The federal health care website has become a punch line. It’s eating away at the Presidents’ poll numbers, it’s embarrassed Democrats who bought into the promises, and worst of all, it’s left millions of people feeling less secure, not more secure.
And as if that wasn’t enough, there was this somewhat disconcerting congressional testimony from the chief spokesman for the website rebuilding project.
“Of those 60 to 70 percent of systems still being built, how are they going to be tested?”
“How are they going to be tested?” responded Henry Chao, deputy chief information officer for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “In the same exact manner we tested everything else.”
And yet, in the midst of all this turmoil, there is an oasis of calm. Because it turns out that for members of Congress and their staffs, there are special health care websites that work just fine!
The New York Times reports that Capitol Hill employees – and I’m quoting here – “can log on to a special Blue Cross and Blue Shield website for members of Congress.” And one congressional staff member is quoted as saying she managed to cut her premium in half.
Now I know a lot of people find this outrageous – in fact, a group called Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is demanding a Congressional Ethics investigation.
Yet, if private companies have indeed figured out a way to build a working health care web site for Congressional employees that cuts premiums in half – should we really be looking to punish them for it – or should we just try to get them to do the same for everybody else?