Never mind partisan maneuvering: when it comes to stopping Obamacare, it is in the best interests of the country that we win. Because the waves of pain are just going to keep on coming.
The first two weeks of healthcare.gov have passed, with no progress toward a usable website on which to enroll. The public is being told that they can also enroll via paper applications, but does anyone really think that the staff are in place to handle the volume of applications that must be completed to avoid the fines taxes that are part of Obamacare? Eventually, those paper applications will have to be converted to computer files, and is it likely that those computer systems will be up to the task? Or that the data entry personnel will handle the conversions without massive problems?
Next April, just as income tax returns are about to be filed, with required paperwork indicating the taxpayer has health insurance acceptable to the feds, there are likely to be millions of people claiming they tried to enroll, but could not.
The basic problem here is that the timeline – the intricate, convoluted, profoundly theoretical timeline – assumed that the exchange website would work. This article notes that the deadline of March 31, 2014 to get coverage or face the tax means that you have to enroll by February 14, 2014, “because coverage typically starts on the first day of a given month and takes up to 15 days to process.” It follows from that that anyone who wants to avoid a gap in coverage for January 1st must get a new policy by December 15th – if you assume that it’ll only take half a month for them to process the application. If you assume that it’s going to take more than a month, then the Obamacare exchanges need to be up, well, now.
This is why everybody in the business is talking about how the exchanges need to be functional – as in, processing applications and providing policies* – by November; because nobody really believes that it’s going to take only two weeks to straighten out all the paperwork. The longer they go without an Obamacare exchange site, the worse the crackup is going to get.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*That’s my definition of ‘functional.’ The Obama administration’s definition apparently is “we were able to get an account for you set up, complete with Social Security number.”