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Mark Caserta: Obamacare a signature failure for president

Oct. 24, 2013 @ 01:44 PM

The irony of politics is often too rich for words.

Despite a failed Republican offensive aimed at Obam­acare, ultimately resulting in a government shutdown, it would seem the admin­istration’s incompetence in managing the i mplementat ion of the president’s signature health­care law is a much greater threat.

And now, the Affordable Care Act is self-destructing without any help from Repub­licans .

While the government’s website, “Healthcare.gov.” proclaims “The Health Insur­ance Marketplace is Now Open,” and despite the fact Obama and his liberal minions have had well over three years to prepare for open enroll­ment, reports indicate that enrollment has been one huge, embarrassing catastrophe.

The Washington Post reported the failure of the website is even worse than previously suspected: “Even when consumers have been able to sign up, insurers sometimes can’t tell who their new customers are because of a separate set of computer defects.” And large numbers of Obamacare applications reportedly didn’t provide enough verifiable information to enroll people in their plans.

Initial claims by the admin­istration that problems were the result of “heavy traffic” also appear to be inaccurate. Computer experts say the problems with the site, which reportedly cost the taxpayers $634 million, are the result of structural flaws in the system’s architecture which could take months to repair.

So, the federal government expects Americans to trust them managing health care for millions of people, when it can’t even manage a simple website?

But problems loom way past the ineptitude of the website’s mechanics.

The Chicago Tribune, the president’s hometown paper, conducted an analysis last week on the costs of plans offered for that state’s resi­dents .

According to the Tribune, “21 of the 22 lowest-priced plans offered on the Illinois health insurance exchange for Cook County have annual deductibles of more than $4,000 for an individual and $8,000 for family coverage. ... Plans with the least expensive monthly premiums — high­lighted by state and federal officials as proof the new law will keep costs low for con­sumers — have deductibles as high as $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for families.” Even with federal subsidies, few Americans will bother to buy insurance with a $4,000 to $12,700 deductible. And millions won’t even be eli­gible for the subsidies.

Another indicator that Obamacare is “stumbling out of the gate” is the administration’s refusal to reveal sign-up rates. They claim they don’t know.

But a private-sector analy­sis showed that during the first week, less than 1 percent of those who entered the reg­istration site actually enrolled. London’s Daily Mail reported that the total sign-ups during the opening week of enroll­ment were just 51,000 people.

The “fly in the buttermilk” for the president is, according to the Congressional Budget Office, he needs at least 7 million people to join the exchanges for Obamacare to be financially viable.

So, despite the stated original goal of providing “affordable healthcare” for all Americans, the Democrat’s revised goal is now “survival” of Obamacare.

Hindsight being 20/20, Republicans should now step back and begin illuminating the failures of what may be destined to become Barack Obama’s signature failure — Obamacare.

Mark Caserta is a Cabell County resident and a regu­lar contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page.

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