Implementation exposes lies used to sell Obamacare
Posted in the Minneapolis Forum
#1 Oct 18, 2013
With Washington’s bitter fight over federal spending now on hiatus for three months, Americans with a high tolerance for chaos and incompetence can focus on October’s other big news: Obamacare’s awful first few weeks.
In 2009 and 2010, President Barack Obama offered incessant promises that the arrival of the Affordable Care Act would mean savings for just about everyone and that everyone would be able to keep their doctors. Just last month, he told the Spanish-language network Telemundo that critics of his signature law were simply “wrong,” and that Americans would quickly develop an appreciation of its wonders after implementation began Oct. 1.
If the president made any of these claims now, he would be laughed off the stage.
The portal to sign up for insurance at healthcare.gov , set up at a cost of at least $400 million, is so flawed that newspapers around America often had to hunt for days to find people in their home states who had successfully signed up — even though it had 14 million page visits. Initial Obamacare implementation was akin to a “colossal, expensive failure that projects a 1970s-era DMV experience into cyberspace,” wrote Reason.com editor Nick Gillespie.
A devastating New York Times analysis found the problems were so deep-rooted that it was wrong to call them “glitches.” For example, to avoid the “sticker shock” the president said would never occur, the healthcare.gov portal was designed to delay telling potential enrollees how much their policies would cost until they had entered considerable personal information to determine their eligibility for subsidies. But programs to evaluate subsidy eligibility were so poorly written that applicants never could learn if they would qualify and thus never reached the point where they could see premium costs.
Meanwhile, here in California, users of the state-operated online health insurance exchange reported deep frustration in trying to find out which policies would allow them to keep their doctors — the other key promise from the president.
Is this just a “glitch”? Or another example of trying to make sure Obamacare began without reminders that its passage was built on lies?
The scary thing about what we’ve seen is that the fallout from this horribly flawed law is only going to grow worse. Financial incentives drive behavior. Obamacare’s small fines for nonparticipation incentivize employers to stop providing health coverage and individuals without coverage to stay that way. Its rules encourage companies to create part-time jobs without benefits, not full-time jobs. The carnage from these incentives is likely to be immense.
Yes, the U.S. health-care system was deeply flawed before the Affordable Care Act. Yes, reforms are needed to keep health-care spending in check and to bring insurance coverage to more people.
But what Americans didn’t need was confused, contradictory “reform” sold with dishonest happy talk. It’s time to scrap the Obamacare nightmare and start from scratch.
We know most Republicans agree. But after this month’s multilevel fiasco, so should allegedly centrist Democrats.
Well, Rep. Scott Peters? Well, Rep. Susan Davis? Well, Rep. Juan Vargas? Defend this debacle — or join those who want it gone.
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