The Obamacare exchanges are now open for business. And to open the radio show this morning, Glenn decided to give Healthcare.gov – your one stop shop for everything Obamacare related – a try. Sadly, the experience was not without its problems.
“This is exciting because you're just about to take advantage of the incredible healthcare system,” Pat said excitedly.
But the excitement did not last long. When Glenn attempted to access the site, he was promptly greeted with the Internet equivalent of a "hold button.”
“I'm here, and I don't know if you can get a shot of this… but I just went to Healthcare.gov and I'm on this exciting page right now: ‘Health insurance marketplace, please wait. We have a lot of visitors on our site right now and we're working to make your experience here better. Please wait here until we send you to the login page. Thanks for your patience.’”
Below is a screenshot of the message:
“The government is the only business that has actually come up with a 'hold' button on the Internet,” Glenn said. “I've never seen anything like it. We've got a hold button. Hope you don't have anything really wrong with you. So I'm just waiting now. They have a lot of visitors on their site right now and they're working to make your experience better.”
“We appreciate your patience. You are Number 477,326 in line,” Pat quipped. “Please continue to wait, as you will be taken in the order in which you arrived. Thank you for your patience.”
After being completely kicked off the site and told to “try again later,” Glenn finally reached the log-in page on Healthcare.gov.
“I just got a login. Oh my goodness. I refreshed. I tried again later, and it just… ‘New to healthcare.gov? Create an account. Log in.’ I think, well, I am new to healthcare.gov. So I should create accounts.”
Stu, meanwhile, was not quite as lucky.
“I was trying to log in as well. I just got a new message,” Stu said. “Would you like me to share it with you because it's important for your healthcare. It's '???.ee.shared.header.learn???' followed by 'ffeee.shared.header.getinsurance???'. That's what came up on the screen when I refreshed. That is good. I feel healthier already.”
Pat was somehow able to avoid the ‘question mark, question mark, question mark’ error, but his experience was not anymore pleasant. “Now, this says ‘Get ready for the Marketplace.’ I'm at that page. It's asking me a question, and I fit into none of these categories,” Pat lamented. “‘Do you want information on any of the following situations? This will help us provide material about coverage options.’ ‘Dependent under 18:’ No. ‘Self‑employed:’ No. ‘Low‑income coverage options:’ No. ‘Disability:’ No. ‘Pregnancy:’ No. ‘Veteran:’ No. ‘American Indian or Alaskan native:’ No. ‘Preexisting conditions covered’ and so there's either yes or no, and those are the only options. I can't click anywhere except ‘go back.’”
“Hold on. We're trying to make your healthcare experience even better. Stand by,” Glenn joked. “Question mark, question mark, question mark.”
A man from Florida called in to the program and explained that he and his wife had tried to access the exchange earlier this morning, and they quickly learned their coverage would become more expensive on the exchange than off the exchange. But there’s a catch. The insurance company explained that if he chose to purchase his insurance privately, he would lose all government subsidies. Basically, he finds himself in a costly lose-lose situation.
“You know what? This is what's coming. This is what's happening. And you listen to his story. And so what did he say? They said, ‘You won't be able to qualify for government subsidies,’” Glenn explained. “And so people are going to say, ‘I want the private insurance’ but I'm not going to be able to afford it, I'm going to need government subsidies. And so everyone is going to be on government subsidies. I'm telling you by the time the next presidential election happens, 100 million people will be getting food stamps.”
“We are headed towards Venezuela. By the way, Venezuela, they just posted guards this last weekend at the toilet paper factory. Why is it that it always ends, these kinds of things always end standing in line for toilet paper? Do you remember that in Russia, the Soviet Union? You had to stand in line for toilet paper. I mean can we just admire the capitalist system here just a little bit longer before it slips into darkness,” Glenn pleaded. “We've never stood in line for toilet paper, and I swear to you, the day that we're standing in line for toilet paper, you do not want to be in line with me because I'm going to be bitching at everybody else in line. ‘How many of you people voted for this crap?’ Excuse the pun. How many… question mark, question mark, exclamation point.”