by William Teach | October 17, 2013 7:51 am
When we’re talking about Obamacare, the “Affordable” Care Act, the massive failure of the websites are simply a result of how bad this law is. How unwieldy. And the perfect symbol of failure. Here’s the Chicago Times Editorial Board
(Chicago Tribune) If you’ve tried to sign up online for health coverage under the problem-plagued Obamacare exchange, our sympathies. Many people have tried to create accounts and shop for insurance under the new law. Few have succeeded. Those that have enrolled have found that the system is prone to mistakes. Some applications have been sent to the wrong insurance company.
Wait. It gets worse. Those who have managed to browse the marketplace have often been hit by sticker shock. Take Adam Weldzius, a nurse practitioner and single father from Carpentersville. He sought the same level of coverage on the exchange as he and his 7-year-old daughter have now, with the same insurer and the same network of doctors and hospitals. At best, Weldzius found, his monthly premium of $233 would more than double. If he chose a plan priced at the same level, the annual deductible would be $12,700, more than three times his current $3,500 deductible.
They go on to note the problems many more times, and point out that most Illinois plans are higher than previously, especially the deductibles. That Obama delayed most rules till after the 2012 election. That they’ve had over three years to get it right. That HHS missed deadline after deadline. And blows the “web traffic” talking points away
The Department of Health and Human Services under chief Obamacare cheerleader Kathleen Sebelius has had three years to develop this system. It has busted deadline after deadline, all the while promising that the system would be ready on Oct. 1. It has overpromised and underdelivered. The excuse? Demand was unexpectedly high, crashing servers. Unexpected? Americans have been bombarded with marketing campaigns and news stories and outreach efforts on behalf of Obamacare. And now Sebelius and Co. are shocked that people are logging in to … buy insurance? Come on, Ms. Sebelius.
True, who would have expected lots of web traffic? The Chicago Times recommends that, at a minimum, the individual mandate be suspended for a year, to give Los Federales time to get it right.
There are more problems. People who have individual insurance coverage are finding that Obama’s oft-repeated promise – “if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan” – is just not true. They are being told by insurers that their existing plans expire on Dec. 31 and they must choose new coverage. They’re learning that insurers managed to offer lower-cost plans by narrowing the networks of hospitals and doctors that are available or by upping the out-of-pocket expenses. Unless people are careful in selecting coverage, they may be surprised to find they have to pay much more for out-of-network care to go to their doctors or get treated at the best hospitals. Federal officials argue that they’ll work out the kinks in the system in plenty of time for people to sign up by Dec. 15 for coverage that begins Jan. 1. Yes, the techies might be able to work out the computer network problems by then. But that’s not a given.
Fixing the computer network won’t fix the underlying problems with the law itself, nor that insurance seems to be unaffordable, at least if used. And restrictive. It’s almost like rationing. Even a Daily Kos diarist noticed how bad the law is in practice. And we’ve haven’t even gotten to the point where people might actually try and use the insurance.
Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.
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