When the president’s signature healthcare law became fully operational and federal and state healthcare exchanges launched last October 1, it couldn’t have been more of a disaster.
The federal healthcare.gov website was broken for weeks, plagued with myriad technical glitches, and most states with their own exchanges faced similar woes. For weeks, Americans looking for healthcare were forced to try to enroll by telephone or old fashion pen and paper. Fax machines were dusted off as well.
Americans learned firsthand just how inept the President and former governor and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius were at executing this massive new government program. The president promised the efficiency of Microsoft and delivered the frustration of a RMV (Registry of Motor Vehicles).
And at the same time, millions of Americans lost their healthcare plans because they were no longer ACA-compliant or were too expensive to be offered.
It’s almost a year later and health experts, including the new head of the federal insurance marketplaces, predicts this year’s problems will outstrip last years.
The New York Times reports:
… insurance executives and managers of the online marketplaces are already girding for the coming open enrollment period, saying they fear it could be even more difficult than the last.
One challenge facing consumers will be wide swings in prices. Some insurers are seeking double-digit price increases, while others are hoping to snare more of the market by lowering premiums for the coming year. At the same time, the Obama administration is expected to try to persuade about five million more people to sign up while also trying to ensure that eight million people who now have coverage renew for another year.
Adding to the complexity is the shorter time frame for choosing a new policy: three months instead of six.
“In some respects, it’s going to be more complicated,” said Kevin Counihan, the former chief executive of Access Health CT, Connecticut’s online marketplace, who was just named as the head of the insurance marketplaces for the federal government. Connecticut’s marketplace was among the most successful state-based exchanges, sharply reducing the number of uninsured in the state. “Part of me thinks that this year is going to make last year look like the good old days.”
Just as there was an uproar when some people found out last year that their policies had been canceled, individuals this year may be surprised to find that they could be asked to pay much more for the same plan because their carrier is raising its prices or the amount of the federal tax credit they will receive is changing.
We have always held that the technical problems that plagued ObamaCare are just surface issues.
The fundamental problems with this so-called reform law are the distorting effects on the healthcare market. It unfairly forces young people to pay more for their plans to cover older, sicker Americans. It forces men to pay for female services like mammograms even though they don’t need or want them. It forces employers to provide coverage for their workers driving many small businesses to alter their labor practices such as holding down the number of hours for their workers or forgoing hiring. It’s driving prices in the private individual marketplace higher and of course, those with ObamaCare will have fluctuating premiums. It also puts taxpayers on the hook for the healthcare costs of other Americans through subsidies that mask true healthcare costs.
ObamaCare was a bad deal when it passed in 2010, when it launched last fall, and it still is today. We’ll continue to hammer home this point because the President and his supporters want us to believe it’s a done deal, but no law is irreversible especially when it’s so harmful to the lives of Americans every day.