January 4, 2014

JAMES TARANTO: The Perverse Exemption: Political palliatives won’t cure ObamaCare’s ills.

Remember Edie Sundby? She is the stage 4 gallbladder-cancer survivor who wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed two months ago in which she revealed that “my affordable, lifesaving medical insurance policy has been canceled effective Dec. 31.” While we were vacationing in chilly Southern California, we went to see her in San Diego to get an update on her insurance situation.

That the Sundbys’ broker, a seasoned insurance professional, was unaware of all this more than a month after the ObamaCare exchanges opened for business (and more than 3½ years after the law was enacted) suggests yet another serious systemic problem with ObamaCare: The government appears to have done a woefully inadequate job of educating even professionals in the field, much less ordinary consumers, about the law’s complicated and often destructive provisions. And this is in California, the state ObamaCare apologists have touted as the great success story.

“The health exchanges are so confusing, and the policy provider network details are not available,” Mrs. Sundby wrote us in an email the day after we met. “None of us who lost our insurance plans really know what we have bought on the exchange until after Jan. 1, 2014, when we start finding new doctors or making appointments with our established doctors.”

Mrs. Sundby knows better than most. An intelligent woman with a longstanding and complicated medical condition, she is about as savvy, motivated and well-informed as a health-insurance customer can get. Most Americans who get sick in the future will be far less well-prepared than she for ObamaCare’s cruel surprises. Political palliatives like the mandate exemption, even if it ends up being universal, aren’t going to help. Happy New Year.

Read the whole thing.