Author Topic: Liberally yours: The real reason why the Obamacare website is crashing  (Read 883 times)

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Offline Rapunzel

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http://dailycaller.com/2013/11/01/liberally-yours-the-real-reason-why-the-obamacare-website-is-crashing/

Liberally yours: The real reason why the Obamacare website is crashing

Posted By Thom Hartmann On 5:11 PM 11/01/2013


Liberally yours is a regular column at the Daily Caller featuring Thom Hartmann, the number one progressive radio host in the country, in conversation with libertarians and conservatives. This week, he’s joined by Alex Smith, chairman of the College Republicans, to debate the Obamacare rollout.

Thom:

Obamacare is working fine. Yes – you heard me right: Obamacare is working fine. Well, at least in the states that aren’t run by the Tea Party. Now that the shutdown is over, the media has moved onto its next manufactured controversy: the glitchy roll out of the Obamacare health exchanges. Right after the exchanges opened on October 1 – newspapers and TV networks started reporting that some users were having problems with Healthcare.gov.

Stories about Healthcare.gov fell into the background during the 24/7 coverage of the shutdown – but since the president signed a bill to reopen the government last Thursday– cable news cycles have been running non-stop features on the site’s problems. And let’s be honest – these problems are pretty bad. Healthcare.gov crashes, runs slowlyand sometimes gives users bad information about the tax credits that make health insurance under Obamacare so much more affordable.

Predictably, Fox News has jumped on these problems to make it seem like Obamacare as a whole is doomed. HealthCare.gov’s problems are embarrassing and the Obama administration needs to fix them if it wants its healthcare law to work. But here’s the thing: lost in all the very justified talk about how screwy the site is, is any talk about why the website so screwy and who made it that way.

Remember, the Healthcare.gov exchange site was meant to be a portal. It was never designed to bring together a bunch of different insurance policies and put them in one place. Instead, when the government first set-up the federal exchange system, it thought that states would, you know, cooperate with Obamacare and set-up their own exchanges.

The Healthcare.gov portal would verify people’s citizenship and eligibility, and then hand them off to the website of the state they live in. The state website would then have its own unique database reflecting different state standards for income eligibility, Medicaid eligibility, and the different health insurance companies that chose to participate in each state. Thus, the states would bear most of the burden for building the exchanges.

But Republican-run states didn’t co-operate. Tea Party Republicans convinced 36 states to not set-up their own exchanges. Because so many of these Republican governors said no to helping out their own states — the federal government had to step in and do their job for them on the Healthcare.gov website.

This meant plugging in a boatload of information about each of these 36 states’ insurance rules onto one site – Healthcare.gov – on very short notice. This is a pretty complicated task – and any problems the site is having right now are really the fault of the Republican state lawmakers who decided sabotaging Obamacare was more important than helping their people get healthcare. So when Fox and Republicans talk about how the site is not working, they’re not complaining – they’re bragging.

Ironically, Obamacare is working pretty well in the states that set-up their own exchanges. The state exchange sites have had some problems — every website does when it first comes out – but as Jonathan Cohn pointed out in the New Republic, “Consumers are getting opportunities they never had before – to shop for insurances, each one with clearly defined benefits … 180,000 have completed applications for insurance [in the state exchanges] and, of those, 50,000 have enrolled.”

Of course – you’re not going to hear that on Fox News. During a speech at the White House earlier today – President Obama announced that his administration is working hard to fix Healthcare.gov’s problems. Let’s hope the president and his administration can get the Republican-caused Obamacare rollout mess sorted out quickly. And let’s also hope that they call out the Tea Partiers who screwed it up to begin with.

Alex:

In the wake of the failed Affordable Care Act rollout and a flurry of cancellation notices from insurance carriers, defenders of one-size-fits-all government have been sent scrambling to defend this disastrous piece of legislation. The latest line of attack is particularly amusing: that Republican governors are to blame for choosing not to set up state-run exchanges.

The Affordable Care Act required the government to set up online marketplaces known as exchanges, where individuals can purchase plans and apply for government subsidies to help pay for them. The law allowed states to create their own exchanges, but only fourteen states opted to do so. The other 36, largely run by Republican governors, refused to create their own exchanges, pushing these states into the federal marketplace.

Amid the struggle to find any positive news in the lackluster premiere of the President’s signature piece of legislation, proponents have clung to the success of the state exchanges. Of course, relative to the completely unworkable federal website, success by these terms is defined as simply functioning.

Has the rush to control this PR nightmare for the administration led supporters to make misguided states’ rights arguments? After all, a recent report from the Seattle Times on the glitch-free Washington State exchange website attributed its success to “proximity to those with a stake in the system: insurers, state eligibility departments and consumers,” reads like a textbook argument for federalism. Even more pathetic was the president’s visit to Massachusetts designed to draw a specious parallel between his leviathan health care plan and the bipartisan state plan enacted under then-Governor Romney.

To be clear, these early plaudits relate only to the functioning of the website, and common sense should dictate that local contractors creating one website for one state will have more success than a single contractor working to integrate thirty-six different states into one interface. But Republican governors were right to look past merely building an operational website.

The taxpayer bill for these state websites has already come in at over one billion dollars. Driven out by costs, big insurance companies are slowly pulling out of the state exchanges, ultimately hurting consumers, who will undoubtedly see prices rise with a lack of competition. Moreover, the majority of enrollees on the state websites are those signing up for Medicaid at no cost to them, rather than consumers buying private insurance, who are needed to keep the system afloat. The legislation was so hastily written and passed by congressional Democrats that it failed to specify that the tax subsidies applied in states that used the federal exchange, prompting a series of lawsuits that may, in fact, render the law inapplicable in these states.

In short, the ACA provision allowing for state-run exchanges was a false choice meant to offer a state the chance to regulate its own insurance market, but to disclose little about the actual role the federal government would play and the costs of implementation. As early as November 2012, Governors Kasich, Walker, Scott and Christie all voiced concerns over these matters in rejecting the exchanges. The Republican governors, who called the administration on its bluff, seem to have now been vindicated by the law’s early stumbles.

Of course, there are no winners in the President’s health care takeover. The residents of the 36 states without state exchanges have been punted into a federal system that is unusable and will face fines for failing to enroll by the March 2014 deadline. The Republican governors, however, showed leadership in not opting into a vague and unwieldy provision of the law that would have cost their states millions and taken away their ability to serve the citizens they swore to protect. Republican Attorneys General deserve credit, too, for remaining vigilant in bringing ACA-related lawsuits against the administration on Tenth Amendment grounds. These leaders have done right by their constituents, and to blame them for the colossal failures of the most partisan and intrusive piece of legislation ever signed into law is a poorly disguised attempt to avoid the responsibility that is owed to the american people.

Here’s a promise you can count on: if you like your freedom, you can keep your Republican governor.
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

Online Oceander

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Re: Liberally yours: The real reason why the Obamacare website is crashing
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2013, 10:56:22 PM »
Why anyone but a brain-dead liberal (but I repeat myself) would give an agit-prop idiot like Thom Hartmann a moment's thought is beyond me.

Offline Rapunzel

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Re: Liberally yours: The real reason why the Obamacare website is crashing
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2013, 10:57:28 PM »
Why anyone but a brain-dead liberal (but I repeat myself) would give an agit-prop idiot like Thom Hartmann a moment's thought is beyond me.

It always helps to hear what the left is saying... you cannot make up the liberal logic that these exchanges are not working because of the Tea Party.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2013, 10:58:01 PM by Rapunzel »
“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

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Re: Liberally yours: The real reason why the Obamacare website is crashing
« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2013, 11:05:35 PM »
It always helps to hear what the left is saying... you cannot make up the liberal logic that these exchanges are not working because of the Tea Party.

 goopo

Sure, it's not always too good for the blood pressure! But yes - you can't counter the spin and the talking points if they come at you cold. Or not many can.
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Re: Liberally yours: The real reason why the Obamacare website is crashing
« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2013, 11:09:07 PM »
goopo

Sure, it's not always too good for the blood pressure! But yes - you can't counter the spin and the talking points if they come at you cold. Or not many can.

The best way to handle those attacks is to suppress the natural urge to immediately call out a response and to instead, stop, think about what was said - take it apart, dissect it, and first start questioning the definitions and implied premises in the statement.  The first line of response should then be an attack on the carefully coded definitions being used - such as using "fairness" to mean rank redistribution - and an attack on the implied premises, which can frequently be exploded by stating them and then applying them to other scenarios, scenarios in which their utter inanity becomes obvious.

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Re: Liberally yours: The real reason why the Obamacare website is crashing
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2013, 11:17:18 PM »
The best way to handle those attacks is to suppress the natural urge to immediately call out a response and to instead, stop, think about what was said - take it apart, dissect it, and first start questioning the definitions and implied premises in the statement.  The first line of response should then be an attack on the carefully coded definitions being used - such as using "fairness" to mean rank redistribution - and an attack on the implied premises, which can frequently be exploded by stating them and then applying them to other scenarios, scenarios in which their utter inanity becomes obvious.

Totally agree! There is a problem with that though - it takes time. You know the proverbial: "A lie can be half way around the world before the truth has it's shoes on." To use your method - which works - you need the time to think and craft a response. Time to research, since very few of us carry supporting evidence in our heads. It is one of the Progressives strongest points in debate - the appeal to emotion, which requires less time and a functioning brainstem.
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Re: Liberally yours: The real reason why the Obamacare website is crashing
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2013, 11:28:30 PM »
Totally agree! There is a problem with that though - it takes time. You know the proverbial: "A lie can be half way around the world before the truth has it's shoes on." To use your method - which works - you need the time to think and craft a response. Time to research, since very few of us carry supporting evidence in our heads. It is one of the Progressives strongest points in debate - the appeal to emotion, which requires less time and a functioning brainstem.

You don't need that much research, what you really need is the ability to resist the natural urge to yell out "that's not so" because you invariably end up allowing your opponent to set the definitions and terms of the discussion, which inevitably leads to your demise:  how can anyone be against "fairness" for example?  If a democrat/liberal/progressive starts going off on how some fascist policy should be enacted because so-and-so isn't paying their "fair" share, following that natural tendency forces you to start arguing against "fairness" - which is stupid - and you will have lost the argument before it even gets started.  Instead, one should first ask the speaker to unpack what he/she means by "fair" and by "fair share" and to push hard on the first few answers, which will be mealy-mouthed and evasive.  If you push hard enough - put the democrat/liberal/prog on the defensive - you will have taken the initiative and will eventually reach the point at which it becomes obvious that to a democrat/liberal/prog "fairness" means nothing of the sort; it means taking everything from those who have anything - regardless of whether they earned it or not - and parcelling it out on the basis of political cronyism to those who don't have, and who generally don't have because they haven't done anything to earn anything - they haven't even tried to get a job as a landscape gardener, something that most hardworking "immigrants" are more than willing to do.

One of the benefits of this approach is that it doesn't require you to take up the cudgel on the merits immediately, when you'll be on the defensive after having been rhetorically attacked by a democrat/lib/prog; instead, it allows you to expose the deceit that underlies much of the dem/lib/prog political agenda simply by teasing out the real meanings they ascribe to common terms, meanings that have little to do with the generally accepted meaning of those terms.

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Re: Liberally yours: The real reason why the Obamacare website is crashing
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2013, 01:00:33 AM »
The federal system should have anticipated the need to serve non exchange states. Period. Common sense.

From a systems development standpoint, it should have been built, tested, run in parallel alongside existing systems. Debugged, modified, all before going fully live.

I worked on such efforts in private industry; payroll, personnel, finance systems. Sometimes it didn't work as planned, and was scrapped entirely, postponed, etc.

IOW you don't go live until something so big really works.

Hardly anybody in this administration has private industry experience. The company who developed the system was not experienced, and was given a sole source, no bid, cost plus contract.


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