Gary L. Bauer
Obamacare's defenders, from the president down, initially attempted to defend the Healthcare.gov's terrible performance by claiming it was overwhelmed by customer demand. So people began asking the obvious question: How many Americans signed up for Obamacare?
It should have been an easy question to answer. But the number of actual Obamacare enrollees has been treated like a state secret. During their congressional testimony this week, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Marilyn Tavenner, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, repeatedly refused to say how many people had actually signed up for Obamacare. Now we know why.
According to CBS News only six people signed up for Obamacare in the first 24 hours. As CBS notes, "The health care exchanges need to average 39,000 enrollees a day to meet the goal of seven million by March 1."
The Obamacare Entitlement
A front-page story in today's Washington Post confirms another major problem with Obamacare. It is massively expanding the Medicaid entitlement, which will cost taxpayers additional billions. The Post reports:
- "The first month of the new health law's rollout reveals an unexpected pattern in several states: a crush of people applying for an expansion of Medicaid and a trickle of sign-ups for private insurance. This early imbalance -- in some places, nine out of 10 enrollees are in Medicaid -- has taken some experts by surprise.
"'When we first saw the numbers, everyone's eyes kind of bugged out,' said Matt Salo, who runs the National Association of Medicaid Directors. 'Of the people walking through the door, 90 percent are on Medicaid. We're thinking, what planet is this happening on?'"
I'll tell you what planet you're on, Mr. Salo: You are on Planet Obama. A place where billions of dollars are taken from the middle class, redistributed to others in "free" health care and then bureaucrats like you express shock.
Meanwhile, the other big story in Washington is the ongoing stalemate over the budget. Virtually everyone, including Obama, concedes the need to control entitlement spending. But thanks to Obamacare, Medicaid, already a $250 billion-plus program, is growing explosively.
We already went through one government shutdown due to Obama's refusal to consider any changes to his signature initiative. I am not optimistic that he will include Obamacare in any grand bargain on entitlement spending.
If you're not sick of Obamacare yet, this next story may cause you to lose your lunch.
Quality Software Services, Inc., was one of the companies hired to help build the Obamacare website, Healthcare.gov. QSSI is a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, one of the largest health insurance companies the country. QSSI received $150 million for its work on Healthcare.gov.
Surprise! One of the top officers of UnitedHealth Group, Anthony Welters, was also a top fundraiser for Barack Obama's presidential campaign. Welters and his wife, Beatrice, raised between $200,000 and $500,000 for Obama's 2008 campaign.
As you know, Healthcare.gov has some problems. Obama has promised that a surge of tech experts are being called in to fix the "glitches." Now get this: the New York Post reports that QSSI has been called in to help fix Healthcare.gov.
Yes, you read that right -- a tech company connected to a top campaign donor is getting paid to fix a mess it helped to create!
By the way, thanks to Obamacare your tax dollars are also subsidizing sex workers in San Francisco!
Almost every day I get messages from frustrated conservatives asking why more isn't being done to fight Obamacare in the courts. There are several cases moving their way through the legal system. That system, which the Founders gave us, works slowly by design.
While the Supreme Court declined to strike down Obamacare, several lower federal courts have ruled in favor of religious liberty and in favor of Christian business owners who say abortion mandates violate the deeply held teachings of their faith.
Today, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck a blow against Obamacare's mandates that offend moral values. Francis and Philip Gilardi, owners of a food-supply company, objected to Obamacare's mandate that they must pay for contraception and abortion-inducing drugs in their health insurance policies.
Writing for the majority, Judge Janice Rogers Brown declared: "They can either abide by the sacred tenets of their faith, pay a penalty of over $14 million, and cripple the companies they have spent a lifetime building, or they become complicit in a grave moral wrong."
Making a grave moral wrong part of the cost of doing business should be unacceptable in America. But its par for the course in the left's bizarro world.
By the way, there is a huge battle going on in the Senate right now over control of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, widely considered as the second most important court in the country. Yesterday, Senate conservatives blocked a liberal Obama appointee to the D.C. court. You may recall that Janice Rogers Brown was a Bush appointee stalled by Senate liberals for nearly two years.