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Obamacare system problems go beyond “glitches”

Obamacare system problems go beyond “glitches”

More technology experts are warning that glitches in the Obamacare system could take longer to iron out, as many remain unable to get beyond the earliest steps in the signup process.

From Politico:

The glitch-plagued Obamacare rollout might be just the beginning: A series of potential technology problems could thwart the Obama administration’s goal of getting 7 million people enrolled in the new exchanges by the end of March.

Millions of people have already encountered error messages, delays, crashes and stuck accounts. Technology experts and Obamacare backers worry that each step ahead in the process — filling out applications, checking on subsidies and selecting a health insurance plan — creates a potential technology choke point. And that doesn’t even count any additional chaos when people try to use their new health insurance come January.

“There is grave concern that many individuals who are intent on securing coverage by [Jan. 1] may not be able to do so by that date,” said consultant Dan Schuyler, who helped design a health insurance exchange in Utah and is now the senior technology expert at Leavitt Partners. “There’s a small window [the Department of Health and Human Services] has. If the problems persist another three or four weeks, those at the back of the line will not have coverage.”

Technical glitches also aren’t the only issues with which the Obamacare launch continues to struggle.

CNN revealed Friday that reports of users’ passwords requiring a reset was actually the result of customer service having been provided the wrong script.

If you contacted the federal Obamacare call center early Thursday morning, you may have been told that your password for needed to be reset. But that is not the case, officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services say.

Consumer passwords for the Obamacare website have not been reset, HHS officials say, but call center representatives were mistakenly given that incorrect information.

“A wrong script was provided to call center representatives,” one HHS official told CNN. “It’s been corrected. The wrong script was read for only a short time — just this morning.”

ArsTechnica, a technology new[s] and information website, first reported that people were being told to reset their passwords on Tuesday, October 8.

A second HHS official said enrollees can continue to use their current passwords.

I myself called into the call center days before Thursday and was also told to try resetting my password.  Of course, that only sent my account deeper into the lost hole that I call Zombieland.  While the system recognizes my Marketplace user name and sends a password reminder/reset to the correct email address associated to my Obamacare account, clicking on the link in the email only produces yet another error message at the website, telling me it cannot find the account.

It would seem that HHS is a bit confused as to what’s going on in its call center.  (By the way, HHS, no, some of us can’t continue using our current passwords because THEY DON’T WORK).

Some supporters of Obamacare are also critical of the administration’s communication strategy on addressing some of the glitches.  Here’s one of the latest, from Politico:

Washington and Lee University School of Law professor Tim Jost, a staunch Obamacare backer and a consumer advocate at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, said the rollout has been “very disappointing.” He says there’s still time to make fixes, but he faulted the White House for not offering up a tech expert on Oct. 1 to give the public a clear and complete account.

“You need to have someone honestly and forthrightly explain what the technical problems are and what it’s going to take to fix them,” Jost said. “The volume obviously is a factor. For the first day or two it worked — a week and a half later, it’s no longer an adequate explanation.”

I’ve said much the same in prior posts.  All politics aside, unless the administration is honest and upfront about what all of the issues actually entail, they will never be able to adequately identify and address them.

While the administration claims that some of the issues have improved, and I don’t doubt that some have, there seem to be a great number of people who still haven’t even gotten past the account creation process yet to even look at the plans, let alone get into the plan signup process.  That said, once more people have created accounts on the system and finally begun the signup process, there are most certainly going to be a number of issues that still haven’t even been discovered yet.  Who knows how long it will take to get an accurate handle on identifying – and fixing – all of the issues.

Meanwhile, the clock ticks away on the individual mandate.


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Doesn’t matter, it’s the new DMW. We’ll laugh and joke and cuss it, but it ain’t goin’ away soon.

Oops, I meant DMV.

Now, that’s a glitch.

Eastwood Ravine | October 12, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Not that the media and the socialists will agree, but there not be a better argument for delaying Obamacare because of the website glitches. Spend another 6 months, another year, to iron out these glitches to get it to work smoothly. Nobody in there right mind would sign up for anything online with this many reported glitches. Never mind the fact that Obamacare is bad law, bad policy, and totally against the spirit and intentions of a free society.

nordic_prince | October 12, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Gee, given how FUBAR this whole Zerocare thing is, it’s almost like they don’t give a d@mn whether it works or not ~

    Radegunda in reply to nordic_prince. | October 12, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    They’re leftists, so destroying the existing society is more important than whatever they might put in its place, as long as it’s something more coercive.

    Obviously they aimed to destroy the private insurance market, and let people suffer, and then say it’s another crisis they can’t allow to go to waste.

    They obviously figured that the easiest way to get to single-payer was to crush the alternatives. And I doubt they’re much concerned about how single-payer would actually serve the people. The idea of centralized government control is what counts.

Heh, and when people finally get through to the exchange they will discover that they get to pay half again as much for half the medical coverage.

Isn’t big government great? Where else can you find an organization able to force you to buy shoddy products and services for an inflated price all to benefit cronies and supporters. What, you don’t like it? Go ahead and file your complaint. We will get to it in about 30 years.

“Glitches” is the narrative. Don’t accept it. Glitches implies a normal and pardonable break-in period. These are profound design flaws that point to incompetence and contempt for the people and the marketplace. They are unforgivable; they had three years to prepare for this. They failed. This signifies a larger management failure that isn’t going away and which will be a part of the system itself forever. Why not forever? What remedial pressures will ever be applied in a closed and unaccountable system without competition?

Tom Jost needs to explain honestly why we have Obamacare in the first place.

Stop calling it obamacare!

The name is obamafail.

That’s okay, Mandy! As they keep telling us, you just need to keep trying… and trying… and trying…

M’self, I’m waiting for the “waiting room” to turn into the page that spawned a thousand memes. I can’t be the only one who thinks that abstract, meaningless set of circular logos is begging for it, can I?

It’s nasty to abolish affordable health insurance and leave people who aren’t wealthy with the sole option of crawling to the government and begging for a “subsidy” for something they could afford before the government messed it up, under the guise of helping us.

With all the hundreds of millions of our money they’ve spent on a malfunctioning website and celebrity promos, plus what they’ll spend on 16,000 new IRS agents and scores of new bureaucrats and unvetted “navigators” and a massive database and slush funds for leftist groups to sign people up & register them to vote, etc. … they could have set up high-risk pools or other instruments to help the needy uninsured, and left the rest of us the heck alone, and avoided the disincentive structure that’s driving doctors out of practice and inducing hospitals to cut staff.

They could have, but that would not have achieved their real objectives, would it?

Another Voice | October 13, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Congressman Reed (R) 23rd District: Fix the Glitch

Continue to represent me and hold in principle only that Obamacare is law but is totally unable to be administrated as is. Prevail for un-funding of this as policy that everyone is in with exemptions to penalties, or no one need pay a penalty until all parties involved are within the compliance of the program as legislated and program is working as prescribed.

Limit all funding to fix any of the program glitches to enrollment and the administrative side of Obamacare to what has been spent and previously appropriated with no advancement of new appropriations until the markers are met. Hold the contractors to contract performance payments for work completed to date and penalties if not. As in any performance contract.

You will be supporting American Tax Payers making the final decision who will elect to enroll or NOT to enroll. Let those in Washington reap the implosion and defend the validity of the Program they put through the house without review by the 60% of Americans opposed to Obamacare and the 85% of tax payers paying higher premiums plus higher federal and state taxes, suffer the fall out for their ineptness and incompetence. Continue to promote an alternative slimmed down and steam lined Single Payer Program and alignment of the dismantling of the Federal ACA over the next year and half. You will have my vote in 2014 if this is your only accomplishment.

The left group coming out of Tompkins County who are setting your representation of the 23rd District as a target in 2014 in their selection of Martha Robertson, are tree hugging liberals who subscribe to socialism perpetuated by Liberal/Socialist Cornell. They do not represent the majority of voters who work and live in your district and need to live outside of Cornell Owned, Liberal dominated Tompkins County, but live in the surrounding lower taxed counties in order to afford paying their bills and provide a living for themselves and families.