Politics & Policy

Make Obamacare Voluntary

The failed website is the least of its problems.

Three weeks after the launch of the Obamacare exchanges that were three years in the making, the Obama administration is in full spin mode trying to contain the damage caused by the flawed $400-plus million Healthcare.gov website.

After myriads of structural problems and security concerns — even shutting down the entire website for repair — there is broad bipartisan agreement that Obamacare isn’t ready for prime time.

Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs referred to the rollout as “excruciatingly embarrassing.” Jon Stewart said Democrats can’t “spin this turd.” And just 12 percent of Americans believe the launch has gone well, according to a new CBS News poll.

Despite this failure, President Obama remains committed to using the power of government to force every American to buy an expensive product they overwhelmingly do not want. And if they do happen to want it, well, be prepared to wait weeks or months until the website is no longer defective to sign up.

Appallingly, the Obama administration — just not the president himself, we’re supposed to believe — was warned about the troubled website by experts and insurance companies long before the October 1 public launch; yet they decided to go full speed ahead with the exchanges anyway. As we’ve seen from Day One, advancing a political agenda rather than doing what’s best for the American people is this presidency’s top priority.

All of this led to President Obama’s holding a half infomercial, half pep rally at the White House this week, replete with a 1-800 number and the same recycled talking points from the past three years. Unsurprisingly, no personal responsibility was taken nor was a timeline for a fully functioning website outlined.

The president was introduced by the only person in the entire state of Delaware who was able to outlast the website crashes and enroll in the state’s exchange. It only took her eleven days, seven hours of trying, and clearing her computer’s temporary data. Many of the other human props standing on stage with the president hadn’t even enrolled yet, but the White House called them “success stories” nonetheless.

However, one of President Obama’s talking points at the event did ring true: “The Affordable Care Act is not just a website. It’s much more.” Finally, some straight talk.

The disastrous Healthcare.gov website is actually a symptom of a larger disease known as government-run health care.

If government bureaucrats have proven too incompetent to launch a website, then imagine them trying to manage one-sixth of the entire economy by centralizing health-care decisions in Washington, D.C. Obamacare is leading to a doctor shortage, full-time jobs being cut to part-time, workers losing their jobs, and insurance premiums going up or plans being canceled altogether.

Indeed, it’s more than a website.

The sad reality is that Americans will still be suffering under Obamacare long after the millions of lines of broken code on Healthcare.gov are fixed.

Every day I hear from hardworking Americans across the country whose lives have been turned upside down thanks to Obamacare. Jennifer from my home state of Minnesota is just one of the many heartbreaking examples. She recently wrote to tell me her 55-year-old mother-in-law is losing her job at the end of the year and will likely have to sell her home.

I also recently heard from Cara, a stay-at-home mom in Texas. Her husband is the sole provider for their family of four, and their health-care premiums have gone up by 70 percent this year.

These stories of job loss and rate shock have largely been overshadowed by the website debacle, but they are not fixable like broken code. They are Obamacare’s main features.

In the coming months it will become increasingly clear to the American people why the House has consistently held firm on the need to dismantle Obamacare — it seems everyone but the people who voted for Obamacare saw these devastating consequences coming.

As more Americans struggle under Obamacare’s burden, I believe the pressure will build on President Obama to give the same relief to average Americans that he already gave to big business.

There’s no sugarcoating it: Obamacare is forcing every American to purchase a health-insurance policy they don’t want at a price they can’t afford from a website that doesn’t work.

If President Obama is so intent on selling his troubled health-care law to the country, why not sign up for it himself? Until then, why not make it voluntary for the rest of us?

— Representative Michele Bachmann represents Minnesota’s Sixth Congressional District and is the chairwoman of the Tea Party Caucus.


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