November 19 2013
Maybe the White House will have to call in Paypal before it’s all over: it appears that parts of HealthCare.gov haven’t even been built yet, and among these parts is the payment system.
That’s right—even the persistent few who’ve managed to enroll in ObamaCare won’t be able to make their first payment (due December 15th), if this is, in fact, the case.
Hotair has a video of Henry Chao, Health.Care.gov’s answer to the PC Matic man, testifying before Congress. You can watch the video but here is Allahpundit’s take on what Chao said:
First, note that Chao’s talking about the entire online exchange apparatus here, not the front end of Healthcare.gov where people sign up. The front end is in place and being repaired, he says.
It’s the back end that … hasn’t completely been built yet. Second, it sounds initially like he says 60-70 percent of that back end is missing, but then he appears to correct that in the last minute or so. I’ll be conservative and assume it’s the later number that’s accurate.
Regardless: How does the enrollment process work if the payment system hasn’t been finished yet? Remember, even if you’re one of the chosen few who managed to complete the sign-up process, your coverage doesn’t take effect on January 1 unless you make your first premium payment by December 15.
You could make that payment directly to the insurer, bypassing the federal website entirely, but some segment of people won’t do that, whether because of absent-mindedness or their understandable assumption that payment should be made through the same site they used to enroll — i.e. Healthcare.gov.
This is going to cause a great deal of worry for many people, but it is also just plain baffling: how could the federal government, with its vast financial resources, do something this stupid? We free-market types habitually assert that government is inefficient. But this level of inefficiency boggles the mind.
The American Thinker proposes that things are so bad that the New York Times, so stalwart for the president that it coined the now-popular term “incorrect promise” to describe what many Americans believe to be an outright lie, has given liberals permission to think about overturning the Affordable Care Act. This “permission” came in the form of a report earlier this week of the repeal in 1989 of the Medicare Catastrophic Coverage Act.
The Times’ Carl Hulse wrote:
Seventeen months after President Ronald Reagan signed the measure with Rose Garden fanfare, a series of miscalculations and missteps in passing the law became painfully evident, and it was unceremoniously stricken from the books by lawmakers who could not see its demise come quickly enough.
The tortured history of the catastrophic-care law is a cautionary tale in the context of the struggle over the new health law, the Affordable Care Act. It illustrates the political and policy hazards of presenting sweeping health system changes to consumers who might not be prepared for them. And it provides a rare example of lawmakers who were willing to jettison a big piece of social policy legislation when the political risks became too grave.
“It has often been said that if you get an entitlement on the books, you can never get rid of it,” said Bill Archer, who pushed to repeal the 1988 law as a senior Republican, from Texas, on the House Ways and Means Committee. “That is an example of a time we did get rid of it.”
Conservatives can’t sit on their hands and just hope ObamaCare goes away. The Washington Post had a story this morning reporting that, according to a new poll, if the presidential election were held today, Mitt Romney would win. But the spread was 49 to 45 percent.
That's a four-point spread at what is so far the nadir of the Obama administration. This says to me that, having performed as badly as he has, the president has a bedrock of support. A lot of his supporters are going to be willing to fight for a single-payer system. A four-point spread isn't quite enough to make me feel safe from something worse than ObamaCare. Yet. A lot will depend on what happens in the next few weeks.
Let’s hope that the country will have a shot at reforming our health care system again. Let’s hope that we do it in an incremental way that is doctor-patient-centered. We may be able to do this sooner than we thought possible. Especially if the guvmint computer whizzes haven't finished building the system yet. Is this what HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was talking about when she said that three years was not enough?