Healthcare.gov, the website where Americans are supposed to sign up for healthcare exchanges created under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, is buggy as fuck. The exchanges don’t officially take effect until early 2014, but in the meantime signing up for one is somewhere between difficult and impossible.
But how bad is the Healthcare.gov rollout, in historical terms? According to a Georgetown journalism professor, the persistent computer glitches are almost, basically, equivalent to the devastation of New Orleans and other parts of the Southern United States in 2005, including more than 1,800 deaths, many of which could have been prevented:
The Obamacare website is shaping up to be Obama's Katrina: A failure of basic governing competence that threatens his second term.— Ryan Teague Beckwith (@ryanbeckwith) October 15, 2013
In Beckwith’s calculation, though, Hurricane Katrina doesn’t represent actual devastation and suffering so much as it represents something people are criticizing the president for. Either way, what would “Obama’s Katrina” really mean? The third-worst disaster of his presidency? The fifth-worst? Where does Hurricane Katrina even rank as George W. Bush’s Katrina?
But first, let's settle the analogy at hand. If we limit our political imagination to the Bush administration’s serial incompetence and/or corruption, then which particular fuck-up would Healthcare.gov’s bugginess best be compared to?
Cast your vote below. Then, after submitting your ballot, try ranking Bush’s disasters in the comments. How does 9/11 compare to the collapse of the entire economy?
[Photo credit: Healthcare.gov]