This article first appeared at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013:
“Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!” Sir Walter Scott, meet Barack Obama. By trying to hide the real costs – far higher than most expected and way above the savings Obama initially promised – of signing up for Obamacare, Obama ordered his techies to force applicants to apply first before shopping. That way any subsidies due would hide the real cost of Obamacare.
Thanks to Forbes magazine for first discovering this. It wasn’t “glitches” caused by too many people trying to sign up. It wasn’t accidental, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be fixed anytime soon. It might even force the delay that the Republicans were seeking. What irony that would be!
Here’s the real story behind the glitches:
The [administration’s] decision to force people to apply before shopping proved crucial because, before users can begin shopping for coverage, they must [first] cross a busy digital junction in which data are swapped among separate computer systems….
If any part of the web or systems fails to work properly, it could lead to a traffic jam blocking most users from the marketplace.
The Oracle Identity Manager is the key component behind HealthCare.gov. It routes a person’s private financial data to various different systems, including a credit-rating agency, so that any subsidies available could then be applied against the premium before the applicant even sees what he’ll have to pay. The only problem is that the OIM is being forced to “speak” to various other computer systems, each of which was designed for separate purposes by different entities over a long period of time. It’s like trying to teach a jazz band to play Gershwin.
Best estimates are that trying to fix it is going to take months. It could take longer than the law allows, which would force the White House to delay implementation. Already Kathleen Sebelius, the head of HHS, is being pressured to delay, even getting letters from Democrats (!) to delay the thing until the software problems are sorted out.
And Republicans are seeing their chance to even the score a little bit over their dreadful loss in the battle just a week ago. Darrell Issa, head of the House Oversight Committee, said “We are concerned that the administration required contractors to change course late in the implementation process to conceal Obamacare’s effect on increasing health insurance premiums.”
What Issa didn’t say was that the original plan was for applicants for coverage to shop for insurance they way they do in the private market (think Esurance.com): put in your zip code and start shopping. But that plan was scrapped when it was clear that Obama’s lies about cheaper insurance would be exposed. They decided that the political risk of that exposure was greater than the digital risk, thinking perhaps that they could cover up the tech problems by calling them “glitches.” Enter Sir Walter Scott.
Just how high are the premiums? The most careful study shows that women will pay 50% higher premiums for the same coverage, while men will pay twice what they are currently paying – that’s 100% higher. Does the president ever do anything that isn’t tainted with fraud and deceit?
Kathy Kristof, a journalist at CBS’s MoneyWatch, tried to sign herself up for Obamacare and got a lesson in reality. To her credit, she wrote candidly about her experience:
The promise [made by Obama] that you could keep your old policy, if you liked it, has proved illusory. [She didn’t use the word “lie” – she wants to keep her job, after all.]
My insurer, Kaiser Permanente, informed me in a glossy booklet that “At midnight on December 31, we will discontinue your current plan because it will not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act [soon to be commonly referred to as the Unaffordable Care Act].”
My premium, the letter added, would go from $209 a month to $348, a 66.5 percent increase [another Obama lie exposed] that will cost me $1,668 annually…
Meanwhile, the things that mattered to me – that I would be able to limit my out-of-pocket costs if I had a catastrophic ailment – got worse under my new Obamacare policy. My [present] policy … had a $5,000 annual deductible for sick visits and hospital stays. Once I paid that $5,000, my plan would pay 100 percent of any additional costs. That protected me from economic devastation in the event of a catastrophic illness, such as cancer.
[But] Kaiser’s Obamacare policy has a $4,500 deductible [after which it] covers only 40 percent of medical costs for office visits, hospital stays and drugs. Out-of-pocket expenses aren’t capped until [I] pay $6,350.
That adds $1,350 to the additional $1,668 that I’m paying in premiums, making my personal cost for Obamacare an additional $3,018 a year.
This, by the way, is for the bare-bones policy under Obamacare – the Bronze plan. Premiums for plans that offer lower deductibles would cost almost twice as much….
Financial guru Dave Ramsay condensed all of that into a nine-minute video in which he explains why premiums must go up under Obamacare. It has nothing to do with liberal versus conservative, Democrat versus Republican. It has to do with math. In order for sick people to get covered, healthy people have to pay more. That’s an iron law of economics.
As Ayn Rand famously said, when politicians start handing out goodies, it’s wise to ask “At whose expense?” Now we know.
There’s delicious irony in that Obama may be forced to do to his pet bit of authoritarianism what the Republicans weren’t able to: delay the monster. It also proves that Sir Walter Raleigh was right once again.