The Affordable Care Act might be affordable, but only if one can navigate the glitch-filled website to find a suitable plan.
President Barack Obama was correct in admitting that healthcare.gov isn’t working
properly in his address this week, but suggesting Americans should just apply by phone or in-person isn’t a valid plan to fix the problem.
The problem really should have never existed.
CBS reports there have been problems with the site since it first launched, but Obama tries to cover up that fault by
saying it’s from the “higher-than-anticipated traffic” to the site.
This just goes to show the poor planning on the
government’s end. Considering there are 48 million Americans without health insurance, according to CNN, high traffic from curious Americans should have been anticipated.
According to NBC News, there have been nearly 500,000 applicants, which is a small number compared to the 48 million without insurance in 2013. This is likely due to the glitches preventing potential candidates from applying.
Obama claims staff members are working overtime to boost the capacity and address the problems. He also said some of the best information technology talent in the entire country is joining the administration on solving the problem.
This raises the question of why this talent wasn’t used in the first place. Obama’s speech sounded a lot more like a people pleaser than an actual announcement of a solution.
Obama pointed out in his address that the Affordable Care Act is more than just a website and it is still in effect.
This is definitely true, but a crucial part of the Affordable Care Act is the simplicity of buying and comparing
affordable insurance plans online with ease.
Thus far, the “ease” part has been missing. The many people that had a negative experience could potentially be deterred from the idea for good.
The site was meant to be designed as a simple way for uninsured Americans to attain an affordable health insurance plan. Instead, users have been presented with glitches, including cryptic messages and problems making a user-account required to navigate the rest of the site. A plan that sounded great on paper has failed in the actual
Applicants can still apply over the phone or in person, but over the phone makes visually comparing options difficult, and showing up in-person, during work hours, can take valuable time out of a person’s day they may not have the luxury of spending.
The issue should have never occurred, but the sooner it is fixed, the better. Obama may be reassuring Americans that the IT team is working on it, but until progress is made, healthcare.gov will make the Affordable Care Act seem like a disastrous failure.
Ali Leist is a junior majoring in mass communications.