Way worse than website woes

Andy Matthews

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Way worse than website woes

What would we do without Nancy Pelosi?

The California congresswoman — who once profoundly said of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it” — made headlines again the other day, and once more she was offering incisive wisdom regarding the law popularly known as Obamacare.

Unless you’ve spent the past few weeks in a galaxy far, far away, you know that the Obamacare rollout has been plagued by the most epic website failure in history. This has left the dozens of Americans hungry for the law’s higher premiums and higher deductibles unsatisfied, and even has some of its most vocal supporters decrying the Obama administration’s incompetence.

Fortunately, Pelosi has a solution. Asked at a press conference about the malfunctioning website, the former House speaker boldly suggested: “I think somebody should fix it.”

Such sage advice simply shouldn’t be given away for free.

Now, as ripe for ridicule as that Pelosi remark may be, let’s abandon logic and actually consider it seriously. Let’s go ahead and pretend that her wish might sometime soon be granted.

The “it” that Pelosi would like “somebody” to “fix” is, of course, Healthcare.gov, the website through which insurance seekers ostensibly can sign up for coverage under the federal health-care law.

But to what end?  Once the website is “fixed” and operating the way it was intended to — then what? If we’re to believe Pelosi and other Obamacare enthusiasts, it’ll be all sunshine and lollipops from then on.

Unfortunately, reality will look much different. That’s because website flaws are the least of the problems with the Obamacare scheme. In fact, those of us enjoying a hearty chuckle over this increasingly embarrassing tech debacle should also remember what’s even more important — that even if “somebody” manages to “fix” the website, nobody can “fix” Obamacare. The real problem — or, I should say, problems — are in the design of the law itself, not of the mechanism through which people are expected to follow it.

The law hinges on drastically increased premiums on the healthy, young and generally poor in order to subsidize health-care costs for the sick, old and generally affluent. I'm sure Obama’s young supporters are thrilled to learn that they're now subsidizing their parents and grandparents.

And then there are the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are losing their health insurance, because of Obamacare.

The website failure is significant, but in the long run, its significance is likely to be more symbolic than anything else. Its most valuable lesson is that a national government that can so badly botch a website launch should not be entrusted with running our health-care system.

Take care, and I’ll see you next time.

Andy Matthews
NPRI President

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