Taranto on the Three Phases of the Obamacare Trainwreck

March 8th, 2014

This is a pretty good outline for the sequel for my next book on Obamacare, Unraveled.

This column has analyzed the disaster of ObamaCare in terms of three phases. Phase 1, the technical failure, was evident as soon as open enrollment began on Oct. 1 and many of the exchange websites proved to have been incompetently designed. Technical problems continue to emerge, including, as noted here last week, the Internal Revenue Service’s tardiness in preparing the final instructions for Form 8960, which taxpayers must file if they owe the new ObamaCare “net investment income tax.”

Phase 2 is the revelation that ObamaCare’s central promise–“if you like your plan, you can keep your plan”–was fraudulent. In an effort to appease defrauded consumers, the Obama administration has announced a series of unlegislated exceptions to the law, which the president himself attempted to explain the other day….

Even the New York Timesacknowledges as much in an editorial today:

Ideally, President Obama would not have extended the period for retaining the less-comprehensive policies, but in the current political environment, he opted to take a step to protect health care reform against a Republican takeover in the Senate.

The third phase of failure is the slow revelation that the basic economic assumptions behind ObamaCare are wrong. A new survey from McKinsey & Co., conducted in February, found that only 10% of those who lacked insurance pre-ObamaCare had signed up for an exchange plan, and that of those who had signed up, just 27% were previously uninsured.

True, those numbers were up significantly from January’s figures, 3% and 11% respectively. Still, they’re low enough that the Washington Post sums it up: “The new health insurance marketplaces appear to be making little headway in signing up Americans who lack insurance, the Affordable Care Act’s central goal.”

Of late, I am now leaning towards writing the book to coincide with the 2016 election. That should be good timing.