October 23, 2013

JAMES TARANTO: ‘The Site Was Very Easy to Use:’ The Obama administration draws a red line and defies reality to intrude.

The Obama administration is even deeper in denial about the ObamaCare fiasco than the president’s shockingly bewildered speech yesterday indicated. Witness the new ad touting HealthCare.gov, the nonfunctioning website (don’t worry, they put it on YouTube). “The site was very easy to use,” declares Deborah Lielasus, a self-employed quinquagenarian New Hampshire woman, who, according to the YouTube blurb, “will save hundreds of dollars each month” and “has better coverage, lower deductibles, and lower co-pays.”

Did she really find the site “very easy to use”? We suppose this is subjective, and maybe she has preternatural patience or is some kind of computer savant. But National Review’s Sterling Beard managed to track her down, and she “said it actually took her three days to enroll.” The ad would be deceptive if it weren’t so unbelievable to begin with.

There’s another problem here: Lielasus is purportedly getting a free lunch: better coverage with lower premiums, deductibles and copayments than someone with her risk profile would be able to negotiate absent price controls. But people can get a free lunch only if other people pick up the tab. The technical term for those other people is “suckers.” In the case of ObamaCare the suckers are young and healthy people who normally would be cheaper to insure.

Another ObamaCare ad suggests that they’ve found at least one sucker. Meet Daniel McNaughton, 22, a Florida college student who was able to buy insurance from the federal exchange.

According to NR’s Beard, however, McNaughton is not a typical 22-year-old. He has served as “the webmaster of his local Democratic party,” as “the chairman of the Young Democrats of Lee County and as a delegate to the 2012 Democratic National Convention.” In other words, he has a political motivation to participate in ObamaCare. If he’s a sucker, he’s like the sucker who joins a religious cult and gives it all his money.

But it turns out he isn’t a sucker after all, for his lunch is, if not free, at least highly discounted. He says in the ad: “Getting coverage this good at this price, I’m thrilled.” Beard reports McNaughton is receiving a $200-a-month subsidy from taxpayers on a $270 insurance plan. His premium may be enough to balance out some older person’s price-controlled one, but it’s paid for in part with money borrowed from the Chinese.

It’s Potemkin villages all the way down.