's Real Problems Are Invisible

A blog about business and economics.
Nov. 26 2013 11:03 AM's Real Problems Are Invisible  

We'll have problems, yeah, then we'll have bigger ones.

Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Conservative certainty that's technical failures doom Obamacare has two big problems. One is that several state exchange sites work fine and are very popular, indicating that the federally run exchanges can work. The other is the stocks versus flows issue. With each passing week, does seem to be improving and the number of people who can use it is rising. The ramp is frustratingly slow, but the steady increase in the flow of people who are able to enroll means a constantly accelerating stock of enrollees.

So for people who want people to get subsidized health insurance, that's the good news.

But a cautionary note against people who feel a surge of optimism based on anecdata about the greatly improved user experience on the site: This visible consumer-facing side of the site isn't the whole picture. To truly work, needs to accurately convey subsidy information to people and then accurately convey enrollment information to insurers. These are, as I understand it, the more technically challenging aspects of the project. It's not "building a website" but "building a complicated computer system for which the website serves as a front-end access point."


The administration's official messaging about the status of the 834 data files that insurers need, in particular, remains pretty cagey if you ask me. But for people to get insurance, this has to work. And you can't figure out whether or not this is working by logging in yourself and doing a practice run-through. You would actually need to enroll and then follow up with your insurance company to see if things are on track.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.



Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

These Companies in Japan Are More Than 1,000 Years Old

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
Oct. 21 2014 1:12 PM The Global Millionaires Club Is Booming and Losing Its Exclusivity
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 1:47 PM The Best Way to Fry an Egg
Oct. 21 2014 10:43 AM Social Networking Didn’t Start at Harvard It really began at a girls’ reform school.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.