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Government Medicine United States

How 3 Young Coders Built a Better Portal To HealthCare.gov 499

Posted by timothy
from the trying-to-be-everything-to-everyone dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Doug Gross writes at CNN that spurred by the problems that have surrounded the rollout of the official HeathCare.gov website, three 20-year-old programmers in San Francisco have created an alternative website to help people get health insurance under the Affordable Care Act quickly and cheaply. The result is a bare-bones site called Health Sherpa, which lets users enter their zip code, plus details about their family and income, to find suggested plans in their area. 'We were surprised to see that it was actually fairly difficult to use HealthCare.gov to find and understand our options,' says George Kalogeropoulos, who created the site along with Ning Liang and Michael Wasser. 'Given that the data was publicly available, we thought that it made a lot of sense to take the data that was on there and just make it easy to search through and view available plans.' Of course, it's not fair to compare the creation of Health Sherpa to the rollout of the more complicated government ACA site, which even President Obama has acknowledged as a horribly botched affair. 'It isn't a fair apples-to-apples comparison,' says Kalogeropoulos. 'Unlike Healthcare.gov, our site doesn't connect to the IRS, DHS, and various state exchanges and authorities. Furthermore, we're using the government's data, so our site is only possible because of the hard work that the Healthcare.gov team has done.' But it does cast light on the difference between what can be done by a small group of experts, steeped in Silicon Valley's anything-is-possible mentality, and a massive government project in which politics and bureaucracy seem to have helped create an unwieldy mess. The three programmers have continued fine-tuning the site as its popularity has grown. In less than a week, the site has had almost 200,000 unique visitors and over half a million page views. '"The Health Sherpa makes it ridiculously easy for anyone to compare health care plans covered under Obamacare in 34 states," writes Connor Simpson at Atlantic Wire. "The result is a simple, beautiful, remarkably responsive website that anyone could use.'"
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How 3 Young Coders Built a Better Portal To HealthCare.gov

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  • Just price? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @09:50AM (#45399893)

    I'm looking at a zip code and it tells me the price for all the plans, but it doesn't even tell me the deductible or out-of-pocket?

  • by Lech Rzedzicki (2828773) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @09:52AM (#45399915)
    This only shows why it's important that organisations, especially public ones publish open data - even if the software is broken, as long as the data is open and accessible and in a known format, someone else can pick up the slack and process it as necessary!
  • by Pr0xY (526811) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @09:53AM (#45399929)

    This is a nicely done website, there is no doubt about that. And certainly the people who implemented healthcare.gov could learn a thing or too from it.

    But I do have to ask, how would thehealthsherpa.com hold up when 100,000's of people try to use it at the same time? My guess is that the site is hosted on a single, relatively small server and wouldn't hold up very well. I could be wrong, but I think that scale is worth considering.

  • It is simple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fermion (181285) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @09:55AM (#45399941) Homepage Journal
    I recall when web pages began to become popular technology. Everyone would ask me how I could possible be paid so much money to develop software when anyone with GoLive could put up a website in an evening.
  • Oh vomit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Cornwallis (1188489) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @09:56AM (#45399949)

    "so our site is only possible because of the hard work that the Healthcare.gov team has done"

    Sorry, no. this information was already out there. How do you think people found insurance online before? Lipstick on a pig is right.

  • by pla (258480) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @09:57AM (#45399965) Journal

    Unlike Healthcare.gov, our site doesn't connect to the IRS, DHS, and various state exchanges and authorities. Furthermore, we're using the government's data, so our site is only possible because of the hard work that the Healthcare.gov team has done.

    Translation: "We accomplished something in a few weeks that the wastes of flesh in charge of this boondoggle couldn't do in two years and with vastly better access to internal information".

    Fire CGI Federal with prejudice (no more government contracts, ever, and no pay for their failures so far). Imprison their CEO for fraud against the American people. And give the 100+ million to these three guys. Give 'em the resources they need to finish their version of the project, and a year to repair this whole massive clusterfuck.

    You want a good portal design, hire hungry young geeks, not old-guard defense contractors who still consider ADA an edgy new language.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @09:57AM (#45399967)
    Until hospitals have a constitutional right to let you die if you show up at the emergency room with no insurance, you need to shut the fuck up.
  • by biodata (1981610) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @10:02AM (#45400001)
    The principle I see in action here is that if you break every task down into easy-to-implement components that do one simple thing well, then you can have three young coders build each component for you and each will probably work well. If you try to build a system which is more complex than that, the effort grows something like exponentially with the complexity, and the likelihood of early success shrinks correspondingly. If only we could get by with simple things and not bother with complex integrated online services.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @10:07AM (#45400065)

    This. This sums up the big problem the ACA is trying to fix and why the individual mandate is important. The majority of the people in the US are just too fucking stupid or steeped in partisan politics to understand it.

  • by canadiannomad (1745008) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @10:10AM (#45400095) Homepage

    Seems to me that the government ought to be in the API business, making all their tools open to developers that can then take the information and the forms, fill them out get details, etc. Make life easy for developers and then let the public create the interfaces.
    I could see a lot of great things coming out of such a model.

  • Re:Oh vomit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @10:11AM (#45400107)

    Exactly.

    "Our site doesn't connect to the IRS, DHS, and various state exchanges and authorities"

    So they put a new front end on the part that works, and completely left out the part that didn't work.

    Next they should take their little PHP widget and connect it to dozens of federal agencies, 33 state governments, 400 insurance companies, and 4000 insurance plans. All in real time. Then throw in congress, the white house, and 4,000 pages of functional requirements.

    Seriously folks, the "glitch" isn't in the source code.

  • Re:Just price? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by TWiTfan (2887093) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @10:17AM (#45400183)

    Lucky you. I typed in my zip code and all I got was a blank page back. I must live in one of those zip codes with no insurance companies.

  • by TWiTfan (2887093) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @10:24AM (#45400233)

    Yet I'd be willing to bet that most of the idiots who repeat that adage will turn around and play a modern triple-A level videogame with absolutely no sense of the irony. The days of people doing the really big stuff out of their garages are long gone.

  • by jamesl (106902) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @10:24AM (#45400235)

    None is better than wrong.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @10:26AM (#45400255)

    "life" means I (or the govt.) theoretically can't walk up to you and kill you for no reason

    it does NOT mean that I have to sacrifice my resources (in the form of taxes) to keep you alive regardless of any poor choices you make or accidents that befall you

  • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @10:27AM (#45400285)

    My coworker says the exact same thing about the ACA. She insists that the government should not get involved in her life and intrude on something as personal as health care. Of course she wants the government to intrude in someone else's personal life so that it can protect traditional marriage by telling two people who love each other to not get married because they are the same sex. She also insists that the government should dictate the reproductive rights of women too. Why is it okay for the government to intrude in someone else's personal lives but not our own?

    Her mixed message makes me doubt the sincerity of her desire to uphold the constitution. She is not alone, I see thing from a lot of social conservatives.

    If only the constitution specified some procedure that must be followed to verify that a law is in fact constitutional like have the highest court in the nation review and approve the controversial law. Wait it does, and yes they did.

  • by Desler (1608317) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @10:31AM (#45400307)

    No, that quote is saying that their website was easier to implement and has less issues because it does only a small fraction of what HealthCare.gov does. They don't have to query all those sources, they don't have to handle magnitudes higher load volume, etc. So of course something that is far more simplistic than HealthCare.gov is likely to have far less issues, but that isn't really saying much.

  • Re:Young? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SirGarlon (845873) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @10:35AM (#45400351)

    Umm i don't consider 20 young.

    You will. :-)

  • by SirGarlon (845873) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @10:37AM (#45400385)
    Actually, the current Constitution says there are no slaves in the United States. The amendments matter.
  • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @10:41AM (#45400429) Homepage

    Article I, Section 8:

    The Congress shall have Power To ... provide for the ... general Welfare of the United States;...

    Or in other words, the government is allowed by the Constitution to make America better, as Congress sees fit. By passing the ACA, Congress has invoked this power. The Supreme Court has determined that it is fairly applied and within the mandate of the Constitution, so yes, health care is actually an area the government has Constitutional authority over.

    Before spouting off about the Constitution, you might want to actually read it.

  • Errr... no. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sirwired (27582) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @10:43AM (#45400443)

    You utterly misunderstand what this website does. You punch in your zip code and age, it spits back plans and rack-rate premiums. That's it. That's the part of healthcare.gov that actually works, and has since they rolled out the feature a few days after launch.

    The part of the government website that is having all the problems is the part where you actually sign up for the plans. That's what is requiring a large amount of integration, and has been doing horribly. Because of how the law was written (specifically the parts on subsidy eligibility) it's a little more complicated than processing a shopping cart on Amazon. (Business rules validation/integration is the most difficult part of most business applications.)

    Translation: "In a few weeks we created a pretty front end to the part of the website that is really easy to write."

    I'm not saying the healthcare.gov rollout was done well, or that the main contractor didn't botch the job. I'm just saying that this website doesn't provide any evidence of it.

  • by squiggleslash (241428) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @10:46AM (#45400491) Homepage Journal

    Translation: "We accomplished something in a few weeks that the wastes of flesh in charge of this boondoggle couldn't do in two years and with vastly better access to internal information".

    Translation: "I can't read"!

    "We accomplished something in a few weeks that the wastes of flesh in charge of this boondoggle couldn't do in two years" - nope, that's not what he's saying. He's saying "We did something different in two weeks, something much simpler but considerably less functional."

    "and with vastly better access to internal information" - misleading. He's saying that they was able to build upon the work that the original Healthcare.gov developers had done making the internal information available.

    There's no question Heathcare.gov is a fiasco. But this project doesn't prove much, if anything at all. Take some work that's already been done, and build a functional shell that doesn't meet the full requirements? I can do that too. I can do it in two weeks. Given that scope, I'll rewrite Delta's reservation system in one day - sure, you won't be able to book any flights with it, or see what discounts you have available, but, uh, it'll work, save for that reservation thing.

  • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @10:48AM (#45400525) Homepage

    Of course not. That "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" phrase comes from the Declaration of Independence, which doesn't actually require anything.

    Rather, it's the Constitution that requires you to give your resources to help others, according to what Congress considers to promote the "general welfare":

    The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

  • by Quila (201335) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @11:08AM (#45400735)

    she wants the government to intrude in someone else's personal life so that it can protect traditional marriage by telling two people who love each other to not get married because they are the same sex

    The only reason this is an issue is that the government is involved in marriage the first place. If there was no government sanction of marriage, then gay marriage would be a non-issue.

    She also insists that the government should dictate the reproductive rights of women too.

    Abortion is a balance of rights between the mother and the unborn child. Obviously, her opinion rests on the unborn child having full rights as a human being, so she is basically supporting murder being illegal. Do you support murder being illegal?

    There is no inconsistency in her positions as far as you have stated them.

  • by CubicleZombie (2590497) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @11:12AM (#45400765)
    Estimating your subsidy is simple math. Verifying your personal and financial information is a totally different issue. And before they start handing out tax dollars as subsidies, they damned sure better verify the applicant's income.
  • by T.E.D. (34228) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @11:15AM (#45400785)

    One of the major sticking points about HealthCare.gov was that you had to create an account.

    ...and that is precisely where they failed. Commercial websites that have to do this kind of thing let you shop around all you want and only force you to create an account when its time for money to change hands. Yes, prices of some things are based on personal info like income. But when a person is shopping around, it doesn't hurt anyone but them if they are wrong/lying about that. You just do your checking when its time to "check out", and if you find out the user was wrong about something that affects price, you present them with the updated price for them to accept or reject and go back to shopping.

    Healthcare.gov instead forces you to create an account immediately and then does all its checking and remote database accessing up front. That's a massive PITA for those "just shopping", overloads the remote databases with unnecessary accesses for people who aren't planning on deciding this session, and front-loads the biggest sources of possible delays and failures.

  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @11:17AM (#45400809) Journal

    My Blue Cross is being cancelled. Thanks, assholes. Go ahead, mod me down, hiding the issue, just like all people in power try to hide the dissenters who are in trouble.

    In a free country, "for my own good" is my decision, not yours.

  • by NatasRevol (731260) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @11:17AM (#45400827) Journal

    "general welfare of the united states" is, and has, meant a lot of different things to different people.

    For some, it's healthcare for all.

  • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @11:20AM (#45400865)

    The only reason this is an issue is that the government is involved in marriage the first place. If there was no government sanction of marriage, then gay marriage would be a non-issue.

    She opposes the existence of gay marriage. I doubt she cares about someone's tax status or estate rights. Marriage in of itself is a social contract to define what constitutes a household. I see nothing wrong with the government determining the tax structure of a household or protecting the ownership rights of an estate if someone in the household dies.

    Abortion is a balance of rights between the mother and the unborn child. Obviously, her opinion rests on the unborn child having full rights as a human being, so she is basically supporting murder being illegal. Do you support murder being illegal?

    It's not just abortion, but I love how you zinged right to that part. It's also about access to birth control.

  • by BVis (267028) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @11:27AM (#45400967)

    And you can thank Blue Cross for that. The ACA didn't cancel your plan, your carrier cancelled your plan because it was no longer profitable under the ACA's rules. Your insurer had the option of improving their efficiency and lowering their costs so that they could meet the 85% rule the ACA requires, but they decided that that was too hard. The ACA's wrong move there was assuming that for-profit insurance companies 1) should continue to exist and 2) would exchange the mountains of new business they're getting for not acting like complete money-grubbing parasitic sociopathic asshats.

    tl;dr: Your plan got cancelled because your insurer made a marketing decision.

  • by MacDork (560499) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @11:28AM (#45400993) Journal

    Why should I need insurance to pay for a $100 bottle of anti-venom? [azcentral.com]

    When I was growing up, my parents didn't have insurance. They didn't need it. They paid out of pocket. Why the fuck do you think everyone needs insurance now, asshole? Until you've been charged $83K for a bug bite, you to shut the fuck up. Obamacare didn't do a damn thing about hospitals constitutional right to commit fraud against people who will die without their $100 bottle of medicine.

  • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @11:33AM (#45401039) Homepage

    Excellent. Let's apply 200-year-old interpretations to modern life!

    Or, we could follow the modern interpretations of the Supreme Court, since that's actually their job:

    Shortly after Butler, in Helvering v. Davis, the Supreme Court interpreted the clause even more expansively, disavowing almost entirely any role for judicial review of Congressional spending policies, thereby conferring upon Congress a plenary power to impose taxes and to spend money for the general welfare subject almost entirely to Congress's own discretion. Even more recently, in South Dakota v. Dole the Court held Congress possessed power to indirectly influence the states into adopting national standards by withholding, to a limited extent, federal funds. To date, the Hamiltonian view of the General Welfare Clause predominates in case law.

  • Re:Agreed.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MozeeToby (1163751) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @11:45AM (#45401159)

    Healthcare.gov tried to be too complex and serve too many people right out of the gate, both things that these three developers get to completely and totally sidestep.

    What they've built is a database query engine with a decent GUI. What healthcare.gov is supposed to be is a software implementation of a several thousand page law, which probably becomes 10s of thousands of pages of requirements and design constraints. Just getting the dozen or so data sources to talk nicely with each other and sanitizing the initial data load is half the work on a project like this.

  • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @11:55AM (#45401297)

    Look here. I'm sick and tired of liberal morons painting everyone with the same brush. We're not all the same.

    You as an individual may not have the same idea. However the social conservatives have documented their political platform and fully subscribed to it. You can find it on the tea party patriots site [slashdot.org],Heritage Foundation site [heritage.org], and the actual republican party site [gop.com].

    if you don't subscribe to their philosophy then good for you. You are not the target of my "brush"

    You did immediately lose your moral high ground with:

    I'm sick and tired of liberal morons painting everyone with the same brush.

    You assumed that since I didn't agree with your beliefs in this particular instance that I'm not only liberal but I'm a moron too.

  • Re:Agreed.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JWW (79176) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @12:02PM (#45401373)

    It is extreme irony that the communications problems of the ACA are partially caused by yet another piece of legislation.

    Why is it that when the lawmakers are talking about proposed pieces of legislation, everyone who points up possible unintended consequences of said legislation is shouted down, yet after the law is passed and implemented and those unintended consequences appear, those who argued that they would surely happen are now considered to be at fault for them?????
     

  • by jader3rd (2222716) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @12:13PM (#45401507)

    The ACA didn't cancel your plan, your carrier cancelled your plan because it was no longer profitable under the ACA's rules.

    Having the ACA rules make the plan too expensive is the same as the ACA canceling the plan.

  • by jerpyro (926071) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @12:14PM (#45401513)

    Well, as an adult male in his thirties, I don't need to pay for dialysis, cancer care, endocrine problems, prescriptions, birth control, asthma treatments, vision care, women's wellness visits, or any other thing that's not catastrophic care. But, if you only paid for what you use, then why would you cover insurance at all? Just to get the 50% "I have insurance" negotiated rate?

    I think you're missing the point of insurance -- that is, an individual's problem is everyone's problem. Stop treating insurance like it was capitalism. That's what got us into this mess in the first place.

  • by luis_a_espinal (1810296) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @12:15PM (#45401523) Homepage

    This. This sums up the big problem the ACA is trying to fix and why the individual mandate is important. The majority of the people in the US are just too fucking stupid or steeped in partisan politics to understand it.

    Hospitals already can't deny services in an emergency. The ACA and individual mandate only serve to try and limit the hospital's financial loss; it has absolutely nothing to do with the patient.

    It is an entirely political question related to the boundary of Government. Do you want to force young, healthy people to have coverage to pay the lion's share for everyone else, or do you allow individuals to take responsibility for the choices they make and the risks they take by not having insurance?

    False dichotomy. Try this. Do you want people with pre-existing conditions to be excluded from any type of insurance, or do you force health insurance to give them coverage (passing the amortized cost to the rest of the people w/o pre-existing conditions.) In other words, do we do something about that, or do we live by a "I got mine, fuck you very much" philosophy?

    It is interesting (and sad) how people paint every narrative in terms of absolute personal choices. Where are the personal choices in having a pre-existing condition? Over 50% of bankruptcies in the states are related to medical bills. How do we impute "personal choice" when people fall through the economic ranks due to factors predominantly out of their control (globalization comes to mind) and have to make do with zero health insurance (or with crappy money pits like Vista health care plans)?

    This is no different from the leftie loonie toons who paint everything in terms of the big, fat, lazy rich man exploiting the hapless but hard working and ethical little man. The same ideological bullshit that just happens to sit on the other side of the political spectrum.

    Reality sits somewhere in the middle and solutions requires compromise from everybody involved. Painting everything in terms of either class struggle or personal choices is just a way to pampering their ideological pets over actually giving a shit about their compatriots and their nation.

    Is the government in the business of prop-ing businesses up? Funny for most how that answer changes when the subject is large banking institutions.

    Yes. The economy is a national strategic asset (oh yes, even in a capitalist economy, this is a truth.) Also, you are asking the wrong question. A more appropriate question to ask is "do the current actions (or in-actions) taken by the government with respect to X or Y line of business provide a positive (or negative) net effect on the economy?"

  • by LynnwoodRooster (966895) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @12:30PM (#45401731) Journal

    Why is it no longer affordable? Because the ACA forces the contract that I and my insurer had agreed upon to change to such a degree via required coverage that it no longer is economically viable? The root problem is that the ACA essentially forces me to pay for coverage I don't want, and provide services/coverage that my insurance company must charge more for.

    As the GP said: "In a free country, "for my own good" is my decision, not yours." The ACA just tramples all over that concept.

  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @12:36PM (#45401795) Homepage

    This is a misunderstanding on your part, thinking that our healthcare "insurance" is about paying for only the things you need. In fact, it is, and has always been, about paying for things that you don't need in order to fund things that you do need.

    It's just that when you unfuck a system for a bunch of people, some other set of people are going to lose something. Like if you abolish slavery, slave owners are going to lose their "property". If you pay the slave owners for the loss, then that money will come from the people who never owned slaves. It's not a zero-sum game, but it's not completely elastic either.

    The system got a lot less fucked for a lot of people, so you, as a previously lucky-SOB, have to pay a little extra.

  • Re:Oh vomit (Score:4, Insightful)

    by icomefromtheinternet (3429517) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @12:50PM (#45402005) Homepage

    No, it really is thanks to Healthcare.gov. The open access to their data is what made it feasible to build HealthSherpa - getting that data otherwise would have been an absolute nightmare. You're right that there are a few pre-existing sites to help people buy insurance, but even those mostly aren't offering ACA plans - and it's a lot harder to estimate premiums on non-ACA stuff.

    Source: I'm a member of the team.

  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @01:21PM (#45402383) Homepage Journal
    that is, an individual's problem is everyone's problem.

    Bullshit, bullshit, BULLSHIT! Your problem is your problem, not mine, unless you are saying because it's your problem I get to solve it in which case I get to yank the cigarette from your mouth when you're walking down the street because it's known to significantly raise the risk of getting cancer. By doing so, I will be getting a better bang for my buck since I'm the one who has to pay for your medical care (based on your false assumption).

    If your premise were true, that would also mean I get to harangue you when I see you at a restaurant shoveling high fat, high cholesterol food into your 300+ lb gullet, put up signs at bars and package stores notifying them not to sell you alcohol because you're an alcoholic and when you're busted for using drugs, force you into treatment, no matter how severe as well as have you tell me where you get the stuff so they can be prosecuted.

    That is what you meant when you said your individual problem is everyone else's problem, right? Or did you mean everyone gets to pay, and pay, and pay some more so you don't have to have any personal responsibility for your actions?

    That's what got us into this mess in the first place.

    No, what got us into this mess is people like you believing everyone else should pay for your lifestyle choices. You want to smoke, go for it. Just don't expect me to pay for your replacement lung or cancer treatment. You want to be obese, fine. You pay for lapband or other surgeries, not to mention paying for your diabetes treatments. You think doing drugs is cool and doesn't hurt anyone, then don't expect people to revive you when you OD or care for you when your brain is fried. You made the choice, you pay for it. You're not my responsibility.
  • by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya.gmail@com> on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @01:47PM (#45402823)

    Blue Cross had a plan that they liked. Blue Cross had a plan the customer liked. Both were happy.

    Indeed -- and this idyllic utopia was going to be maintained until the customer needed some significant coverage. I am sure the plan was great until you had to use it to actually cover stuff.

    People are notoriously bad at reading fine print (or their contracts in general, in fact). I think no matter what else ACA did, instituting a minimal requirement of what counts as "health insurance" is definitely a good thing.

    He tried to spin this as "removing the under-insured" but no... People had plans they liked.

    These two statements are not in contradiction. I just read an article about one of those "plans" that people liked which had a payout cap of $50 for any medical expense, no matter what how high it was. The plan was really cheap, so of course people liked it, but it was also useless (which people would only truly learn after they had to use it)

  • by Kielistic (1273232) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @02:01PM (#45403041)

    Oh Americans- I really don't know if there is anyone better a spewing nonsense and strawmen in the face of mountains of contradictory evidence. It's nice you can go off on diatribes about obese alcoholic drug addicts but those really aren't much of an issue. Even healthy people can get sick (and often do).

    I assume since you assert that no one else is your responsibility you also don't think you are theirs. I hope you have never had insurance of any kind and if you were forced to then you better have never made a claim. Insurance means having other people help with the costs when you need it while helping them with theirs while you do not. How else do you think a few dollars a month can pay for medical bills costing hundreds of thousands?

    It's nice you live in a little fantasy world but here in reality if people really need something they will take it with force. Most civilised nations have discovered it is best to try and provide what people need rather than to assume they'll just roll over and die. That's where an individual's problem becomes everyone's. You can either pay a few dollars to help the problem or deal with high crime rates.

  • by jerpyro (926071) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @02:22PM (#45403345)

    It's cool that me explaining how insurance works means that you can jump to conclusions about "People like you" and my political views (which were not mentioned AT ALL).

    Whether you want to call bullshit or not, you're incorrect. When is the last time car insurance made you pay for the damages in your own auto accident? It didn't. When is the last time someone had to pay replacement value put of pocket on their home because of a fire? They don't. When is the last time you paid the entire hospital bill yourself because you had a baby? You didn't. So whether you like to admit it or not, you belong to a pool of insured people who all collectively pay for 'things that happen'. That means, by definition, that an individual's problem is everyone's problem. If you can't see that, you should talk to an actuary.

    So, here's an idea: let's start a health plan where we kick out the fatties, the smokers, the reckless people, and people who engage in sex without birth control, and anyone who has a mental health issue? Medically, all of that stuff means higher costs for our insurance members. But that's the heart of the issue -- now it's illegal to not offer coverage for that stuff, so that type of plan would be NOT CALLED HEALTH INSURANCE. Which is why the plans are getting cancelled. Whether you personally like it or not (and I don't) all of that stuff is EVERYONE's problem now.

  • Re:Doesn't Matter (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jawnn (445279) on Tuesday November 12, 2013 @02:54PM (#45403711)

    Anything three people can do well, takes the government thousands of people and millions of dollars to really fuck it up. And people believe that government is and will be our savior.

    Hope (and change) springs eternal!

    Straw man much? "Three people" did not build a replacement for healthcare.gov. Get that part right, at least. Then, oh please, stop throwing up the same bullshit, government is always bad meme. If I want that level of ass-hattery, I can go to Fox News. Now, I'm not saying that bureaucracy didn't play a big part in healthcare.gov being pretty much stillborn. Hell, I think the whole Affordable Care Act was a mistake. I'd much rather have seen some lean and mean operation that can deliver health care coverage with a minimum of admin overhead and which has huge buying power. Something like, OMG, Medicare! That's right. Medicare.

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