Obamacare's Useful Idiots
As the HealthCare.gov catastrophe enters its third week, three obvious facts have emerged:
● First, very few users can even get past creating a privacy-invading profile which shouldn't be a necessary condition for shopping.
● Second, the vast majority of those who are getting in to explore their alternatives do not like what they see.
● Finally, the program's useful idiot defenders won't allow reality to intrude on their fantasies.
Take Tim Mullaney at USA Today. For the paper's October 4th print edition, Mullaney excused users' problems as "technical glitches likely to be gone by Thanksgiving" (i.e., almost two months after his column's publication), and pronounced the web site "an out-of-the-box success for consumers shopping for health insurance." In his view, "[T]he fundamentals (of) well-priced insurance, clearly explained ... are in place."
What kind of "well-priced" structure socks middle-aged married couples with $10,000-plus net premium increases for earning a single extra dollar of income? Answer: A structure which is so bad that it moved a San Francisco Chronicle financial advice columnist to suggest "working a bit less" to avoid losing a "huge subsidy." Additionally, as I noted in late September, that "well-priced" structure will encourage married couples to divorce, and will deeply discourage future marriages.
As to "clearly explained," the jury is still out, but my bet is that an awful lot of people won't fully grasp how brutal the increases in deductibles present in so many Obamacare policies are compared to their old plans — you know, the ones about which Obama lied when he said they could keep them — until they actually have to use their new one.
Using Obamacare for medical services is on track to become extremely problematic. Insurance companies say that HealthCare.gov is not providing them with what they need to enroll the vast majority of individuals and families who believe they will have coverage in the plans they have selected. One report claims that as few as "1 in 100" enrollment applications have sufficient information. Insurance industry officials who apparently no longer fear the wrath of failed HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius have revealed that "the backroom connection between the insurance companies and the federal government is a disaster." One believes that fully sorting out the exchanges' problems may take up to three years. If Obamacare were a private sector endeavor, the plug would have been pulled after three days.
Mullaney, who from what I can tell has made no visible attempt to amend his evaluation based on obviously damning subsequent events, is far from alone in his useful idiocy.
At the New York Times, Paul Krugman pronounced Obamacare a "success" based on one unidentified person he "talked to" in New Jersey who said she enrolled and "was very happy with the low cost." Wow. We surrender, Paul.
Meanwhile, Times editor Bill Keller, in an item which appeared on Saturday, long after the pervasiveness of HealthCare.gov's issues became widely known, decried "the frantic fictions of the right wing" and insisted that the web site's failures only "confirm that there is enormous popular demand."