The latest enrollment data from the Obama administration show that 3.3 million people have signed up for private health insurance through federal and state insurance exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act. This figure represents all enrollment from Oct. 1 through Feb. 1. It includes both people who have and have not paid their first month’s premium. Of those people, 1,146,100 selected their health insurance plans in January, meaning there was a 53 percent increase enrollment last month alone.
So-called open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act is on its fourth day. And still technical “glitches” abound. When I go to the federal exchange website, it tells me to wait. And it keeps me waiting, and waiting. I make breakfast and I’m still waiting. I talk to a friend and I’m still waiting.
I just checked again: “We have a lot of visitors on the site right now. Please stay on this page,” some federal bureaucrat tells me, one among the hundreds of thousands of people who are desperate to see if at long last, I will be able to afford insurance on the private market
This is what ObamaCare looks like. Is this the future of healthcare? Yikes.
In a telephonic town hall on Wednesday night, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich urged people to be patient with the problems. He said that he’s going through the same frustrations. He said that had the state built its own exchange instead of relying on the federal government, things might have gone more smoothly. I have my doubts. If the state set up its own exchange, the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services would have been in charge. And if their testimony in front of legislators is any indication, they’re a model for government dysfunction.
Miracle! I’ve just created an account. For security purposes, I get to choose questions like my parents’ anniversary, my favorite food, my favorite pet. Except I don’t know my parents’ anniversary. What kind of daughter doesn’t remember when their parents got married? Then again, they’ve been divorced for more than 20 years. Speaking of divorce. Don’t go there. Think about your favorite food, instead.
This morning, my favorite food as I waited to sign up for the exchanges was chia seeds and oatmeal, but last night I convinced myself that it was a kale salad from a bag at Costco. Which one’s really, truly my favorite?
Moment of truth: I don’t like either. Chia and oatmeal are slimy and kale is bitter. The only thing worse than lying to yourself about what you like to eat is having to admit that you’re lying to yourself… I do love the sausage and cinnamon sugar toast that my mother used to make for me before she and my father divorced.
Divorce! There is no worse word than divorce.
Except I’d like to say it over and over right now to the federal bureaucrat who’s making me wait to sign up for the health insurance plan that I was promised, and that I’ve spent no small amount of time and political capital evangelizing for.
Then there’s the favorite pet issue. Good lord, what federal agent of guilt thought up these security questions?
If you must know, and they must, the favorite pet is the cat, who went with the ex-husband, as will the health insurance come January.
I’m still waiting. I suspected there might be problems with the system, but I was comforted when I learned that private businesses, like Enroll Alaska, an affiliate of Northrim Bank, was going to get into the act. Banks are efficient. Bankers take care of things. If I were really hungry I’d go to a banker. If there was any way to straighten out this mess, they’d do it.
Enroll’s most recent Facebook post says this:
The Federal Marketplace/Exchange is technically open but none of our agents have been able to get into the system to run quotes. Please bare with us as we work through the technical difficulties and we’ll be sure to let everyone know once the system is fully functional. Thank you for your patience!
It’s now 2 p.m. The feds are still telling me to wait. The morning guilts are gone. They’re replaced by a slow, steady anger for making me go through all of this for nothing. I’m done being funny. I’m giving up for the day. I, and no doubt, thousands like me.
This better be fixed soon, or we’re going to divorce it forever.
Contact Amanda Coyne at firstname.lastname@example.org