Healthcare.gov has a lot of problems. Most of them stem from a general misunderstanding of how difficult it is to make a website. Not only were developers faced with handling millions of Americans signing up at once, they had to design a site able to organize every single one of their tax brackets, salaries and other financial information. The Obamacare site designers need more time to iron out the kinks — and to stay transparent throughout the process.
Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama spoke to a crowd at Faneuil Hall about healthcare reform and the state of the new website. This was one of those addresses that identified the problems with the website without really going into detail how the administration is handling the problems. Obama told an array of anecdotes about the people who have benefited from the passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. He set the stage for a big announcement, but he only spoke about the hiccups in the road to accessible and affordable healthcare for all Americans. Obama successfully let Americans know what they already knew about the continuing healthcare debate. The one issue we haven’t heard him speak about is his transparency.
Mr. President, how are you fixing the problem?
While the Obama administration dances around telling the public how they plan to repair healthcare.gov — other than just informing us that people are working around the clock to clean up the site — Americans keep learning more negative stories about Obamacare and the site. According to Wednesday headlines, Toni Townes-Whitley, a senior vice president of CGI Federal, the Canadian company that built healthcare.gov, went to Princeton University with Michelle Obama. Stories like this have people asking if the administration choose this contractor because Michelle and Toni are buddies.
It’s hard to come at the healthcare issue objectively, especially when news outlets are fueling the fiasco by covering the website’s faults instead of the repercussions of socialized healthcare. Yes, on the surface, nepotism seems negative, but aren’t people taught that networking is a surefire way to success? That’s why students join Greek Life. It’s how journalists find jobs at new publications. Focusing on the people behind the website makes for good headlines, but it’s a conspiracy theory Americans should not focus on.
The same goes for the glitches in healthcare.gov. Twitter and Tumblr crash when too many people post at once. The U.S. government is very powerful and has more resources than those websites, but the federal government does not have a magic wand that will make all the problems go away. While in a perfect world, the website would have been able to handle the traffic on the first day, it is a monumental undertaking for any tech company or government to take on. People have to be realistic about how much work it takes to make a function website able to handle millions of people’s information.
The focus must remain on the repercussions of socialized healthcare. There is no arguing that the American healthcare system needs to be reorganized — just look at the cost of cancer treatment therapies and most surgeries. For the moment, Americans can only wait out the results of Obamacare and how people will really be taxed. Through trial and error the website will be fixed, and maybe after more legislative faux-pas and successes, Americans will have access to affordable healthcare without the exorbitant taxes.