RUSH: Dave in Bloomington, Illinois. Great to have you, sir, on the EIB Network.
CALLER: Hi, Rush.
CALLER: How are you this afternoon?
RUSH: Very well. Thank you.
CALLER: I wanted to bring something to your attention. I’m an insurance agent-broker. For over 25 years I have been working with group and individual health insurance, and myself as well as I don’t know how many other agents out there are currently enduring one of the glitches of the Affordable Care Act, and that is we’ve completed the Web classes, we’ve taken the exams, and then went to part two, which is you go to the CMS Web portal and there you establish your user ID and a password.
Then you get into the system where you get your secure ID so that you’re registered to be able to sell in the exchange marketplace to people starting tomorrow. One problem: That website’s now been blocked for the majority of the last two weeks. You can’t get in past your user ID and password. It keeps holding you up because it indicates things like your user ID and password are not correct. If you send in a request to get a new password or refresh you because you can’t remember your password, in my particular case, it’s sent back my password in all capital letters, which isn’t the way that I’d originally sent it in.
So that wasn’t going to work.
RUSH: Well, we have heard that there are all kinds of software glitches in this.
CALLER: I’m just wondering right now how many agents are actually currently blocked out of this going into tomorrow. Are we just going to be sitting tomorrow with navigators and the consultants which are essentially people hired by and paid by the government?
RUSH: Well, what are you gonna do if you can’t get in?
CALLER: Well, we’re all just continuing to try to get in. I’ve talked to other agents here sitting in the same capacity. They’re blocked. They just keep trying. I talked to one gentleman. He said he sat on the phone for a couple hours. He finally got through to somebody and they gave him a website to go to, and that was no help.
RUSH: Help us out here. What is on this website? What is somebody going to do? They get hold of you, they’re contacting the exchange, they want to buy a policy ’cause now they have to. So you are gonna access this website in order to facilitate their desire, their demand, whatever it is, and you’re not going to be able to?
CALLER: Once you’re an agent who has all of the credentials, then you will be able to have people come to you just as if they were buying insurance privately. They can come to your office, you can sit down with them at your computer, and go out onto the system. They have to enter in an ID initially, and once that establishes them with an ID, then you enter your ID, and that basically makes them your client, and then as you go through the process and you help them identify whether or not they want to go on to the federal exchange or whether they would want to buy a private policy comparable to or possibly better than the items being offered in the plans, they would have that option.
RUSH: What an absolute mess this is gonna be. I mean, even if it was working, what a mess this is gonna be.
CALLER: Correct. It’s so much more complicated than people think.
RUSH: You can’t tell me that the vast majority of low-information people that you’re gonna be hearing from are gonna have the slightest idea what’s in store for them, even if this thing is working tomorrow.
CALLER: Correct. One of the reasons they’ll be coming to us is the fear that they don’t have the skill set to go out on the Web themselves and do this even if they even have access to the Web.
RUSH: Most of ’em aren’t even gonna know they have to.
CALLER: Correct. As you’ve already stated today, many people are operating under misconceptions about the plan. Some are saying that it’s free.
RUSH: Let me tell you something: I know people that are now scared to death of the new iPhone operating system. They haven’t seen anything until they try it. If you’ve got people afraid of their own telephones, what in the world is gonna happen with the Obamacare website system?
CALLER: Well, the question is, I don’t know of any other system that has ever attempted to take on this volume of people.
RUSH: Oh, the NSA does it every day.
CALLER: So the software is basically in a test pattern right now as to what its capacity is before it will blow up.
RUSH: That’s true. The NSA does it every day.
CALLER: That’s true.
RUSH: There are people that manage huge databases each and every day. Apple Computer, they have 400 million credit card customers on file worldwide. That’s larger than the American population. People are able to figure out what they have to do on Apple’s website, and they’re buying stuff there. It is possible to do. But not when a bunch of bureaucrats put it together and have their IT specialists design it. I know this is a disaster waiting to happen, and so what’ll happen is a new government program to fix this one.
I don’t know.
There’s part of me that’s kind of excited to see this thing blow up.