Dilemma: There’s so much fresh, terrible news about Obamacare to report that I’m not sure how to squeeze it all into a single post without it getting too unwieldy. Solution: Serve up one post about the implementation trainwreck here, followed by a piece on premium shock, layoffs, and other failures tomorrow morning. Sound good? Okay, let’s go. Up first, the law’s administrators are resorting to an anachronism, paper applications, in a desperate attempt to enroll consumers. Obamacare’s exchanges were breathlessly billed as — ahem, “simple and user-friendly” — Travelocity-style websites for healthcare. Amid the endless shinola-storm of glitches and technical meltdowns, here we stand:
The dead-tree version of health insurance enrollment is turning out to be surprisingly popular. Unable to use new government insurance Web sites that have been plagued by technological problems, those tasked with helping the uninsured sign up for health coverage are bypassing the sites altogether, relying instead on old-fashioned paper applications. It is a slow and labor-intensive substitute for what was supposed to be a snappy online application, similar to Amazon or Travelocity. But faced with a flood of people eager to get health benefits for the first time, what had been considered Plan B has become the plan — at least until the sites are operating more reliably, according to consumer guides and community groups. It is one way the frustrating, persistent glitches on some state Web sites as well as the main federal portal serving 36 states have had a ripple effect around the country.