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Government Inefficiency Increasing Costs
Home News & Society
By: Robert Haskell Email Article
Word Count: 564 Digg it | it | Google it | StumbleUpon it


Despite probably the worst rollout in US history, it would be disingenuous for me to say the Affordable Care Act is government inefficiency at its best. Truth be told, GSA (General Services Administration) is even more challenging to deal with. Nevertheless, I just received another notice regarding the status of my healthcare policy. This time, AmeriHealth Insurance has informed me as a courtesy that the documentation I have provided the government is insufficient. After sending in documentation now several times, I have to wonder, is it me or are they just that disorganized?

How many times do I have to send Marketplace (a.k.a., Big Brother) a copy of my W2, paystub and tax return before they are satisfied of my earnings? Do I have to start digging up deceased relatives now to verify who I am? You would think they would finally realize that it would save money to provide a simple explanation why documentation is insufficient. Allowing them to reject documentation without a reason almost guarantees the problem will recur. Each time that documentation is rejected, we as tax payers pay for their lack of clarity. Noting a general message is absolutely pointless and that seems to be their standard method of handling feedback. Calling Marketplace rarely solves anything because the person who rejects the documentation never gives any information leaving the representatives answering questions based on conjecture.

A single line explaining why a person's tax return, W2, etc. are not suitable for establishing income would likely avoid repetitive processing and save tax payer money but even if this was not the case, each reoccurrence would at least provide some additional feedback leading to a solution faster. A proper system would also require that after repeated rejections, a manager would automatically be assigned to help resolve the issue. Not doing this shows poor accountability and an unwillingness to handle matters properly.

Unfortunately, Marketplace is not alone in their unproductive policies. Inefficiencies in government persist across virtually all agencies. Anyone who has a GSA schedule knows how annoying it can be to not have a way for the schedule holder to remove line items from their schedule without having to first get formal approval and then spend countless hours, days and sometimes even weeks rebuilding the schedule, checking it and uploading all the products and images via SIP (Schedule Input Program). Even government programs that have been easier in the past like the DOD (Department of Defense) EMALL are becoming difficult to work with. Initially DOD EMALL supported the use of image servers but dealers with large feeds may need to provide these images on a recordable DVD now as they are often too large to email or fit on a single CD. Trying to validate DOD security certificates can also be a hassle but all this pales in comparison to the aggravation of working with FSSI (Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative). As many applicants have found in the past, FSSI is very meticulous about whom it works with and that effort is in no way a guarantee of acceptance.

Although government programs can be a great asset when everything is working, critical thinking must be done to establish more streamlined processing. The first step though in resolving issues is listening and it is not always clear even this much is being done.

Robert Haskell works for Haskell New York Inc. and contributes articles for their flagship site and blog

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