When You've Lost Ezra Klein....

If I weren't feeling lazy, I would cut and paste some of the incredibly depressing posts my friends are putting up about Obamacare these days. All summer long it was about premiums going up. This week all of a sudden people are posting that their insurance has disappeared.

But I am a lazy American and that will have to wait. Meanwhile, I could KISS Ezra Klein for this piece in WaPo about the Obamacare roll-out and how it is decidedly not a mere computer glitch that is fouling things. Here's the wind-up:
As Sarah Kliff and I wrote in our overview of the health-care launch's technical issues, the challenges right now can be grouped into three broad categories: problems with the consumer experience on the HealthCare.gov Web site, problems with the eligibility system, and problems with the hand-off to insurers.
The problems with the Web site are the difficulties consumers are facing when they try to log on and shop for insurance coverage. These problems -- error messages, site timeouts, difficulty logging in to an account -- make it hard for an individual to buy coverage through the marketplace. They are the reason why some people have made upward of 20 attempts at purchasing a plan. These are the problems that are being fixed fastest and that are the least serious.
The eligibility problems strike when consumers send in their information and the government's computer systems tell them whether they're eligible for Medicaid, health insurance subsidies or nothing at all. The system is returning incorrect data for many applicants -- meaning they might be eligible for Medicaid and not know it, or they might think they have subsidies that will later be revoked.
The insurance problems are seen by the insurance companies. Health plans are supposed to get a report when someone uses HealthCare.gov to buy their health insurance policy. Those reports are full of inaccurate data, such as the wrong address, or are being sent in duplicate. (One insurance company reported getting one of these reports, known as an “834 transmission,” that said one individual had three spouses. This person was not, for the record, a polygamist.) And it's not just private insurers: The federal system is also failing to sign people up for Medicaid.
No one quite knows the extent of the problems in each of these areas. No one knows how long it will be until all these systems are working tolerably well. No one has any idea how long it'll be until they're working smoothly. And if that was all this was -- a multi-month delay and a lot of frustration and problems for people trying to sign up for health care -- that would be bad enough. That would be a story worth covering aggressively and constantly until the problems cleared up.
Those are just the site problems. There's way more. But here's the line I find smoochable:
one privilege the insured and well-off have is to excuse the terrible quality of services the government routinely delivers to the poor. Too often, the press ignores -- or simply never knows -- the pain and trouble of interfacing with government bureaucracies that the poor struggle with daily. That can allow the problems in those bureaucracies to fester.
THANK you! That is precisely why social justice Catholics often drive me crazy. Not because I don't share their dedication to preferential option for the poor, but because it's the rare advocate for government programs who gives a hoot how those programs actually treat the poor once the funds have been voted -- and once they have been, it becomes "cruel" to raise any questions, no matter much the poor suffer and are degraded by government programs too big to serve well. We call ourselves Catholic, but really everyone's a Kantian -- prioritizing good intentions over actual results. If we could manage to have an honest conversation about that -- forget about politics, just in Catholic circles to start, and then branch out to politics-- that would be really exciting and would do so much real good for the poor. Someone tell this guy, please.