About my healthcare exchange promise—I lied

I promised you wouldn’t write about the Healthcare Exchange…but I lied.

Today, I am officially enrolled in an affordable healthcare plan via the federal Healthcare Exchange.

Though the GOP has worked tirelessly to ensure I not get this far, I persevered and made it. Though I realize the GOP is still doing everything in its power to ensure I don’t have healthcare coverage come this January, at this moment, I am covered. I have what every Republican Congressional member has, but doesn’t want me to have: healthcare coverage.

I will be able to go to the doctor when I’m sick. I will be able to get the medical care I need in order to survive. And I won’t be filing for bankruptcy if I do get sick.

My statement to the GOP on Twitter was heartfelt but a little severe. I want to take this time to provide a more measured statement…

For years you tried to stop me getting healthcare coverage, but you have failed. You actually brought the government to the edge of financial disaster to keep like me from getting healthcare coverage, but you have failed. Even now, you’re scrambling to file lawsuits in attempt to prevent me from having healthcare coverage, but those are tomorrow’s battles. For today, you can’t take away my healthcare coverage, and you have failed.


Neener neener.

all complete notice

Now, I return to my previously made promise to not talk about the Healthcare Exchange.

Thank you.


Stage 2 on the Healthcare Marketplace


Yesterday, I was able to upload my identification. Now, some human somewhere will have to concur that it indeed verifies I am me.

In the meantime, USA Today has posted a story with tech details about the fixes being done on the system this weekend. It interviews the “top technology expert” behind the system, who managed to use the word “geekalicious”.

I was especially surprised when reading the following:

It is upgrading software that lets people create accounts to apply for insurance. One symptom of this has been malfunctioning pull-down menus that have worked only intermittently all week. And is moving one part of the site that processes applications from so-called virtual machine technology, which uses software to let a website securely share computer servers with other sites, to using servers dedicated exclusively to that process, he said.


I am not who I say I am. Or I can’t be verified to be who I say I am.

I’ve been able to go through the entire application process…except for verifying who I am. And evidently, they forgot to turn this part of the application on.

I’ve put in my correct name, address, social security number, and so on. I put in what I know the IRS has for me.

Nada. Zip.

So I took the option to upload a document. A simple scan of my driver’s license.

I tried once, and got a message that maximum file size is 10MB. My file size was a little larger than 1MB. OK. So I compressed the PDF down to about 67KB.

Nada. Zip. Same error message.

I snipped out just my drivers license, and created a JPEG of the image. File size? A svelte 34KB. I uploaded it…

Nada. Zip.

And, as usual for almost any activity associated with this system, I must now call in. Except I have no interest in calling in. I’m going to wait a week, in hopes that someone remembers to turn on the rest of the application. I’m disappointed, though, that I couldn’t even look at the plans, because I’m stuck in the never never land of “verification”.

This isn’t load problems, people. This is a crappy system that has all the symptoms of never having been tested. Other than a cursory run through.

I may like Obamacare, but the Marketplace sucks.

PS Oh, and I’ve never been able to use Chrome to access the Marketplace. Not once. I’ve had to use IE and Firefox.


Healthcare Exchange: 1 Shelley: 0

I joined the masses in attempting to access the new Healthcare Exchange yesterday. I thought I had an edge by creating an account with the system a few weeks back, but no such luck. Attempting to log in kept resulting in a blank page (which showed itself to be a “downstream error” when accessing the site using Firefox).

I noticed that the format of username that was acceptable a few weeks back no longer meets the criteria for new user names, so I don’t know if I have an account or not. And forget trying to use Chat to verify whether I need to create a new account, or can use my existing one (with its improper username format).

I expected glitches, but not such wide systematic failures, where people can’t even get access to the security questions to create an account. This breakdown isn’t the fault of Obamacare. This breakdown is, unfortunately, all too typical with large new systems developed with too many inputs from middle management and too little heed paid to experienced software developers. And way too little effective load testing.

Using Java doesn’t help. Java requires a very savvy tech architect, and well designed infrastructure. Even tiny fractures can cause big pile ups in a poorly designed Java system.

Regardless, I’m not going to bash the law just because of early system failures. I’m irritated at journalists and their pondering of “people giving up” because they can’t access the system. Hey boys and girls: people who want and need affordable healthcare coverage aren’t going to give up because of software glitches. Perhaps if the pundits would stop talking and start listening, they wouldn’t write or say such silly crap.

However, someone needs to be kicked in the ass behind the scenes of the Healthcare Marketplace.