Comparing the cost of healthcare.gov to spotify or linkedin, or comparing the user experience to Amazon, is completely irrelevant. The only relevant question to ask is this:
Is this better or worse than the way shopping for insurance online used to be?Now you, like me, may have thought that when Obamacare went live with new rules and regs, simultaneously all the private sites operating on the old rules somehow went dark, rendering direct comparison impossible. Not so! We don't have to try to remember the bad old days and then try to compare -- we can do it side-by-side because those sites are still around!
(But rather than do it yourself, let the incomparable and hilarious John Green of Crash Course do it for you -- this is well worth your time.)
For those who can't view videos, here's my summation:
FIRST: John spends a frustrating 49 minutes trying to create a profile on healthcare.gov, getting kicked out multiple times, before finally making his way in (video shot and posted on October 8). He adds info about his wife and kids, confirms his email and driver's license, and is then ready to compare plans.
THEN: John spends a much more frustrating 2 hours and 16 minutes trying to get to a similar point with a private insurer. He is asked about his medical history. He is asked what doctors he and his family see. He is asked about traffic violations. He is asked if he's had surgery or has "discussed" surgery ("what, like mentioned it in conversation?"). He is asked how much he drinks alcohol. He is asked to provide written details on all these responses and advised that failing to do so completely will jeopardize his future coverage. The application is at least 25 pages long, a huge headache and super intrusive.Healthcare.gov, flawed as it may be, still seems like a massive improvement over the old system. Yet no media is doing this comparison. Maybe that's why, despite the difficulties, the site keeps getting traffic and people are fighting the delays to get through. These people -- the ones actually signing up -- know what it used to be like.
That's a message we need to be repeating. And this video is awesome and deserves to go viral. It's been out over a week and has been viewed 625,000 times on YouTube. Let's make that 6 million views.
Disclaimers: I have never shopped for individual insurance myself nor have I tried to create a healthcare.gov profile. I am not saying Obamacare the law is perfect (it's not) nor that the healthcare.gov website is perfect (it's not). I am not a computer programmer. I am in no way affiliated with John Green or his stuff. But it is awesome, and here's a little more about him:
John Green is one half of the VlogBrothers, who do occasional video blogs and various topics in this style, as well as the growing educational series Crash Course, which is sort of like a high-intensity humorous-yet-educational Cliff's Notes video channel on a ton of different topics. There are 150+ videos available in topics like biology, history, literature and chemistry.
The duo has recently launched Subabble, a crowdfunded venture where they hope to be more sustainable in making future videos.