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3 Lessons from Obamacare’s Failed Rollout

In this administration, they're destined to go unlearned. Related: Tom Brokaw Mystified by Obamacare’s Chaotic Rollout

by
Tom Blumer

Bio

November 18, 2013 - 10:25 am
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Obamacare’s difficulties, which have brought it to the brink of earth-shattering failure, should cause its architects and supporters to reexamine what they’ve tried to do. History has taught us that this will not happen.

So-called “progressive” ideas continue to make matters worse virtually every time they collide with reality.

Their alleged greatest achievements, Social Security and Medicare, are dangerously unsustainable; the programs’ trustees annually remind us of that inconvenient fact. Their welfare initiatives have led to ever-increasing dependency, broken up countless families and marriages, and held back achievable economic growth. Their “progressive” tax system, combined with unfortunate but understandable efforts by those affected to dodge its worst effects, has created the incomprehensible monster that is our tax code.

Those whose most fervent wish for decades has been to impose a state-controlled healthcare system on a hostile nation thought they had clinched the argument for all time on March 23, 2010, the day Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Nancy Pelosi’s now-infamous statement — “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it” — gave away their strategy, which was to get an indecipherable law on the books, and to then turn Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’s bureaucrats loose to make it as restrictive as possible.

First to get it passed, and then to fend off the majority of the country which has consistently opposed it, Obama, along with 27 senators, and an army of other Democratic politicians and apparatchiks, lied to the American people when they unconditionally guaranteed that “if you like your plan-doctor-provider, you can keep your plan-doctor-provider.” Many if not most of them did so knowingly, shirking their responsibility to tell the truth in the name of “salability” and “simplification.”

Obamacare’s devastatingly botched rollout demonstrates that its progressive managers have failed to grasp at least three fundamental truths:

1. The vast majority of tasks, including project management, are best left to a reasonably regulated private sector. That’s because the government has an oversupply of control freaks and incompetents.

Given a 42-month head start, HHS, despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars, has failed to deliver what three guys were able to produce for free over a long weekend: a working web site. TheHealthSherpa.com asks its visitors to enter their age(s), family makeup, county of residence, household size, household income, and whether they smoke. Consumers instantly learn what health insurance plans are available in their area, what they cost, what their federal subsidy will likely be, and how to contact each plan’s carriers. The Health Sherpa’s primary shortcoming is that it doesn’t tell users that they still have time to buy a usually less expensive pre-Obamacare plan this year, which will keep consumers away from the statists’ clutches until late 2014 or the beginning of 2015.

Though the government engaged outside companies for various aspects of the project, it chose to put bureaucrats within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in charge of overall project management, “despite the fact that CMS has no experience managing large IT projects.” Compounding the likelihood that the train wreck which has occurred would occur, project managers appear to have mostly fiddled for over 2-1/2 years to ensure that most controversial matters would be kept from the public until after the 2012 elections.

The bureaucratic control freaks convinced the obviously incompetent project managers that the government simply had to have a mountain of information about each potential applicant before they could even be allowed to shop for plans. Then things went from merely disgraceful to utterly inexcusable. We now know that Sebelius’s crew opened HealthCare.gov despite being warned just four days before its launch that it would be “a ‘high’ security risk” for users “because of a lack of testing.”

No private firm would launch under these circumstances — and if any did, law enforcement would be frog-marching company executives to jail within days.

2. What a person pays for a good or service should have no relationship to their income or wealth.

Obamacare’s subsidy system puts the “progressive” income-tax system on steroids and directly applies it to the purchase of a consumer product.

Each American household with an income above four times the poverty level must pay an unsubsidized premium based on both income and age. The vast majority of those below that level pay a net amount after subsidies based only on their income, with no age-dependent differences.

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Top Rated Comments   
Do you know how we know Leftists love poor people? Because they create so many of them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Obamacare’s architects either didn’t see any of these problems coming, or didn’t think they would matter."

They saw all of the problems coming & hope they matter enough to cause the system to crash. They can then rebuild it, as they see fit.

Repeat at every opportunity: We are being governed by criminals.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (12)
All Comments   (12)
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"Obamacare’s architects either didn’t see any of these problems coming, or didn’t think they would matter."

Or, they knew that these problems (or at least #3) were there and rejoiced that they would be able to use Obamacare to fundamentally transform American society by eliminating the incentive to work.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Imagine if government was in the entertainment business, and were responsible for making movies and selling tickets.

In order to go to a movie, you would have to enter a website and you could purchase tickets based on your income, adjusted for poverty level, and so on and so forth.

And maybe we can apply this adjustment of prices to gasoline, food, clothing and everything else, where if you don't make enough according to some government wonk, you get help paying for it, from others, that is until the others leave the country and take their toys with them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Massive, top-down changes will have unforeseen, predominantly negative consequences."

True. Just look at a previous massive governmental takeover -- the collectivization, or nationalization, of agriculture in the U.S.S.R. Aside from the famine, the executions, and the exile of millions of kulaks to Siberia, collectivization also disrupted the Soviet food supply for generations.

The collectivization of American medicine will similarly wreck our hospitals, research, doctor education, pharmaceuticals, and every other aspect of our medical care. The Stalinization, or Obamination, of medical insurance, medical care and the rest will help no one (except Obama?).
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Obama created a 2000 page boondoggle and then put the DMV in charge of running it, the post office in charge of its technology and the IRS in charge of its popularity.

The DMV gave us the long lines to nowhere, the Post Office lost the code packages and the IRS made everyone hate it and now they all plead the fifth when asked what went wrong.

Is there such a thing as a Cloward-Piven orgasm?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Look for the Stupid Party to work to "save" HusseinCare the same way they "saved" Social Security and Medifare. America doesn't need a third party, we need a second party! Let the party of McCain, McConnell, Rubio, and that odd little man who is the Speaker of the House go the way of the Whigs.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We need to replace the two parties we have now with two new parties.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Stupid Party now has a worthy rival.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Do you know how we know Leftists love poor people? Because they create so many of them.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Obamacare’s architects either didn’t see any of these problems coming, or didn’t think they would matter."

They saw all of the problems coming & hope they matter enough to cause the system to crash. They can then rebuild it, as they see fit.

Repeat at every opportunity: We are being governed by criminals.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The first lesson should be "They lie".
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I think what might help an understanding of this article is why Obama said if you like your plan you can keep it. And we should try to understand this because it is obvious he didn't mean it. So if he didn't mean there was some other reason for saying it.

Now I do not mean we should understand that he was trying to fool us. That we all know.

I mean something different. I mean like when George Bush was President he called the people in border states who were only protecting their property by humanly handling illegals on their land, he called them vigilantes.

Now they were not vigilantes. But George Bush was under enormous political pressure to call them such and the question is why? And the why is this. I am sure that when NAFTA was signed no Mexican President worth jack would sign on to it without reassurances from the US President that if the expected economic benefits weren't so forthcoming and if other than hoped for and promised, that the Mexican economy took hits that at the very least we (America) would look the other way if Mexican emigration into our country spiked.

Other than this is obviously true I have no proof. But remember the secret codicils attached to the Yalta Agreements weren't made public until the Bush administration.

In Obama's case the "You can keep you plan if you like it" is a strategy that addressed what happened when Hillary announced her Hillary Care plan when she was first lady and the Clinton's lost the House and Senate.

Also, years later when Hillary was a Senator she spearheaded a successful campaign to allow HMO plan members the right to sue their HMO if what their doctors wanted was rejected by the HMO governing body.

She failed to mention at the time that it was her and her friends that wrote the Federal enabling legislation creating HMO's and exempting the HMO from lawsuits that might have arisen from their denials of service, should that happen - would you imagine - so unexpected and all.

So the Democrats are a touch touchy about this whole area where the patient is screwed and whatever else is true and whatever else the consequences they decided to trend ever so lightly on all the negatives in Obamacare that touch on this area.

So he said if you like your plan you can keep it. The political consequences to saying, if you like your plan you can;t keep - especially if you like it - were too daunting given their prior experience with this kind of thing.

They will drown in it and anyone throwing them a life preserver is a traitor.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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