On October 1, 2013, the nation got its first glimpse at the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) health care exchanges. It has been two weeks since that inauspicious opening, and the reviews are in: the ObamaCare rollout was an unmitigated disaster, a “train wreck” if you will.
President Obama’s Administration, led by his Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, had three years to get the website up and running efficiently. The U.S. government, via its itdashboard.gov website, states that the government has spent $516.34 million for “the current IT investments undertaken by HHS and Treasury to implement the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).” It is estimated by the technology website Ars Technica that when it is all done it will cost $683.81 million dollars to build it. Oh, and by the way, the Obama Administration outsourced the job to a Canadian firm, CGI Group.
Here’s a short list of how it is going so far. To say it is not going well would be an understatement of epic proportion.
On the first day of the six-month enrollment window before non-compliance taxes kick in, the website crashed. People trying to enroll were greeted with messages such as this: “The system is down at the moment. We’re working to resolve the issue as soon as possible. Please try again later.” In fact, Forbes quoted an anonymous industry official asked about how many people signed up, “Very, very few people that we’re aware of have enrolled in the federal exchange. We are talking single digits. When the phone number was released for ObamaCare information, it spelled out a vulgar message. Frustrated website users probably thought, “Right back at ya. Do you remember why ObamaCare came into being? (Aside from it being a throw-away line in a speech that is.) The American people were told by President Obama that there were 47 million uninsured people in the United States who needed or wanted insurance but did not have it (which is not an accurate portrayal), and he was going to fix that by mandating everyone has to buy it. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that even with ObamaCare, 26-27 million Americans will still be uninsured. What is even more alarming, though, is the Obama Administration’s hope and expectation for enrollment by March 31, 2014 — 7 million people. What about the other 40 million uninsured President Obama claimed need help? ObamaCare will kick them while they’re down and tax them for not having insurance. Aside from having an anemic goal of only helping a few million people, the way the system is going, they will be lucky to sign up 700,000 by March 31. While Kathleen Sebelius told John Stewart she did not know how many people actually signed up so far, our friends in the British press, the U.K. Daily Mail, reported that only 51,000 people had managed to sign up during the first week. No wonder Secretary Sebelius dodged. Oh, and about that March 31 deadline for compliance for the uninsured, it isn’t really true. The timeframe is actually shorter than that. Oopsie. Internal Revenue Service officials say that uninsured people need to sign-up by mid-February in order to be covered by March 31. If they cannot sign-up before then, they will have to pay the tax for being uninsured. If you are uninsured now and hope to have insurance by January 1, good luck, and maybe you will be able to sign up before December 15. For those who managed to navigate the website and actually signed in, you will have to call the ObamaCare hotline number and reset your password. For those who thought they registered but your login information is now stuck in the system somewhere, you will have to re-register with a new username and try again. Are you having fun yet? The government is hoping these fixes will help the “glitches.
These failures should not have come as a surprise. As the New York Times reported, “We foresee a train wreck,” an insurance executive working on information technology said in a February interview. “We don’t have the I.T. specifications. The level of angst in health plans is growing by leaps and bounds. The political people in the administration do not understand how far behind they are.”
Is anyone shocked by that?
How are the people doing who have insurance now but are losing their coverage because of ObamaCare’s new mandates? They are getting sticker shock when they actually manage to get on the website. Not only are their annual premiums going up, but so are their deductibles. They are finding out that ObamaCare is not affordable.
Take Adam Weldzius for example. He currently has a policy that covers him and his daughter. He found out his $233 monthly premium will more than double, and his deductible will rise from $3,500 now to $12,700 next year. ObamaCare will raise his costs by more than $10,000 a year. Well, at least he can be comforted by the fact that he now has coverage for maternity care.
The healthcare.gov Facebook page gives a real flavor of Americans’ feelings about ObamaCare. Here are just a few of the comments:
“Why aren’t we able to shop the plans without having to enter sensitive identifying information? Plans could be shopped based on age, state/county you live in which is all the information the health insurance premium is based on.” “All I get is a red sign unexpected error, error ID and a generic response from people to keep trying. I have been trying for 2 weeks every day.” “I have had my own private policy that I will not be able to afford to keep once the rates triple per the letter I received from Humana. I’m not eligible for “affordable” coverage on the exchange, don’t qualify for subsidy. I am living, documented proof this is system will not work for me. No propaganda here.” “I got notice that my blue cross was being canceled. The cheapest ObamaCare replacement is $160 per month more and my total risk increases from $5000 to $12,500. The good news is that my menopausal wife and I now have maternity, pediatric dental and vision! Thanks a lot.” “I am so disappointed. These prices are outrageous and there are huge deductibles. No one can afford this!” “How is it that Facebook, which is a non-essential social networking web site, can reliably handle BILLIONS of electronic interactions per second, but the Healthcare.gov site, which is literally the very heart of the ObamaCare program wasn’t ready for the obvious millions of visitors that you had to know it would be receiving?”
According to USA Today, in September, President Obama said, “You’re going to be able to purchase high-quality health insurance for less than the cost of your cellphone bill.” The article also quoted the president as saying, “When state insurance marketplaces, called exchanges, start operating next week, consumers will be able to shop online ‘just like you shop for an airline ticket or a flat-screen TV,’ … ‘Just go to the website yourself: healthcare.gov.’”
With the sky-rocketing costs of health care, thanks to ObamaCare, only rich politicians — who are exempted from this monstrous failure — will be able to afford cell phones, airline tickets, or flat-screen TVs anymore.