OPINION – Back in September 2013, prior to the rollout of www.healthcare.gov, I wrote a column taking numerous cheap shots at the president’s magnum opus.
People came out of the woodwork to whine, moan, and complain about the typically Republican, closed minded, childish, anti-progressive and ultra-conservative views I was espousing regarding this highly misunderstood thing known as Obamacare.
There was so much flack coming from my liberal friends that I was almost convinced that the government could run health care as well as the private sector, then I tried to enroll.
On Tuesday, Oct. 1, at 6 a.m., while doing the morning show with Marty Lane on 97.7 FM, in St. George, I turned my computer on and tried to log in and buy a Gold Plan … or maybe bronze plan depending upon cost.
I was one of the lucky few that was able to log in on that first day. After the website got the basic information from me, it wanted me to create a password. So like any computer savvy American I used one of my favorite passwords for when I don’t want to have to worry about remembering another password, and that is ‘Password’ with a capitol ‘P’ for added security.
The website immediately came back and told me that I was not allowed to use that password. In fact, the ACA website informed me that I was not allowed to use a password that I had used on any six previous log-in attempts. How did it know that?
I succumbed to the pressure to choose a unique password that there was little hope of me ever remembering. It serves them right because to date they have had to reset my password at least a dozen times.
For two months I would try to log in and usually just get error messages from the website, but on occasion I could actually enter a bit more information. This went on for two months while the Prestigious Presidential Programming Team worked fervently on the website at a cost of more than $634 million.
There were a few moments of frustration when the website demanded to know if my 6-year-old son was married and they also wanted me to confirm that my 2-year-old daughter Emma wasn’t pregnant. I just figured this was standard operating procedure for a government questionnaire.
Eventually, my perseverance paid off and I got the entire application filled out. I was greeted with a message that said: “Congratulations on completing your application; we will contact you when we find a solution.” I waited with bated breath.
Then, just prior to the first deadline to get insured I got a personal email from the Affordable Care Act people informing me that they had found a solution and that I should log on to healthcare.gov as soon as possible.
My fingers trembled with anticipation as I logged on to the healthcare.gov website. First, I had to request another password change as I couldn’t remember which of my baker’s dozen passwords was current. I finally got to my message center and here is the message that was waiting for me: “Someone will be contacting you by phone.”
That was months ago and I am still waiting. I tried to log in again to check my message center thinking that maybe I missed their call. My file is missing.
My brother Guy in Salt Lake City had a much better experience with Obamacare. He recently got his insurance cancellation notice in the mail, but he was able to log in easily and search the exchange. His old policy cost him $600 a month. The cheapest replacement policy he can find is $1,200 a month. It can’t be said for sure, but I think they had to raise the cost of his policy to pay for the website.
Here is what our own government’s website says about healthcare.gov: “The Affordable Care Act is more than just a website. The ACA contains over a thousand pages of provisions that increase the affordability, quality, and availability of health insurance through consumer protections, regulations, subsidies, taxes, exchanges, reforms, and the expansion of Government programs.”
That is exactly what I was afraid of. If there is anyone out there who thinks that the government can do anything better, faster, or cheaper than the private sector I would like to sell you a little park I own. Maybe you’ve heard of Zion National Park? Although, I was told if I like my park I can keep it.
Guest columnist John Carter is filling in for Perspectives regular Bryan Hyde. The opinions stated in this column are his and not representative of St. George News.
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