Federal site down

COMMENTARY BY
ERIN McCORMICK

With all of the issues going on around the world today, it may seem odd that the news has focused on a single website over the past few weeks. The website in question, of course, is healthcare.gov, commonly known as the “Obamacare website.” Since its launch on Oct. 1, the website has experienced glitches because of issues with high traffic flow to the site.
Admittedly, the website was designed inefficiently. There was little doubt before Oct. 1 that the page would be receiving some heavy traffic once the application to apply for health care opened. However, the site was not designed in a way that allowed many to sign up.
The website being down is undoubtedly an issue for the millions of people who are looking to apply for health care under the Affordable Care Act. However, there are options to apply by phone, and paper applications for the program exist as well. Those can be found at local government offices.
Various pundits and news organizations have turned the temporary failure of the website into an overall failure of the Affordable Care Act and Obama’s administration. Any logical person knows that in the scope of a measure as large as the Affordable Care Act, something like a glitch in the website does not affect the actual content of the Act. This is especially true once you consider that the Act is set to cover millions of previously uninsured Americans, keep insurance companies from denying coverage based off pre-existing conditions and let children stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26. Yet claims that range from the wrong (the glitch is an example of how much the public opinion opposes Obamacare) to the absolutely ludicrous (such as the website shorting out every time someone gets unfavorable coverage) have been running rampant since the first day of the month.
Perhaps these articles and stories are popping up to hide the happenings that these journalists and anchors want to pretend do not exist. These include the basic fact that it was the childlike stubbornness of the House GOP that sent the federal government into a disastrous shutdown and stories of those who have managed to sign up and have seen the health care payments that they are predicted to be making cut in half. Or that those who are not seeing those cuts are likely living in one of the roughly 25 states in which a Republican governor is refusing to expand Medicaid coverage as mandated by the Affordable Care Act. Or that 53 percent of Americans support “Obamacare,” shown by the mere fact that the website shut down solely because of such heavy traffic.
Eventually, these talking points will run mute as efforts to revamp the website and encourage alternate forms of registration take place. But in the meantime, we really have to think about how bad a law can really be if the only thing its opponents have left to complain about is its website.

contact the writer:
erin.mccormick@scranton.edu

 

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