EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 16, 2013

Editorial: There's more wrong with Obamacare than some broken websites

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — We were treated last week to a singular spectacle in American history: A president took to the airwaves to apologize for the failings of his signature program and the harm it has caused millions of citizens.

But what President Obama offered Americans who are losing their health insurance by the hundreds of thousands is not a fix for his misbegotten “Obamacare” scheme but merely a promise to ignore the law, giving its victims a year’s reprieve before the hammer well and truly falls.

Under the provisions of the Affordable Care Act that took effect Oct. 1, insurers can no longer sell health plans that do not meet the government’s standards. These plans may not have been perfect, but they worked for those who do not get insurance from their employers and purchased it on their own. And the president and his supporters had sold Obamacare on the promise that “if you like your current health insurance, you can keep it.”

That was a lie from the outset. And now millions of Americans are learning its consequences. They are receiving letters from their insurers notifying them their health insurance is cancelled. And when they turn to the “exchanges” set up under the law, they find the websites crashed or inoperable. Those few who are getting new plans are finding they are far more expensive than the insurance they replaced.

This is nothing short of a disaster. But it reveals the rot at the core of the American Left: An obsessive desire to control every aspect of ordinary Americans’ lives combined with rank incompetence in achieving those ends.

We suppose we ought to be grateful for the incompetence. The ineptitude of the Democrats in implementing their social engineering plans is the only thing that has preserved a modicum of personal freedom in America.

The Obamacare debacle speaks no better of Republicans, who have been unable to convince the public that what the pitchmen on the other side of the aisle are selling is nothing but snake oil. They have further been unable to convince the electorate to choose limited government and free markets over statist offerings. There’s nothing wrong with the product; it’s the sales force that is failing.

There’s far more wrong with Obamacare than some poorly designed websites, for the program itself is truly snake oil. It is based on the simplistic notion that something of value can be had for little or no cost. In the real world, there are no “free” condoms or birth control pills or mammograms or any of the other wondrous promises in Obamacare. Someone is paying for those products or services. Eventually, those getting the bills figure ways to beat the system.

The success of Obamacare depends on the young and healthy signing up for insurance in sufficient numbers to subsidize the costs of the old and sick. But the young and healthy may neither want nor be able to afford insurance. Paying the penalties for noncompliance may be the wise option. The few who do get sick can simply sign up for insurance when they need it. The ban on rejection of coverage for pre-existing conditions makes that easy.

Count on hearing about more Obamacare woes, even after the exchange websites are fixed. The best solution now would be to scrap the Affordable Care Act altogether in favor of a bipartisan solution that targets specific problems in the health insurance market while leaving Americans free to choose the coverage they want and can afford.