by Chris Woodward | ( Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The insurance exchanges as called for in the new healthcare law are a little more than four months from kicking off. But one policy analyst doubts they will be ready.

White House and other federal officials say the exchanges will be up and looking for enrollees by October 1. That, of course, comes amid continued criticism from lawmakers.Heath

"I've got my doubts, like some Democratic lawmakers, that this might turn out to be a 'train wreck,'" says Hadley Heath, senior policy analyst with the Independent Women's Forum (IWF). "Another one said, 'We certainly don't want this to be a third-world experience for people.' Listen, this is the United States, and we do have serious problems with our healthcare system in terms of payment and delivery. It does need reform, but Obamacare is taking us in the wrong direction."

Heath adds that she would not call these exchanges marketplaces.

"They are not markets — They don't provide individuals with freedom to determine which policy is right for them; they only offer certain policies from certain carriers. So, there are great restrictions on our choices again," the analyst points out. "And a lack of competition is only going to result in two potential outcomes: One is higher prices. Another is more dissatisfaction with the quality of health insurance policies available, and it's likely we'll get some of both."

President Obama hosted a Mother's Day-themed event last Friday and touted what he called the benefits of his healthcare law to women.