The Campaign Spot

You Can’t Spin a Website Performance. Either It Works or It Doesn’t.

Today’s Morning Jolt talks about President Obama’s inability to see himself and his administration clearly, this year’s edition of the war on whining about Christmas, and of course, the latest status of . . . which is to say, “still broken.”

Really, Mr. President, There Are Some Problems That Cannot Be “Spun.”

Here we go again.

. . . The [] systems that are supposed to deliver consumer information to insurers still have not been fixed. And with coverage for many people scheduled to begin in just 30 days, insurers are worried the repairs may not be completed in time.

“Until the enrollment process is working from end to end, many consumers will not be able to enroll in coverage,” said Karen M. Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group.

Some insurers say they have been deluged with phone calls from people who believe they have signed up for a particular health plan, only to find that the company has no record of the enrollment. Others say information they received about new enrollees was inaccurate or incomplete, so they had to track down additional data — a laborious task that will not be feasible if data is missing for tens of thousands of consumers.

In still other cases, insurers said, they have not been told how much of a customer’s premium will be subsidized by the government, so they do not know how much to charge the policyholder.

Talk about a rude surprise:

Bob Shlora of Alpharetta, Ga., was supposed to be a belated Obamacare success story. After weeks of trying, the 61-year-old told ABC News he fully enrolled in a new health insurance plan through the federal marketplace over the weekend, and received a Humana policy ID number to prove it.

But two days later, his insurer has no record of the transaction, Shlora said, even though his account on the government website indicates that he has a plan.

“I feel like this: My application was taken . . . by a bureaucrat, it was put on a conveyor belt and it’s still going around, and it’s never going to leave the building,” he said. “I’ve lost hope. If it happens, great.”

Obama administration officials acknowledged today that some of the roughly 126,000 Americans who completed the torturous online enrollment process in October and November might not be officially signed up with their selected issuer, even if the website has told them they are.

Note that this transaction was done this weekend, not in the opening days of the troubled site. His transaction occurred after all those fixes were made. So there’s some evidence that the site . . . isn’t fixed.

The Obama administration’s big song-and-dance Sunday was designed to get some nice, happy headlines to start the week, and to create the impression among their loyal base that the site is fixed.

Morning Jolt, Monday morning: “Basically, they’re bragging that they think they have the site significantly improved.”

Washington Post, late Monday afternoon:

Around 10 a.m. Monday morning, the Obama administration began using queuing software to meter entry into the Web site. At the time, the site had fewer than 40,000 users, somewhere in the “mid-30,000″ range, as Medicare spokeswoman Julie Bataille put it.

“As we looked at error rates, that was the team’s determination,” Bataille said.

Most notably, the queuing system went up before hit its planned target of handling 50,000 concurrent users. When pressed on this point, Bataille referred to a separate metric that the administration has used to measure success: that 800,000 people be able to use the Web site in a single day.

They can’t be honest with us. They don’t trust us with the truth, or they fear how the public will react with the truth. So they tell us everything’s working fine, and hope not enough people notice . . .

It’s infuriating to be on the receiving end of the lie, but the irony is that it’s only the shortest of short-term solutions for the person telling the lie. Their impossible promises and lies and excuses always end with some variation of “and in the very near future, you’re going to have an easier time, paying less money, to get better health care!” The “very near future” then arrives, and lo and behold, their vision hasn’t come to fruition. Because it can’t come to fruition, at least not the way they’re doing it.

Bruce Webster:

Those of you who have read my posts on Obamacare will recognize many of the quotes and concepts above, because they apply as much to the website development effort as they do to the legislation behind it. It is not surprising, then, that the Obama Administration’s response to profound problems with both the ACA’s implementation and the systems is to push ahead, patching, waving hands, hiding actual performance and/or outright lying about how the systems are doing, rather than taking a step back and figuring out what would actually be best, what would work best, for Americans and America.


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