How to respond to the failures of Obamacare – with tears or with laughter? This administration does have a talent for snatching farce from the jaws of defeat. Here are some of the latest problems that it’s created for itself (and the American people)…
Problem #1: enrollment. The administration’s goal was to sign up 500,000 people in the first month through its website IKeepPressingCtrlAltDeleteButNothing’sHappening.com. The actual figure achieved? 50,000. The problem is partly that the website is a total mess, slow moving and full of glitches and almost unworkable. But it’s more than just a technical issue, it’s reflective of both the gigantism of the legislation and the incompetence of the geeks who cooked it up. If the Obama people had been in charge of the New Deal, we’d still be in The Great Depression – waiting for the National Recovery Administration’s website to unfreeze..
Problem #2: people are being forced to cancel their current insurance plans. Obama insisted that this would never happen, but now the White House says that this earlier promise has been eclipsed by the greater moral promise of ensuring that everyone has total insurance coverage – including post-natal care for men. The latest estimate is that 68 per cent of Americans with private insurance will not be able to keep their existing plan, which amounts to 129 million people. The good news is that if a guy gets pregnant, he’ll now have coverage for going into labour.
Problem #3: it’s open to corruption. The guerrilla filmmaker James O’Keefe has investigated the 50,000 “navigators” working on the Obamacare exchanges to give help to people trying to navigate the labyrinth of online paperwork. He filmed them telling him not to declare unreported income or that he’s a smoker. As John Fund over at NRO points out, there are other issues about the navigators worth exploring, too, including their political links to the Obama campaign and controversial liberal activist groups like ACORN. Also worrying is that they haven’t been subject to rigorous background checks. When Kathleen Sebelius was asked if there was any chance of an ex-convict becoming a navigator and using their access to steal personal information, she replied, “It’s possible.”
Some will say that all these criticisms miss the bigger picture, that Obamacare is an ambitious reform that will hurt a minority but bring greater social justice to the majority. Okay – but if you’re going to carry out a welfare revolution at least make sure that you do it properly. Don’t lie about the effects, don’t create a system that could be pay dirt for fraudsters, and don’t launch it all with a website that has all the sophistication of the video game Pong. The bottom line is that Obamacare is Obama’s great legacy project, the thing for which he’ll most be remembered. And, so far, it’s been an embarrassment.