With the Obamacare exchanges due to be open for business in three days, the Obama administration decided to open up a help line that people can access on the Internet if they have questions about the law. You can click “Start Live Chat” to be connected to a live technician. Many people took the opportunity to troll those technicians. I was one of those people.
I took screenshots of the exchange to document for the Great American Troll Off contest, but below is the transcript of the conversation between me and “Stefanie,” whose name I purposely misspelled.
Stefanie: How may I help you?
Me: HI, STEPHANI. FIRST, I’M SORRY FOR THE CAPS. DON’T THINK I’M YELLING AT YOU. THE BUTTON IS BROKEN. [It wasn’t.]
Stefanie: No problem.
Me: MY PARROT PICKED AT THE KEYBOARD AND NOW IT’S STUCK ON CAPS. [Pause] I’M SORRY, BUT IS THERE ANY WAY TO TURN THIS MUSIC OFF ON THIS HEALTHCARE WEBSITE? [There was no music] IT’S HARD TO GATHER MY THOUGHTS.
Stefanie: No. I apologize for the inconvenience.
Me: THERE’S NO WAY TO TURN IT OFF? I FEEL LIKE I’M IN A TRANSYLVANIAN ELEVATOR. IT’S PLAYING ON YOUR END TOO? ISN’T IT ANNOYING?
Stefanie: May I suggest turning off the sound on your computer speakers.
Me: CAN’T DO THAT EITHER. PARROT AGAIN. HE PECKS AT EVERYTHING. THE SPEAKER’S NOBS ARE GONE. I SWEAR, I HATE THAT F****R. [Pause] OH MY GOD I’M SO SORRY FOR THE LANGUAGE!
Stefanie: Are you looking for information about health insurance in the state you live in, or a different state?
Me: YEAH, CAN WE STOP TALKING ABOUT MY PARROT? I LIVE IN VIRGINIA. CAN YOU HELP ME?
Stefanie: I can answer your questions about the Marketplace and how you can enroll.
Me: WELL IT’S NOT ABOUT ME EXACTLY. I WANT TO BUY INSURANCE FOR MY MOM. SHE’S OLD AND DECREPIT AND SHE DOESN’T EVEN WANT TO USE MEDICARE. IS THERE ANYTHING I CAN DO, LIKE BUY HER SOME OBAMACARE AND GIVE HER LIKE A GIFT CARD EXPLAINING THAT SHE HAS SOME OBAMACARE? ANYTHING LIKE THAT?
Stefanie: May be eligible to lower the costs of your monthly premiums or out-of-pocket costs.
Stefanie: When you fill out a Marketplace application, you’ll find out if you qualify for lower costs.
Me: BUT I DON’T WANT IT FOR ME, I’M JUST GOING TO PAY THE FINE FOR MYSELF. BUT I DON’T WANT MY MOM TO PAY THE FINES. ANYTIME SHE HAS TO PAY FOR ANYTHING, SHE ALWAYS ASKS ME TO LOAN HER MONEY. [Pause] I SWEAR, I HATE THAT B****.
Stefanie: She can submit an application starting October 1st.
Me: OH MY GODODODOD I’M SORRY AGAIN! I REALLY LOVE HER, I DO, BUT YOU KNOW HOW IT IS.
Stefanie: When enrollment begins, you can find and submit an application online, over the phone, or by mailing it to the Marketplace. The Marketplace will offer a single application that determines eligibility for multiple health care programs, including private plans, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
Me: OKAY, I’M GLAD I DIDN’T OFFEND YOU. MY MOM IS ALWAYS TELLING ME TO WATCH MY MOUTH, THE B****. SO YOU’RE SAYING I CAN FILL OUT AN APPLICATION FOR MY MOM?
Stefanie: She can appoint you as an authorized representative.
Me: OY VEY. BUT I WANT IT TO BE A SURPRISE. SHE DOESN’T WANT OBAMACARE, AND I’M LIKE, “MA, NOBODY CARES WHETHER YOU WANT IT OR NOT! YOU GOTTA TAKE IT!” SO I WANT TO SORT OF SNEAK IT ON HER. [Pause] OUT OF LOVE, NATURALLY. AND ALSO ‘CAUSE SHE KEEPS BORROWING MONEY FROM ME.
Stefanie: When enrollment begins, you can find and submit an application online, over the phone, or by mailing it to the Marketplace. [This is word-for-word exactly what she said at one point above.] Open enrollment for 2014 health insurance coverage begins on October 1, 2013, and closes on March 31, 2014.
Me: BUT YOU SAID MY MOM NEEDS TO AUTHORIZE ME. I CAN HOLD IF YOU NEED TO CALL SOMEONE. HAVE YOU MET OBAMA, BY THE WAY? I’LL KEEP IT ON THE DOWN-LOW IF YOU GET AN AUTOGRAPH FOR ME OH MY GOD THAT WOULD BE AMAZING. WOW, THIS OBAMACARE THING ROCKS! HAVE HIM MAKE IT OUT TO CHRIS. NO, TO DELILAH, MY MISTRESS. [Pause] I MEAN WIFE. [Pause] CRAP, DON’T TELL MY WIFE. OH GOD, YOU’RE GOING TO. PLEASE DON’T! (I KNOW EVERYTHING IS IN ALL-CAPS, BUT THAT “PLEASE DON’T” WOULD BE IN ALL-CAPS EVEN IF THE BUTTON WEREN’T BROKEN).
Stefanie: Yes, she will need to appoint you as an authorized representative in order to enroll in coverage. Anyone is welcome to shop and compare.
Me: OKAY, SO THERE’S NO WAY I CAN SURPRISE MY MOM?
Stefanie: That is correct.
Me: UGH. THIS OBAMACARE THING SUCKS. TELL OBAMA I’M NOT VOTING FOR HIM IN THE NEXT ELECTION.
Stefanie: Do you have any other questions that I can help you with?
Me: YOU TOLD HIM THAT FAST? [And here a minute goes by without her saying anything.] STEPHANI, NEVERMIND. I JUST GOT A CALL FROM MY MOM’S MAID. APPARENTLY SHE’S LYING DEAD IN HER ROCKING CHAIR. WOW. GUESS THAT TAKES CARE OF THAT.
Stefanie: Thank you for contacting Health Insurance Marketplace Live Chat. We are here to help you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Me: SAY A PRAYER FOR ME, WILL YOU? IT’S GONNA BE HELL TO MOVE ALL HER STUFF OUT OF HER APARTMENT.
I closed the chat window there.