Promises to Keep

The editors of the New York Times are nervous:

The administration created the Web site so the buck necessarily stops with high officials — Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, and President Obama himself — who allowed this to happen. The administration attributes the problems partly to unexpectedly high demand from people eager to compare insurance policies available in their states and partly to technical glitches that blocked or slowed people from submitting applications and erroneous data being sent to insurers. Why the administration failed to anticipate the high demand has never been explained. Nor has it clearly explained the nature of the technical problems — or who in government or among the private contractors is primarily responsible for them.

They noticed something very interesting in the president’s speech, however:

Mr. Obama also made this important pledge to all consumers who tried to apply through the federal Web site and got stuck somewhere in the process: “In the coming weeks, we will contact you directly, personally” to recommend how to complete the application, shop for coverage and pick a suitable plan.

It’s now up to his office to make good on these promises, and there is no reason to believe it can’t be done. The health exchanges in several states appear to be working better than the federal site. And even with the federal site’s problems, some half-million Americans have successfully submitted applications through state and federal exchanges, the first step in the enrollment process.

For every elected official there comes a time to stop campaigning and start delivering. For the Obama Administration, this is that time. Early indications suggest that they intend to stick with their core competency.

3 comments… add one
  • ... Link

    Obama: “In the coming weeks, we will contact you directly, personally….”

    NYT: It’s now up to his office to make good on these promises, and there is no reason to believe it can’t be done.

    There’s no reason to believe that the Administration can’t make 16 state programs contact personally to ensure everyone can complete the application and shop for and select what they need? Not to mention that given the problems the Administration is having with their own website and the 1-800-F1UCKYO number, it seems unlikely that they will be able to personally contact millions more people individually in a few weeks time.

    Or perhaps the Times thinks that sending out an email blast (otherwise known as SPAM) counts as personal, direct contact.

  • ... Link

    And they knew it was going to crash before they even launched it. From the Washington Post, that bastion of Tea Party Radicalism:

    Days before the launch of President Obama’s online health ­insurance marketplace, government officials and contractors tested a key part of the Web site to see whether it could handle tens of thousands of consumers at the same time. It crashed after a simulation in which just a few hundred people tried to log on simultaneously.

    Despite the failed test, federal health officials plowed ahead. [emphasis added]

    Later in the same article:

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency in charge of running the health insurance exchange in 36 states, invited about 10 insurers to give advice and help test the Web site.

    About a month before the exchange opened, this testing group urged agency officials not to launch it nationwide because it was still riddled with problems, according to an insurance IT executive who was close to the rollout.

    It was clear at the time, the executive said, that the CMS was still dealing with the way the exchange handled enrollment, federal subsidies and the security of consumers’ personal information, such as income. [emphasis added]


    As late as Sept. 26, there had been no tests to determine whether a consumer could complete the process from beginning to end: create an account, determine eligibility for federal subsidies and sign up for a health insurance plan, according to two sources familiar with the project.

    It’s the Age of Competency!

  • jan Link

    – – –

    That was a very revealing Washington Post piece, giving details of how really half-a** and stubbornly clueless the team was putting together, promoting, and pushing for this roll-out to be on line by a certain date — ready or not! Their bottom line was not to emphasize a quality experience or unbreachable security for it’s consumers — it was all about political timing, in developing Obama’s legacy legislation, as set forth by him.

    One can only imagine how sloppy and miserable this kind of forced HC can become, if not radically modified, with the people’s well being taking precedence over the government’s quest to have their tentacles of power attached to everything that moves and breaths in this country. And then. taking it a step further, think about all this information being in the hands of the IRS, to do with it as they please.

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