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Pajama-gate joins Obamacare’s list of blunders

"Pajama-gate joins Obamacare’s list of blunders" Continued...

Screen shot of cuidadodesalud.gov
Screen shot of cuidadodesalud.gov

Stress test failed

The day before HealthCare.gov was set to launch, a test with 1,100 simultaneous users caused a traffic jam. The public learned of the site’s poor pre-launch performance from internal government emails released by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. About 8.6 million people visited the site in its first three days, causing slow page-loads, blank pages, and error messages.

‘A vacant building next to a Holiday Inn Express’

Shelley Dubois
Photo via Twitter
Shelley Dubois

On launch day of HealthCare.gov, Shelley Dubois, a reporter for The Tennessean, attempted to sign up for insurance on the exchanges. After unsuccessfully trying to get insurance over the phone and the internet, she tried to get in-person help from a local healthcare navigator, a government-funded aid hired as part of Obamacare to help people enroll in plans. She went to an address given to her over the phone and found it was a vacant building next to a Holiday Inn Express. The story of her day-long wild goose chase became a popular example of the exchanges' failures.

Now serving No. 6

On Nov. 1 an internal memo from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) revealed to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that only six people of the millions of visitors to the site managed to successfully enroll in Obamacare through HealthCare.gov the first day it opened.

Associated Press

A hacker's dream

The day after HealthCare.gov opened, John McAfee, founder of the virus protection software company that bears his name, called the site a “hackers … dream” (see video clip below). Hackers can build look-alike sites to collect unsuspecting users’ information, and because the website redirects users to state-based insurance hubs, they might not realize they aren’t on a government site. “What idiot put this system out there and did not create a central depository?” McAfee asked Fox Business News host Neil Cavuto.

Obamacare between the sheets


With the government way behind in its sign-up goals, the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative and ProgressNow Colorado Education launched a “Thanks Obamacare!” ad campaign targeted to young people.

The “Got Insurance?” series of advertisements (which mimic the “Got Milk?” ad campaign) uses keg stands and casual sex to get the attention of twentysomethings.

One advertisement featured a leering woman standing next to a man and stating: “My insurance covers the pill, which means all I have to worry about is getting him between the covers.”

Changing price tags

Back in mid-October, insurance companies began reporting how glitches with HealthCare.gov affected them. The site sent insurance companies forms with missing data fields, spouses reported as children, and other eligibility mishaps. The federal exchange isn’t the only one having problems. President Barack Obama touted Washington state single mother Jessica Sanford as a success story, getting a $169-per-month quote. It turns out, though, that Washington state under-quoted her by potentially hundreds, something it did to 8,000 others. She now can’t afford the coverage.

‘You lie because your premiums will be higher’

The conservative watchdog group Project Veritas caught Obamacare navigators on tape counseling applicants to understate their incomes on their insurance applications. “You lie because your premiums will be higher,” said a navigator in Irving, Texas. One navigator was fired and three were suspended after the video went public on Nov. 11.

Photo via Project Veritas

Polls take a tumble

The American public has done more than roll its eyes at the Obamacare rollout. According to a Quinnipiac University poll released Nov. 12, 54 percent of Americans disapprove of the Obama presidency—the worst Quinnipiac disapproval rating of his presidency. About 52 percent said the president is not honest or trustworthy. Nineteen percent said healthcare will get better under Obamacare, while 43 percent thought it will get worse.

Democrats abandon ship

With public ire over canceled insurance policies at a boiling point, Republicans in Congress put together a bill to roll back the changes. Worried Democrats reportedly met with Obama and told him, “If you don’t give us something by Friday” to fix the cancellation problem, many Democrats would vote for the House bill. Obama announced his quick-fix the next day, but 39 Democrats still voted for the bill when Friday came.

The deadline changes come as a new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows that backing for Obamacare continues to drop. On Nov. 22, a Kaiser poll showed support among Democrats for the healthcare law plunged from 70 percent to 55 percent between October and November.

Dissenter fired

William P. White
Photo via DC.gov
William P. White

On Nov. 14, Washington, D.C., insurance commissioner William P. White criticized the president’s decision to allow insurance companies to continue canceled policies. About 24 hours later, he was out of a job. Insurance companies spent millions to calculate prices based on discontinuing old insurance plans. As a result, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) said the new exception threatens to undermine the exchanges and lead to higher premiums. White issued a statement agreeing with the NAIC. “I was looking at it purely from the standpoint of the marketplace and what needed to be done. The mayor was looking at it from another standpoint,” he told The Wall Street Journal.


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