Policy

VIDEO: House Republicans release Obamacare website chat, ask others to share website woes

As the clumsy Obamacare rollout continues under the shadow of the major website fumble, House Republicans launched a YouTube video mocking the “help” on the website. Anyone who’s used the chat function on a website knows they’re not usually helpful (or real people), but this sort of response brings a Jon Stewart facepalm to mind. […]

As the clumsy Obamacare rollout continues under the shadow of the major website fumble, House Republicans launched a YouTube video mocking the “help” on the website. Anyone who’s used the chat function on a website knows they’re not usually helpful (or real people), but this sort of response brings a Jon Stewart facepalm to mind.

According to the GOP, the video shows a real chat between the Healthcare.gov customer service rep (or chatbot) and “Adrian,” a 34-year-old from New Jersey. Party spokesman Nate Hodson said Adrian does not work for the Republican party.

[09:34:23 am]: Adrian: In the application process I am at setup 7 of family & household. Clicking Save & Continue does not allow me to move forward.

[09:34:55 am]: Dean: I apologize for the inconvenience. I understand that it is frustrating.

[09:35:17 am]: Dean: Thanks for your interest in the Health Insurance Marketplace. We have a lot of visitors trying to use our website right now. That is causing some glitches for some people trying to create accounts or log in. Keep trying and thanks for your patience. You might have better success during off-peak hours, like later at night or early in the morning. We’ll continue working to improve the site so you can get covered. You have until March 2014 to enroll.

[09:35:43 am]: Dean: Don’t lose your sanity over this website. Try it. If it doesn’t work, walk away. Try it tomorrow.

[09:36:08 am]: Dean: You have two months to apply, enrole in a plan, and make your first premium payment, to get coverage starting Jan,1,2014.

[09:36:18 am]: Adrian: This isn’t a login problem.

[09:36:32 am]: Adrian: What you sent seems like a canned response.

[09:36:55 am]: Dean: It was .

The full transcript, plus the video, are available on the GOP’s site, which implores visitors to share their Obamacare stories and YouTube videos. (Adrian does not work for the Republican party, according to a GOP spokesman.)

But, it’s probably important to point out, as does  Washington Post  columnist Greg Sargent: “It’s heart-warming to see Republicans so worried about the difficulties the uninsured are facing in getting health care coverage.”

We can keep two ideas in our heads at the same time. The first: Obamacare’s rollout is awful and demands accountability. The second: GOP criticism of the rollout is deeply incoherent and indicative of a larger refusal — one that has gone on for years — to participate seriously in the basic governing necessary to solve this pressing national problem.

But who can blame them when the rollout has made this kind of targeting so easy?
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