The Wall Street Journal reports today on the latest “Obamacare” glitch to emerge—this one striking at the heart of the law’s coverage expansions:
Less than two weeks before the launch of insurance marketplaces created by the federal health overhaul, the government’s software can’t reliably determine how much people need to pay for coverage, according to insurance executives and people familiar with the program….
Four people familiar with the development of the software that determines how much people would pay for subsidized coverage on the federally run exchanges said it was still miscalculating prices. Tests on the calculator initially scheduled to begin months ago only started this week at some insurers, according to insurance executives and two people familiar with development efforts.
“There’s a blanket acknowledgment that rates are being calculated incorrectly,” said one senior health-insurance executive who asked not to be named. “Our tech and operations people are very concerned about the problems they’re seeing and the potential of them to stick around.”
Less than two weeks before the exchanges “go live,” officials at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are months behind schedule and scrambling to “fix” the software that will run exchanges in 36 separate states. In other words, 11 days before the October 1 launch date, HHS still doesn’t know if the exchanges will work—if individuals will be able to see how much their insurance options will cost them.
The Journal’s report reveals multiple ironies. First, HHS has released multiple reports in recent months claiming that Obamacare coverage will be “affordable”—yet its systems still can’t determine what people will actually pay for their own insurance policies.
Second, HHS did not disclose these “glitches” to Congress in recent weeks. The contractor developing the federally run exchanges testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee last week, and the head of the HHS office in charge of exchanges testified before the same committee on Obamacare implementation just yesterday. Neither official mentioned the massive pricing “glitch” in their statements to Congress—a far cry from the transparency candidate Obama promised when he pledged to hold health care negotiations on C-SPAN.
Regardless, it’s once again clear that given the series of implementation failures and glitches, Obamacare is not ready for prime time—and never will be. It’s why Congress should act now and refuse to spend a single dime on this unworkable law.