After more than three years and billions of taxpayer dollars, President Obama’s health care exchanges are scheduled to open for business this week, but don’t expect much fanfare out of the administration.
Although the president insists that everything is “working the way it’s supposed to,” a former HHS official has already warned that we will see a “redefinition of what ‘start’ means.”
That’s not the only thing being redefined.
The health care law was sold on three core promises: costs would go down, Americans could keep coverage they had and liked, and jobs would be created.
Instead, premiums are skyrocketing by as much as 400 percent, individuals are losing the health care coverage they currently have, and full-time jobs are being lost.
Employers across the country have been forced to refrain from hiring and are revisiting their coverage options in order to comply with the law’s costs – household names like the University of Virginia, Wegmans, Trader Joe’s, SeaWorld, UPS, Delta, Walgreens, and the Cleveland Clinic, to name a few.
Warnings about how this law will cause a ‘part-timing of America’ are coming from some of the president’s staunchest allies, such as labor unions and his hometown newspaper.
After falling behind schedule while spending over budget, the administration embarked on a frantic race to October 1.
It’s not surprising, then, that the security and functionality of the law’s many programs and data hub are in question.
It does not instill confidence that the administration was scheduled to certify the security of the health IT systems just hours before millions of Americans are expected to upload their personal information.
The administration was also months behind in doling out grants to Navigator groups for outreach and enrollment assistance, resulting in a reduction in training time by more than half and creating additional privacy concerns.
It was months behind in testing the calculator used to determine pricing online, raising questions about its accuracy. The administration even delayed the verification process entirely, choosing instead to rely on an ‘honor system’ in order to distribute taxpayer subsidies to applicants.
The vulnerabilities are startling, and one estimate says the potential for fraud could cost taxpayers $250 billion.
At the time of the final debate, then-Speaker Pelosi famously warned that we would “have to pass the law to find out what is in it.” The law was constructed behind closed doors, based on special interest deals, out of sight from the American people.
Implementation has been no different. The administration has used every opportunity to bury the law’s failures and act unilaterally to amend it along the way.
It has given waivers and delays to politically favored friends but left the rest of America to bear the full weight of the law. To quell the public’s growing discontent, the president is now mocking efforts to protect families from this looming train wreck as “crazy.”
Whether it’s ready or not, the president’s health care law will enter a new phase of implementation this week.
The American people face costly and onerous mandates, small businesses struggle to keep up with rising costs, doctors frustrated with the challenges of a government-run health care system, and the security of Americans’ health and financial information is unknown.
Add October 1 to the list of dates on which the Obama administration pretends a unworkable health care scheme is precisely what the American people were promised; an admission not yet made, but inevitable nonetheless.
Republican John Kline represents Minnesota's Second District in the U.S. House of Representatives where he also serves as chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee.
Republican Dave Camp represents Michigan's Fourth District in the U.S. House of Representatives where he serves as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.
Republican Fred Upton represents Michigan's 6th congressional district in the House of Representatives. He is chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.