The first Obamacare enrollment numbers are out—and unsurprisingly, they’re under-whelming. Just 26,794 people “selected” plans through HealthCare.gov since the website launched. An additional 79,391 have selected plans through a state-based exchange—but the Administration qualifies these numbers by saying that all of these people haven’t necessarily paid for a plan yet. The act of putting it in a shopping cart got them on the list.
In a speech three weeks ago, President Obama compared buying health insurance online through the exchanges to “the day after Thanksgiving sales for the latest PlayStation or flat-screen TV.” But comparing today’s anemic numbers to a true giant of the retail trade only shows the depth of the federal government’s Obamacare ineptitude.
According to The Fiscal Times, McDonald’s sells an average of 75 hamburgers every second. That’s 4,500 hamburgers per minute, or 270,000 per hour. In other words, people selected fewer Obamacare policies in one month—that’s 44,640 minutes—than McDonald’s sells hamburgers in half an hour.
True, McDonald’s sells hamburgers all over the world, not just in the United States. But today’s Obamacare numbers are themselves inflated—because they include people who haven’t actually paid for an insurance plan. Today’s data include as “enrollees” those who have merely placed one insurance option in their online shopping cart—even though the Administration’s own chief technology officer admitted this morning that retailers like Amazon do not count items in customers’ shopping carts as “sales” until those items are actually paid for.
It’s outrageous that the federal government has proven so incapable of designing a website that functions properly. But the bigger tragedy is that millions of people are losing their insurance coverage—as many as 16 million losing their individual health insurance plans, according to one estimate. The exchanges’ failure leaves these struggling Americans with fewer options to buy replacement coverage—and the options they will find on the exchanges, if and when they can access them, will in many cases be vastly more expensive.
It’s becoming clearer every day that this law is fundamentally unworkable. Not only should HealthCare.gov go; so should all of Obamacare.