First, the Obamacare computers must work

Posted Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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With all the top computer experts available to construct an online system where millions of people could purchase health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, the Oct. 1 rollout of that system was a disaster because of problems at the “front door.”

At least, that was the testimony from computer experts this past week at a hearing called by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Any armchair mechanic or computer programmer knows if you can’t get in the front door you can’t accomplish anything worthwhile.

Then there was the part of the testimony when the computer experts said there wasn’t enough time devoted to testing the new system. Full-scale tryouts of the integrated parts didn’t start until two weeks before the launch date.

Even the most basic experience with putting together a new computer program shows that sufficient time for testing the finished product is essential.

At least, Obama administration officials aren’t trying to escape blame for the rollout debacle.

“This is on us,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. “And that goes from the president on down.”

Still, accepting responsibility is not the same as making everything OK. What has made the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) controversial is its goal of offering so much, nothing less than “affordable” health care for millions of people who have not had full access to the miracles of modern medicine because they cost so much.

That’s not to mention all the political capital President Obama’s team has poured into the ACA. It stands to be his most important legacy, but first it has to work.

Some Republicans in Congress have pushed to extend the act’s six-month enrollment period. Certainly, people who want to enroll should not be punished for not being able to tap into the system.

As things stand, people must enroll by Dec. 15 if their coverage is to begin on Jan. 1. Administration officials are working on ways to allow coverage for 2014 to be bought until the enrollment period ends on March 31.

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