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Obamacare Website Woes In Coffee Shop: ‘The Code’s All F*cked Up!’

Obamacare Website Woes In Coffee Shop: ‘The Code’s All F*cked Up!’
October 21
16:30 2013

As I waited in line to get my cup of coffee at my favorite Los Angeles coffee shop, I thought of the president’s speech about the Obamacare website and how he said the battle wasn’t over a website, but over the right to equal healthcare for all Americans.

Very good, I thought, and a worthy point. As long as you don’t have tens of millions of Americans thinking they signed up for healthcare and then flooding the hospitals and clinics thinking they are covered. Also, the website needs to securely collect every necessary piece of personal information to be transferred to the private insurance companies, otherwise their plans cannot be completed.

Go ahead, press it

Go ahead, press it

Coincidentally, behind me two men sat at a table talking about — the official Obamacare website that some news outlets are calling “nothing short of a disaster.” Their drinks were near the edge. One laptop was sitting in the center of the table. The men sat on the same side, and both peered hard at the computer’s screen.

“It’s nice of you to help me,” the younger gentleman said to the other man, who had apparently come over to assist. “I just can’t seem to get signed up. I wanted to get an early jump on this healthcare thing, but it hasn’t worked for weeks.”

The man who’d come to help was upper middle-aged. He had an earring in his left earlobe. A tiny diamond that reflected the light every so often. “You made an account, right?” he asked. His hands were on the keyboard. He switched between the screen, and others, probably tutorials. “Why don’t you just use Covered California?” he asked, referring to the state health exchange.

“I’m not from here,” the man said. “My state doesn’t have a state exchange.” So he was stuck using the official Obamacare site. He said he’d created an account, and then the account had disappeared a day later. All the information he’d inserted was gone. He started it again, but his claim didn’t go through. “I thought I’d come here and not leave this coffee shop until I had the damned thing figured out.”

The computer guy tapped keys and nearly touched the screen with his nose. “I’ve heard a lot of things about the Obamacare site,” he said, “but I don’t plan on using the exchange, so I haven’t bothered with any of it.”

At this point, dear dirty readers, my time to order had arrived. As the sweet girl behind the counter poured my rich black coffee into a spotless white cup, I heard from behind me, “Well, look at that, the code’s all fucked up!”

I turned to see the computer guy, his earring glinting in the light, pointing at the screen in disgust. “You can hardly call this slop code. It’s supposed to be Javascript,” he said, “but it’s all buggy.” His lips moved as he silently read what was on the screen.

I walked over to the men. The computer guy squinted and dragged the cursor over lines of text. I’m not a programmer, so it looked like a foreign language to me, as it probably did for the younger fellow who was trying to decide how he felt about the other man’s anger.

“It doesn’t make any goddamned sense,” the computer guy said. “It’s like the system is attacking itself. You try to enroll and it’s got about a hundred files and plug-ins blasting back and forth. No wonder the site can’t handle any traffic.”

I’ve heard the system is acting like a professional basketball player punching himself in the face while he tries to shoot a three-pointer, I said. I hadn’t actually heard that, but made it up on the spot, which is why it wasn’t nearly as clever as it should have been.

Both men looked at me. “That’s about right,” the computer guy said. “It looks like a real website, and it could work, but it won’t if it’s unstable. Like that basketball player. He might be great, but he’s fucked in the head,” he said, “so until you get him about three years of quality therapy, he ain’t going to be of any use.”

What about hackers? I asked him. Is the site going to be safe for folks to plug in their most sensitive information?

“Not yet,” he said. “There’s no program a hacker could write that could mine this code swamp for anything valuable. They’ll have to wait until it’s fixed, and then nail it. But that’s months or years away,” he said. “In fact, this thing isn’t even ready for beta testing.”

Maybe that’s why that young woman nearly fainted on stage while she stood behind the president as he gave his healthcare speech, I said. It’s not about the website, the president said, it’s about the fight for healthcare for all. “This is a crock of shit,” she probably thought, and then lost the will to listen to the rest.

“Except if there’s ten million people who think they have healthcare come January 1st, and they don’t, it’s going to be all about that website,” the computer guy said. “And imagine the IRS taking money out of people’s accounts because they don’t have health insurance, despite the fact they thought they’d signed up and enrolled.”

Don’t worry, I said, I’m sure if you walk into your local hospital and say you’re on the president’s plan, you’ll be fine. How’d you get that code, anyway? Isn’t that stuff hidden? I asked.

“It’s all client-side,” he said, “I just pulled up the code block.” The computer guy slapped his forehead and told the other man he was out of luck for now.

Well, I know a homeless guy who’s a real stickler for privacy, and he waits until he runs into a doctor at the bus stop to get checked out for free. It’s like keeping doctors honest about that Hippocratic Oath thing, I said.

[to help me reenact the computer guy’s verbal condemnation, my research into the Obamacare website issues are courtesy of Natural News, CBS, and Yahoo!]

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