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December 02, 2013 4:48 AM My Obamacare Glitch Is Fixed

By Jonathan Bernstein

I tweeted about this last night, but why not make a post out of it: I’ve been stuck at the same place at Healthcare.gov since mid or late October, and now they’ve fixed my glitch! I tried last night for the first time in a week, and suddenly the program didn’t hang at the spot it’s been hanging. Exciting!

For what it’s worth: the problem was in the initial family information, towards the end. It asked about whether my eldest was a full-time student (she is), and then whether she had a parent in the same state in which she attends school (she doesn’t), and then it couldn’t save and continue after I answered it. Now? It can. I was able to complete the family information. Next step is income, and I wasn’t prepared for it last night, so I bailed; I’ll try to continue sometime soon.

Realistic interpretation: It’s silly to try to extrapolate from one customer’s experience to anything at all about the system. The odds that I’ll finish the process and actually have exchange-purchased health insurance are definitely much higher now, but what that says about anything else is probably a stretch.

Pessimistic interpretation: this is one small glitch which probably applied to a handful of people, and isn’t really related to the big-deal back-end problems (correctly calculating subsidies, communicating accurately with health insurance companies) which could cause massive and serious problems.

Optimistic interpretation: if they got around to fixing my glitch, which probably applies to a tiny handful of people, then there’s a good chance they’re doing an even better job of dealing with the big-deal back-end problems which could cause massive and serious problems.

The correct one is…the realistic interpretation, of course. There’s really no way to know what it means that one customer was able to get through one glitch.

Now, they’re definitely improving it: logging in has been easy for weeks now after being on-and-off for a while, for example. On the other hand, they claim that response time is better; maybe it is, but the “save and continue” function is still very slow (and the system is designed to force a “save and continue” frequently, so putting in all family information for a four-person family takes quite some time). And I’ve only just now completed the first step, so I have no idea how the next parts will go.

Still, my glitch is fixed!

[Cross-posted at A plain blog about politics]

Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist who writes about American politics, especially the presidency, Congress, parties, and elections.

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