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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Quick Links: On The Obamacare Website

I have two quick links on the ill-conceived ACA's website roll-out. The first is mostly a PSA of sorts: John McAfee, founder of the anti-virus software company, says that this website is "a hacker's wet dream." So maybe it's a good thing that the site doesn't work, since this might help dissuade people from entering all of their personal information onto the web for every hacker and identity thief to peruse at their leisure. The second is from Forbes, which is asking whether perhaps the websites troubles are a feature and a deliberate one at that: the crashes are to distract people from the true costs of Obamacare:
A growing consensus of IT experts, outside and inside the government, have figured out a principal reason why the website for Obamacare’s federally-sponsored insurance exchange is crashing. forces you to create an account and enter detailed personal information before you can start shopping. This, in turn, creates a massive traffic bottleneck, as the government verifies your information and decides whether or not you’re eligible for subsidies. HHS bureaucrats knew this would make the website run more slowly. But they were more afraid that letting people see the underlying cost of Obamacare’s insurance plans would scare people away.... 
The federal government’s decision to force people to apply before shopping, Weaver and Radnofsky write, “proved crucial because, before users can begin shopping for coverage, they must cross a busy digital junction in which data are swapped among separate computer systems built or run by contractors including CGI Group Inc., the developer, Quality Software Services Inc., a UnitedHealth Group Inc. unit; and credit-checker Experian PLC. If any part of the web of systems fails to work properly, it could lead to a traffic jam blocking most users from the marketplace.” 
Jay Angoff, a former federal official at the agency that oversees the exchange, told the Journal that he was surprised by the decision. “People should be able to get quotes” without entering all of that information upfront... 
Think about it. It’s quite possible that much of this disaster could have been avoided if the Obama administration had been willing to be open with the public about the degree to which Obamacare escalates the cost of health insurance. If they had, then a number of the problems with the exchange’s software architecture would never have arisen. But that would require admitting that the “Affordable Care Act” was not accurately named.
To be blunt, the premium hikes are their to distract people from the true costs of Obamacare.

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