[UPDATE BELOW] Obama's new healthcare site is riddled with ailments from the ground up. In addition to persistent technical glitches that have prevented users from accessing the online marketplace, the state Health Department went ahead and published an incorrect list of locations where people can seek help enrolling. But the locations weren't just a little wrong—they have literally nothing to do with healthcare, the government or even the Internet.
The state was required by federal law to offer a list of "in-person assistors" for help navigating the convoluted world of healthcare enrollment. The trouble is that the assistance locations listed have as much to do with healthcare as a banana has to do with an airplane hangar. The 288 locations span bakeries, delis, dermatologists, taxi companies and other assorted services whose employees can offer you a red velvet cupcake or drive you to prom, but cannot, probably, help you traverse the murky waters of PPOs versus HMOs.
Business owners are getting fed up with fielding calls from exasperated healthcare-seekers. “I have nothing to do with this,” Carmen Rodriguez, owner of Brooklyn Cupcake in Williamsburg, told the Post. “I run a very busy establishment, and I’m like, what is going on?”
“So many people have called. It’s disturbing," Patrick Wu, the manager of Bowery Pharmacy, told DNAinfo. "I don't know how you got this number."
But maybe we're looking at this all wrong. New York already has more than enough cupcake shops. To our knowledge, it has zero cupcake-slash-Obamacare assistors. Now there's a racket.
Update: The list of healthcare enrollment helpers/cupcake purveyors was pulled from the state Health Department's website this morning, though to be fair, this changes little—continue to ask for assistance at your local barber shop, and continue to receive blank stares from the employee there in the middle of conducting a beard trim.