December 4 2013

Are You "Poised" to Get Health Care?

Charlotte Hays

As metrics go, President Obama’s claim yesterday that that “500,000 are poised to get health care” tells us absolutely nothing about how well people are able to use the “fixed” HealthCare.gov website. But that is the point. The administration is using what Charles Krauthammer called “linguistic slight of hand” to hide problems with the website. How stupid do they think we are?

Natalie Scholl has a very helpful roundup at  the American Enterprise Institute website on “what we learned about ObamaCare” yesterday—the headline was adapted from a Washington Post report on three things we learned yesterday about ObamaCare.

Scholl links to the Post’s report by Sarah Kliff that we learned that there were 1 million visitors to the site yesterday and that approximately 13,000 “shoppers” ended up in the cueing system (you know—standing in line in cyber space).  We weren’t told how many of them actually reached the box office and bought a ticket, though. Oh, and there is still no information from the administration on the error rate. The administration doesn’t appear poised to give us an error rate anytime soon:

"We know there are different types of errors," [Medicare spokeswoman Julie] Bataille said. "We have information on the specific bugs. The statistic I don’t have [is] in terms of overall error rate. We're making a lot of progress to punch out the issues we have diagnosed working with issuers."

Byron York reports that the administration won’t even tell us who the people arrayed behind President Obama during his remarks on the huge success of the re-rollout. There may be a reason for this omission:

The last time Obama gathered everyday Americans to stand behind him as he delivered remarks on Obamacare turned into something of an embarrassment for the White House. It was Oct. 21, during the worst of the Obamacare website's dysfunction, and the White House wanted to showcase people who had successfully navigated the system.

The problem was, the brief biographies of those on stage -- biographies released by the White House -- showed that they had had the briefest and barest of interactions with the health care plan. One was said to have "used healthcare.gov to process his application and is waiting for the options for potential plans."

Another was said to be "planning to enroll after he explores his coverage options on the D.C. exchange." And yet another was said to be planning "to comparison-shop for the best plan that meets her budget and

Jonah Goldberg has a terrific take on the new, improved ObamaCare website:

Success! The Obama administration announced over the weekend that it had hit its deadline of November 30 for HealthCare.gov.

Of course, there were caveats. The site will still probably get buggy when there’s a lot of traffic, which is why Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius advised people to use it at off-peak hours. But that simply means peak hours will be moved to after midnight. After all, you don’t alleviate crowding if you tell everyone to try a different door.

Oh, and there will still be crashes, and occasionally the administrators will have to take the whole thing offline. But, HHS insists, the “user experience” will be boffo for the majority of users.

There’s still one hitch. HealthCare.gov doesn’t work, at all. Sure, it provides a remarkably realistic user experience, but as of now it’s basically a video game. A really, really boring video game. Call it Sim Healthcare.

The other thing that we learned yesterday is that President Obama has dug in his heels on this fiasco. Not surprisingly. “We’re not repealing it as long as I’m president,”  he said, adding,  “If I have to fight another three years to make sure this law works, then that’s what I’ll do.” We also saw his nasty side. Expect renewed attacks on Republicans, whom he accuses of not having a health care program.

Somebody should tell the president that the GOP has lots of health care programs—most are targeted and incremental. Because they lack the hubris of ObamaCare, these ideas, tried piecemeal, might actually improve health care delivery for millions of citizens. And—here’s the good thing—since they would be incremental, we wouldn’t end up with a massive, unprecedented disaster on our hands.  

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