Friday, December 6, 2013

Today's Obamacare Disaster Update

Gary L. Bauer
Campaign for Working Families

Since the December 1st relaunch of, Obama and his Democrat allies have been desperately trying to convince the American people that Obamacare is now working smoothly. They are even touting a "surge" of enrollments, which in two days this week exceeded October's total. But despite their wishful thinking and self-delusion, the headlines tell a different story.

  • CBS News reported Wednesday that "insurance companies are still receiving either no data or garbled data from people who put their information in. If that isn't improved, people who think they've enrolled will not have a health insurance policy."

  • One of the major reasons people won't be covered by these technical "glitches" is that the backend payment system on is not working. Administration officials tried to address the problem this week by instructing applicants to "pay your premium to the insurance company directly -- not to the Health Insurance Marketplace."

    How many people who have already signed up will know to do this? One Indiana insurance company reports that only 20% of applicants have actually paid. And what happens if they haven't paid by January 1st? Their application is voided and individuals must start the infuriating process all over again.

  • Technical "glitches" aren't limited to the federal website. State exchanges are reporting similar problems. Washington state officials recently discovered errors in nearly 8,000 applications. California has yet to process tens of thousands of paper applications.

  • Meanwhile, vastly more people continue to be enrolled in Medicaid, rather than Obamacare. In Washington state, nearly nine times more people were signed up for taxpayer-financed Medicaid assistance than purchased their own plan through the state exchange. (That entitlement program's costs are certain to skyrocket.)

    But because of all the glitches, some states may stop processing those applications too, potentially affecting hundreds of thousands of low-income individuals.

"Low-Information Leadership"

Obamacare is the president's signature initiative. It was the most sweeping legislative change in decades. It is a massive tax increase that radically alters one-sixth of the American economy and vastly expands the IRS and the government's intrusion into our lives.

Given Obamacare's importance to Obama's legacy (not to mention the political careers of many Democrats), how many times do you think Obama sat down face-to-face with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, whose office was charged with implementing Obamacare? Just once.

Former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan wrote a brilliant column this week critiquing Obama's leadership (or lack thereof) given the calamitous failure of Obamacare. She described Obama as a "low-information leader," out-of-touch with the real world and overly impressed by his own words. Here are few key excerpts:

    "It's a leader's job to be skeptical of grand schemes. Sorry, that's a conservative leader's job. It is a liberal leader's job to be skeptical that grand schemes will work as intended. You have to guide and goad and be careful.

    "And this president wasn't. I think part of the reason he wasn't careful is because he sort of lives in words. That's been his whole professional life -- books, speeches. Say something and it magically exists as something said, and if it's been said and publicized it must be real. He never had to push a lever, see the machine not respond, puzzle it out and fix it. …He never had to stock a store, run a sale and see lots of people come but the expenses turn out to be larger than you'd expected and the profits smaller, and you have to figure out what went wrong and do better next time. …

    "Commentators like to decry low-information voters -- the stupid are picking our leaders. I think the real problem is low-information leaders. They have so little experience of life and have so much faith in magic -- in media, in words -- that they don't understand people will get angry at you when you mislead them, and never see you the same way again."