10/24/2013 09:52 am ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

The Health Care Train Wreck

Last year, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, said the Affordable Care Act -- Obamacare -- was a train wreck waiting to happen. Baucus did not know the half of it. He was talking about the administration's failure to educate the public about the new law. He did not foresee the catastrophe unfolding before our eyes.

Make no mistake -- this is no minor computer glitch that can be corrected with a few tweaks here and there by savvy techies. The system itself was not well thought out. The people responsible did not ask the tough questions you must ask for the rollout of any new product, especially one based on computer technology.

Thus far, the system is essentially unworkable because of overload. It cannot handle the large volume of would-be users trying to log on and sign up for health insurance. This was totally predictable and should have been anticipated. Incompetence on this level is simply breathtaking.

But the inability of the system to handle the traffic is thus far deterring many potentially more serious problems. As designed, this system is a hacker's paradise. Anyone can put up a web page and claim to be a vendor for health insurance. There is no place for the browser to go to verify that a web site is legitimate.

You're on your own and God help you if you get ensnared by hackers intent on violating your identity. As we all know, anytime you sign up for medical care of any kind you have to fork over personal information about yourself, including your Social Security Number, your birth date, and anything else the hacker may need to access your bank account. By the time you realize your identify has been stolen, so have your savings.

President Obama complained the web site has been overwhelmed with 20 million visitors. As The Washington Post opined, that's small change for Google and Facebook. Why is Uncle Sam overwhelmed?

The Tea Party did President Obama and the Democrats a big favor by throwing up a cloud of dust around the government shutdown which has thus far obfuscated the unfolding disaster of Obamacare, but the dust is settling and the debacle is becoming clearer by the day. There can be no quick fix for this mess. They will have to pull it back and return to the drawing boards. In the final analysis, that might be a good thing. This time perhaps they can come up with a thoughtful health care reform plan that will receive bi-partisan support. But the longer President Obama and his team continue to deny the scope of this blunder, the worse it will be for them.

Lt. Gen. Clarence E. "Mac" McKnight, Jr., (USA-Ret) is the author of "From Pigeons to Tweets: A General Who Led Dramatic Change in Military Communications," published by The History Publishing Company.