It’s now been seven days since Obamacare’s exchanges officially launched. In reality, however, the “launch” has more closely resembled a blooper reel of rocket failures than a smooth takeoff. Here is but a sampling of the problems, failures, and glitches that have turned the exchanges into a comedy of errors:
- Some state exchanges delay their opening to address technical problems; Maryland’s exchange postpones its launch by four hours.
- When the federally run exchanges in 36 states open, they are immediately overwhelmed by massive volume and technical errors. One MSNBC reporter spends more than half an hour trying in vain to establish an account and compare insurance options.
- Reuters reports that in total, 47 state exchange websites “turned up frequent error messages.”
- The Los Angeles Times reports that California’s state exchange vastly overstated its first-day web traffic. Instead of receiving 5 million hits, the exchange actually received 645,000 visitors.
- The Washington Examiner notes that new co-operative health insurance programs funded by billions of Obamacare dollars featured “sites [that] were difficult to navigate and provided little understandable insurance information on topics like eligibility, costs, and benefits.”
- The Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff writes a story, illustrated with a picture of a unicorn, asking whether anyone has actually purchased health insurance on from the federally run exchange—or whether these individuals are just “mythical creature[s].”
- An Arizona television station profiles a leukemia survivor who “just got a letter from his insurance carrier saying as of January 1, he would be dropped from coverage because of new regulations under Obamacare. His doctor at the Mayo Clinic may be gone as well.”
- Liberal blogger Ezra Klein admits that the Administration “did a terrible disservice by building a website that, four days into launch, is still unusable for most Americans.”
- CNBC reports that “as few as 1 in 100 applications on the federal exchange contains enough information to enroll the applicant in a plan.”
- One of the few individuals claiming to have enrolled in a federally run insurance exchange admits that “he has not in fact enrolled in a health-care plan.”
- The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announces it will take major portions of its website offline over the weekend for repairs and major upgrades.
- Reuters interviews IT experts who believe the exchange contains major design flaws: “so much traffic was going back and forth between [exchange] users’ computers and the server hosting the government website, it was as if the system was attacking itself.”
- The San Jose Mercury News profiles people suffering premium increases due to Obamacare—including one whose premiums may increase by nearly $10,000 for his family of four.
- Treasury Secretary Jack Lew refuses to tell Fox News’s Chris Wallace how many people have, or have not, enrolled in coverage.
- The Charlotte Observer profiles one Charlotte family, whose premiums could rise from $228 per month to $1,208 per month—a 430 percent increase—because their current health insurance does not meet Obamacare’s standards.
- The Wall Street Journal quotes technology consultants as saying that the federal exchange site “appeared to be built on a sloppy software foundation,” and that “basic Web-efficiency techniques weren’t used…clog[ging] the website’s plumbing.”
- Politico finds many individuals are resorting to paper applications for coverage, due to the continued problems with online exchanges.
- The New York Post reports that navigators were entirely unprepared for the launch of Obamacare’s exchanges last week; many staffers working for purported navigators seemed unaware the program existed.
- HHS announces it is taking the exchange website offline again for more repairs.
Given this track record, some may find the words of Saturday’s Reuters piece prescient: “Five outside technology experts interviewed by Reuters…say they believe flaws in system architecture, not traffic alone, contributed to the problems” with the exchanges.
That quote is an apt metaphor for the entire law itself. Just as the exchanges’ problems stem from fundamental “flaws in system architecture,” so do these “glitches” prove that the entire law is unworkable—not just parts of the measure. It’s why Congress should act now to save America from this unpopular, unfair, and unworkable law.