November 15, 2013

Regarding the Nov. 12 news article “HealthCare.gov tally: 40,000 are signed up”:

Many opponents of the Affordable Care Act seemed almost gleeful that only about 40,000 Americans signed up through the law’s federal health insurance marketplace in the six weeks since enrollment began. But it feels like good news to some of us.

With all the problems HealthCare.gov has had, tens of thousands of people still signed up, and that doesn’t include people who have been able to get reasonable insurance policies on the cooperating state exchanges. If we add in those hundreds of thousands who are benefiting from the expansion of Medicaid, I would have to say that things are looking pretty darn good. We mustn’t forget that only 123people signed up in the first month of Romneycare. Can we please give the president a break?

Joanne Clark, Alexandria

Regarding the Nov. 13 front-page article “Health Care.gov vow is in doubt”:

The debacle with the Affordable Care Act Web site could have been easily prevented if it were routine to have government experts monitor the progress of contracts. Granted, paying highly skilled government personnel would incur additional costs, but, in the long run, not having to hire additional contractors to complete the work could have saved quite a bit of money. The failures of this outsourcing suggest that all government contracts need such oversight.

Gideon Kantor, Garrett Park

The rollout of the Affordable Care Act Web site has been a disappointment. A four-month trial before a full-blown launch probably would have helped identify and solve many of the problems with enrolling online. In defense of President Obama and the Web site, however, I wonder if any future major legislation of this magnitude wouldn’t face similar obstacles.

Politics aside, we are all watching the collision of political reform and information technology. I have experienced similar challenges working as a nurse practitioner and seeing the implementation of electronic medical records. For seven years, an organization at which I worked tried to implement electronic medical records but couldn’t during that time — the challenges were too overwhelming.

Computers freeze and systems crash, but it is part of the price of doing business in this day and age.

Beth Parkinson-Wyner, Washington

When I go to vote or to pick up will-call tickets, I choose from lines marked A-M and N-Z. The lines move faster because everybody’s not in the same one.  

Why not begin to solve the HealthCare.gov logjam similarly, assigning log-in time windows to alphabetically defined groups? Times in the morning, afternoon, evening and middle of the night would be available to everyone but not all day, every day.

Yes, we live in a 24-7 world. But nobody is entitled to everything always. Equal access can be defined differently, with benefits to all.

Sally Kelly, Chevy Chase