Critique and Illustration by: Chris Talbot-Heindl
So, last Thursday, a shit ton of government employees all got together in a room and spent hours playing the blame game over the issues that have plagued the Affordable Care Act’s (or Obamacare’s) website.
Apparently, before the website was launched, it hadn’t completed alpha testing, and health insurance companies had already been complaining about it, and the site actually crashed during a test run.
When the site launched on October 1st (the same day that House Republicans cowboyed up and took the government hostage), it fell apart. The website kept crashing for users and there was a major system overload.
Andy Slavitt, a representative from the company that helped build the website says that the federal data hub is working with some minor bugs, but the real problem developed after a late decision to require people to make accounts. The original website design meant that people could window-shop without making an account. The late change meant that you had to register before you could even see what the health plans were. This, he said, led to too many users on one part of the site at the same time, which led to the crash.
The president has apologized for the trouble; Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has apologized and is actively working to remedy it; a change in timeline for signing up for coverage is already underway.
So, what in the hell is the problem?
Yes, the site’s intention was to make it simple for people to search for and get health care, but it’s been slow and sometimes has booted people. Yes, nearly 20 million people went to the website in the first three weeks after it launched and “only” 500,000 people have created accounts.
Who gives a shit? Need I remind you, less than one month ago, this website and the opportunities it gives did not exist. You want to complain about a slow website?! What about 75% of working class adults with low incomes (40 million people) who are uninsured or under insured? What about 59% of adults with moderate incomes (21 million people) who are uninsured or under-insured? A slow website is a small inconvenience to pay to ensure that everyone has access to health care.
But instead of seeing how far we have come, we want to play the blame game. All of a sudden, people are pointing to Obama and saying that the Affordable Care Act doesn’t work.
You know what doesn’t work for me? A bunch of assholes who shut down the government for 16 days, putting further strains on an already weak economy, in order to protest something they hardly understood – that doesn’t work for me. Exactly a week after re-opening government, holding a freaking hearing to figure out who is to blame for a slow website, after holding the government hostage for two weeks – that doesn’t work for me.
And a bunch of herp derp idiots saying that access to health care doesn’t work because a website is slow, well that certainly doesn’t work for me.