Obamacare at Six Weeks

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It has been six week since the Healthcare.gov has opened and still nothing.  This is what CBS is just reporting:

Around 50,000 people so far have reportedly successfully enrolled in a private health insurance plan via HealthCare.gov, according to the Wall Street Journal and CBS News’ confirmation from industry analysts.

Only 50,000?  In six weeks!  And how much has this cost so far?

I have been locked in the verify stage called “in progress”.  I had to send a copy of my license (why?) and no one will tell me what is going on or how to sign up.  Six weeks.  When I started writing on this blog about this mess since the first of October, I received comments like the one below from Ryan:

I have to actually defend the government on this one. While a website/server crashed with high demand is certainly unacceptable, as long as companies that actual specialize in this sort of thing have these same issues, I can’t fault the government.

Rockstar games released Grand Theft Auto 5 online play October 1st (game released september 17); players of the game are JUST STARTING to be able to play online. For most players, online isn’t available yet and Rockstar has a two weeks of sales lead time to correctly account for maximum demand. Diablo III (another highly anticipated video game by Blizzard) took more than two weeks to get the online game up for all players. While Rockstar doesn’t do AS much with online gaming, Blizzard is better known for World of Warcraft. Server set up for online gaming is a defining feature of Blizzard entertainment and the company has been specializing in large volume online players for more than 10 YEARS. They had pre-order numbers to give an idea of numbers to deal with. And even with years of experience and good predictions they COULDN’T KEEP THEIR SERVERS UP. They had the SAME PROBLEM that the ACA websites are having.

ACA websites had no solid predictors of numbers (you can’t pre-sale insurance) and this is the first time any health insurance company has ever had to deal with a nationwide rollout. Yes it is bad for business and yes the guy who predicted demand should be sweating his job. But right now, the ACA website is in the same place as private sector businesses (that had greater technical expertise and experience) so I can’t fault them for it. If the best of private sector company takes 2-3 weeks to get with it, then I can’t blame the government for not getting its act together in the same amount of time.

Don’t get me wrong, if Nov. 1 rolls about and the ACA website is down, my voice will join the chorus of bitching and incompetence as loud as any. But if the private sector can’t do it, I sure as hell am not going to put it on the government.

Well, Ryan, it is Nov 12th? Where is your voice?

Lastly, we all should be embarrassed by our government on this one.  Forget about being a Democrat or Republican for a second.  In fact, if you are a Democrat then you should be pissed that the government screwed up a chance to throw this thing into the Republicans’ faces.  This is about broken promises.   Personally, I need this thing to work.  I like the fact that they took away the pre-existing condition issue from insurers who use it to screw patients.   What I don’t want is a piece of crap that doesn’t work for the first six weeks and everyone telling me to have faith.

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected]

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9 Responses

  1. chr says:

    As an avid gamer I must comment. Ryan is either very young and severely indoctrinated or has severe alzheimers and does not play video games. GTAV was known to have very high demand and was purposefully delayed. Many people only play the online portion. Rockstar wanted to encourage people to enjoy the story. If you want a debacle look to Rockband Christmas a few years ago. It took two weeks for enough servers to be brought online for most people to be able to play. This is not a server issue, it is a very bad coding issue. Obama paid his (Canadian) friends to build a (mostly data collection) site. Google probably would have done all that for cost or less. There’s just that pesky “First, don’t be evil,” rule they have.

  2. Sharon DiSantis says:

    Why are you applying on healthcare.gov? Unless you are eligible for a subsidy there is no reason to be on healthcare.gov If you are not eligible for a subsidy go to a licensed agent and go through the agent’s link to an insurance company. There is no difference in premium for you whether you use and agent or not.

    Many, because of the media, think Obamacare is an actual plan of coverage like Medicare – it is not. It is a set of rules that that everyone has to follow. The only advantage to going to healthcare.gov, as I previously stated, is that is where you are verified for your subsidy.

    Having said all of that – anyone who tried to use healthcare.gov in the beginning should start over. I have read that the “fixes” are prospective not retrospective. Go back in and use a new user id and password and a different email address. I am a licensed agent and I have taken customers successfully through to the end.

    • Doug Farrago says:

      honestly, looks like the obamacare may be cheaper. And the self-employed choices are going away.

      • Sharon DiSantis says:

        If your information is still “processing” you have not even seen your exact premiums yet – correct? Are you going by the sample premiums? If so – they are not accurate. I recommend that you go to the NAHU – National Association of Health Underwriters website and search for a licensed professional agent in your area to give you good advice – just as you would presume that you would advise me to go to a doctor for a proper diagnoses versus the internet.

  3. Pat says:

    There was NOTHING courageous about this.

    Bad philosophy = bad ideas = bad actions = bad outcomes … and if government is in charge, the cycle repeats.

  4. Ryan says:

    Doug,

    Good call out. 🙂

    I gave the website a “I will defend thee” deadline of …..lets see….Two weeks ago. And now I’m pissed, cause it still doesn’t work. And what I thought was going on (a forgivable problem) doesn’t turn out so forgivable.

    Its one thing to have a sudden in rush of people onto a new hot thing and crashing servers. That’s what I assumed was happening, people all excited and essentially manufacturing an inadvertent DDOS. That is a forgivable problem, one that major companies don’t have under wraps yet.

    Now it comes out that yeah, that was a problem, but not nearly as much a problem as the site itself. It just flat out doesn’t work. That isn’t a volume problem, or a server problem. It is 100% incompetent website design. Only in a over-payed gov’t contractor could this level of sheer stupidity be found without any sort of repercussion. Apparently wrong information has been sent to insurers after people sign up. HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN???? Seriously. How? I do not understand how you can get up in the morning, look yourself in the eye and call yourself a programmer/website designer and still not test THE MOST IMPORTANT PART of your site. This is not high level mistakes. This is the medical equivalent of doing a physical without taking a history or bothering with a chief complaint first.

    And cherry on the top? They hire the same %#&%$! contractor who gave us this steaming pile to fix it. Hint for Sibelius, if someone can’t produce a website in a year, they probably won’t be able fix that website in 60 days.

    @#%$ administration. In the day and age of sites like google, facebook, and amazon being the norm, websites required by basically every business that wants to succeed, and you go and hire the one firm that CAN’T ACTUALLY DO A WEBSITE.

    And I bet the contractor still gets a bonus.

    • Doug Farrago says:

      Now we are on the same page. Is the how the thing will run even after the website is working? A preview of things to come? I would bet my money on it.

  5. Dave Mittman, PA, DFAAPA says:

    Doug:
    We agree (Call the newspapers)!!!
    I am a veteran. I am an American. I love my country. I am neither red nor blue.
    I want this to work because I believe that if someone’s child gets cancer, it should not bankrupt the family-or breast CA or any acute disease that requires surgery-need I go on. Many people just can’t afford insurance and many businesses that must now compete in a global economy can not afford to cover employees. Life is not that easy.
    We should at least cover catastrophic care and “preventative”things like mammas, flu shots and normal well baby care.
    We should also penalize people who smoke and weigh 380 pounds somehow but that’s another discussion. Use tobacco taxes to subsidize health care, not go into the pockets of politicians.
    Anyway, what Obama did was courageous. It seems he hired sixth graders to implement it though??
    Dave

    • Doug Farrago says:

      Courageous but wrong plan. See the video that I put up last week from the democratic businessman. Why wasn’t Bush courageous for trying to fix social security which is going bankrupt? Politics, that’s why.

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