bye bye.

This kind of thing would not have happened with the new system (or universal). People should not have to live their lives under that kind of stress - literally killing themselves to 'survive'. It is inhumane and definitely not supportive of "the dignity of human life."

The Drill SGT said...

SOJO said..Considering they can't nuke you for preexisting conditions, that's not so bad. I know the most about Kaiser which comes in at the most expensive because it is its own network.

I understood that Kaiser's network was Kaiser Light...

Anonymous said...

"Just checked our family health plan on the new "exchange" (which is a price comparison website). It's $40 LESS than our current plan, same insurance carrier, same plan. Yessss!"

Wisconsin Health Insurance Exchange

Posted by a friend on Facebook.

Sabinal said...

An EXTRA $398 per month!

$400 more?!! Per month?!!

For the same thing we have now.

THAT will be the death knell of O-Care...if/when people find that it is not cheaper, but WAY more expensive, it's gone and the Dems will have to accept it

Sabinal said...


that's good...one of the better news I've heard.

Anonymous said...

"On a personal level...my daughter has a pre-cancerous condition and could not afford health insurance that was offered to her from her place of employment because of it...now she is covered...so the only worry we have now is if this pre-cancer condition blossoms...but at least she'll be able to get help."

" My 19 year old son, has a separation in his atrium/ventricular valve and needs to be seen regularly by a cardiologist. He will now be able to receive medical care. Hallelujah!"

From two more friends on Facebook.

Big Mike said...

I see that Inga is more thrilled about her Facebook friend saving $40 per month than concerned about Freeman Hunt having to spend an extra $398 per month.

Way to demonstrate your caring and compassion, Inga!

Jason said...

I signed onto the online chat function and told them I'm from Puerto Rico. Where do I sign up?

They told me "If you are residing in a foreign country, you don't have to sign up."

"Excuse me? Did you just tell me Puerto Rico was a "foreign country?"

"Sorry for the inconvenience. I'm looking that up for you."

"Please wait."

"Please wait."

"Residents of Puerto Rico are not eligible for the exchanges. Please contact the Puerto Rico Department of Insurance."

"Are we exempt from the Medical Device Tax?"

"Please wait."

"Please wait..."

"I have no information on the medical device tax. Please contact the Puerto Rico Department of insurance."

"Why in God's name would a federal agency refer me to a territorial government for information about a federal tax?"

"We are sorry you feel that way. Please wait while I look that up for you."

"If we're not exempt from the medical device tax, why are we paying the tax to support a program we can't participate in?"

"Please wait. I'm looking that information up for you."

"Call the Puerto Rico Department of Insurance for more information."

"Is this a bot?"

"this is not a computer, sir."

"Well, how come you can't answer a basic question on the affordable care act?"

"We cannot give advice or opinions on what you should do."

"Im not asking for advice or opinions. I'm asking for the answer to a specific question regarding the affordable care act, a federal law. Are you with a federal agency?


"Are states and territories the authority on the enforcement of federal laws and taxes? Or is it the federal government?"

"Please wait while I look that information up for you."

Isn't it written in the law itself? Do you have a copy?

"Please wait."

"Did your training involve actually reading the ACA at any point?"

"If you have no further questions, I will have to end this chat."

Bob Ellison said...

The believers don't seem to wonder about money. Who will pay for all of these good things?

Ctmom4 said...

I tried AccessHealthCT today. We currently have a family plan in the individual market, for $1350 monthly. The CT exchange offered 4 - 4!- plans, ranging in price from $1800 a month to $2500!!!???, with the same deductibles I have now - $6000, and 10,000 to 12,700 maximum out of pocket. Gonna have to cook some meth.

And, I learned something else. Our current plan - which we can keep - excludes coverage for anything related to my husband's bad back. Well, the insurance company told me today that that rider will STAY ON! Apparently, current plans are grandfathered from the pre-existing conditions exclusion prohibition. F@#k Obama, and Obamacare.

Paddy O said...

The CA one is starting to load, but very slowly and sometimes it takes a couple of tries on particular links. Very little information is given until one goes into through the application process. A lot of "you may qualify..." for type stuff.

Paddy O said...

Inga, I think those are worthwhile stories, but I'm also on Facebook and have my own stories. The trouble is that we use some stories to trump other people's stories. It becomes triumphalist, sort of Queen for the Day quality competitions (my grandmother won an episode of that, got an Amana freezer).

My frustration is not that some people are helped, they needed help and should find help. The trouble is that instead of finding a balance and integrated transition, the authoritarian approach is to shove the whole package through, damn the consequences to many people, here's one touching story.

It's a crazy mixed bag, when if there really was concern and dialogue would have addressed and balanced out the issues. That's true with every topic but this one hits home that much more.

Especially as it remains to be seen what kind of care will actually be provided. It's funny how with this system there's been a lot of illusive promises and changed expectations.

Joe said...

People, you all do understand that the ACA isn't supposed to work, right? This is preplanned failure. The Democrats are gambling that when this crashes and burns, they'll be able to blame the nasty Republicans, get a majority back in the house and go to single payer.

Ironically, I think single payer may actually be an improvement over this mess. Republicans know this. So do the Democrats. Which also means that unless the Republicans come up with a cohesive, workable, alternative, they really are just being obstructionists.

(This from a die-hard fiscal conservative and social libertarian, but also a realist. While the government shutdown doesn't bother me in the least, I do think Republicans are making a serious strategic error, made all the more egregious since they are confronting a bunch of bozos.

Once again P.J. O'Rourke comes to the rescue:

"The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then they get elected and prove it.")

Freeman Hunt said...

Inga, Arkansas had already addressed the problem of non low income people with pre-existing conditions who were denied health coverage. We had a program called CHIP specifically for those people.

Perhaps these other states should have adopted the same program as Arkansas, and we could have avoided this ACA business.

n.n said...


First, you are describing an exceptional or anecdotal case. It can rarely be used to justify a general plan.

Second, what issue is more important than preserving the intrinsic (i.e. unearned) value of human life?

Third, you must acknowledge that liberty is only suitable and possible for men and women who are capable of self-moderating, responsible behavior. Elective abortion is a symptom of a progressive corruption that will conclude with a dysfunctional convergence.

The problem with Obamacare is three-fold. First, it preserves inflated costs of health care. There remains a subsidized and differential cost. People have a good feeling about paying the differential, without considering that the total cost has been inflated, and their labor is implicitly exploited without their consent. Second, it does not address availability of health care or limited resources generally. It addresses availability of insurance, and not even universally. It is principally a revenue generation and redistributive change scheme. Third, a consolidation of capital and control (i.e. monopoly formation) by government or private enterprise invites corruption and degraded personal liberty.

People are hoping for immediate or instant gratification, but it is not possible where resources have limited availability and accessibility. This is the same fanciful thinking which has lead people to rationalize elective abortion as a "right". They are willing to suffer long-term corruption in order to enjoy a short-term return.

Jason said...

Here's one effect the screwed up health exchanges have: I have no way of doing a direct comparison between the plan I have now and what I can get on the exchanges. I can't even get through.

If I can't get through, I won't know whether Obamacare works out for me or not. If I don't know whether Obamacare works out for me or not, I won't put pressure on my Congressmen to defund this shitbird of a law.

Anonymous said...

Inga said...

"Just checked our family health plan on the new "exchange" (which is a price comparison website). It's $40 LESS than our current plan, same insurance carrier, same plan. Yessss!"

Wisconsin Health Insurance Exchange

Posted by a friend on Facebook.

Inga, I don't know what that link to healthinsurance.org is all about, but it's not the ObamaCare exchange for Wisconsin. I have a feeling someone was misinformed, but hopefully it's an innocent mistake and someone wasn't deliberately misleading your friend. The ObamaCare Health Insurance Marketplace in Wisconsin is healthcare.gov, where you apply for coverage, compare plans, and enroll.

Ken Mitchell said...

The Obama promise of "If you like your health plan, you can keep it" was one of those that, while intentionally false, does work out for a small number of people; even a stopped clock, as they say, is right twice a day.

I'm one of those people who was "over-insured"; I'm retired Navy, but young enough that I've worked steadily since my "retirement" 20+ years ago. I was on our very-good company health plan, until last year when the prices skyrocketed and the benefits plunged; I bailed out and saved a lot of money, and now all you Americans are paying for my TRICARE health care.

But most Americans aren't in such good shape. I see "Obamacare" as having been DESIGNED TO FAIL - but to take long enough to collapse that most commercial health insurance providers would have collapsed. This would leave BHO with his preferred "single-payer" socialized medicine like the UK and Canada have.

Gospace said...

There are already hundreds of articles on the internet about individuals whose health insurance payments have doubled or more, and at the same time watched their deductable go up. I have two friends from HS post on facebook about their own insurance doing that (HS-1973).

Not one single confirmed case of the so called affordable health care act lowering any individual or family health insurance costs. Also not one verified case of a previously uninsured individual who is now insured with an affordable policy under the act. Not only not any verified stories, but not even any anecdotal stories.

By now, Harry Reid and Obama should be trunpeting out all the success storied of the previously unisured who are now thankful for their new insurance under Obamacare. Why aren't they doing so? Because there aren't any, nor will there be.

Unknown said...

I have been trying for three days to sign up and after waiting hours to finally get create an account... it will not accept my security questions. Said it cannot have two or more of the same answers... none of my answers are the same... I tried again same issue. Went back later and waited another hour before I gave up... I don't have time for this... ugh

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