Rep. Jim Moran is retiring after his current term ends, and I'll let Millie Hemingway remind you of the many reasons why that's good news. But perhaps the ticking clock on his career has freed the Virginia Democrat up to say things that don't necessarily hew the party line. On Obamacare's demographic struggles, Moran says he fears the problems may persist, disrupting the law's financial framework in the process:
More than 40,000 Virginians signed up for health insurance on the federal exchange last month. Only 27 percent of those were young adults — the group needed to fund the new system. Moran says he doesn't think those numbers are going to get much better. "I'm afraid that the millennials, if you will, are less likely to sign up. I think they feel more independent, I think they feel a little more invulnerable than prior generations," Moran says. "But I don't think we're going to get enough young people signing up to make this bill work as it was intended to financially."
It looks like even this guy isn't buying the White House's frantic expectations management maneuvering. A new Associated Press national survey shows that perceptions of the healthcare law and its rollout are still negative, reflecting virtually all polling on the subject. The AP headline says that opposition is "easing," but the stats speak for themselves: Obama is underwater by 18 points on his handling of healthcare (40/58), and voters disapprove of his signature law by a 15-point margin. Two-thirds of respondents say Obamacare's roll-out has gone poorly; just 17 percent say it's going well. Seventy-one percent of those polled who have attempted to sign up for Obamacare reported experiencing at least some problems, up nine points since December. And in case you were curious, the survey's sample was D+9. Why the relentlessly negative outlook? That question could be answered so many different ways, but here's another:
Families shopping for health insurance through the new federal marketplace are running into trouble getting everyone covered when children are eligible for Medicaid but their parents are not. Children who qualify for Medicaid, the safety-net program for the poor and disabled, can't be included on subsidized family plans purchased through the federal marketplace, a fact that is taking many parents by surprise and leaving some kids stuck without coverage. A California man says he was given false assurances that his children could be covered by the same plan he picked for his wife and himself, and a Florida father says his daughter is going without coverage while he waits for answers. And in New Hampshire, some parents who've enrolled in private plans for themselves alone are finding out later that their children aren't eligible for Medicaid after all, leaving their kids with no options.
Did you count the various Obamacare screw-ups mentioned in that short paragraph? Low income children are going without coverage because of incompetence and legislative loopholes that are catching parents off-guard. One guy was given false information about his kids' eligibility to be included on his family's plan. Another is waiting for answers as his daughter lacks coverage. Other parents were wrongly told their kids would qualify for Medicaid, leaving them with "no options." On a separate note, the Weekly Standard has done some additional reporting on the myriad data security challenges plaguing Obamacare's websites:
David Kennedy, the CEO of TrustedSec, an information security firm, said that the unintended opening at Healthcare.gov detailed in the story would allow malicious scammers to fool users with a "website that’s legitimate to make them believe its something else." He said the existence of this potential pitfall on the site is "absolutely amazing," and added that "an attacker can basically create a functioning website and host any content they want there and under the umbrella of healthcare.gov." At issue is the profile feature of the data.healthcare.gov section of the website that allows anyone to set up a custom made page intended to host "data-sets" based on the insurance plan information database on the website. Users can sort, group, and otherwise manipulate the data to create unique presentations based on various criteria. However, the lack of disclaimers and other safeguards allow marketers, or worse, scammers and identity thieves, to establish what would appear to be legitimate Healthcare.gov webpages which can be used to redirect users to other sites.
The Obama administration knew Healthcare.gov wasn't ready for public consumption and would not be secure prior to its disastrous launch. A Fox News poll released late last week shows that a large majority of Americans aren't skeptical that Healthcare.gov will manage to keep users' personal data private. Thirty-seven percent said they were fully or somewhat confident in the site's security (roughly the same percentage that supports the law overall), with 60 percent disagreeing.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography