Today’s Congressional hearings provided more revelations about Obamacare, and in particular, the healthcare.gov web site. As Paul noted, tech chief Henry Chao testified as much as 40 percent of the IT systems required to support the federal exchange do not yet exist. Beyond that, serious questions were raised about the web site’s security, and a March report by McKinsey came to light that suggested the Obama administration had ample notice that healthcare.gov would not be ready for prime time.
I don’t know how many McKinsey reports you have seen; I have read quite a few of them, as they often surface in civil litigation. In my experience, they tend to be heavily bureaucratic but with flashes of color of the sort that trial lawyers like. You can read McKinsey’s report on the progress of healthcare.gov here. It doesn’t take much reading between the lines to figure out that the Obamacare web site was in deep trouble. I like this page, which contrasts the way a massive project of this sort should be carried out with the way the Obama administration was developing healthcare.gov:
A fair paraphrase would be: You, President Obama, are doing every single thing wrong.
While the web site issues give rise to an entirely appropriate sense of schadenfreude, they are of relatively little importance. I assume that eventually, by brute force and the expenditure of billions of dollars, the administration will be able to create a web portal that more or less functions. But the real problems with Obamacare have little or nothing to do with the web site; they have everything to do with the substance of the law.
The first wave of revulsion occurred when it became evident that millions of Americans in the individual and small group markets were losing their health insurance, contrary to the Democrats’ oft-repeated promise that if you like your health insurance, you can keep it. The falsity of that promise has dealt a devastating and well-deserved blow to Barack Obama’s credibility, and the lie will haunt every Democratic Senator or Congressman who runs for reelection next year.
For the next year or more there will be a rolling fiasco as millions of Americans lose their coverage not only in the individual market, but in the employer-sponsored market that covers most people. The Obama administration predicted in 2010 that over half of all Americans who have employer-sponsored group plans will lose them during Obamacare’s first year; those tens of millions of people will be distinctly unhappy. That will be the second wave of disgust with Obamacare.
The third wave of revulsion will overlap with the second; it will come when people realize–again, in both the individual market and the employer-sponsored market–that Obamacare has made their health insurance coverage more expensive. President Obama’s promise that the average family will save $2,500 annually in insurance premiums is an absurdity. Anyone with any sense can see that Obamacare will be more expensive than what came before, not less expensive. The $2,500 promise will soon be as notorious as the “if you like your insurance, you can keep it” pledge. The only ones who save money will be those who are heavily subsidized by their neighbors. They will be ashamed to admit who they are.
This disaster will unfold inexorably. It has nothing to do with the web site; rather, it is the intended consequence of the Democrats’ plan. All Republicans need to do is stay out of the way as Obamacare implodes and drives Democrats from office. When Democrats plead for help in “fixing” Obamacare on a bipartisan basis, Republicans must just say No.