You could bet that if there was any tiny bit of positive news to extract from people trying to use the online marketplaces for government-run health insurance, this administration's propaganda machine would have been hyping it up big time.
Instead, the Obamacare web site has been a nightmare to navigate, that's if you're even able to log in. According to a new Associated Press/GFK Poll, in the first few days days just seven percent of Americans surveyed said that someone in their household has tried to purchase insurance through the marketplaces.
More dismal is the fact that only one in 10 of those were able to actually buy an insurance plan. The Washington Post even reported that the site is such a disaster that the number of people that successfully purchased healthcare through it was in the "single digits."
From the time the online exchanges went public on October 1, the president as well as administrative parrots like press secretary Jay Carney and Health and Human Services chief Kathleen Sebelius, said these were minor glitches, which even the tech giants experience when they launch a new product. What's different is that this administration has had three-and-a-half years to work on the web site to make sure people could sign up on the government monstrosity known as Obamacare.
The primary purpose of Healthcare.gov is to allow people to purchase healthcare at competitive rates. Instead, the majority of users found the initial step of just logging in impossible. Users were soon greeted by frequent error messages.Surely, they should have anticipated major online traffic once the system opened for business. But then again, whenever government bureaucracy is in charge of something as massive as health care, there will be plenty of room for error.
Sebelius did make an early comment that the system handled millions of Americans anxious to purchase health insurance through the on-line site.
"We've identified the glitches, we've added hardware, we're recoding software, and I can tell you today is better than yesterday, and we are hoping in the very near future to have a seamless process that's what we are aiming for," Sebelius chirped.
Those who have tried to access the site tell a different story. In reality, computer experts say a poorly written code caused the system to buckle under the heavy traffic. One online database programmer said it didn't look like anyone even tested it and that he would be ashamed and embarrassed if his organization delivered something like that.
A company called CGI Federal originally won the government contract back in 2011, and at that time, the cost was expected to cost "up to" $93.7 million. Now, two years later, government records show the real cost to build Healthcare.gov has topped $634 million.
Just like the costs of implementing Obamacare have gone through the roof over first estimates, the money spent on this web site is seven times its initial estimate from just two years ago. Just think what the sticker shock will be for taxpayers once ObamaCare really gets rolling.
Critics of big government realize that no private-sector organization would have tolerated a $634 million project - seven times its original cost projection - and that a firm competing in the private sector would have tested its software before ever releasing to make sure it at least functional.
In arguing for passage of Obamacare in 2010, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi made the now infamously stupid remark that the Congress had to pass Obamacare "so that you can find out what is in it." Earlier this summer, she left us with another gem when she gushed that "the implementation of this (Obamacare) is fabulous."
A few months earlier, Sen. Max Baucus, another Democrat, gave us a more realistic assessment on Obamacare when he warned Americans that he sees "a huge train wreck coming down."
Once families are faced with paying $5,000 and $6,000 deductibles before their health plans pay a penny in benefits, we wonder how many Americans will see how many people accept Pelosi's analysis that Obamacare is "fabulous" and how many will agree with Sen. Baucus' assertion that it's "a huge train wreck."
By Jim Zbick