Building reliable, secure web sites is not rocket science. Companies, organizations, and individuals do it all the time. Competent IT people manage the hidden functionality making those sites function. But healthcare.gov? That’s another story, which we, the American taxpayers, are funding.
The week the website opened, I created my account. After 4 grueling hours, laced with mysterious logouts, I completed the data entry. Let me pause, to allow the applause to finish.
I need to modify my application. There is no warning the application is locked, nor any mechanism for changing data once it is tagged as complete. I contacted the support team, using first a chat session, and then 1 week later, the toll-free number. The frontline support staff took my information and opened trouble tickets. Someone would call back within 5 business days.
Please note. The callback, when it happens, will be a number you do not recognize, just like the telemarketers. There is no name accompanying the call like Fed Gov, Health Care Marketplace, or even Obamacare. I missed the call but felt some hope as the agent left instructions on how I could reach past the front tier filters directly to the “fix-it” team.
I was delighted to hear my call was important. I felt the same way. Next was the message I may be waiting 15 minutes or longer before my call was serviced. OK. I was sure I was not the only taxpayer needing assistance. The hold music, soft and relaxing, lulled me into slumber.
At last, an agent picked up the call. She had an icy voice, no chit chat, all business. I explained my application was locked and I needed to make changes.
“Can’t help you.”
“Can you unlock my application so I can change data?”
“Can’t help you. One of the things that’s broken with the web site is once an application is tagged complete, it cannot be changed or reopened.”
“OK, can you delete the application? I’ll be happy to start again.”
“Can’t help you. The system won’t let us delete applications.”
“What am I supposed to do?”
“There’s nothing you can do but wait until the system is fixed.”
“There is a deadline December 15th. Do you have any idea when this issue will be resolved?”
“We are well aware of the deadline, sir, and our IT people are working to resolve the issues. You will have to wait then try again.”
“How will I know when this issue has been resolved so I can try again?”
“You will just have to login and try until it is. Wait a week. When the system is fixed for us, it will be fixed for you.”
I was out of words but thanked the agent for her time. In that short conversation, I had decoded Obamacare.
It is an experiment designed to stress us to the max with sheer frustration over politicians that passed a law fining us for not having health care while creating a broken support system. The weak among us will drop, thinning out the herd, thereby reducing the strain on the nation’s health care infrastructure.
My suggestion is we arrange the next ballot in two columns. Column 1 will be incumbents. They’ve had their chance. Column 2 will be the challengers. Vote for change.