About Those ‘Glitches’

Will They Kill Obamacare?

Posted: October 23, 2013

The National Journal’s Ron Fournier speculates that Obamacare is in worse shape than the White House will admit. A clue is President Obama’s decision to do his interpretive pitchman act on Monday.

In other words, Ginsu knives, Armourcote 2 ... and Obamacare — all one and the same. Taking in Mr. Obama’s remarks, we would not have been surprised in the least had he said, “And for that extra-low price of $19.95, we’ll toss in a free prostate exam for you guys out there. And for you gals, a free mammogram.”

The truly woeful part of all this is that Mr. Obama did, in fact, use the word “free,” as in: “Already, because of the Affordable Care Act, preventive care, like mammograms and birth control, are free through your employers.” A nice applause line, but no such service comes “free.” Sooner or later, somebody pays — and it’s usually the taxpayer or health-care consumer.

Nor is anything cheap, or as cheap as the president wanted us to believe when he said, “nearly six in 10 uninsured Americans will find that they can get covered for less than $100 a month. Think about that. Through the marketplaces, you can get health insurance for what may be the equivalent of your cellphone bill or your cable bill.” The rest of the story, as it were: While the premium may be the “equivalent” of “your cable bill,” the co-pays and/or deductibles are sky-high.

And all this assumed consumers can “navigate” HealthCare.gov, which few have been able to do. The “kinks” and the “glitches” are such, says Mr. Fournier, that the White House either has no definitive data to share about how many people have signed up for the federal exchanges, or it does have the numbers and they’re dreadful. Either way, it’s an embarrassment. And the Obama team’s strong suit is ... technology?

The irony is that these “kinks” may, in time, necessitate a delay of the individual mandate, something Mr. Obama told House Republicans he’d never order.

But technology, in time, may prove the least, or just the first, of the president’s worries. Convincing “young invincibles” to fund the mammoth program by buying insurance, rather than simply paying the penalty, is critical to the endeavor’s ongoing viability.

What if they’re irreconcilably “unconvincible”? That’s no mere “glitch,” but rather a death knell.

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