Is affordable health care a likely possibility? For the average US citizen, the answer is unclear at the moment. President Obama expressed surprise at the difficulties surrounding the launch of healthcare.gov.
The Obamacare website was launched on October 1, and consumers found the program to be confusing. There were difficulties signing up on healthcare.gov, time-consuming delays in the process and other problems that befuddled the many who attempted to use the program.
A Congressional hearing took place in Washington on October 24, and the meeting lasted for more than four hours.
CNN news filmed a conversation between Texan Senator Murphy and Group Executive Vice President of Optum/QSSI Mr. Slavitt.
“Did you personally try to get on to the website?” asked Senator Murphy.
“Yes, I did,” responded Mr. Slavitt. “For Texas… I was just testing the system.” “Did it work?” “Well, I logged on to create an account, and was able to do so, but uh, I just never received a confirmation e-mail.” “So, it didn’t work.”
While different opinions were expressed, particularly between the two government parties, the reasons for the program’s rough start were decided. Among these reasons were late changes requested by the federal government and a lack of testing before the website’s launch day.
Democrats heatedly responded to Republican accusations that they should have supported the program instead of going against it. Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey stated, “The Republicans don’t have clean hands coming here. Their effort is not to make things better, let the goal here be to fix it, not nix it.”
The Affordable Healthcare bill was passed March 23, 2010, but has been a point of debate among Republicans and Democrats. Republicans have frequently opposed, and at times openly attacked, the idea of universal health care. Since 2010, the website was designed under the leadership of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and what was once an idea became a real program- healthcare.gov.
Changes have occurred since the site’s launch. It appears that for the web page designers, the first priority was what consumers saw upon entering the website.
When initially launched, the website featured a photo of the mysterious young “Obamacare girl,” and the new version sports a design of icons meant to orient consumers through the new website.
Some disagree with the first change, and National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Matt Gorban blogged that “worrying about the front page” wouldn’t resolve the site’s deeper flaws that worry consumers.
The website is changing, but the launch was not what the President and US citizens were anticipating. On October 30, Kathleen Sibelius said, “hold me accountable” for the website’s flaws and efforts are being made to fix it.
Opinions in the White House may differ, and plans may be made to improve, but nothing can change what happened on October 1.