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White House has known for months that Obamacare won't work
Some crackerjack reporting by National Journal's Margot Sanger-Katz, who details what the White House has been doing to try and implement Obamacare.
Basically, they are stealthily streamlining the legislation, ignoring some provisions, delaying others, and generally trying to avoid a complete, chaotic, disaster.
In short: It's far worse than you can possibly imagine.
Example: Here's a flow chart for the "simplified" state insurance exchanges:
As promise after promise solemnly made by President Obama while looking citizens right in the eye during his speech before a joint session of congress on September 9. 2009 fall by the wayside, the true scope and complexity of Obamacare is coming into focus:
As far back as March, a top IT official at the Department of Health and Human Services said the department's current ambition for the law's new online insurance marketplaces was that they not be "a Third-World experience." Several provisions had already been abandoned in an effort to simplify the administration's task and maximize the chances that the new systems would be ready to go live in October, when customers are supposed to start signing up for insurance.
In April, several consultants focusing on the new online marketplaces, known as exchanges, told National Journal that the idealized, seamless user experience initially envisioned under the Affordable Care Act was no longer possible, as the administration axed non-essential provisions that were too complex to implement in time. (Read the story for some examples and commentary.)
That focus has intensified lately, as officials announced that they would not be requiring employers to cover their workers next year or states to verify residents' incomes before signing them up for insurance. "There's been a focusing in not on: 'What is the full ACA vision?' but: 'What are the pieces we have to get running by October 1?" said Cindy Gillespie, senior managing director at McKenna Long and Aldridge, who is working with states and health plans.
In an ideal world, the exchange websites need to be able to talk to several federal agencies—IRS to verify an applicant's income and employment status, the Department of Homeland Security to determine her citizenship, and the state government to see if she qualifies for Medicaid, to name a few—all in real time, so a person could fill out a form and purchase insurance in one sitting.
Each of those departments has its own computer system and its own means of tracking information. Creating a "data hub" to share them has been a challenge, as a recent Government Accountability Office report highlighted. It is increasingly clear that the kind of Amazon.com, one-stop shopping that was once described – and that Obama himself referenced in a speech on Monday -- will not be available in most parts of the country.
"It's the joyous, simultaneous, nonlinear equation from hell," said Kip Piper, a former top official at HHS and OMB who is now a consultant in close contact with IT vendors. Piper said it's no surprise that the administration has given up on certain functions given the technological complexity needed and the short time-frame.
Got that right, Kip.
What we have here is not only dishonest government, but out of control government as well:
The struggles with technology and administrative complexity have not come as a recent surprise to administration officials; they've been negotiating them for months already. By eliminating non-essential tasks, they may be violating the letter of the health reform law, with its rigorous timetables and multiple requirements, but they may be more likely to get the core functions right.
Well, I guess because everything will turn out alright then it's perfectly OK to ignore "the letter of the health reform law." This is what is known as a consequentialist worldview, where the end justifies the means, and moral relativism trumps obeying the law.
What a fantastically dangerous precedent President Obama is setting. And the really sad thing is - Obamacare isn't worth it.
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