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Earlier this afternoon, I sat down to try and enroll in the DC exchange under the president’s health care law:
Like many Americans, my experience was pretty frustrating. After putting in my personal information, I received an error message. I was able to work past that, but when I went to actually sign up for coverage, I got this “internal server error” screen:
Sure enough, Speaker Boehner got the dreaded "Error 500: Internal Server Error" message, and it blocked him from proceeding:
Despite multiple attempts, I was unable to get past that point and sign up for a health plan. We’ve got a call into the help desk. Guess I’ll just have to keep trying.
Up to this point, Boehner wasn't happy with his experience and it's hard to blame him. Things are never going to work perfectly 100 percent of the time, but they should be pretty close—and clearly, they aren't right now.
But as a 64 year-old smoker, Boehner did the right thing: Instead of giving up on getting health insurance, he kept trying. And a little while later, he posted this update:
Kept at it, and called the DC Health Link help line. They called back a few hours later, and after re-starting the process on the website two more times, I just heard from DC Health Link that I have been successfully enrolled.
So things should have gone more smoothly, yet in the end, Boehner was able to do what he set out to do: Get health insurance through DC's Obamacare exchange. Things didn't work as well as they ultimately will, but they still worked. And, as Salon's Brian Beutler writes, Boehner—for a smoker one year away from Medicare eligibility—actually had an amazing range of health plans available to him, ranging from $372 per month to $1,073 per month. So Obamacare actually turned out to be a pretty good deal for Boehner, not because Boehner is Speaker of the House, but because the fundamental premise of Obamacare is sound. And in the end, it worked.