Stanley Feld M.D., FACP, MACE Menu


A Disaster, Not A Glitch




There is an important
lesson in the recent Healthcare Insurance Exchange computer program “glitches”.

Once more the Obama
administration only presents a fragment of the truth. Unfortunately, the
traditional media accepts President Obama’s explanation and that is the news.

The online
health insurance exchange program should be very easy to execute. All of the
major healthcare insurance companies have an online presence. People can go
online, put in simple demographics, and in a matter of seconds they can have at
least 100 healthcare insurance products to choose from. 

The Obama administration told the media that the software
developed for the web site, by CGI a Canadian company with offices in
Washington D.C., had an estimated cost of $93 million. said it cost the government $634 million dollars. The site calculated the cost from grants paid to CGI. This is seven times the
estimate published by the administration.

“Not only was the site still experiencing
substantial problems a week after launching, but the White House had reportedly
been aware for months that the website had flaws and might not be
ready to launch. Yet officials insisted on the Oct. 1 roll out anyway.”

The problems experienced by people trying to use the user
interface was something that was tested least or not done right — or both.'

– James
Turner, a member of the technical staff at software firm Beeonics, Inc

The healthcare industry,
participating in the new exchange, complained “loudly” that the site had
experienced problems before the launch.  

Speaker of the
House John Boehner asked, "How can we tax people for not
buying a product from a website that doesn't work?"

The front end user experience is only a fraction
of the problem with the federal health insurance exchange site.
A front end user’s
experience typically means there is something wrong with the basic construction
of the software.

monumental issue of the site involves interfacing seamlessly the multiple
government agencies (IRS, HSS, CMS, Welfare, Food Stamps and others) and
private insurers legacy’ computer networks. Each agency and organization has a
myriad of computer networks that must interface with the health insurance
exchange web site.

It is
reality easy to have a pretty front end interface with the user. If the
software program is poor the interface is a disaster.

computer networks must be integrated into what appears to be a fancy front end.
It looks as if this software is incapable of this very complex integration.

It is
one of the reasons that verifying patient for subsides has been dropped and the
government is going to take the patient’s word.

problems were published in blogs for months. The software  failed initial testing.

Obama administration did not delay the launch despite these warnings.

Now President Obama has
told us that this is a small “glitch.” He compare it a glitch Apple had with
its launch and it did not put them out of business.

away the volume and it works," President Barack Obama's chief technology
adviser, Todd Park, 
USA Today. 

President Obama does not know what is going on or he is not telling the truth to
the American people.

administration has blamed the glitch on the high volume of people trying to
access the site. This is partially true.  

The prediction by experts is it will likely take
months to get it running properly. The rollout was disastrous.  There were 8.6 million unique visitors in the
first 3 days hoping to apply and enroll in a healthcare
insurance plan.  Instead they experienced
an online nightmare, with websites crashing, refusing to load, and failing to
offer comprehensive choices.

 The demographics of the 8.6 million are
unknown. They may all have been high risk uninsured people.

The Daily Mail is reporting that
sources within HHS are saying only 51,000 people signed up for insurance via
the government run website in the first 12 days,

Two HHS career civil servants told
the Daily Mail that only 6200 people signed up on the first day. “

White House and administration officials continue to insist they
have no idea how many people have signed up but will release the numbers
monthly after November 1.

Is the administration trying
to hide something?

“If the state-run
exchanges were to have a similar response rate for six months, the national
enrollment total would be approximately 2 million in six months."

That number is less than
29 per cent of the 7 million the Obama administration would need, according to
the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, in order to balance the new health
insurance system's books and keep it from financial collapse.”

The White
House’s published goal is to enroll at least 2.7 million young, healthy people
between the ages of 18 and 35 in 6 months.

The monthly
premiums of healthy, low risk people are needed to offset the cost
of health care for older, sicker Americans who will certainly try

The CGI website states;

must provide many different functions, the soundest approaches bring together
expertise and best practices in federal and state health programs, commercial
insurance, data exchange, portals, e-commerce over the cloud, and financial

brings all of this expertise to the table, along with direct experience in
developing sustainable HIX programs. We also have a dedicated group of subject
matter experts tracking best practices for state HIX and
eligibility systems
across the United States.”

CGI knows
what to say. It has not shown that they know what to do.

The Obama
administration may have wasted $634 million taxpayer dollars on software that
does not work.

This is
more than a glitch. This is a disaster.

Just wait
and see the prices for a Bronze level healthcare insurance plan once people can
negotiate the site.

No one is
going to be able to afford the insurance in the Affordable Care Act

disaster will be coming your way complements of Obamacare.

The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone

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