Senator John Thune
This month, hundreds of thousands of families throughout the country began receiving notices that their current health insurance coverage would be canceled. Despite the president’s repeated promise during the 2009 debate on health care, “If you like the plan you have, you can keep it,” families throughout the nation are being forced to abandon their current coverage. This has required many of them, scrambling under the weight of a looming individual mandate deadline, to look to the national health care exchanges for help.
Unfortunately, the tool that many had hoped would be a resource to aid them in their health insurance search has proven to be an epic failure. The October 1st launch of the national health care exchange website, healthcare.gov, was heralded by the administration as a critical component of ObamaCare that would increase access to coverage and expand the number of available options through a user-friendly online website. Instead, the highly-anticipated launch was riddled with errors, long wait times, and so-called “glitches.” Despite the ongoing problems with the website, the administration continues to claim that many of these “glitches” are due to the overwhelming traffic on the website. Yet they have refused to say how many Americans have actually enrolled in the exchanges since the beginning of October.
In fact, in North Dakota, the administration requested that the state’s largest health insurer refrain from publicizing the low number of people that have signed up for health insurance through the online exchange. The administration’s blatant attempt to conceal the number of online applicants illustrates how poorly both the website and the law were designed.
Even the administration’s attempts to “fix” the website have resulted in misinformation and confusion. CBS News reported that one of the most recent “fixes” to healthcare.gov gives the wrong pricing information for those who want to browse the prices before signing up. Everyone 49 and younger gets a quote for a 27 year-old, while everyone 50 and older gets a quote for a 50 year-old. This poor planning and development is a clear attempt to mislead people before registering online.The administration’s rollout of healthcare.gov is symptomatic of what we already knew about ObamaCare, the law is not the solution to our health care problems. According to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, 56 percent of Americans believe that the website’s glitches reflect greater problems with ObamaCare. On October 23rd, the White House announced that it would be delaying the individual mandate for six weeks in order to allow people more time to comply with the law. While the administration claims that the delay is not on account of the website glitches, it is clear that the law, like the website, was not ready for primetime and should be permanently delayed for all Americans.