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Affordable Care On-Line -- The ultimate steampunk fiasco?

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(Article changed on October 22, 2013 at 19:41)

Steampunk - ACA rollout?
Steampunk - ACA rollout?
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As a sixty year-old healthcare consumer who is about to loose coverage when my wife retires I was pretty excited about the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or as it's known by the lazy lamestream media, Obamacare. It's certainly not the single-payer system that nearly every modern western nation accepts as a human right and hardworking American families actually deserve, but I guess it's better than nothing -- we shall see.

Like much of the Obama Presidency this program may yet prove to be another promise that fails to deliver if my recent experience of trying to go on-line to explore health care options is anything to go by. However, I do recognize that there is a big difference between a poorly planned website and the actual law itself.

President Obama is noted as something of a great speaker and wordsmith but he failed miserably with his so-called health care reforms which should have been branded health insurance reforms from day one. You wonder who was advising him, it's so dumb you wonder if it wasn't deliberate sabotage? It's a blunder that his Republican adversaries have successfully beaten him over the head with and has some Medicare and VA hospital recipients screaming for blood at the prospect of their government introducing a new socialistic medical system. In reality that's what these patients already have, the ACA is just NOT socialistic medical care in any form what so ever. It's actually a monopolistic gift for the health insurance industry and the removal of a single-payer option at the start of negotiations is only one of many betrayals by the Obama administration.

I frequently despair at the political ignorance of many of my fellow Americans. The GI Bill being the foundation of a prosperous post-war USA and perhaps the most successful example ever of socialism in action -- along with the inter-state highway system, NASA putting a man on the moon, 100% tax-deductible interest on your home mortgage, etc etc.   Anyway, I'm sure most intelligent Op-Ed readers get the picture. I could also list subsidies for agriculture, tax-breaks for big oil, bailouts for banks, insurance companies and automakers but we won't go there as that's socialism for the rich and gives the whole philosophy something of a dirty name.

Anyway, returning to my experience with the internet and the ACA which was more like a nightmare in steampunk failure. For the uninitiated, according to Wikipedia -- "Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction that typically features steam-powered machinery, especially in a setting inspired by industrialized Western civilization during the 19th century. It may also, though not necessarily, incorporate additional elements from the genres of fantasy, horror, historical fiction, alternate history, or other branches of speculative fiction' . Well my experience certainly included the first two and may yet include the last.

Clunky and clumsy best describe the questions and answers to the new policy that on-line consumers are faced with when they enter the portals to the ACA web pages. Compare this to getting a quote for a new mortgage! The process appears to have been designed by someone locked into a 1990's Fortran time warp. This screw-up applies at both the state and national levels. I'm no Bill Gates but neither am I a complete Luddite when it comes to exploring the internet. After three days of trying, the numerous problems, freezes, and crashes that all the sites exhibited were enough to make me give up and try to make direct contact by phone. This was only slightly less frustrating and I was eventually told to make an appointment with my local community development intermediary to discuss my ACA options. This proved to be an even greater fiasco as my "navigator' turned out to be a retired engineer with sight and hearing problems who was unfamiliar with computers and the ACA system. It's nice that the government pays people like this to work but just as we need qualified & experienced pilots to fly planes we need skilled personnel to be ACA navigators.

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Ted Newcomen is a citizen-journalist - someone who is tired of the lazy 'lamestream' media circus which is obsessed with the cult of celebrity and just recycles press releases for the establishment.
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