Bob Goodlatte: Putting a Band-Aid on Healthcare.gov

Since the October 1st roll-out of Healthcare.gov, there has been no shortage of technical issues. The website, where under the president’s healthcare law Americans without insurance or required by the law to find new insurance can enroll in the new federally-run insurance exchanges, has been plagued by countless glitches. Needless to say, this has made for anything but a smooth experience for those attempting to access the site.

bob-goodlatte-afp2Despite assurances by Obama Administration officials that everything was “on track,” users have encountered frozen screens, error messages, and long waits since the website launched. In Iowa, one man tried more than 100 times before he was able to sign into the website. I have also heard from Sixth District constituents who have experienced many of these problems and frustrations firsthand. And when people have been able to get through the system, the higher insurance premiums that some have found are not welcome news. A CBS News report also found that some features on the website “dramatically underestimate the cost of insurance.”

Just a few days ago, President Obama spoke from the White House saying that there is “no excuse” for the problems while continuing to defend his health care law. The Administration has dispatched what they call a “tech surge” of the “best and brightest” experts to fix the problems with Healthcare.gov. But fixing the glitches in the website does not fix the glitches within the law itself. It does nothing to help the Delta Airlines employees who will lose certain insurance plans or the 15,000 spouses of UPS employees who will no longer qualify for the company’s health care plan or families in the Sixth District who will pay significantly more for coverage. It will take much more than a “tech surge” to address the underlying problems spurring higher insurance costs, dropped coverage, and lost jobs.

President Obama is right – there should be no excuses. Reportedly, more than $500 million was already spent on a website that has yet to function properly. I’m even more concerned about how much money will be wasted on a law that is already projected to have a price tag exceeding $1.7 trillion.

The many malfunctions with this broken website continue to cause problems for people across the country. If you have encountered problems using Healthcare.gov, I encourage you to contact me atgoodlatte.house.gov and share your experience at gop.gov/yourstory.

There are many questions about the disastrous website roll-out that remain unanswered. Instead of band-aid fixes, we need real accountability from the Administration about the problems with the website. Like the entire law, it is clear that Healthcare.gov was not ready for prime time. The individual mandate should also have been delayed, just as the mandate on businesses previously was. At the very least, the American people should not be forced to pay a tax for not having health insurance when the website used to enroll is not even functioning properly. Obamacare was unworkable from the start – something that has only become more evident as it moves forward. It should be repealed, and the Congress should start again with patient-centered reforms that allow Americans access to affordable health care.

Bob Goodlatte represents the Sixth District in Congress.

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