This weekend showed the mendacity of the Obama Administration on the continued debacle of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.
Saturday was the deadline that Obama himself proclaimed for full functionality of the Healthcare.Gov website. We were told, all last week, that the government was working day and night to achieve ‘success’. And then Sunday morning, Voila! The White House proclaimed they had achieved their goals.
Except for one problem: the reality is that the website is far from fixed.
First, the metrics that the White House themselves have used for ‘success’ has been slowly been moving downward since Obama made his proclamation in early October. At first, it was that 80% of applicants could complete their insurance purchasing process through the website. Then, it was that 80% of people could actually complete the application on the website, and have the process completed in steps unrelated to the internet (paper applications, for example). Now, the criteria is that at 80% of people can sign on to the website. They no longer even discuss completing the process.
Even more laughable is that HHS states that they have achieved their goal of the website being up and running 90% of the time. Let us put aside the fact that 90% success of a website is pathetic; what is even worse is that 90% is noninclusive of downtime from scheduled maintenance that the website requires almost daily. So when the website isn’t down for fixes..it is functioning at 90%. Not much of an achievement.
“Healthcare.gov on Dec. 1 is night and day from where it was on Oct. 1,” Jeff Zients, who was brought in to oversee fixes to the troubled Obamacare website, declared during a Sunday conference call. That may be true, but that doesn’t mean we have achieved any level of success.
Furthermore, when HHS was specifically asked by Washington Post Health Care blogger Sarah Kliff whether their problem with the 834 forms (essential data necessary to insurers to complete the purchasing process) have been solved..they refused to answer.
My contacts in the insurance industry have said that there have been small improvements, but overall, the problems persist. So much so, the insurance industry put out a statements stating that although the website has improved, major problems remain, and are nowhere near to fixed.
Today the White House was proclaiming that 100,000 people have signed up to Obamacare in November, claiming another victory. Again, this can only be considered a victory if you wear rose-colored glasses. Yes, it is better than the 26,000 sign ups in October, but a fraction of the 800k expected in November. At the current pace, Obamacare would need approximately 56k purchasers a DAY to achieve their goal of 7 million by the end of March.
The White House would be better served by admitting the truth. Admission of the faults in the program such as that the entire program is running well behind schedule, and needs to be delayed, and that the website may need to be rebuilt are simple realities that the public may be willing to forgive. The administration seems to be unwilling or unable to make such an honest assessment, either because of political or practical realities. But trying to fool the American people that any of these metrics are any type of ‘success’ is likely a level of mendacity that will only lead to failure.