Recent testimony before Congress has revealed that more than six weeks after launch, the administration is not ready to perform key operations of Obamacare. The backend payment system for delivering subsidies to insurers has not yet been built. There is no way for any of them to pretend they didn’t know it wasn’t ready.
Starting at about the 3:15 mark in the above clip:
Gardner: How much do we have to build, today, still. Is it 50%, 40%, 30%…?
Chao: I think it’s — just an approximation — we’re probably sitting somewhere between 60 and 70%, because we still have to build the systems.
Gardner: 60% that needs to be built?
Chao: Because we still have to build the payment systems, to make payments to issuers in January.
Gardner: Let me get this straight, 60 to 70% of healthcare.gov still needs to be built.
Chao: It’s not really healthcare.gov, it’s the federally facilitated marketplace.
Gardner: But the entire system that the American people are being required to rely upon, 60 to 70%…
Chao: healthcare.gov, the online application, verification, determination, plan and compare, getting enrolled, generating enrollment transactions — that’s 100% there. What I’m talking about …
Gardner: But the entire system is 60 to 70% away from being complete.
Chao: There’s the back-office systems, the accounting systems, the payment systems, they still need to be done.
Gardner: Of 60 to 70% of the systems that are still being built, how are they going to be tested?
Chao: You mean the remaining 30 to 40%, how are they going to be tested? In the same exact manner as we tested everything else.
Chao briefly allowed Gardner to say the system was 60-70% incomplete, when he meant it was 30-40% incomplete. But, the part of the system remaining unfinished, rendering the federal exchange useless, includes the all-important billing and accounting portions.
These payment systems are the ones that were designated under Obamacare to deliver subsidies to the insurance companies. Despite the hype about people getting “tax credits” to buy health insurance, it is really the insurance companies that are subsidized based on the income of the individual taxpayer, who is forced to buy their product.
Enrollment, despite the administration’s shifting definitions, doesn’t happen until the customer actually pays for the insurance. So no one who will be relying on subsidies to pay for insurance has enrolled in Obamacare.
Five million have lost their insurace coverage, and must now buy something else, many times at twice the price. To do that, they would have to contact their insurer directly. But finding out who offers insurance in their area really means going through healthcare.gov, attempting to enroll, and then contacting the insurance company — and probably going through another enrollment process.
I thought Obamacare would fail to work, because no one would buy it. Even I didn’t believe it would fail this hard, this fast. These failures go far beyond the threshold for firing Secretary Sebelius.
Delay, whether it’s legislative or an illegal administrative fix, will not help. Businesses, individuals, insurers, state regulators, and everyone else needs to know what the law will be next year and the year after that.
Obamacare should be repealed, and both parties should discuss common sense reforms to our health care system.