Complaints about Obamacare Rollout Glitches Merely a Smokescreen

Oct. 25, 2013
by Bob Adelmann

The complaints, charges, accusations, finger-pointing, and back-pedaling associated with the stumbling start of Obamacare are real and accelerating. They are also irrelevant, and a smokescreen hiding the real underlying problems with Obamacare itself.

Late night comedians are mining this disaster for all it’s worth. They have struck gold, and they are permanently damaging Obamacare’s image, and along with it the president’s. The obvious incompetence of Kathleen Sebelius is breathtaking. The $1 billion cost of the website is beyond comprehension. That Democrats are backpedaling away from this disaster is just one consequence. That the glitches in the rollout were caused by the White House decision to hide the premium increases behind the government subsidies only makes things worse.

Here are just a few of the problems facing Obamacare that the current media flurry is hiding. First, some 16 million people are going to lose their present coverage. The notices are already going out. That’s because their present policies don’t meet the mandates of Obamacare and so in order to keep their coverage they will have enroll in new policies. This exposes another Obama lie. Back in July 2009 Obama said:

Let me be exactly clear about what health care reform means to you. First of all, if you’ve got health insurance, you like your doctors, you like your plan, you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan.

Nobody is talking about taking that away from you.

Well, they’re certainly talking about it now. Health policy expert Bob Laszewski estimates that 85 percent of the 19 million individual health insurance policies presently in force don’t qualify under Obamacare mandates.

And doctors? People won’t be able to keep their present doctor if he has left the profession because of Obamacare. So both statements and promises made by the president are turning out to be lies, further damaging his credibility.

The next big problem? Sticker shock. And the exposure of another Obama lie. On July 16, 2012 Obama said:

You should know that once we have fully implemented, you’re going to be able to buy insurance through a pool so that you can get the same good rates as a group that if you’re an employee at a big company you can get right now — which means your premiums will go down.

The best estimate is that premiums will double for men and increase by 50% for women. When that fatal fact is discovered by those 16 million trying to replace their coverage, the assumption is that they will gripe, complain, moan … and pay. That’s the assumption. In fact, this is the sandy soil upon which the rickety structure of Obamacare is built. It’s a simple case of mathematics, as Dave Ramsay has pointed out in his nine-minute video (see link below). It’s not about Democrats versus Republicans, or liberals versus conservatives. It’s the unyielding iron law of math: in order to cover sick people, healthy people are going to have to pay more.

But what if they don’t? What if massive numbers decide instead to let their present coverage lapse and go naked? After all, they’re healthy now, and the penalty for going naked is much lower than the premiums. And if they get sick they can join up then.

Here’s the danger: the insurance companies have built their premiums around certain participation assumptions, but they really won’t know how close they are until the numbers are in – by April, 2015! What if they’re wrong? What if their revenue streams fall far short of their claims experience? What will happen then to premiums? If they’re high now, wait until then.

Efforts to delay Obamacare, such as those offered by Senators Rubio and Manchin, may turn out to be misguided and foolish. Some are calling for Obamacare to be implemented immediately, as fast as possible, and then let the whole structure “collapse from its own dead weight,” as so eloquently expressed by Rep. Howard Coble (R-N.C.). Rep. Jimmy Duncan (R-Tenn.) agrees: “The more the problems in Obamacare are opened up to the people, the better the chances are of eventually repealing it.” Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.), head of the House Administration Committee added:

My own view is that the only way we’ll get rid of this thing is for people to rise up. If Democrats totally own [Obamacare] in 2014, the people will get the full idea….

Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) sees Obamacare as a marketing failure of the first order:

If people won’t sign up for something that’s free for a lot of people, if you can’t convince people you’re giving them something and they won’t sign up for it, I can’t imagine how it’s going to succeed.

Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax Media, thinks Obamacare’s flaws will end it:

The key to stopping Obamacare is for its opponents to win in congressional elections in 2014. Delaying Obamacare only helps the Democrats who support this boondoggle….

By election day next year, young people who backed Obama will have seen the law’s full wrath in skyrocketing insurance premiums or the fines they will have to pay for not carrying insurance….

Let Obamacare be implemented and allow the voters to decide come 2014.

In marketing classrooms across the country this principle is taught: the best way for a flawed product to disappear from the shelves is to market the dickens out of it. The sooner customers see that it’s flawed, the sooner they will reject it. Think New Coke. Think Edsel. Think Obamacare.

A graduate of Cornell University and a former investment advisor, Bob is a regular contributor to The New American magazine and blogs frequently at, primarily on economics and politics. He can be reached at



Newsmax: White House Extends ‘Individual Mandate’ Deadline

Newsmax: Christopher Ruddy: Don’t Delay Obamacare

Newsmax: Sen. Joe Manchin Unveils Bill Delaying Obamacare Penalty on ‘O’Reilly’

The Weekly Standard: Millions of Americans Are Losing Their Health Plans Because of Obamacare

The Washington Times: Obamacare concern: Health care users start to get kicked off insurance plans

WorldNetDaily: Obamacare wipes out more than 1 million plans

The Washington Post: Here’s how the White House just tweaked Obamacare

Forbes: Double Down: Obamacare Will Increase Avg. Individual-Market Insurance Premiums By 99% For Men, 62% For Women

Newsmax: Obamacare Contractors Blast Obama’s Leadership for System’s Woes

Newsmax: Final Cost of Obamacare Website Tops $1 Billion

Newsmax: House Republicans to Newsmax: Let Obamacare Take Effect and Die

6 of 10 doctors say many will leave profession because of Obamacare

The Washington Post: President Obama’s claim that insurance premiums ‘will go down’

Dave Ramsay’s video: You still have to do the math!

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