Saturday, November 9, 2013
Healthgov.com as a Cash Register
This is like having a really good product and the cash registers don’t work and they aren’t enough parking spots and nobody can get through the door.
President Obama, in Dallas on November 8, on the campaign trail explaining the travails of ObamaCare
President Obama is fond of using metaphors to explain his policies. His latest metaphor is healthcare.gov as a temporarily out-of -commission cash register.
It is an expensive cash register. It has multiple moving parts. It must register data, not only from customers, but from seven federal agencies, including the Social Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, Department of Veteran Affairs, Office of Personnel Management, and the Peace Corps.
This data determines who is eligible to pay personal cash to get government cash or to cash in their health care food stamps. The cash register cost $634 million and 3 ½ years to build. Fifty five outside contractors, including CGI, a Canadian IT company, and a division of United Healthcare, help construct it.
The head of the government store, Kathleen Sibelius, is working hard to explain why the cash register is working.
She is leaning hard on the old contractors and bringing in new IT people to fix the cash register.
Everybody is working 24/7, especially from 1AM to 5AM, to repair it. That’s the time of morning when the register is down, and it is hard to fix anything when it is running.
How much more it will cost, in addition to the $634 million is unknown.
How long it will take to repair the faulty cash register– three weeks, six months, a year – remains a mystery.
Moreover, it is an enigma is why it took so long to produce such a clunker of a cash register.
In an e-mail to Bret Baier of Fox News’s Special Report, “Bill from Kentucky” explained the enigma this way.
“Putting things in perspective: March 21st 2010 to October 1 2013 is 3 years, 6 months, 10 days. December 7, 1941 to May 8, 1945 is 3 years, 5 months, 1 day. What this means is that in the time we were attacked at Pearl Harbor to the day Germany surrendered is not enough time for this progressive federal government to build a working webpage. Mobilization of millions, building tens of thousands of tanks, planes, jeeps, subs, cruisers, destroyers, torpedoes, millions upon millions of guns, bombs, ammo, etc. Turning the tide in North Africa, Invading Italy, D-Day, and Battle of the Bulge, and Race to Berlin – all while we were also fighting the Japanese in the Pacific!! And in that amount of time – this administration can’t build a working webpage.”
Finally, questions swirl around the “really good product”. How good is it? How expensive is it? What will it do for customers once they get through the door? Why should they pay cash before they even see and compare the product to what they can buy elsewhere? And what about those cancellations of their health plan credit cards before them even step up the cash register?
Meanwhile the customers are piling up in the overcrowded parking lot, unable to even get in the store, and once in, to get past the cash register, to sample its wares.
The proper metaphor for Obamacare may not be a cash register at all. It may be a game of craps. Craps is a dice game. Players are wagering on the outcome of a rollout of the dice, or a series of future rollouts. Many are wagering against the government casino by taking a penalty. The casino is betting the young and healthy players and others will do the right thing; buy products that finance the casino and its older patrons.
Tweet: President Obama has compared healthcare.gov to malfunctioning cash register, blocking access to a “really good product.”