How Can We Trust This Program?

ObamaMart’s back end has yet another “glitch,” this time one that impacts whether a potential Obamacare health welfare plan buyer gets the subsidy the Obama administration says is due him.

The Philadelphia Inquirer found this one in its own explorations for a story on the various income scenarios that would draw a Federal subsidy.

Incorrect poverty-level guidelines are automatically telling what could be tens of thousands of eligible people they do not qualify for subsidized insurance.

The error in the federal marketplace primarily affects households with incomes just above the poverty line in states like Pennsylvania that have not expanded Medicaid.  The mistake raises the price of their insurance by thousands of dollars, making insurance so unaffordable many may just give up and go without.

It appears, for now, to be a mistake limited to ObamaMart’s window shopping tool and not the part of the back end that calculates whether there will be a subsidy at all, and if so the subsidy actually to be paid a buyer who actually buys and pays the premium.  The error seems to be centered on the tool’s use of the 2014 Federal Poverty Guideline, rather than the Obamacare-mandated 2013 levels.

This particular error is easy to correct, but it shouldn’t have occurred at all—apparently nobody at CMS cared enough even to check the simple things, like this one, before they decided it would be a good idea to foist this Web site off onto the public.  And apparently nobody at CMS has cared enough to go look in the months since it’s become so embarrassingly well-known what a failure ObamaMart is (quite apart from the disaster that is the underlying Obamacare).

That it was discovered not by ObamaMart’s CMS developers or testers but by someone in the private sector is illustrative of the level of seriousness with which Obama, his HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, or anyone else in HHS or Treasury or the IRS has (not) taken this program.

In the end, though, this “glitch” demonstrates a larger problem: no matter the good intentions, no matter the strength of the consensus that a program is a good idea, Government is simply no good at doing this sort of thing.  The tasks must be left to private enterprise operating in a free market economy.

Indeed, that’s where the needs will be best identified, and producers, sellers, and buyers will coalesce to provide the most efficient implementation.  Or not, if the market—us private citizens—don’t agree that the need exists at plausible prices.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *