The federal government this week opened insurance exchanges, one of the pillars of Obamacare. This prompts the question: “What could possibly go wrong when the government gets involved in a formerly commercial enterprise?”
To answer the question, go to the government’s website. The following message appears: “The System is down at the moment. We’re working to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Please try again later. Please include the reference ID below if you wish to contact us at 1-800-318-2596 for support. Error from: https%3A//www.healthcare.gov/marketplace/global/en_US registration%23signUpStepOne. Reference ID: 0.cde72e17.1380633535.cae2129.”
I repeat: “What could possibly go wrong?”
Did I mention that the Internal Revenue Service is responsible for non-compliance enforcement?
I’m persistent, so I tried to find another way into the system. Healthcare.gov/chat states: “Chat with someone who can help.” A dialog box with a time-stamped message offers these instructions: “Thanks for contacting Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat. Please wait while we connect you to someone who can help.” Time: 8:44 a.m. It was a thrill when another message popped up at 9:12 a.m. “Please be patient while we’re helping other people.”
Helpful messages continued to roll in: 9:13 a.m.: “Please be patient while we’re helping other people.” 9:14 a.m: “Please be patient while we’re helping other people.” 9:15… same message.
This was about as much help as I could handle in one day, so I left the web site.
I knew that another government-run program was going to be a good deal when then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told us, “We have to pass the bill to see what is in it.”
By that logic, the next step may be: “You have to sign up for the insurance to know how much it will cost and to find out what it will cover.”