As promised, here's a second tranche of Obamacare news. Yesterday, we focused on the depth and breadth of Obamacare's technical failures -- an important storyline, to be sure. But fixating exclusively on the trainwreck aspect is a mistake. This law is harmful and damaging for reasons far beyond the shocking incompetence of its launch:
(1) While we're on the topic of the online exchange meltdown, you'll likely be interested in the Washington Examiner's report that the Obama administration only entertained one contract to build the now-infamous federal exchange website. Several years and nearly $100,000,000.00 later, Obama's no-bid contract has produced a complete mess. Lest you'd forgotten, liberals railed against no-bid contracts during the Bush years, muttering endlessly about Dick Cheney and Halliburton, for instance. Barack Obama pledged to reform the government procurement process; like many Obama promises, it has gone unfulfilled. The result is the monument to government ineptitude known as healthcare.gov.
(2) CNN estimates that a paltry 117,000 Americans have enrolled in Obamacare so far -- a statistic that may or may not suffer from the duplication issue that's plagued the suppressed-then-leaked federal numbers. In individual states, things continue to go badly. In most states, enrollment data is incomplete or unavailable.
(5) The San Francisco Chronicle has discovered a brilliant method of lowering one's healthcare costs under the new law: Earn less money. To come out ahead under this scheme, individuals or families would have to reduce their income to the point that it dips below the maximum threshold for government assistance. What a message that sends. Work less, earn less, get more from
Uncle Sam hard-working taxpayers.
(6) Finally, and importantly, we're witnessing more premium shock for average people. We wrote about Obamacare's terrible consequences for a disabled mother of a young child on Friday; now the Chicago Tribune introduces America to some additional victims of the president's "Affordable" Care Act:
Adam Weldzius, a nurse practitioner, considers himself better informed than most when it comes to the inner workings of health insurance. But even he wasn’t prepared for the pocketbook hit he’ll face next year under President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. If the 33-year-old single father wants the same level of coverage next year as what he has now with the same insurer and the same network of doctors and hospitals, his monthly premium of $233 will more than double. If he wants to keep his monthly payments in check, the Carpentersville resident is looking at an annual deductible for himself and his 7-year-old daughter of $12,700, a more than threefold increase from $3,500 today. “I believe everybody should be able to have health insurance, but at the same time, I’m being penalized. And for what?” said Weldzius...a Tribune analysis shows that 21 of the 22 lowest-priced plansoffered on the Illinois health insurance exchange for Cook Countyhave annual deductibles of more than $4,000 for an individual and $8,000 for family coverage. Those deductibles, which represent the out-of-pocket money consumers must spend on health care before most insurance benefits kick in, are higher than what many consumers expected or may be able to stomach, benefit experts said.
Premium shock is only one part of the puzzle. Out-of-pocket sticker shock is just as pernicious, and just as unaffordable for many working families.