The White House announced on Sunday that it had met its goal for improving HealthCare.gov so the website “will work smoothly for the vast majority of users.”
So sayeth the New York Times today, but…there’s a little snag.
The problem is that the systems that are supposed to deliver consumer information to insurers still have not been fixed.
The Times goes on to conclude, with rare candor and perhaps a bit of peevishness:
In effect, the administration gave itself a passing grade.
“Until the enrollment process is working from end to end, many consumers will not be able to enroll in coverage,” said Karen M. Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group.
Perhaps we expected too much. After all, the website is working. You still can’t get insurance, because, according to yesterday’s Times, the now-legendary “back end” — that is, the part that actually delivers information about insurance choices, subsidies and prices to consumers, and delivers enrollment data to the insurers, “has not yet been built.”
It’s not that it doesn’t work. It’s that it isn’t there. Never was. Yet they rolled this turkey out anyway. Were they hoping no one would notice? But they fixed the website, or part of it, sort of. The trouble is, without the “back end,” it’s hard to know what to do with it. Right now, HealthCare.gov is nothing more than the world’s most boring video game.
Of course, there’s no reason to believe that the government can’t construct, stress-test and deliver a working computer system before their next self-imposed deadline — which is in thirty days. By then, they will have figured out a new way to contort their promises into a configuration that enables this hilarious carnival sideshow to stagger through its bizarre dance of razzle-dazzle misdirection. As for when the whole thing will actually “work” — with all the terrifying implications this may have for “affordable care” — a more realistic estimate may have been offered by David Plouffe:
…it may take until 2017 when this president leaves office, you’re going to see almost every state in this country running their own exchanges eventually and expanding Medicaid. And I think it’ll work really well, then.
In the meantime, try not to come down with anything serious.