This passage from the latest round of Dear God, but these Obamacare exchanges are horribly designed articles leaped out at me:
It appears that a major reason why the federal exchange has borne the brunt of the problems is that the website asks you to set up an account, inclusive of your Social Security number, before shopping for prices on the exchange. This is in sharp contrast to the site sponsored by eHealthInsurance.com, that allows anonymous users to look at plans and prices. Verifying these accounts has bogged down the login process.
Keep track of this particular problem, because I suspect that it will not be solved by imitating eHealthInsurance's design architecture. The government will instead do its level best to make the existing login process less onerous... because they want to be able to associate a Social Security number to every account that's been set up for Obamacare. And they certainly do not want anybody who isn't an account holder to see the prices; anonymous users would take one look at the hikes and stay anonymous*. But if you're in the system, then they can target you. And you may use that verb any way that you like, too.
Really, in many ways Obamacare is the ultimate data mining system, masquerading as a government health care program. It's hard to tell largely because the administration somehow managed to screw up both sides of that equation, which takes real skill...
Via... sorry, not sure. The story's going around.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
[UPDATE]: As I hit post on this over at MoeLane.com I got sent a link to this Americablog post where John Aravosis - while fulminating about just how awful the federal exchanges are - comes so heart-breakingly close to figuring out the score:
If I didn’t know better, I’d say this site feels like an effort in list-building – i.e., they want to collect as much information as possible about everyone who visits, even if they’re not buying anything, in order to create a huge database for who knows what reason.
...which is, of course, exactly what is happening. Ach, well, nobody ever said that every liberal mugged by reality ends up becoming a conservative.
PS: I'm not a government-conspiracy kind of guy, but I don't think that it's really smart to put your personal information into this particular database.
*If it is cheaper to get a non-exchange policy and eat the Obamacare tax than it would be to get an exchange policy, people will do the former. The government's problem is that the Obamacare tax is too low to be a deterrent, and because it is a tax the Obama administration cannot simply raise the rates**.
**Attempting to hike taxes without the approval of Congress won't so much trigger an impeachment as it would be prima facie evidence that the government will need to invoke the 25th Amendment, posthaste.