Should Republicans Help Democrats Fix Obamacare?
If the argument over Obamacare could be confined to the political arena, it would be a no-brainer to say that Republicans should sit back and watch the Democrats stew in their own juices as the law implodes.
But we are far past the point of simple politics. The rollout of Obamacare has thrown the United States into an unprecedented crisis. Unprecedented because it has been caused by the monumental hubris of the Democratic Party, which actually believed it could legislate reform for one-sixth of the U.S. economy without ghastly unanticipated consequences. And the crisis is unprecedented because there is no similar case on record where the towering incompetence of a president and his administration has led the country into an inferno that we will be lucky to emerge from with only singed fingers.
Yes, a crisis, my Democratic friends. It's a crisis that threatens individuals, families, businesses, and the economy as a whole. No doubt, there are some Americans benefiting from Obamacare. The expansion of Medicaid is going to give minimal health care to people who had none before. Some Americans are going to see a reduction in their health insurance premiums thanks to the generous subsidies being offered. And the chronically ill won't have to pay any more for insurance than anyone else and they can't be turned down.
These are positives, although at what cost to the Treasury and the health care industry is one of those "unanticipated consequences" that Obamacare is unfortunately becoming famous for. And it's absurd to think we needed a 2,000 page bill that has tossed the health care industry on its head to realize those gains.
The crisis in Obamacare's rollout is a snowball going downhill as each successive problem leads to more consequences that breed additional problems. For example, Obamacare mandates have caused cancelled policies for millions of people -- and there will be tens of millions more when the employer mandate looms next fall. Those who got their insurance company "Dear John" letter were being told to log on to the exchanges in order to purchase new plans that would meet Obamacare's strict specifications.
But they can't do that now. The federal hub is down for the count and despite assurances it will be operational by the end of this month, Jim Geraghty links to a story about the geeks involved with the fixes who don't think they'll even be close to ready on November 30:
Software engineers and tech analysts scrambling to fix HealthCare.gov are discovering new problems by the day, as early fixes take hold and users are able to navigate more deeply into the troubled online application process, administration officials said Thursday.
“We are seeing volume go further down the application. What that means is we are identifying new issues,” said Julie Bataille, communications director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency overseeing the site improvement.
“As volume is exposed to the system, we are identifying new issues, adding them to the punch list and working through them,” she said.
It's not only the website. The information and calculations coming from the exchanges may be wildly inaccurate.
About 8,000 Washington residents will soon receive letters informing them that the price they are expecting to pay for health insurance purchased on the new online exchange marketplace is incorrect.
The letters are part of an effort by the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, which operates the exchange, to correct a major error that resulted in the miscalculation of tax credits that help qualified enrollees pay for insurance premiums.
To compound the problem even further, the well-known security problems with the site are even worse than anyone could have dreamed:
CBS News has learned that the project manager in charge of building the federal health care website was apparently kept in the dark about serious failures in the website's security. Those failures could lead to identity theft among buying insurance. The project manager testified to congressional investigators behind closed doors, but CBS News has obtained the first look at a partial transcript of his testimony.
Henry Chao, HealthCare.gov's chief project manager at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), gave nine hours of closed-door testimony to the House Oversight Committee in advance of this week's hearing. In excerpts CBS News has obtained, Chao was asked about a memo that outlined important security risks discovered in the insurance system.
Chao said he was unaware of a Sept. 3 government memo written by another senior official at CMS. It found two high-risk issues, which are redacted for security reasons. The memo said "the threat and risk potential (to the system) is limitless." The memo shows CMS gave deadlines of mid-2014 and early 2015 to address them.
But Chao testified he'd been told the opposite.
We last heard from Mr. Chao back in March, when he expressed the hope that navigating on the exchange wouldn't become a "third world experience." At this point, it would be a gigantic step upward if that worry would become reality.
Now, he is being lied to by his own people about the "limitless" security risks on healthcare.gov. The administration is deliberately encouraging people to use a website where the chances appear excellent that their personal information will be hacked. Lambs to the slaughter.