SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- The development team responsible for the Obamacare website, healthcare.gov, faced tough questions from a House oversight committee Thursday over the problematic online enrollment portal. Republicans and Democrats alike expressed frustration with the slipshod deployment of the site, which remains inaccessible to countless users. Since its October 1 debut, the online health care marketplace has been plagued by problems. Exasperated lawmakers grilled Cheryl Campbell, senior vice president at CGI Federal, the primary contractor, for over three hours without determining an expeditious fix for the issues. "If there was a silver bullet to answer that question, I'd give it to you," Campbell replied. According to Rep. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Obamacare's silver bullet is precisely the cause. The unexpected volume of Americans seeking to end their suffering through the Death Panel option, the underlying purpose for the Affordable Care Act, is crashing the site.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius clarified last Friday that the Death Panels were intended to strengthen the economy and improve the quality of life for Americans, in a plan designed to elicit bipartisan approval.
"The entire purpose of the Death Panels is to reform and eventually abolish welfare programs such as Social Security, Medicare and food stamps -- all things Republicans claim they want to destroy," she emphasized. "In fact, by formalizing legislation to kill off old people, sick people, retards, cripples and other undesirables, our plan immediately removes the greatest strains on the tax system."
During their testimony, the website contractors blamed the system's shortcomings on unexpectedly high traffic that overwhelmed the servers. Users complained of difficulty signing on, completing death enrollment forms before errors timed out the process, and of the site's inability to calculate accurate estimates for funeral costs. Campbell also pointed out the federal government's failure to address certain legal and logistical complexities involved in elective, third-party suicide services.
After waiting decades for an overhaul to the nation's health care system, wasting another 20 to 30 minutes on an unresponsive website is intolerable, Rep. Cruz declared. Cruz has positioned himself as Obamacare's leading political opponent.
"It took President Obama nearly a generation to develop an electronic health exchange that doesn't even work," the outspoken Texas lawmaker criticized. "What's more infuriating is that the president sold this specious health reform as a way to help economically disadvantaged and underemployed Americans, yet most of these people don't own a computer or have Internet access."
But Cruz and his team of IT analysts discovered something far more insidious and macabre when they examined the system.
"At first, Republicans were worried about the consequences of Obamacare's thinly veiled Death Panel program becoming the law of the land. Turns out, a lot of Americans understand exactly what ACA is, and they're all scrambling to enlist," Cruz lamented. "It's a sorry day when the Democrats have made life in America so unbearable that millions of citizens are crashing servers to click a button that might as well say 'I Want to Die' or 'Please Kill Me.'"
But that's what's happening.
"I hate my parents and my school and being bullied," admitted 14-year-old Tammy Redlynne of San Narciso County. "I was going to kill myself live on Facebook, but I thought it might be easier to have the government do it. I gave up after 15 minutes of trying to access the system."
Thousands of elderly and chronically ill Americans also expressed disappointment with the site's inability to process their requests for termination.
"I couldn't get the damn thing to provide a cost for the execution and burial services," Frank Islington, 83, snapped. "Why should I go on line and drop a grand for a cheap pressboard casket at Walmart or Costco, which is probably made in Saipan by filthy, brown child sex slaves? I want real American oak, and for all the money I've paid in taxes over my lifetime, the damn U.S. government owes me at least that -- along with a team of professional government assassins to snipe me to my rest. I think all this Death Panel crap is just another false promise from President Obama. Another liberal lie to get votes."
Melissa Breckett, a long-time member of the Bennington Vale chapter of AARP, said the website's troubles reduced her to tears.
"I feel as though this president accomplished nothing more than creating an inescapable hell on Earth," she sobbed. "I just want to end it all. The economy, the unemployment, the endless wars, the Wall Street bailouts, all the terrorism we keep inviting, I just can't go on. But because I can't afford health insurance, I can't get enough prescription meds to kill myself. The Death Panel was my last hope for the sweet release of suicide. But I couldn't even find the option in the menu. I'm starting to believe there never were any Death Panels."
Site developers said they had encountered insurmountable obstacles when configuring the Death Panel algorithms, which the White House did nothing to address.
"The contractors are claiming that they didn't receive enough information or time to run test scenarios," an administration IT official said. "Granted, there are a lot of gray areas where a subscription death service is concerned -- what we informally call 'pay to slay.' Federal Trade Commission rules don't adequately or specifically address third-party coffin handling or corpse processing, which leaves funeral directors uncertain of their exact obligations. There's also some level of bureaucracy with the National Casket Retailers Association, but we had provided plenty of workarounds to CGI Federal. Unless we find a new development team, or until the existing contractors provide an acceptable remediation plan, those Americans interested in ending their lives will need to continue relying on more time-honored, albeit less savory, methods."
2013. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. See disclaimers.