Editors’ note: This article has been updated since its initial publication.
One year from today — and perhaps much sooner — Senators Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and other Republican “extremists” will look like heroes. For trying to defund the (un)Affordable Care Act, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid smeared them as “anarchists,” and both liberals and some weak-kneed Republicans have offered their own denunciations. But as the S.S. Obamacare traverses dangerous seas, these brave conservatives will look increasingly like dockhands who begged passengers to avoid a reputedly invincible craft. “Stay off the ship,” they shouted before it embarked. “It’s going to sink!”
While the GOP’s role in this month’s partial federal shutdown has cut its public support, Republicans who stood athwart this program yelling “Stop!” will look prescient as the Obamacare
’s staterooms grow sopping wet. Its engine room already is nipple-deep in ice water. Instead of providing powerful pistons to propel the massive liner, Healthcare.gov resembles an outboard motor that wheezes, coughs, and mainly conks out.
“The federal health care exchange was built using 10-year-old technology that may require constant fixes and updates for the next six months and the eventual overhaul of the entire system,” Internet gurus told USA Today’s Kelly Kennedy. Some website-weary consumers have dialed Obamacare’s call center at 800-318-2596. (Believe it or not, this spells 800-F1U-CKYO). This, in turn, redirects people to Healthcare.gov.
Dogs chase their tails more efficiently than this.
“The administrative-bureaucratic tangle will only become more complex as more people enroll, providers start billing insurers, patients show up in doctors’ offices thinking they have coverage they don’t, and the IRS starts fining Americans for not having insurance,” an October 17 Wall Street Journal editorial predicted.
Consumer Reports advises: “Stay away from HealthCare.gov for at least another month, if you can.”
The gashes in Obamacare’s hull will scream for attention as its maiden journey becomes a voyage of the damned.
• Plenty more Americans will get letters like the one I received Monday:
“Your existing policy will end and be replaced with a new policy and new premium rates upon renewal in 2014,” reads my insurer’s notice. “These changes are required by federal health care reform, called the Affordable Care Act.”
“If you like your health-care plan,” Obama famously promised, “you’ll be able to keep your health-care plan. Period.”
Well, I like my health-care plan, and I am unable to keep my health-care plan. Period.
Cancelled insurance: This is what Obamacare looks like.
And I am not alone.
According to Anna Gorman and Julie Appleby of Kaiser Health News, Pittsburgh’s Highmark insurance and Philadelphia’s Independence Blue Cross are canceling “guaranteed issue” policies, mainly insurance plans belonging to those with pre-existing conditions. In California, Blue Shield ended coverage for 119,000 individuals, and Kaiser Permanente tossed 160,000. Florida Blue terminated 300,000 men and women, or 80 percent of its individual market. The Newark Star-Ledger reports that some 800,000 New Jersey residents recently learned that Obamacare has killed their individual and small-group plans.