Meanwhile, Back in Wisconsin: Can’t Get Online to Obtain Obamacare? Go The Paper Route

The Healthcare.gov application to receive Obamacare; don't worry, it's for real, and you can fill it out and mail it the good, old-fashioned way.  By hand (Courtesy: Money CNN.com)

The Healthcare.gov application to receive Obamacare; don’t worry, it’s for real, and you can fill it out and mail it the good, old-fashioned way. By hand (Courtesy: Money CNN.com)

I figured that by the second week of October, I’d have Obamacare.  Nope.  And I thought that I could jock anything on the Web.

You’ve got to think outside the box when you can’t get online.  And if it means that you have to ride the Pony Express rather than the Super Chief, at least you will have started the process.

I had already decided to go paper when, on a trip to the Wisconsin Job Center, I strolled over to the area set aside to get people signed up for health care through the Affordable Care Act, and see whether I could still get through.  Nope.

The large room was singular for a lack of applicants:  applicants who might be pre-Medicare older adults unacquainted with the Web, or those who are former Badger Care  or welfare recipients who do not have an Internet connection at home.  There was a bank of computers, health plan brochures from plans like Unity and Humana, and people wanting, dying to help and assist, but who were succumbing to the boredom of another frustrating day.  Hardly anyone could get through, and if they did, they were tossed out several times by the compromised software.

Well, I downloaded the paper application and instructions from the Healthcare.gov site.   Yeah, at least that works.  Here are the links below.

Application:

http://marketplace.cms.gov/getofficialresources/publications-and-articles/marketplace-application-for-family.pdf

Instructions:

http://marketplace.cms.gov/getofficialresources/publications-and-articles/marketplace-application-for-family-instructions.pdf

Download them and make as many copies as you like for yourself, family, and friends who need this opportunity.  If you flub up, you can start all over again, and the software won’t piss you off.

After the third week, I decided not to blame the president, or even Secretary Sebelius who does deserve a lion’s share of blame for the disastrous rollout.  I blamed the nature of the beast that is the government contractor bidding system, which usually awards the lowest bidder, no matter how bad a track record that contractor may have.  In hindsight, of course, Health and Human Services should have never awarded the contract to that Canadian company, CGI Federal.  They were supposed to knit a lot of disparate entities together, “making Quality Software Services’ data hub work seamlessly with Development Seed’s sleek user interface and Oracle’s identity management software — or “designing an IT solution that is adaptable and modular to accommodate the implementation of additional functional requirements and services,” as CGI Senior Vice President Cheryl Campbell put it in a September hearing on the progress of the site.”

CGI Federal has worked before for the Bush Administration on other projects, and for the Canadian government (which recently cancelled their contract for botching up a website  for their health system).  Thing is, even if CGI Federal had done the job reasonably well, “[t]he government’s record of poorly designed websites and botched IT is well-known in the tech world. In 2009, one of the government’s own sites, Next.gov, engaged readers in a debate: “Why are federal websites so bad?”

Why?  Because some of these contractors are not only rock-bottom cheap, they are really the bottom of the barrel when it comes to quality and reliability of their product.  The nature of the beast is that government must run cheaply and inexpensively or not at all.  Problem is, when something isn’t done right, which is a risk if the contractor isn’t competent, it ends up costing the taxpayers even more.  

Some of the blame should also go to those states with Republican/Bagger governors (Scott Walker, Bobby Jindal), who refused to extend Medicaid for their states, thus creating exchanges and subsidies.   Poor people, or working poor on minimum wage, have no access to health care in their states because of governors like Walker and Jindal.  They are what Obamacare was designed for.  They could probably get health care for $1.00 using the subsidies.    But that is too much like right for these Baggers.   For others, the healthcare.gov site is thus overloaded with those applicants who could have done quite well with a state website and exchange.  Ask Kentucky or California how they are doing with Obamacare.  It’s working, and working well.

So if you still need health care, make up your mind whether the blame game is worth it, and be pro-active.  Fill out the forms above and send them off to:

Health Insurance Marketplace
Dept. of Health and Human Services
465 Industrial Blvd.
London, KY 40750-0001

It will take at least 1-2 weeks before they get back in touch with you.

 Good luck.

~ by blksista on November 7, 2013.

 
%d bloggers like this: