Backward

October 20, 2013

Ironically, by focusing on defunding Obamacare, conservative Republicans helped the new entitlement by deflecting attention from the failed launch of the federal healthcare exchange that is Obamacare’s core program.

“Failed” is an understatement.  It was like a Fourth of July fireworks display on the Esplanade consisting of a single sparkler.  It was like fighting World War II with a slingshot.  It was like trying to end world hunger with a Happy Meal.  The Obama legacy is now, “Backward,” not “Forward.”  It’s “No, We Can’t,” not “Yes, We Can.”

How bad was it?  Here’s what three-and-a-half years of preparation and a half-billion dollar investment in information technology bought:

This does not compute.  According to Peggy Noonan in The Wall Street Journal, “malfunctions during login, constant error messages, inability to create new accounts, frozen screens, confusing instructions, endless wait times, help lines that put people on hold and then cut them off, lost passwords and user names” were among the problems.  IT experts said the problems were due to inadequate coding and flaws in the architecture of the system.  What do you expect for a half billion dollars?

If you think The Wall Street Journal is bashing Obamacare because it’s a conservative publication, consider CNN’s experience.  A CNN reporter tried to enroll in Obamacare and it took more than a week for her to create a login and password.  When it finally worked, “error messages plagued her efforts when she tried to log in. Almost two weeks went by before she succeeded in logging in and proceeding with an application.”

In addition, “When CNN called the government help line, we were told passwords established in the first week of October were no longer valid and new passwords were needed to access the site; the Department of Health and Human Services told us that information was inaccurate.”

Lack of enrollment.  Do people who are not covered by health insurance have access to computers?  If they do, do they know enough about using them to log into the government website and fill out the documentation that’s necessary to sign up for subsidized healthcare?  Do they have the patience and expertise to deal with the malfunctions cited above?  And do they care enough about health insurance to go through the process of obtaining it?

The answers appear to be “No,” “No,” “No” and “No.”  In the first few days of the program, North Carolina had one new enrollee.  That’s one better than Delaware, Kansas or Louisiana.  We don’t know how much better other states fared.  Some may have been 400% or even 500% more successful than North Carolina and signed up four or five new enrollees.

Obamacare was created to insure the 48 million Americans who allegedly have no health insurance.  The law requires everyone to sign up for health insurance by mid-February or pay a penalty.  There is a zero percent chance that 48 million Americans will be able to sign up for health insurance by then, but the uninsured shouldn’t be too worried.  If the federal government does as good of a job collecting the penalty as it’s done setting up the federal health care exchange site, the penalty will never be collected.

Lack of security.  The system created is so lacking in security, it will cause millions of cases of identity theft and lost income, according to the founder of McAfee.  That’s assuming, of course, that millions of people sign up.  Imagine the class-action lawsuit that will result.

Higher premiums.  Many people are finding that their insurance policies are being canceled and they’re being forced to sign up for higher-cost insurance through Obamacare.  In some cases, the insurance is more than twice the cost of what they were paying.  Keep in mind that American taxpayers are chipping in $1 trillion to help pay for Obamacare, so we can expect to pay both higher taxes and higher premiums as a result of the ironically titled Affordable Care Act.

Some are more equal than others.  Obamacare is supposed to ensure that all Americans have access to health care, regardless of pre-existing conditions, age or income.  Yet Obamacare does not treat everyone equally.  President Obama exempted members of Congress.  Requirements were waived for some employers and unions received special treatment.  While others will pay a tax for having “Cadillac” plans with generous benefits, union members will not.

Bureaucracy is spreading.  The law itself is more than 2,000 pages long and the regulations created to enforce it stretch to more than 10,000 pages.  Your Congressman may have voted for it, but you can be certain that he didn’t read what he was voting for.

President Obama has said he is unwilling to delay the individual mandate for Obamacare.  The U.S. Senate, which is controlled by the Democratic Party, has voted dozens of times against defunding or overturning the law.  So implementation of the law will proceed.

Rather than trying to stop it, opponents should be asking Americans a single question: Do you really want the people who created the IT system for Obamacare making healthcare decisions for you and your family?

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