From what I have been reading on the tubes, the roll-out of the ACA exchanges has been spotty, at best. I have not personally tried because I have insurance and it makes no sense to clog up already overtaxed servers just to gawk, so I have no first-hand experience.
I do, however, have three decades of gaming and online gaming, so I guess I am just rolling my eyes at the reaction- “OMG- SOMETHING BRAND NEW THAT MILLIONS WANT IS BEING SLOW AND MIGHT TAKE A COUPLE WEEKS TO SORT OUT! CLEARLY THIS IS ALL A FAILURE!” Only someone who has never used the internet would behave this way.
As a gamer, I feel particularly immune to this nonsense. Only someone who didn’t experience Blizzard’s rollout of the AQ invasion in Silithus, only someone who didn’t wait a week to download a patch for Baldur’s Gate over a 14.4 modem while your roommates picked up the damned phone, only someone who has spent 3 days downloading .zip files at 28.8 only to get the last file downloaded and find the entire mess corrupted could react this way.
Are there problems? You Betcha (wink and a nod and a rub and tug for Rich Lowry). But the reaction has been ridiculous. And what infuriates me the most is that the Republican party is not being called out for what they are doing, which is dumping the famed “repeal and replace” mantra with nothing more than epic concern trolling about the problems with the new exchanges they have done everything to destroy.
DUDE! Don’t pull shit like that unless you have brain bleach handy!
Yes. I feel the same way about the exra klein/atrios hair on fire nonsense. I blogged it at my own site this morning in a fine fit of fury.
Let us sit upon the ground and tell the sad tale of Republican expertise in national digital program rollouts and elections. . .
whee! new front pager! own any pets?
It took 2 1/2 hours to download and install Maverick today.
Republicans not being held accountable for inconsistency in what they say or do? Gasp! Well at least they had a couple weeks of embarrassing themselves so hard the mask was slipping, if polls are any indication.
Also, after reading this blog for nearly 2 years, screw it, I’m commenting.
Well said Cole, well said. I’ve been waiting for someone to make the online video game-ACA connection. The video game industry has a rich history of products that behave similarly to healthcare.gov — virtually all have experienced the same technical glitches on roll out.
Seriously, the fact that no pundit and not even any high profile blogger gets this except you, just shows why I like to read your posts despite your pissburg fandom.
The Village has no desire to call Republicans on their bullshit. Their coverage of the Obamacare website problems has been nothing short of hysterical.
Charlie Pierce was right:
By the way, Jon Stewart, Robert Gibbs and Ezra Klein can go f*ck themselves.
Howard Beale IV
Large IT projects (of which the heathcare.gov website habits) fail in any number of criteria.
Farhad Manjoo was railing on how ultra-bad this project was by comparing this to when Apple rolled out their replacement mapping solution to Google Maps and how Apple quickly fired the responsible party, while ignoring how long it actually took Apple to fix the problem in the first place.
Comparing mapping software to the behemoth that is healthcare is a fool’s game.
I heard the “500 million lines of code” line repeated on the Today Show this morning. It was in a “some are saying” frame.
@Lurking Buffoon: Welcome! Have you received your complimentary “FUCK YOU!” and salted dick gift basket yet?
@Hill Dweller: It’s like the refs who throw a flag for questionable pass interference to make up for the craptacular holding flag they threw on the other team. Pierce is 100% right.
yeah, who is this John Cole that we are seeing here?
IANAG, but even someone as uncomputerish as I knows that there will always be glitches. I remember reading once, or being told, that during NASA’s various moon missions, the spacecraft was actually off-course, however slightly, over 99% of the time. The entire thing was create-and-adjust, create-and-adjust. Sailors would know this, too. Walking, although we rarely think of it this way, is essentially a constant series of tiny adjustments and corrections to keep us from falling over. The point is, virtually everything we undertake requires vigilant monitoring, checking, adjustment. But John’s point is a good one, that the TPGOP has tried valiantly to destroy ACA and now they are oh! so distraught that it’s not working PERFECTLY from the outset, how DARE Obamacare leave all those poor uninsured Murricans at the mercy of insufficient bandwidth or not enough servers.
Shutdown is over, media is bored.
I still love the idea of the Republicans getting John McAfee to fix it all. I would pay top dollar to see that congressional testimony, ’cause that fucker’s crazy.
Thank you for this measure of sanity. I mean, people are getting enrolled so it is working to some extent. People have to wait & it can take a while. That is true of most things that more than a few people want to do. Also, I can’t help feeling that if more reporters, bloggers & so forth who are only looking for a story, rather than insurance, would stay off the damn site for a bit things might go a bit smoother for actual customers.
Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader
What about those of us who don’t waste countless hours in a fantasy digital world? Can we complain?
Howard Beale IV
@Violet: They’re smoking serious dope to keep repeating that mantra. I’ve worked on enterprise-level systems for two decades and very few system come even within an order of magnitude close to breaching the highly-discredited lines-of-code metric – anyone who quotes lines of code as any kind of metric should be ignored and put on a blacklist to never be allowed to write a single line of production code.
OMG. People who otherwise would have super-expensive or no insurance at all are going to GIVE UP because of connectivity issues. And on top of all that, THEY DON’T KNOW HOW TO USE PHONES. Lordy.
@Joel: Need a white girl to go missing or a disaster to happen. Not that I want either of those, but that’s what would distract them. A Congressman with a dead girl or live boy might work as well.
Also Cole, please include Andrew Sullivan in this pool of concern trolls who know nothing about the internet nor technology yet pose as caring thoughtful critics
I think my favorite comment so far has been from a wingnut blogger claiming that the fact that it was scandalous that the government couldn’t get the ACA website running when he’d gotten his own blogging website up and running in just a few days.
… because, you know, a third rate political blogger totally has to process just as much traffic as the central government of the third-most-populated nation on Earth.
It’s easy to gawk without breaking the servers now since they did some tweaking. Pass the linky around to those who think they can’t find any information on prices and policies until things are fully fixed.
It’s also a big step to go from “a web site is sort of slow” to “this overhaul of the the health care industry is a total failure.” Even if they pulled the plug on the web site and never used it again, Obamacare will roll on.
I suspect they were trying to be “fair & balanced” & this is the best they could come up with: a buggy web site.
Shouldn’t that be “Delurking Buffoon?”
I thought these two posts from readers at TPM were pretty good. I would guess that it is the number of different interfaces from the exchange to the individual insurance companies that are the biggest problem, especially if some of the insurance companies have older systems.
I do IT work for a warehousing company and it is amazing to see the number of ways that different customers of ours send information differently using the same “standard” format (or just as likely, they have tweaked the standard to make it work better for them – which in turn makes it a bigger pain for us to customize the code on our side to handle their changes)
Howard Beale IV
Outsourced to the Most Interesting Man in The World.
@Howard Beale IV: It was repeated in that concern-trollish voice by whichever reporter was doing the story. What caught my ear was the “some say” framing. No actual person who works as a programmer who might know something on the subject was produced. No one who worked on the actual project was interviewed or even mentioned. Just “some say”. Complete fail parade.
@Paula: OMG. People who otherwise would have super-expensive or no insurance at all are going to GIVE UP because of connectivity issues.
This. Whatever the hassles of the website, the hassles of medical bankruptcy and treatable disease are worse.
Thank you, John!!
Splendiforous, Cole! I have been trying to come up with le mot juste mockery of this bullshit, and you’ve just nailed it.
eta: So impressed am I, that I will EVEN overlook the absent of.
Imagine if Microsoft Windows had had so many problems and critical failures requiring constant upgrades and updating. It would never have caught on.
Wait. Did I miss something. Did we somehow get journalism between October 1st and today Cole? If you want Republicans called out for being trolling idiot asshats, you know damn well you got to do that yourself.
Pierce, as usual, nails the reason why the OMG, software is buggy! = ObamaCare fail! by our MSM
Everybody’s An Expert
@SiubhanDuinne: OTOH, NASA does a fantastic job of getting their code bug free before releasing it for use on missions. (from 2010)
@Howard Beale IV: Love that one.
@Yatsuno: I guess I have now! What’s next, a Skroob salute?
It’s seemed like nothing less than jackals pouncing on what they perceive as a wounded animal. Attack, attack!
The local cbs atlanta station interviewed a lady who purchased a gold plan at 500 a month, previous she was paying 1500.00 with a large deductible. She is thrilled and yes it did take a few weeks but she is enrolled and happy. Oh and btw, GA did not set up a plan so she had to got through the federal government site.
@Mnemosyne: Me also. If that is the best they can do, then have at it.
@Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:
Well, you’re here with us right now, but if you DO meet someone like that, pass along what they think.
@MattR: NASA launched a probe to mars that didn’t convert between metric and english measurements and splatted $100,000,000 into the surface of Mars because they didn’t know if they were dealing in meters or feet.
Per Fox, a clunky website is far more serious than fucking up a city (NOLA) or fucking up a war (Iraq); clearly, for Obamacare, we need a surge (and not a splurge, as per your Lowry reference).
I don’t do any sort of gaming, but I work in higher Ed and any new rollout of IT for any reason whatsoever is riddled with these sorts of problems. We’ll be migrating the entire university to a new student system and the admissions system is also switching. All of this has been in the planning for at least three years and will have a rolling implementation based on function. Student aid will be the first group to migrate. Despite all the planning and the impressive people working on it (a whole new department was created just for this), when we switch late next fall I expect huge issues. I’ve never seen it not happen in much smaller system changes. This will affect over 90,000 students, 24 campuses and about 10,000 employees. That’s peanuts compared to what they’re trying to do with the ACA website.
I remember the two seconds I thought my shot didn’t stink because I had a 28.8 modem. Then I went to college and met real tech people and learned about this fabulous thing called Ethernet that the university had just installed in all the dorm rooms.
They were absolutely shrill on Morning Joe this morning when they were screeching that “this is a disaster” if you call the 1-800 number it refers you to the website, meanwhile in the background Mika was calling the 1 800 number. She actually spoke to an agent on screen after about 30 seconds, “are you an agent that can help me?” she said. Everyone on the set was “okay if you call the 1-800 number at 6am before everyone is up you can get through” total bullshit.
I work at a software company with plenty of conservatives. Not-a-one of ’em has complained to me about the rollout. At first I assumed it was because the shutdown was sucking all the air out of the room; now I realize, it’s because they all know that every software kit we deliver is so sure to have bugs, we have no room to talk about some other software company’s failures. It’s just expected.
Howard Beale IV
Any moron could take a data table and convert it into hundreds/thousands lines of code. If I had enough memory to hold that table the system would run like a raped ape, but healthcare.gov ain’t such a beast.
Now if I wanted to go all Niall Ferguson on healthcare.gov, I’d point out that if buildings were built were built they way healthcare.gov was built, the first woodpecker that came along would destroy civilization.
Thankfully, this year’s Reith Lecture on Auntie Beeb (which Ferguson gave last year) has been followed by a British transvestite clay artist.
Actually, Cole is looking for a new Front Pager, to off-load some of his crushing blog-load. So, Congrats!
@MikeJ: There is that. But their record with the space shuttle is pretty unbelievable. Makes me think corners were cut on the Mars project because there were no lives at stake.
And if you can’t get through it is because idiot journalists are talking to all the available agents.
Howard Beale IV
@Another Botsplainer: Thanks. That one has made the rounds in my workplace,
As well as this one.
@Howard Beale IV:
No I couldn’t.
I refuse to watch that dumpster fire. But the twitter machine told me someone on the show was comparing the website glitches to Iraq and Katrina.
The Republicans will do anything–anything–to destroy Obamacare because they know that once it’s up and running we as a country will never go back.
If that means whining about not the website not being perfect, then that’s what they’ll do. If their blathering and whining somehow discourages a few people from signing up, then they will have done their job. If it discourages enough that the ACA doesn’t meet their numbers–well that’s fantastic from their perspective.
There’s no downside for Republicans in whining.
I don’t uw how you take all the good in the aca and negate that because of problems with the website. They are serious because obviously the system won’t work if enough people cannot enroll, but temple glitches do not equal total and permanent failure.
I remember the old days of the intertubes. When I was in the Navy I knew a guy who was into gaming, he had like four computers set up in his living room where he would play various games. This was back in the 80s. I used to play a game called Mansion on the office computer when I was pulling duty overnight. At one point I was convinced that I had nuked Russia when the fucking gnome killed me and it crashed the server. (which of course was the size of a small room back then). I was frantically pushing buttons and hoping that no one would find out the next morning.
@chrome agnomen: WIN.
@Howard Beale IV: Haven’t see the one with the kitteh, its great too.
You just saved me a great deal of trouble.
Howard Beale IV
@MattR: The software that runs implantable medical devices undergoes formal proofs of the algoriithms used in pacemakers/defibs, etc. simply for that reason-they cannot fail.
What winds up happening is that a piece of critical hardware like leads are the usual culprit of device failures-but not the software.
Also, such hardware that is used in implantable devices tends to be very low power and the CPU’s tend to be 100% predictive of its CPU state and have fail-safe operations should the main process fail-much like cards have a ‘limp home’ mode in their ignition systems.
The front page of the NYTimes this morning, in the article on Obama’s speech, said, “Like a TV pitchman, he gave the 1-800 number.”
Well, which is it? He’s detached from the problems and doesn’t care, or he’s Harold Hill doing “Trouble”?
Ok, sure, I’ll be the kind-of-contrarian here, but as an uninsured Maryland resident, I was looking forward to seeing what was gonna’ be what. Only to find that Maryland Health Connection hadn’t even gotten around to the “Create an Account” section. You could log in if you already had an account, which nobody did because the option to create one didn’t yet exist. Three weeks later the site has improved, but that is just amateur hour. You roll out your site, and hadn’t yet gotten around to the basics? The whole site was kind of just an empty shell. I’ll wait another month before trying to shop, etc, and won’t give up because, yes, I want the goddamned f***ing insurance.
So, yes, Republican concern trolling and the media in general just suck.
But still. Kind of embarrassing for blue state Maryland, when Kentucky seems to be doing ok. If you are being paid a lot of money to do something, then get it done, cuz I am a busy tired cranky lady, who just wants her freakin’ Obamacare, ok?
@SFAW: Well, then, I guess you are not just any moron. Congrats, I guess.
And they did it all with BASIC on an abacus!!
Source: someone posting to AL’s morning open thread today. Shame the translation subtitles disappear about 2:22 into the clip, but it’s still funny.
wow…. if only the same amount of scrutiny was applied to what Republicans are doing about access to polls or abortion providers, I can only imagine the outrage that could generate…. /////
get back to me MSM when you start calling out the states that are refusing the Medicaid expansion preventing people from having to spend even more of their money…..
@Howard Beale IV: It is amazing how much more thorough and safety conscious companies become when they know for certain that they will get sued if their product suffers a problem compared with then they think they can shift the responsibility elsewhere.
@Aunt Kathy: Personally, I think expectations should be higher for the individual state websites than for the federal site which is a portal to half the states.
Amen, brother. Backlash against the backlash!
Damn straight, and don’t you ever forget it. (Not that I’d let you, of course.)
As Uecker would say “I must be in the Front Row”
Dunno about lines of code, but I sure wanted to fashion some kinda device that obliterated lines on a teleprompter today, replace it with my ass. Fuckers.
@El Cid: Nailed it.
We got trouble
Right here in Washington, DC
And that starts with “W”
And that rhymes with
For what it’s worth, working in the sciences has taught me that contractors typically just want to squeeze the government for every last fucking dollar and don’t give a shit generally.
Case in point? Reusable glass pipet: $6
Howard Beale IV
@MattR: It’s not just the software that gets that treatment: semiconductor manufacturers have for the last 30+ years stated in their hardware datasheets that no device they manufacture can be used in any life-sustaining device unless signed-off by the CEO.
Too bad that didn’t apply to issuers of mortgage-backed securities……
I’m not sure that the agency that didn’t realize until after their Mars lander crashed that they and their contractor were using two different units of measurement really get to brag about their superduper technology abilities. All of the astronauts who died weren’t killed by our coding! isn’t as much of an accomplishment as they seem to think.
Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader
@Frankensteinbeck: I did NOT see that one coming.
So healthcare.gov is having interoperability problems between all the different exchanges it has to talk to? Well, gee, where did those not-at-all-new interoperability problems come from? Who benefits when the information that health-care and health-insurance consumers need is incomplete, incomprehensible, and generally inaccessible to them? Who’s afraid of consumers being able to make accurate comparisons and then migrate to the providers who actually offer the best deals and service?
Davis X. Machina
@Joel: What was it that Stalin said? “One overpriced pipette is a tragedy. A million overpriced pipettes is a
statisticnice house on an island in Casco Bay.”
I’m not a techie, but I am a local government worker who works directly with a major computer vendor on large-scale automated projects. They had better get this fixed. And they will. This happens every time there is a new roll out.
If the press is sincere in their need for smelling salts, then my already depleted level of respect for them must be lowered still. It has dawned on me that real people aren’t nearly as concerned as the professional concern trolls, probably because everyone knows that new rollouts are buggy. If this is an issue in mid-November, wake me up. Until then, YAWN.
You have to look for positive people. Like this guy:
He’s great. He won’t shut up about kynectky
Just picture Rand Paul sneering every time Beshear tweets :)
Short Bus Bully
FUCK and YES on the Baldur’s Gate reference. That shit is FTW.
Villago Delenda Est
Look, the Village buffoons would probably die five times in Northshire to mobs 2 levels below them. They’re that fucking clueless about anything IT related.
I’m pretty sure the infamous “cup holder isn’t working right on my computer” anecdote was a trouble call from some Villager.
@Violet: Some say he isn’t machine washable, and all his potted plants are called ‘Steve’.
@Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:
You set it up. Someone had to hit it.
@Villago Delenda Est: They thot “ROM” was short for Rmoney.
Bob In Portland
Having suffered through too many iterations of Windows to count, I’m not waving any white flag yet on ACA. But please realize that the cross-burners need something to hold onto.
I bet no on air reporter has asked: “There have been some people working hard to make this fail, and there have been some people working to make it succeed. Which side are you on?”
Also, no mentions of “Well, if you want a working system, look at CA and Kentucky, STATE exchanges. Does your state have a state run exchange? Why not?”
The shuttle software was fantastically expensive. My vague recollection is that it was between 10X and 100X the cost of commercial software (measured by a dodgy adjusted-lines-of-code-metric, but still). And, nevertheless, the first launch was delayed by “the bug heard round the world” http://www5.in.tum.de/persons/huckle/space_shuttle.pdf (But that was due to a late requirements change – which, to my mind, just goes to show that the expensive techniques used on the shuttle are irrelevant to the uncontrolled kind of world the ACA must operate in.)
Howard Beale IV
@danimal: The real problem here with healthcare.gov is the appearances that the testing didn’t have adequate coverage-and the later in the software development life cycle (SDLC) a problem is discovered, the more expensive it becomes to fix.
Then again, you have some software developers who subscribe to the ‘The Testcase works…Ship it!” mentality that just makes an entire hash of the process-and government projects tend to be the worst.
Some of these consultants who were on the government teat never even delivered a usable system, yet they were dictating all sorts of stupidity. Unfortunately, the US government operated some systems decades after commercial customers gave them up that it made things extremely ugly and expensive to remediate (FAA, IRS, etc.)
Nice try, WordPress. But we know Cole doesn’t post here anymore.
Well I have deployed a lot of systems over the past 20+ years and two were disastrous. Fairly certain right now they are just gathering the issues, that in and of itself is a project. Deciding where to focus, using the right resources another project. The handful of people who could truly be useful now have been sleep deprived for months and are about to collapse or tell someone to eff themselves. “Fixing” this is really about putting on band aids to get the basic functionality to market somehow, and then the painful process of building the real application. This will take years. The PMbok constraints always apply – time, money and scope.
The coders working on the Shuttle flight systems were deliberately socialised with Shuttle astronauts; they went to barbeques, met their kids, hung around with them during training and the like. Their code went into simulators with real flight crews in the cockpits and if they fucked up the subsequent code analysis sessions started with the knowledge they had “killed” Flight Engineer Joe and Shuttle Pilot Jo-Ann, not some faceless “customer” four steps removed from their cubicle farm. It was expensive, no Mumbai offshoring, the kloc cost was up there in lights but it worked.
@El Cid: Well, just like Microsoft Windows, the ACA exchanges do kind of have a monopoly on their service. So they will be helped to survive by that fact.
MS Office installation on my brand new Win8 computer — hung in mid installation.
The solution – restart the computer. How to do that on Win8? – google search first to find out how to re-start.
It hung on the shutdown so I had to force THAT by holding the power button.
But after all that, it did fix itself on ‘fix installation’.
It’s fascinating and galling that Healthcare.gov is actually RedStateHealthCare.gov due to blue states accepting the law, creating and implementing their own exchanges. 26 red states are effectively sabotaging the rollout by sabotaging their own citizens. So far GOP efforts to deny healthcare to millions is working.
Yeah, that’s the spirit. It’s always best to personalize critiques no matter how innocuous and (on occasion) justified they may be.
The signup process was oversold and possibly under planned. And there’s no excuse for the problems. The promise has been made that these issue will be settled with alacrity. Hopefully they will.
So there is no point in bashing allies just because they dare to express an opinion that is not garnished with flowers and candies. Infact, Ezra’s latest post puts the HealthCare.Gov problems into the greater context of the systemic problems in our government’s IT procurements.
Tom the First
Agree 1000% with this post.
The other thing that’s getting lost (and forgive me if someone else has said this), but this is another example of the Republicans being just terrible strategists.
First, they shutdown the government to defund Obamacare even though they knew there was no way in hell that would actually happen. It was a short-term, feel-good in the moment strategy that was catastrophic in the long run.
And now, they’re doing it again. They’re putting SO much emphasis on the initial problems with the website that they’ve made their issues with Obamacare extremely fixable. The website will be fixed. And they’re just going to look like exactly what they are: assholes with no solutions jumping at the opportunity to point out the shortcomings of people who actually ARE providing solutions for the country.
@Davis X. Machina: Damn you Davis, what are you doing here? I wrote a comment that was bait especially for you over at Edroso’s place.
So, fundamentally, you disagree with Cole’s post. Can you think of any huge web based rollout that worked flawlessly from minute one of day one?
@Tom the First:
Villago Delenda Est
No one in the MSM has a synapse to spare to formulate such a question. They’re all too busy monitoring their portfolios and deciding on tiger shrimp or cocktail weenies.
Finally got registered on healthcare.gov, only to encounter the white screen of death. Some right wingnut website was kind enough to tell me how to fix it, although they didn’t intend to. They were just pointing out how difficult it was to log in, you had to be a computer expert. You don’t. I opened my old Firefox, removed all personal data (cookies, caches, etc.) and went to the site. It works now. Mostly. Some pop-up windows are empty. Sigh.
I don’t qualify for a subsidy, so I probably won’t save much. I haven’t had prescription coverage, though, in 15 years, so don’t know how it works. WTF with the coinsurance and co-pays? Yearly maximum outlay? And no asthma inhalers (HFA) on the preferred list? Seriously? Not sure that prescription coverage will pay for much of anything at this point, as I’ve got myself on all generics (besides inhalers), which cost less per month, for the most part, than the co-pay.
Choosing an insurance policy is about as pleasant and having dental work done without anesthesia.
@Short Bus Bully: Baldur’s Gate was the best gaming series ever. Period.
@hildebrand: So much so, that it, and the EA Sports things, are about the only ones I have ever played.
Isn’t this the exact same thing you’re accusing me of doing? I can’t criticize Klein, Stewart and Gibbs because they’re allies?
There are problems with the website. I’m fine with criticism and/or critique of those problems, but Stewart, Klein and Gibbs know that big rollouts like this tend to have problems. They also know about the hurdles caused by Republican sabotage at all levels of government. It should give them some perspective. But they’ve been every bit as hysterical as the wingnuts and the courtier press. Why?
@dr. luba: You don’t need to log in to see unsubsidized prices. It’s pretty easy to check prices on policies on the exchange by going here (as mentioned in #25). The information is a little sparse (the listed policies don’t tell you the details), but it’s a start. Presumably they’ll flesh things like that out once they get the other stuff cleaned up.
Oh no, he posts all the time. And here’s what the posts all say: it’s late; I’m in my bathrobe; I have pets.
Who this guy commenting on current events is, I have no idea. Maybe the cat?
I’ll put $20 down on Rosie.
I may need to divorce my emo/prog husband before this is over. He is SURE that GS 13s and 14s at CMS have been coerced to make this go forward no matter what that emails may exist exposing the personal hand of the President to make this go forward even though they KNEW that it was going to fuckup… that these problems with the IT roll out are not typical of large implementations but a SIGN of how fucked up everything about Obamacare is.. cause it could have been perfect and wasn’t because — well — it just could have been if Obama had just done the right thing cause you know he just didn’t KNOW what he was doing…
@Elie: Ether. Just use ether.
Sadly, your emoprog husband sounds just like a wingnut.
..LOL — for him or for me?
I disagree with any who seem to characterize all criticisms of the rollout process with the same broad brush, as many here are want to do. Is Cole doing that? If he is than I disagree with him.
What I am sure I was doing was agreeing with this critic which is why I quoted him directly.
But now that you mention it, I guess a response to Cole is that I wonder if it is too much to expect and demand that my government performs it’s important tasks with greater success than the efforts of Blizzard Entertainment or Rockstar Games.
Yes. I can’t talk to him about this. At all. He is on some other plane — and sadly, one that I read repeatedly on the intertubes on left prog blogs. What is it? He is a PhD in health services and usually quite insightful and smart — but on this topic about Obama he is – well – NUTS. These folks want something from Obama that is indescribable – He cannot articulate what is wrong, but SOMETHING is wrong with Obama, his policies etc — and it is attributed to Obama in a highly personal way — like Obama runs each minute aspect of every program and decision in his administration. What the hell is it?
One of my friends who worked at the Software Engineering Institute at Carnegie Mellon told me the same (about 10x). It’s always been one of my peeves that people generally don’t understand how expensive it is to build really good software.
I have come across most of what these guys have put out…and…Hysterical? Really? Maybe my definition does not match yours.
Now Stewart is a bit of a different case. Pssst. He is a comedian. And comedy in America often rest on hyperbole (exaggeration used for emphasis or effect). So yes The Daily Show tends to shout overstatements which is fine when the topic is Ted Cruz and less fine when it’s Obama, it seems.
The folks at Microsoft beg to differ.
Good point, since Cruz and Obama tend to deal with “the people’s business” in exactly the same way,
@Elie: Whatever works.
Mike with a Mic
I’ve worked in IT for the military, as a government contractor, in the private sector, and in the non profit sector. Shit happens, it’s just the nature of technology. This sort of SNAFU happens all the time. As Cole has pointed out it happens in games all the time as well. Shit apple is forever rolling out updates that fuck up iOS in nasty ways and that times time to fix. For desktop operating systems (no matter the OS) in an enterprise environment they always fuck shit up as well. Hell Sony shipped exploding batteries to HP, Dell, and apple that caused a mess. Ditto nvidia sold all those same companies borked ass graphics processors that required a recall. intel is a god among tech companies… and managed to ship the world plus dog motherboards that were screwed up because the entire p67 chipset was fucked up, they had to do it over from scratch. They promptly followed that one up with a screw up on the IHS of their ivybridge class CPUs. Seagate is the top hard drive maker, they released a firmware update that bricked all their hard drives.
Tech companies are constantly having screw ups and fiascos, doesn’t matter if it’s hardware or software. You just might as well accept that shit happens, and a fix will come out for it. Then everything will work fine and once it’s all up and running people will be happy with it.
This is a tempest in a teapot being blown out of proportion by privatization fetishists who just want us to turn it over or kill it. Who then gloss over that google, apple, microsoft, nvidia, intel, blizzard, ea, all have similar fuck ups on a regular basis and take a while to fix them as well.
Would that matter that much? I don’t know, it’s just not blockbuster scandal material to me. It’s a stretch, but even if Obama personally called them and screamed “put it up, NOW!” that’s within his job description. It might have been a poor management decision (again, I don’t think it happened) but it’s not illegal or corrupt.
He’s allowed to make decisions. He’s even allowed to make poor decisions :)
I agree with this. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone made the decision to put it up knowing there were problems. I really do think everyone expected that traffic would be light early on because everyone for years had been saying that there hadn’t been enough outreach.
It may not be a well-known fact, but it is possible to print out the application form and send it in using the United States Post Office.
That’s sure to really piss off those conservatives!
@Keith G: Bad link. You fix.
I worked for a government agency that oversees elections. During the time I worked for the agency we were working on automating a number of functions of my area of responsibility. I was an end user and I spent months working with my development team trying to think up and weird ass shit the could clog up the pipelines. We fixed everything so that in testing it worked perfectly. As soon as we launched it, something even weirder came up and created a problem. For 6 months, during every election in in WI (of which we had a metric shit ton) I had a developer in in hip pocket as I worked. We came up with solutions on the fly. We jury-rigged and fixed later. It is how things work.
How did you type that with your tongue creating a piercing in your cheek?
Please just assure me they won’t say “what did they know and when did they know it?”
I think they should take that saying off the roster for 30 years. Voluntarily. Just by mutual agreement.
It would be extremely micro-manag-y for Obama to do that (out of character) but surely he can tell people in the executive/administrative branch what to do.
I would think. I hope. What’s the charge? “You…made..a..MISTAKE!”
Also, is this Darryl Issa conducting this inquisition? He’s bad at his job. He’ll make it ridiculous, whatever it is. The threat of Darryl Issa turned out to be vastly over-stated.
@SFAW: Is that how comedians should grow their material? I know that’s how Dennis Miller does it, but that’s exactly my point.
I have to say (and I think I have bored you with this before) for the user it doesn’t feel like a traffic problem. I don’t know anything about the site but I sometimes have to submit Medicaid applications online to the state DJFS for adults who have guardians and the state site sometimes just hangs up in a way on one or another step. It’s more like that. Other than that, I have no opinion :)
My eldest son actually does related work for a living and he was good, I thought. He said “I’d have to know more about it to say”. He was right in the middle of not being able to close on an apt because the federal gov was shut down, though, so he had his own gubmint problems. It’s all worked out. They’re closing on sched.
@Omnes Omnibus: I will retry the link which contains this critic’s observation that the website is not living up to his expectation.
Both he and I are certain the process will get better and a very large number of citizens are going to be greatly helped.
I agree. Even the normally reasonable and equanimous Jason Linkins is freaking out. I’m mystified. I can only assume he’s been steeping in Peggy Noonan and Megan McArgle. He needs to get outside the beltway.
Cole, I like you, but for you to ridicule those complaining about the healthcare.gov website without having, as you put it, first hand knowledge, is just plain stupid. As one with first hand experience, I can tell you the website, as well as the whole sign up process, is an unmitigated clusterfuck.
The website irarely saves information properly, and once I got a user name and started completing the initial account information it then indicated that it couldn’t verify my identity. Then, after a few more tries on a pretty slow website it showed my profile and indicated that my identity was verified, but it wouldn’t let me go any further. After leaving the website and coming back, most of the information I had put in was gone, and then it said it couldn’t verify my immigration status (I am and have been for my entire 57 years) even though it did say once again that my identity was verified. After numerous calls to the help center I finally got someone who said I had to mail in proof of identity (via snail mail – no email with scanned documents, nothing that could be inputted online). They told me they had no idea how long it would take to review and verify my identity. Meanwhile, my insurance plan will no longer be offered come January 1, 2014.
If you haven’t had to deal with the crappy system then don’t criticize those who have. It is extremely frustrating and not what any reasonable person should have to deal with under the circumstances.
All I know is that my Aunt Sylvia is making $6,241.37 each week helping fix Obamacare code.
@Irony Abounds: It is still October.
You keep stating that there is just a little glitch. The website is a disaster, it’s not just a little glitch that’s to be expected. Have you gone through the process? I’ve dealt with crappy websites. I know things aren’t going to be perfect. But people complaining are not just concern trolls. It’s no fun to be forced into a new insurance plan and have the party forcing that issue then make it so difficult to use the highly touted plans it wants you to use. Particularly when there was so much time to get their shit together.
@Irony Abounds: Now, now stop being hysterical.
For the record, I have stopped trying after dealing with the same issues you have mentioned. I figure I will give it til Nov. 1 before I try again.
@Irony Abounds: Forced into a new insurance plan? Were you on Malkincare, too?
Go, Aunt Sylvia!
@Keith G: psst, low hanging fruit.
I expect better.
Absolutely — he is allowed to make decisions — even those that are not so good… why is that such an ISSUE. He may have made MISTAKES — or people who worked for him WERE NOT PERFECT AND MADE MISTAKES OR MIS-ESTIMATED OR WERE OVERCONFIDENT?
When I talk to hubby about Obama, it is always in caps
@Lynn Dee: You do realize I was kidding about the “hysterical” part – it was sarcasm.
Irony Abounds is voicing valid frustrations and when folks like jon come back with what seems like ridicule instead of seeking knowledge, I find that quite unfortunate.
@Gwangung: That was very general. Will you be more specific?
@jon: Hey asshole, don’t mock people when you clearly have no clue. I have a very reasonable plan. It is an HSA with a $10K deductible. I started on it after the 2010 cutoff date so it is not grandfathered in. It’s not one of those $25K deductibles with $25K coinsurance. I have no problem looking for a new plan. I am going to pay quite a bit more and I’m not thrilled about it, but that’s ok. What’s not ok is a website that is not functional. What’s not ok is sending stuff in the mail with no idea when it will be reviewed or having anyone to talk to about the status of my information. Most of the comments here are just as tribal and one-sided as those on Red State trying to justify the conservative whack jobs who fuck stuff up. Bullshit, there is no excuse for the website being so shitty, particularly when you know the other side will cram every little problem down your throat. Don’t give them the ammunition. Try, oh I don’t know, being competent.
@dr. luba: yep. private insurance in the USA still s_cks mostly because we consumers cannot negotiate prices. Its fun to torment Big Insurance and call over and over again to ask for a price for an xray, MRI, lab fee – and tell them your old insurance company charged less,why????
for affordable asthma meds progressiverx.com
@Irony Abounds: Nowhere in this thread do I say little glitch. And yes, I have gone through the process. It worked for me. Not on October 3, but on October 20. Oddly, that seems to be enough time to get a policy before January 1. Your experience is different? Okay fine.
@Irony Abounds: Have you looked here? You don’t have to have an account to get unsubsidized prices on policies.
Can you give some specifics as to why you think you’re going to pay more than on your old policy with a $10k deductible? It seems strange…
Davis X. Machina
That’s not ‘reasonable’. It’s barely insurance. It’s a hedged bet.
@Keith G: I knocked you earlier for your comments on the website problems, but this is an eminently sensible approach. Cheers.
@geg6: At work we used to call it “another crippling upgrade”
When you’re criticizing Ted Cruze, overstatement is impossible.
@JustRuss: Now, now… One could say that he is insufficiently protective of the big Ivies. That would be wrong.
Can I ask what state you’re in? I’m guessing it’s one of the 27 states that chose not to create its own exchange and instead dumped it on the federal government.
pseudonymous in nc
There’s a serious problem with federal IT procurement, particularly procurement for large user-facing services. That shouldn’t be brushed under the carpet. But it’s a separate problem from that of the ACA, and it’s one that needs to be identified as a separate problem. Solving it is a battle almost as big as that to get the ACA passed, and much harder to gather political weight behind.
Anyone looked at USAJobs.gov recently? It’s a pile of shit. The vacancy notices say that 90% of applications are rejected because there’s some problem with paperwork, as if that’s some kind of praiseworthy filter to identify the best applicants, when it’s really a sign that your system is unfit for purpose.
Looked at the visa/immigration site? It’s marginally better than the days when you had to file paper forms with four carbon copies, but not much.
That stuff affects people’s lives as much as the healthcare exchanges.
pseudonymous in nc
The takeaway from this — which isn’t concern trolling — is to say “okay, this rollout was a mess that we managed to get fixed, what do we need to sort out for the next one? How deep does that change need to go?” And my answer is: pretty damn deep. You treat it as the catalyst for getting away from a procurement model where handing off a spec sheet and $100m to a contractor is considered the main goal.
@jon: No, my husband was “forced” into a new plan, too. Blue Shield told him it wouldn’t be selling his health insurance after January 1; it doesn’t meet ACA criteria.
But he would have been looking at the new plans, with hopes of saving money, even if he hadn’t been forced.
@Irony Abounds: Now that you have provided some details, I can only wonder why you chose such a plan. You do know you can print up the forms and send them in, try the phone number, and try the website, and nothing will force you to do anything until you get a plan and send in a payment, right? So why so much frustration? I’m interested in how much you pay for that plan, since I can’t imagine it being that expensive as it sounds a lot like a catastrophic plan such as the ones offered by the ACA.
I don’t understand the “not grandfathered” portion of your plan. If the plan doesn’t meet some standards under the ACA, I guess it won’t be continued as-is, but that’s (by all information available) to your advantage. You’ll get a better plan at a similar or better price, I’m guessing. If it’s not good enough for the ACA, it probably sucked.
The website is a clusterfuck, but try the other methods and see what’s what. Just cold-call some insurance companies and see what they’ll offer that goes along with new rules. You can get the subsidy as part of your tax return later, even. It’s not time to panic, even as the frustration is huge with the site. There are places such as kff.org where a subsidy calculator is available to see what sort of money you’d pay, save, and so forth. There are other ways so seek information. Look around, and you’ll find quite a few of them.
Not a perfect tool, but it’s the most useful website I’ve found.
Based on the calculator, I’d save money (to the tune of $100/month) if my employer dropped my insurance. I wish I could have the problem of having to sign up for Obamacare.
@Irony Abounds: An HSA is not a healthcare insurance plan. It’s a form of self-insurance with a huge penalty for not spending it all each year (plus huge hassles for reimbursement).
@xian: You don’t know what you are talking about. There is no need to spend a penny in any particular year. You can keep monies in the account until you die, with the only restriction that you have to use them for healthcare expenses. I am quite sure I will have those in the years to come. There is no need for reimbursement – I pay for virtually all of my medical expenses with a Visa card issued by the HSA bank where my health savings account is held. If for some reason I have to pay for healthcare expenses by other means, I simply reimburse myself by transferring monies from my HSA account to my checking account, via a website that works. I get the benefits of free annual checkup as well as the Blue Cross negotiated rates. It is every bit of an insurance policy as any other.
As for those that find a $10k deductible somehow right up there with no insurance at all, you also know not what you speak. Even Obamacare approved bronze plans have deductibles of $6,300 for a family (my policy is for myself and my daughter), plus coninsurance of up to an equal amount. I get to save for medical expenses with pre-tax dollars, which effectively reduces the after tax amount of the deductible, and I can pay for my deductible out of the HSA account. If for some reason my HSA account doesn’t have enough to cover a cost, I can easily cover the balance of the deductible with other monies. Meanwhile I am saving on my monthly premiums. I’m beginning to realize that some of the comments in this thread arise out of complete ignorance.
Still wondering what state you’re in. Texas? Florida? One of the Carolinas?
@Mnemosyne (iPhone): Perhaps Arizona? (but he doesn’t come out and say it).
The cheapest Arizona family plan (picking Maricopa county as an example) on the federal Exchange is $354.12 a month.
@Aunt Kathy: Bullshit.
I live in Maryland, and created an account and was able to look at plans on October 5.
How convenient that Obamacare opponents, aided and abetted by a MSM stripped of institutional memory by layoffs and buyouts, forget that there were enormous problems with the rollout of the GOP’s Medicare Part D within the last 10 years — problems that had both consumers and congresscritters screaming.
Fun aside: The main contractor was a large political donor — to the GOP.
1) From Apple hardware to video games, EVERY big rollout has problems. Nobody gets fired for it in the private sector.
2) Government systems (national-security stuff aside) should be open-source. Crowdsourced beta testing will uncover a lot more problems, and taxpayers would save a ton of money besides. VA patient-care management software was originally written by the same doctors and other professionals who use it, and it has become a global model.
Kinda depends on your plan. I’m insured through Mrs. SFAW, we also have an HSA. If we don’t spend it in the same year (which might extend to April 15 of the next year, but I am not sure), then we kiss it goodbye.
That sounds like an FSA, not an HSA. I have an HSA, and the funds in the account persist each year.
I have better traditional coverage through an employer right now. My current plan is to spend down the funds in my HSA, then close the account. I think HSA-compatible plans are OK if you can’t afford anything better, which was my situation for many years. That said, I’m surprised that the California exchange allows HSA-compatible plans in its Bronze section.
Absolute genius, the tears cannot be held back -brilliant!