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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Flaws with Obamacare are more than technological

It’s been a month since the Obama administration’s new online insurance marketplace opened to the public, and it has been nothing short of a train wreck.

In fact, the launch turned into the most famous and substantial I.T. meltdown of all time. The system that cost more than $400 million, and has been publicized as a one-stop marketplace for Americans seeking health insurance, has been an embarrassment. This botched rollout forced into limbo the health insurance of millions of Americans.

But don’t be fooled by the technology. The major flaws with Obamacare aren’t tech-related. The flaws with the website are just a window into the structural issues with the program itself.

Since the disastrous rollout, the Obama administration has spent weeks putting out alternating theories and tag lines to see which might work. They have tried blaming insurers, then tech contractors and computer maintenance management companies. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius volunteered to take the blame. Then they compared it to Romneycare.

Basically, they are blaming everything but the policy and everyone but the policymaker. Now, the president is positioning himself to be the hero and save Obamacare.

The Obama administration has attempted to “Geico-ize” the purchase of health insurance. We all know the famous Geico slogan, “Fifteen minutes can save you 15 percent.”

Buying health insurance isn’t as easy as purchasing car insurance. Health insurance is more involved and complicated; it should be done with personal interaction. The online marketplace isn’t an ideal fit for a health insurance marketplace.

Members of the young, tech-savvy generation, who are crucial to the program’s calculus, don’t want to purchase health insurance in the first place. Now, after the program’s initial failure, do you think the majority of them are going to go back on and try again? No way! Many will wait for the government to fine them and play a game of “catch me if you can.”

I don’t blame them.

The administration should have handed this tech project off to Facebook or Twitter or some other established private platform rather than trying to make one from scratch.

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