Wendell Potter is a health insurance industry whistleblower and author of 'Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care and Deceiving Americans'
Now that the federal government is open again, the attention of the public, media and, of course, politicians, will turn, as it should, to whether the Obama administration will be able to make the glitch-plagued health insurance exchanges work.
I wasn’t at all surprised that people were having a hard time signing up for coverage on Oct. 1, the first day the exchanges were supposed to be up and running. Many of the exchanges — specifically those few that were built and are being operated by individual states — worked just fine from the very beginning.
But the exchange for most of the states is being operated by the federal government. In reality, regrettably, it is more accurate to say that they are not being operated by the feds because of technology problems, the extent of which we can only speculate.
That’s because the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services are not being forthcoming about what’s really wrong with the Healthcare.gov website and how and when things will be fixed.
That doesn’t give supporters of the Affordable Care Act much comfort. Many are understandably anxious. They’re beginning to wonder if the Obama administration really can fix things before Dec. 15, which is the last day of the open enrollment period for individual health insurance policies that go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.
Instead of sitting down with reporters to explain what’s really going on, administration and HHS officials are just issuing pablum — the kind of statements PR people feed the media when they want to obscure rather than enlighten — which, of course, gives reporters — and opponents of Obamacare — all the more reason to believe that things are much worse than anyone is letting on.
So what happened — or didn’t happen — to make it the federal exchange so unworkable, at least for now?
Here are four possible reasons for the current mess:
Beyond those factors, the reality is that building a system in which so many different entities have to communicate perfectly with each other is no small undertaking. It very well might be the most complicated initiative of its kind in the history of computer technology, at least in health care. I remember all too well when more than a decade ago Cigna encountered huge problems when it began moving its policyholders from numerous legacy claim-paying platforms to a new, unified system. The inevitable glitches infuriated many customers. A lot of policyholders didn’t get their membership cards on time. It was a mess that cost the company dearly. And that was just one company.
Cigna eventually fixed the problems and recovered. Chances are most of the company’s current customers either never knew or don’t remember how bad things were for awhile. If the feds can fix the problems with the exchanges within the next few weeks, few people will remember those problems even this time next year. But if they aren’t fixed soon, all bets are off.
January 28th, 2014
In the State of the Union address tonight, President Obama is going to call for a national minimum wage of $10.10. Then in their response ...
January 21st, 2014
My New Year's Day op-ed in the New York Times seems to have kickstarted a discussion about how to make Obamacare better. I hope you ...
December 18th, 2013
This morning it was announced by the Library of Congress and the National Film Preservation Board that my first film, 'Roger & Me', has been ...
December 14th, 2013
[View the story "Michael Moore Tweets on Eve of Newtown Anniversay" on Storify]
November 9th, 2013
Click here for this week's full schedule for the State Theatre and Bijou by the Bay in Traverse City, Michigan. The day has arrived. For ...
September 10th, 2013
[View the story "John Kerry's Accidental Diplomacy" on Storify]
July 30th, 2013
Today Bradley Manning was convicted on 20 of 22 counts, including violating the Espionage Act, releasing classified information and disobeying orders. That's the bad news. ...
September 11th, 2010
OpenMike 9/11/10 Michael Moore's daily blog I am opposed to the building of the "mosque" two blocks from Ground Zero. I want it built on ...
December 14th, 2010
Yesterday, in the Westminster Magistrates Court in London, the lawyers for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange presented to the judge a document from me stating that ...
May 12th, 2011
"The Nazis killed tens of MILLIONS. They got a trial. Why? Because we're not like them. We're Americans. We roll different." – Michael Moore in ...
November 22nd, 2011
This past weekend I participated in a four-hour meeting of Occupy Wall Street activists whose job it is to come up with the vision and ...
September 22nd, 2011
I encourage everyone I know to never travel to Georgia, never buy anything made in Georgia, to never do business in Georgia. I will ask ...
December 16th, 2010
Dear Swedish Government: Hi there -- or as you all say, Hallå! You know, all of us here in the U.S. love your country. Your ...
November 2nd, 2010
This letter contains (almost) no criticisms of how the Democrats have brought this day of reckoning upon themselves. That -- and where to go from ...