ObamaCare’s State Exchange Meltdown

While HHS is trying to sell their ObamaCare ‘masterpiece’ to the public as a beautiful Da Vinci, the actual result is looking more like one of those Salvador Dali pieces in which half of the items in the frame are melting. Different states are each running into different problems, but overall the state-level news surrounding ObamaCare over the past couple of weeks should be distressing to proponents of the law.

  • We’ll start in Oregon – one of the first states to enthusiastically embrace the new health care law. The state’s government voted last Friday to scrap their CoverOregon insurance exchange website and let the feds take over. According to the LA Times, “Although the state has spent an estimated $248 million to get the operation up and running, it never enrolled a single private insurance customer online.” By deferring to the feds to run their exchange, Oregon joins 34 other states in which the federal government is not legally allowed to distribute its premium subsidies for individuals who buy health insurance. (The IRS plans to ignore the law and give out the subsidies anyways – more on the court case aimed at stopping that HERE.)

  • Ironically, Massachusetts, whose “RomneyCare” heath care system was the model for much of ObamaCare, may join Oregon. Its exchange website, similarly, has been a total failure, and Massachusetts officials are preparing to use the federal exchange if they fail to achieve a workable result in-state by 2015.

  • Maryland’s exchange website has suffered similar problems, and even Democratic Congressman John Delaney has suggested that the state abandon its state-run website for the federal exchange.

  • Nevada – one of the few Republican-controlled states to go along with creating its own exchange, is experiencing its own problems getting people enrolled in private insurance plans. Thanks to the lack enrollees in the state’s exchange, insurance premiums are expected to spike for many residents next year – which one insurance executive estimates may cause 90,000 Nevadans to lose their current employer-sponsored insurance.

  • The latest bad news is from D.C. Here, the exchange website is actually working just fine, which is exactly the problem. Because of the low population and demographics of the District, its exchange website does not come even close to being self-sustaining. While other states levy only a few percent taxes on insurance policies to fund their exchanges, Washington D.C.’s government is having to consider a massive tax hike to cover its website’s operating costs.

This slew of failures is likely on the beginning. As 2014 goes on, insurance companies will begin releasing their expected premiums for 2015, and people in many states will experience a painful sticker shock for the second year in a row. By design, ObamaCare could never have worked any other way – giving expensive and often subpar coverage to some, in exchange for massively rising health care costs for everyone else.

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