Despite its front-end facelift, HealthCare.gov is still missing massive, critical pieces on the back end of the site. Though the site finally seems to be functioning smoothly, it is merely a pretty face with a rotten core. Unable to properly link enrollees with insurers, the federal site still can’t determine how many of the 8 million sign-ups are actually signed up, having paid their premiums. So what exactly does 8 million refer to? To the number of people who have tried to pay? To the number of people who put all their information in on the site? We don’t know, and the president either can’t or won’t tell us.
But even if we knew the exact number of enrollees, we still don’t know the makeup of those who signed up. While the president touts misleading statistics—previously citing an inflated number of young and healthies who enrolled—nobody seems to know the ages, incomes, health status, or really any pertinent information about the enrollees.
This information dearth causes particular difficulties for insurance companies, who need to know the makeup of their insurance pools in order to set rates. What we do know is that rates will go up for plans issued under Obamacare, Kaiser Health news says, but nobody knows how much because insurers are working with about a third of the information they usually receive from enrollees. With most of the information stuck in limbo on a government site that remains broken, insurance companies are guessing what people’s rates should be next year—hardly a beneficial practice.
President Obama may be able to sneak this fake number and botched back-end past many in the media, but the American people will feel it right in their wallets the moment their rates are raised yet again. Perhaps it’s these burdens of Obamacare that account for the new ABC/Washington Post poll that says registered voters want a Republican controlled Congress to counterbalance the President by 53-39 percent. President Obama’s approval ticked down to it’s lowest yet at 41 percent, and approval for Obamacare is down from last month to 44 percent despite the administration’s much vaunted 8 million “enrollees.” The president has confused his reported high enrollment numbers with success, ignoring the fact that while millions may be signed up under threat of penalty, they are not sold on the failed law.
There is another way. Obamacare is a bad law, but it is just a law. It can and it will be repealed and replaced with genuine reform that not only functions, but helps the American people instead of burdening them with complexity and cost.