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THE BUGS THAT WILL EAT AMERICA

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We were told that we'd be able to — make that be allowed to — know what was in the 2,000+ page affordable health care act after it rolled out. In other words, don't ask and they won't tell. Of course we could have read the bill but our elected representatives didn't even do that, and why should we have less faith than they do?

Now we are beginning to find out.

First, our government hired a foreign company to set up the computerized enrollment system. But once the glitches are fixed, Obama tells us, it will be great. There couldn't possibly be, uh, glitches once everybody's signed up. This couldn't be foreign sabotage, could it? It feels more like internal sabotage against American business. Or could it be intentional dysfunction to prevent the roll-out of an essentially disastrous plan before Obama leaves office?

We have mammoth companies that successfully operate mammoth computer systems, such as Amazon and eBay. The government didn't have to invent a whole new technology. Why couldn't they at least buy a system that works? Or test the one they bought?

But Obama will fix it all single-handedly. This is the message of his speech wherein he sees a woman fainting behind his back and turns around to catch her, like one of those "trust" games where one person falls onto another. You trust the government to be there, be right, and be strong. Even Jon Stewart doesn't buy that.

We know that very few people who tried to sign up were actually able to do so. We also know that many people, particularly the old but not only the old, don't have computers, don't know how to use them and don't want to, and may not have people to shuttle them around and do it for them. Why wasn't there a parallel system of semi-human government workers in physical offices to take care of enrollment, or at least supplement the computer system?

We know that the IRS was chosen to be responsible for our HEALTH insurance. The IRS is basically an organization of thuggish bag men for the government — and not just for the government, but especially for this administration — not of medical specialists.

Obama told us everyone will be able to keep their insurance policy if they have one they like. This is not true. One source that says so is Kaiser, a big name in health insurance.

We know that some businesses are cutting full-time workers to part-time to avoid the requirements to buy more expensive insurance or face intolerable fines.

We've been warned that young, healthy people won't be motivated to buy insurance if it's expensive. At least one person known to this writer has made the choice to pay the fine rather than purchase an expensive health plan. With no pre-existing condition requirement, he may not ever want to unless he's faced with a major medical expense.

Maybe the fines paid by people like him will fund "free" health care. Perhaps all the people who want to sign up but can't because the computer program doesn't work could be forced to pay anyway. No doubt the IRS computer system will keep on working. That would fund a lot of free stuff but now there's no system to funnel the money where it's supposed to go.

If the sign-up gets fixed, is it likely that government management will work any better? A little known fact is that doctors and hospitals do not have a good shared data system. What they have is a system that uses codes for medical conditions that fit the list of conditions insurance companies will pay for. If a patient's medical condition isn't on that list, in order to get insurance payments an incorrect code can and often is entered to get payment. This means that any exchange of records can transmit the wrong medical information between doctors, hospitals, and patients, and the correct information may not be conveyed face-to-face outside of that computerized system. Is the government's insurance system likely to improve on this?

These are not little glitches. These are the bugs that will eat America.

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