The dis-ease is getting worse.
Unlike news stories people can afford to ignore because they’re too busy or removed, this is one they’re invested in, or were required to be by law. So everyone was paying attention when the day came for Obamacare to launch, and people to begin signing up. Which they were prepared to do with ample warning of the consequences for not being able to meet the requirements. And thus, everyone saw how unprepared the government was, in spite of ample opportunity to build the system it required. Now, the consequences follow.
Obamacare has a 99.6 percent rating—and not in a good way.
A paltry 36,000 people managed to enroll in the federal online health-insurance marketplace in its first, software-glitch-ridden week of operation, a grim new analysis found Wednesday.
That’s “far fewer than one percent of all visitors to HealthCare.gov” for the week ended Oct. 5, wrote Matt Pace, managing director of research firm Millward Brown Digital, on a blog post entitled “A Bleak First Week.”
In fact, the firm found 99.6 percent of HealthCare.gov’s visitors left before enrolling in coverage, a sobering statistic given the Obama administration’s goal of signing up 7 million people on new government-run health exchanges by 2014.
The Hill picked up on that non-partisan data research firm’s report, and analysis.
The Obama administration has not released enrollment figures of its own, but says healthcare.gov received 14.6 million unique visitors in its first 11 days.
In a blog post Wednesday, Millward Brown Digital Managing Director Matt Pace wrote it’s “no surprise” that federal officials have been tight-lipped about the numbers.
“Healthcare.gov was clearly unprepared to handle the huge spike in traffic on Oct. 1, the start of open enrollment, which the site was visited by 0.9% (or one in 114) of everyone online in the United States,” Pace wrote.
He added that while the site’s performance in its first week was “atrocious,” traffic figures indicate a demand for ObamaCare’s new coverage options.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) initially attributed the site’s unrelenting technical issues to floods of users.
But HHS later acknowledged that there were system errors at play as well. Since then, officials have temporarily taken down parts of the site for repairs.
CNN says it needs more than repairs.
Experts say the major problems with the Obamacare website can’t reasonably be solved before the end of 2013, and the best fix would be to start over from scratch.
After assessing the website, Dave Kennedy, the CEO of information-security company Trusted Sec, estimates that about 20% of Healthcare.gov needs to be rewritten. With a whopping 500 million lines of code, according to a recent New York Times report, Kennedy believes fixing the site would probably take six months to a year.
But would-be Obamacare enrollees only have until Dec. 15 to sign up for coverage starting at the beginning of 2014. Nish Bhalla, CEO of information-security firm Security Compass, said it “does not sound realistic at all” that Healthcare.gov will be fully operational before that point.
“We don’t even know where all of the problems lie, so how can we solve them?” Bhalla said. “It’s like a drive-by shooting: You’re going fast and you might hit it, you might miss it. But you can’t fix what you can’t identify.”
This is beyond huge. It’s an immense breakdown.
The sheer size of Healthcare.gov is indicative of a major rush job. Rolling the site out too quickly likely increased the number of errors, and that makes the fixes more difficult to implement.
Too quickly? They’ve had years to work on this, “$300 million worth of work” on Healthcare.gov, with hundreds of millions of lines of code that
says right off the bat that something is egregiously wrong,” said Kennedy. “I jumped back when I read that figure. It’s just so excessive.”
Applicants might be able to at least register for Obamacare sooner than that, even if the site isn’t 100% perfect. The New York Times report said five million lines of code need to be replaced just so the site can run properly.
But the Obamacare website has bigger problems than simply getting people registered for health care. The code is also riddled with security holes, according to Kennedy, who outlined his cybersecurity concerns on Trusted Sec’s company blog.
“If someone can’t register, that’s obviously bad — but if the information gets hacked, you’re talking about one of the biggest breaches in American history,” Kennedy said. “I think security is an afterthought at this point.”
That might not be a major issue now, as people are still having trouble logging onto the site. But once it’s up and running, that code had better be made more secure.
“At this point, the car isn’t even moving,” Bhalla said. “But once we’re speeding down the road, you’re going to want that seatbelt to work.”
There is so much wrong with this, you can’t fit it into one report. News story after news story reports on different aspects of this potential crisis that are already affecting people’s jobs or health insurance or both, with employers cutting employees or hours, and people receiving letters from their health insurers saying their policies were being terminated because of changes in the law under Obamacare.
This is getting more disturbing by the day. But today, with more Democrats calling for a delay in implementation of parts or all of Obamacare, I heard a news analyst say that doing so would be good and bad for the president (without mentioning what it would be for millions of Americans). Good in that it would give his administration time to work out the problems with the system. And bad because “it would appear to give a win to the Republicans.”
Get past the politics of something so major as this. Even the Washington Post reported that Obama’s biggest detractors weren’t Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell or House Speaker John Boehner. It’s popular late night comedian Jon Stewart.
Stewart, the host of the wildly popular “Daily Show” on Comedy Central, has emerged as a harsh critic of HealthCare.gov and the Obama administration’s inability to fix it…
Who cares what a late night comedian/talk show host thinks? President Obama should if viewership details on Stewart’s show are right.
According to a 2012 Pew Research Center poll, “The Daily Show” has the second-largest share of young viewers — aged 18-29 — of any of the 24 media outlets tested.
President Obama and his administration have made it quite clear that one of the big beneficiaries of the law ould be young people…
But, these same young people tend to get much of their news — and therefore have their opinions shaped — not by places like The Washington Post or the CBS Evening News but rather by Stewart. He is their Tom Brokaw, their David Brinkley. So, what Stewart says matters — a lot.
This is going to get worse before it gets better. Maybe unimaginably worse. But at least everyone’s paying attention.