Editorial: Website glitches may present larger issues

  • Posted: Friday, October 25, 2013 12:01 a.m.

The glitches with the federal government’s new health care website have been frustrating and embarrassing.

Even the president has acknowledged the failures of the website of his signature law – telling a crowd at the Rose Garden this week that the problems were inexcusable.

But a mere speech outside of the White House isn’t very convincing for the millions of American consumers overwhelmed by the site’s problems.

Three years of work and millions of taxpayers’ dollars should certainly be able to create a website that works.

One survey found that only one in five people was able to log on without running into a technical roadblock – so much for the site billed as a one-stop click-and-go hub for those seeking health insurance.

When it works correctly, Healthcare.gov is supposed to prompt a user to create an account and enter detailed personal information before shopping for health coverage plans.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicated it has enlisted the “best and brightest” to work out the site’s bugs.

That’s commendable, but the public is left wondering how quickly, and at what cost, it will take to fix the widespread problems. Consumer Reports, which offers reviews and comparisons of products, has suggested consumers actually stay away from the website for at least another month.

In South Carolina, we’re all too familiar with officials being under fire for problems associate with online data.

Last November, the head of the state’s Department of Revenue was forced to step down after a massive data breach exposed 3.6 million Social Security numbers and other personal information of South Carolinians.

The abnormally high traffic that’s been tied to the federal government’s health care site was attributed to hackers early on, but so far, that’s been ruled out.

However, hundreds of fake or misleading websites playing off the health care website have already reportedly cropped up online. McAfee Antivirus founder John McAfee has even described the Obamacare website as a hacker’s dream because millions of Americans’ information will be available in one spot.

The real test for Obamacare will come early next year when coverage starts for people who have enrolled by Dec. 15.

But at this point, it’s unfortunately hard to even be confident that the people who want to sign up, actually can.

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