Oh, Bamacare

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By: Ryan Muir, Opinions writer, [email protected]

The affordable care act has been available for program sign up since the first of October 2013. There are several methods for signing up for this new insurance. Participants can go to an on-site location, sign up online or fill out the paperwork themselves. All of these methods have been used with varying degrees of success, but most methods have had numerous issues.

This new law has been presented as innovative reform, and as such should have been rolled out with flawless efficiency. A look into what actually happened is a far cry from the fanfare that should have been. The onsite sign up and the online signup have been riddled with issues.

From the earliest hours of the affordable care act opening most people encountered signup trouble. The website crashed within hours of opening.  Rather than being resolved, the problem was tossed around as a blame game. Blame is less important than fixing the problem.

Plagued for just over a month, there are still no reliable solutions to the healthcare sign up. The sign up problem is just one of many issues that plague they system. Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of Health and Human Services, claims there are nearly 200 issues within the website.
The computer bugs are expected to get fixed by the end of November, almost two months from the initial start date. This is ridiculous. These problems are not disputes with the law; they are technical difficulties, and should have been resolved much sooner.
Computer problems should be solved much quicker, or perhaps this is too much to ask. The American people are accustomed to business being handled in a proper and timely manner. Many people have smart phones and tablets. These devices by their nature have many technical issues; they also have many updates to fixes those issues.
According to one report from Fox News, the healthcare website received 15 million visits in 20 days. Fifteen million visits. This is a lot, but it is not the millions of iPads and phones that need updating every time Apple makes something new. Yet Apple seems to handle similar issues with exceptional grace.

From my personal experience, the longest I have waited for a technical glitch to be fixed was maybe a week. I would expect a program of such importance as the Affordable Healthcare Act to have at least the same efficiency as tech companies.
The federal government should have relied more heavily on the states for support. One aspect which has been overlooked is the state health exchanges. Several of the states have their own healthcare exchanges, which have successfully been running for some time now.

State exchanges also have online signups, and there has been little press about the way they are functioning. Sites like Utah health exchange have been operating smoothly.

There are some individuals and groups who say the government is searching for information. I think this may be a bit of a stretch. A simple look into personal documents should reveal to the individual that the government is already the primary issuer of our most personal information, everything from drivers’ licenses, birth certificates and social security cards.

While this does not exactly put the mind to ease, it does show the government has very little need to dig around for information. Claiming the authorities are searching for information seems conspiratorial. The government already has access to the same information other companies have to request to receive.

A more rational view is the government does offer healthcare, and as with any private insurance provider, there are specific health questions about a person’s health that need to be answered before insurance is provided to the customer. We shouldn’t expect anything less of a government insurance option.

The rollout of the affordable care act has not been handled properly. If the issues they are experiencing are really so severe, than perhaps a small delay was in order to fix the issues. This new insurance law should have been hailed as an amazing success. Instead we are stuck with an incredible flop of an introduction.