That's because insurance companies cannot survive Obamacare without the individual mandate. Under the law, they must offer insurance to anyone who needs it -- often at an artificially low price at that. The only way they can make a profit is if the government upholds its promise to get millions of young, healthy people to sign up for more expensive insurance than they need. Take away the mandate -- i.e., the penalty -- and you make that virtually impossible. If the government tells insurance companies they still have to provide insurance to bad risks, it will be like the government telling Apple it has to sell iPhones at a loss. The insurance companies will sue. And as Dan McLaughlin of The Federalist notes, their lawyers will invoke the Obama administration's arguments before the Supreme Court that the mandate was inseparable from the "must-issue" requirements under the law.
But even if, somehow, the insurance companies can be compensated for their losses on that front, the fact remains that the only people willing to put up with the North Korean-level customer service are people understandably desperate for health insurance. Those people aren't likely to be young and healthy.
So, sure, the website is just one small part of Obamacare. But your jugular is only one small part of your anatomy, too.
Meanwhile, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius says the "A-Team" is on the way to fix the problems, and President Obama says the "best and brightest" are on the case. And any day, Vice President Joe Biden will probably reassure us that Santa is on top of things.
Maybe, just maybe, they'll manage to trim 5 million lines of bad code out of an estimated 500 million lines of code in a project that experts say should have taken 100 million lines. Maybe they'll plug the numerous and galling privacy holes in the product. Maybe operators will be able to do more than refer people back to the website.
But the clock is ticking.
And the Republicans who insisted that this monstrosity had to be delayed are looking just a little bit more reasonable with every passing tick.