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ObamaCare Clusterfuck: “Let’s just make sure it’s not a third-world experience.”

Yes, that's Henry Chao, the HHS official who’s overseeing the technology for the health exchange launch:

Chao was frank about the stress and tension of the compressed time frame involved in setting up the exchanges. “We are under 200 days from open enrollment, and I’m pretty nervous,’’ he said. “I don’t know about you,” he added, to murmurs from the insurance industry audience. Members peppered Chao and Cohen with many questions about the format for the health care policies they will [will?!?!] submit to HHS for approval so the plans can be marketed in the exchanges.

Chao said the main objective is to get the exchanges up and running and signing up the uninsured.* “The time for debating about the size of text on the screen or the color or is it a world-class user experience, that’s what we used to talk about two years ago,” he said. “Let’s just make sure it’s not a third-world experience.”

Well, dear Lord. I know that you can't buff a turd, so I don't envy Chao's job overseeing ObamaCare (with all the needless complexity and dysfunction that comes from trying to integrate a parasitical and anti-health insurance system for profit system not only with non-profit Medicaid, but (to determine eligibility) the IRS and the DHS, not to mention 17 separate state health exchanges). But any UX ("User Experience") designer will tell you Chao is totally off base. Uber UX guy Jacob Neilson on fonts:

CSS style sheets unfortunately give websites the power to disable a Web browser's "change font size" button and specify a fixed font size. About 95% of the time, this fixed size is tiny, reducing readability significantly for most people over the age of 40.

Respect the user's preferences and let them resize text as needed. Also, specify font sizes in relative terms — not as an absolute number of pixels.

I know Chao can't possibly be as stupid as his own statement implies that he is, but font size really does matter. This is health insurance, after all. It's nothing but text. ObamaCare's "single streamlined application form" is 26 text-heavy pags long, and if you get anything wrong you can be charged with perjury. Doesn't Chao think that people over 40 should be able to read it?

Henry, Henry, Henry. If I want a third-world experience I can go to Walmart or get put on hold by the White House voice mail system or sign up for broadband. None of that stuff affects my health (well, except for my blood pressure). ObamaCare does. Why can't ObamaCare's defenders act like they understand that?

NOTE * That's not true. Signing up the "disengaged and vulnerable" is not a priority for HHS.

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