Imagine the worst of your family arguments. Say, one that rages over what to do about poor Aunt Tillie. Half of the family wants to put her in a home; the other half wants her anywhere but a home. The “home” half wins, and sets out to fire up the minivan – only to discover that no one has put gas in the tank.
That’s what the launch of Obamacare feels like to some of us. A long, contentious ordeal that has grown only worse because someone has neglected the most fundamental tool for getting it off the ground. Poor Aunt Tillie actually stands a better chance. Filling up a three-gallon gas can and getting the minivan started doesn’t seem nearly as daunting as trying to fix 500 million lines of computer code that might have to be reconfigured for healthcare.gov.
More than three weeks into the launch of the website that was supposed to navigate visitors to their best options for health care insurance, the timeout errors and long waits are making this year’s Halloween scarier than a trunk full of Stephen King stories. Even Democrats in Congress want to see heads roll, and from the tone of their frustration, it sounds as if some mean literally.
How does something as fundamental as a website’s functionality get overlooked?
Retailers offer online shopping opportunities all the time. Banks provide online account access. Newspapers make their daily content available at the click of a mouse. You can even read this editorial on your phone.
Those things don’t just happen. They require months of code building and testing before they’re made available to the public. Who thought plunging ahead with healthcare.gov before it was ready was a good idea?
For all of the fear and uncertainty surrounding universal health care insurance, President Barack Obama and his administration have dropped the ball on their signature policy achievement in a huge way. Let’s hope poor Aunt Tillie fares better.