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An Inauspicious Beginning

We give a cordial welcome to any new readers who might have been redirected to these pages by some strange glitch in the Obamacare web sites. No health care insurance plans can be found here, and we are quite unable to provide any subsidies, but we can offer plenty of commiseration to anyone frustrated by the federal government’s inept attempts at running the nation’s health care system.
Tuesday was the much-ballyhooed debut of Obamacare’s “health-care exchanges,” a key feature of the controversial law’s convoluted scheme, and by all accounts it did not go well. The computerized marketplace established by the government to enroll Americans in an approved health care policy was overwhelmed by traffic, marred by a variety of other technical problems, and proved infuriatingly confusing to those lucky enough to make a connection. Even the highly supportive staff at the MSNBC news outfit gave up on trying to demonstrate the program’s success after being put on hold for 35 minutes.
Should the fiasco shake your faith in the almighty power of the federal bureaucracy to micro-manage the one-sixth of America’s economy that is our once-vaunted health care system, which might even cause you to question its ability to run the other five sixths, be assured that some carefully-crafted excuses have already been offered.
One attempt to find a silver lining somewhere in the gathering storm clouds is the official line that the computer system was simply unable to cope with so darned many people trying at once to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities that Obamacare so generously affords. Too much “interest” in the exchanges was how they put it, as if the interest was a result of widespread enthusiasm for the law rather the heavy fines it will impose on anyone who doesn’t slog through the obligatory labyrinthine to obtain coverage, so what might look to an uninformed observer like an abject failure is actually proof of too much success. When Venezuela’s socialistic price controls resulted in a toilet paper shortage earlier this year its government officials cited the problem as proof that they had succeeded all too well at feeding the people, but the Obamacare apologists might well have broken this previous world record for audacity.
Another explanation was that too many of the people seeking health coverage on the exchanges simply weren’t sophisticated enough to deal with the process. One might expect that the largely elderly, or low-income, or unemployed population that would be most in need of the exchanges’ offerings were not the most computer savvy among us, but apparently the possibility was never considered by the people now in charge of running health care in America. This is not reassuring.
Obamacare’s eponymous President Barack Obama downplayed the problems by noting that even such exemplars of the private sector as the Apple computer and telephone empire have experienced similar technical problems. No one is compelled by law and the threat of fines to deal with Apple, however, and that provides the company with an incentive to find a quick fix which does not exist for the firmly entrenched bureaucrats running the Obamacare scheme. These words come to you through an Apple-made device which has proved far more reliable and efficient than any branch of the government, and we would prefer that some similar self-interested companies were competing for our health care dollars without governmental interference.

— Bud Norman

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