Get PJ Media on your Apple

Nobody’s This Stupid and Incompetent

What consumers can see on the Obamacare Website is bad enough. The landmines that they can't see are far worse. More: Covered California Abuses Privacy Rights of Consumers

Tom Blumer


December 8, 2013 - 12:00 am

How do you get your arms around the catastrophe known as Obamacare? Is it even possible?

At this point, I’m not sure it is. The list of individual disasters which threaten to ruin one-sixth of the U.S. economy and what has been, up until now, the best healthcare system in the world is exhaustive, and exhausting.

The examples I will identify here barely scratch the surface.

First but by no means foremost, we have the supposedly new and improved Except it’s not, even the visible part. Stories still abound of people still failing to get in or to get through the enrollment process.

But that’s okay, because nobody with any expectation of privacy should be using the web site anyway. A well-known “white hat hacker” (i.e., one of the good guys) told CNBC and the Washington Free Beacon that its security exposure is even greater now than when the site debuted on October 1. The situation is so embarrassing that the White House won’t even brief Congress, which last time I checked was supposed to oversee executive branch activities. Meanwhile, the administration’s press lapdogs won’t even mention the word “security” in their web site reviews.

What consumers can see is bad enough. What they can’t see is far worse.

The transmission of enrollment data from to participating insurance companies is so botched that “up to 30 percent of the people who have enrolled on only think they have enrolled.” Starting on January 1, barring some kind of miracle, those affected who go to their doctors are “going to find out the hard way that their attempted enrollment failed and they don’t actually have coverage.”

Then there’s the fact that “the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has not yet finished building the part of the website that would transfer billions of dollars in subsidies for plan premiums and cost-sharing payments to insurance companies.” That characterization made by Reuters is far too kind. On November 19, Henry Chao, CMS’s deputy chief information officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services told a House committee that “the payment systems, they still need be built.” At best, that would mean they’ve hardly started.

The “fix” for this complete lack of a system is something out of fairyland, and dumps a huge, unplanned workload on participating insurance companies:

Health plans will estimate how much they are owed, and submit that estimate to the government. Once the system is built, the government and insurers can reconcile the payments made with the plan data to “true up” payments …

Imagine the hours upon hours of bickering we’ll see between government bureaucrats and insurance company officials before, or if, this gets resolved. No one can possibly believe that the Obama administration won’t capitalize on this new opportunity to bully the industry it loves to hate. (Aside: I wonder how the folks in the insurance business who salivated over “all those new customers” they would gain feel about being in bed with Team Obama now?)

Months ago, we learned that enrollees will be on the “honor system” in submitting their personal and income data. Now we discover that the Internal Revenue Service, which is supposed to at least apply a sniff test to what users submit, “doesn’t have the system to check what your income is, to see what subsidies you are eligible for,” opening up the potential for massive fraud. Anyone who believes it can’t happen isn’t aware of the IRS’s multibillion-dollar failure to stop illegal aliens from taking bogus chid-care credits.

President Barack Obama has done very little to ensure that his “signature achievement” would get off the ground successfully. How little? Try “almost nothing.” According to a study by the Government Accountability Institute, the president only met with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius one time since the Affordable Care Act became law. That was way back on April 21, 2010 — and even that was a joint meeting with then-Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.

Meanwhile, this non-working clunker’s waste, likely fraud, and cronyism will almost certainly send its cost over the $1 billion mark — all for a site which some IT experts claim should have cost less than $10 million.

Obamacare’s damage is already spreading to the rest of the economy. Large-company CEOs are saying that the uncertainties it is imposing  are “harming the economic rebound.” (Yeah, I know. What economic rebound?) Black Friday weekend’s pathetic sales results make the concern I expressed several weeks ago that we could see a no-growth fourth quarter all too real.

This enterprise’s screw-ups, missed assignments, unaddressed problems and management failures have collectively created a level of disarray I have not seen in my lifetime — one which promises to sustain itself well into next year, if not longer. It’s likely that all we’ve seen so far represents the very small tip of a huge iceberg aimed straight at the economy and our civil society. Just wait until consumers get turned away because there’s no record of their enrollment, doctors and hospitals don’t get paid, and the frauds begin to be exposed.

Considering that the people involved are supposedly our best and brightest — as they and their media lapdogs constantly remind us — is it really possible that utter stupidity and incompetence fully explain what has transpired? I think not. Until someone can prove otherwise, the default position has to be that chaos is what they want, and that they will continue to work to deepen it.


Covered California Abuses Privacy Rights of Consumers

Along with having a decades-long career in accounting, finance, training and development, Tom Blumer has written for several national online publications primarily on business, economics, politics and media bias. He has had his own blog,, since 2005, and has been a PJM contributor since 2008.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Every doctor I know has threatened to either retire or leave the US to practice medicine. So far, my family and I have lost our Primary Care doctor and while there are many Primary Care doctors in the area NONE are accepting new patients. My neurologist just lost his partner and now has double the patient load. He's not only not accepting patients but rather is reluctantly looking to telling some patients he already has to go elsewhere for a doctor because he can't give them the attention and care he believes they require. Further, I'm told that doctors in private practice or in small groups are being dropped by medical insurance companies unless they join large hospital managed HMO groups. My disabled adult daughter lost her Primary Care doctor and is still looking for another even as her health insurance costs have almost doubled. My adult son, who doesn't have health insurance, has tried to enroll in Obamacare, only to learn he's only eligible for Medicaid but still can't complete an application. But except for having to pay a penalty tax that rapidly increases every year, it wont matter because no-one around here will take a new medicaid patient, except hospital ERs who can't turn away anyone from at least getting first aid, but will bill anyone with any money hundreds if not thousands or tens of thousands of dollars for the service. And finally, everyone I know or meet has the same tale. Obamacare is the largest self inflicted disaster ever perpetrated by our government and our elected political leaders. They all should be thrown out of office, if not tarred and feathered as well. If this fiasco coupled with all the blatant lies of Obama and his appointees, plus the many others in his government who are pleading the Fifth Amendment to cover crimes they've committed on Obama's behalf, doesn't awaken the American voter to the danger Obama and his cronies represent, the I fear nothing will, and the United States will fracture into separate states, or rapidly turn into a third world hell hole like Zimbabwe with Detroit being a vision of all American cities of the near future.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If they believe their own story...they wanted better service and better policies for ALL Americans, how did they build a system that has no security?

How much have they spent to date? To whom did it go? What were the specs for that price? And why were those specific people chosen to do this job?

If they believe their own story, that Obama wanted THIS to showcase his "populism", how did he meet hundreds of times with other cabinet members on a myriad of issues...and NEVER inquired about this one?

If the problems were evident...and they HAD TO HAVE BEEN...that no security, no back end, no testing had been STARTED...who was charged with advising the White House...and how did Obama NOT get told something so obviously significant? If they believed their own story, Obama would have known all this and more.

The ONLY conclusion one can come that it never mattered if it worked. It never mattered if it had identity protection. It never mattered if there was a reimbursement back end.

Because the purpose of the passage of this noxious, freedom ripping, Constitution shredding invasion...had nothing to do with healthcare or insurance or bettering the lives of the people.

It had to do with power. And THAT has been accomplished.

Could the small c communists impose upon the people a demand to purchase a service so inferior and crappy...and shove it down their throats? Check.

Could Obama stack the Supreme Court with traitors to the Constitution and have them abandon the people? Check.

Could Obama get the people's "representatives" put PARTY loyalty over duty to uphold liberty? Check.

Could Obama and his cabal create czars and czarinas to circumvent the checks and balances that protect against tyranny? Check.

Obamacare is a piece of crap, because it was a stalking horse...not a thoroughbred. That horse went lame out of the gates, because Obama wasn't betting on it to win, place or show. He was waiting for you to bet on it...and he was going to take your money and give it to the small c communist bookies who made you their pigeons all along.

Because, if they believed their own story...Obama would be tried for treason.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Nobody’s This Stupid and Incompetent" Really? I instantly thought of Barrack Obama.

You do recall that he is the guy that ran for President in 2008 with all the experience! It was that VP candidate lady, what's her name, that was the stupid idiot. Or am I missing something here that wasn't obvious 5 years ago?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (73)
All Comments   (73)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
When I read the title to this piece I immediately flashed on something I learned more than 40 years ago when I began my football coaching career.It makes little or no difference whether an official is incompetent or is dishonest. The result is the same. The integrity of the contest is destroyed by either or both. obama may be one or the other. More likely he is a combination of the two with a dash of malevolence thrown in for good measure. I have come to be convinced that he does hate this country and is doing what he can to remake it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The title of the piece is accurate - this is about neither stupidity nor incompetence. It is the desired result. What in the world did some of you think "fundamental transformation" meant?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Nobody’s This Stupid and Incompetent" -- I met many such persons in top administrative positions at a VA Medical Center.

"...the default position has to be that chaos is what they want..." -- I disagree. Obama and others wanted early, widespread adoption of ObamaCare-qualified health care insurance. Then they wanted hassles: high premiums, long waits, difficulties getting approvals for elective procedures, payment delays to providers, etc. The Obama administration (with help from mass media) will blame the hospitals, doctors, insurers, drug makers, etc. for the hassles and high costs. Much of the public will swallow that line despite how illogical and nonsensical it is. At this point the Democrats will hope that the public will support replacing the half-as&ed ObamaCare system with a full-as&ed single-payer system. Many of us hope the debacle will result in widespread support of dismantling ObamaCare and a return to the days when only the states made things difficult for the insurers.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You need a voter ID to vote is South Africa. That must be racist. This country loves to bend over for the PC dip sticks. How can the low information voter be able to elect Obama if there was not vote fraud. Obama care would not be here if he had not committed FRAUD and bribed the stupid democrats to vote for it. What day is the United States going to wake up.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
My point is that obama is the most evil President ever. IF you can call him President as he was 'voter frauded' into the White House.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Occam's razor is the better explanation.
Obama is a disaster because his objective is to destroy America.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Philosopher Edmund Burke writes of the difference between “reform” and “change":

“There is…a marked distinction between change and [reform]. [Change] alters the substance of the objects themselves, and gets rid of all their essential good as well as of all accidental evil annexed to them…. Reform is not change in the substance or in the primary modification of the object, but a direct application of a remedy to the grievance complained of. So far as that is removed, all is sure. It stops there; and if it fails, the substance which underwent the operation, at the very worst, is but where it was.”

ObamaCare so disquiets us because it “alters the substance of the objects themselves,” those objects being the relationship between us as America’s citizenry and our government, born from the tears of our Founder’s Declaration of Independence and Constitution.

And it is this “change in the substance” which FDR had in mind when he gave his 1932 Commonwealth Address, perhaps Progressivism’s most revealing speech ever:

“The Declaration of Independence discusses the problem of Government in terms of a contract. Government is a relation of give and take, a contract, perforce, if we would follow the thinking out of which it grew. Under such a contract rulers were accorded power, and the people consented to that power on consideration that they be accorded certain rights. The task of statesmanship has always been the redefinition of these rights in terms of a changing and growing social order. New conditions impose new requirements upon Government and those who conduct government.”

The Declaration of Independence as contract? You’ll never find our unalienable natural rights in contract – anywhere – for they are ‘self-evident’ only in the “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God.” And do we really want “rulers” – instead of representatives – “accorded power” in return for our rights?

It is here – in Burke’s “change in the substance” and FDR’s “redefinition of these rights” – where the Progressive Democrat movement wants to lead America. That “fundamental transformation” Obama spoke of, is this: Redefining the relationship of the individual and his unalienable natural rights to life, liberty, property, religion and pursuit of happiness to that of government’s contracted redefinition and ultimate control of man’s rights, these rights determined by society’s “changing and growing social order,” as FDR so aptly stated. The “individual” and “individual rights” drop out of this equation as “the people,” who are accorded certain “group rights,” overlay and replace the Creator-endowed individual through a vast centralized redistributive bureaucratic State.

The irreconcilability of Progressivism versus Constitutional Republicanism: And herein lays our nation’s greatest challenge since Lincoln’s Civil War.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yes, Tom, there are people this stupid and incompetent, and, oftentimes they have power and control over us. Remember, however, they do not consider themselves stupid and incompetent because they are too stupid and incompetent to recognize that reality. Stupid and incompetent is as stupid and incompetent does.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Have any of us ever met a progressive with a degree, who didn't think he was the bestest of the best, smarter than every rethuglican.. more brilliant than Einstein?


They crank these self anointed "great thinkers" out like lego blocks

and most couldn't be relied on to handle the basics of running a hotdog stand. But a giant over inflated ego goes hand in glove with progressive politics.. they HAVE to be superior, like it was a law or something..

and when the inevitable public humiliation comes... they just blame everybody else for making them fail by opposing them.

On planet liberal, they never have such things as shame, guilt or blame.. those are for mere mortals..
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
There are two possible answers here. One is that they are not stupid or incompetent, but they planned this to fail so as to be able to move on to a single payer plan, the holy grail of all central planning. The other answer is the simple one: they are stupid and incompetent. As for being the best and brightest, didn't William F. Buckley, Jr., once say he would rather be governed by the first one hundred names in the Boston phone book, than the top 100 professors at Harvard?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
1 2 3 4 Next View All