I would remind members of my team that it is *very, very* early . . .
. . . but, for now, a little schadenfreude is one of life's pleasures.
Still, one should not get carried away. While it is satisfying to observe the administration’s incompetence, it’s a mistake to focus too much on Obamacare’s messy rollout. Computer glitches can and likely will be fixed.
A bigger problem for the program might be the lack of people enrolling. The administration has refused to provide any estimate of how many people actually signed up for insurance, but anecdotal reports suggest that there has been less than overwhelming enthusiasm. After one week of the exchanges, Kentucky was being widely hailed as leading the country in Obamacare enrollment. Still, just 8,309 people had signed up, about 0.2 percent of the state’s population, and just 1.3 percent of the estimated 650,000 Kentuckians without insurance. On the other end of the scale, not one person was reported to have signed up in Kansas on the program’s first day, and only a handful since.
Advocates marketed the Affordable Care Act (ACA), known colloquially as "Obamacare," to the American public as a way to "bend the cost curve" of soaring health care costs downward. But despite its supporters' hopes, the 2010 legislation was fiscally reckless, markedly increasing the government's already-unsustainable health spending commitments at a time of record deficits. Three years later, the fiscal harm stemming from the ACA is as bad as-and even worse than-many experts predicted. The problem lies with the nature of the law itself, promising trillions in new government benefits while relying on dubious financing mechanisms. These problems were not only foreseeable, they were indeed widely foreseen.
One thing you have to remember about Obamacare is that much of the financial pain, such as steep penalties, is back ended so that by the time people wake up to reality, the law has been operating for years and it’s too late.
Here’s yet another example, the subsidies for state exchanges disappear in 2015, and that’s going to bust state budgets.
The flawed enrollment reports illustrate that the site is bedeviled by problems that go beyond what the Obama administration has acknowledged in explaining the creaky performance of the exchange so far.
Yet increasingly, they are saying the root cause is not simply a matter of flawed computer code but rather the government’s habit of buying outdated, costly and buggy technology.
Government has a long history of spending money unnecessarily. But in an age when the U.S is home to the world’s largest, most successful Internet companies, how is it possible that we can’t even manage to build a functional website without blowing through hundreds of millions of dollars?
The best answer I’ve found comes from the Department of Better Technology, a private company that builds software for governments – a competitor, in other words, to CGI Federal, which specializes in building software solutions for major industry sectors including defense, energy and environment, financial and, of course, healthcare. Still, biased though it may be, the argument makes a lot of sense.
As one of the company’s authors wrote in a recent blog post, the failure of Healthcare.gov isn’t because the people in our government are inept mouth-breathers who regard the work as a meaningless burden, but because the factors that play into which companies receive government contracts, a process called “procurement,” are fundamentally broken.
Finally, a bit of hope: "Obamacare could be converted to free-market system".
If Republicans think smart, they could hoist Democrats on the Obamacare petard while moving American health care onto a much more sustainable footing.