The Obamacare asterisk
Everything the administration says about it comes with a catch
About 40,000 customers are said by the government to have signed up for Obamacare in the 36 states that depend on the federal government’s online site for signing up for health insurance. That’s not much more than a thousand per state in the first six weeks. It’s less than one customer for each of the 50,000 Obamacare “navigators” who were hired to persuade consumers to share President Obama’s signature achievement, and how to do it.
Like any claim by this administration, there’s an asterisk. The 40,000 figure doesn’t actually mean that 40,000 actual people have bought actual Obamacare policies. It only means that many insurance shoppers struggled through the error messages on the broken healthcare.gov website to put a policy in their online shopping cart. It doesn’t mean they hit the “buy” button, nor have they have paid for anything. It’s more like a wish list.
The number of customers signing up for Obamacare is far outpaced by the number of those erased from their insurance policies because the terms of coverage failed to meet Mr. Obama’s personal expectations. Cancellations now number more than 4 million, 10 times the number of even the most generous tally of sign-ups. The resources wasted on this fiasco are astonishing.
Some $67 million in federal tax dollars have been funneled to a variety of community-organizing and other leftist groups through the navigators program. Had the 50,000 navigators been paid just to sign up themselves, the numbers would be far more impressive than they are. We have to wonder what these navigators do with all the free time on the job, since they’re not exactly drumming up a lot of business.
The guerrilla documentarian James O’Keefe, recognized earlier for his undercover videos that exposed fraud and misrepresentation by the community-organizing group ACORN, sent his Project Veritas hidden camera to Obamacare registration offices in Dallas and Irving, Texas, to see what they could see. What he found was vintage ambush journalism, worthy of Mike Wallace and “60 Minutes.”
Posing as a health insurance shopper, Mr. O’Keefe’s undercover operative asked navigators in the Dallas office of the National Urban League what effect unreported income would have on his eligibility for federal subsidies. “Don’t get yourself in trouble by declaring it now,” one navigator, identified only as “Mrs. Dorothy,” told him, laughing. “Since you haven’t been reporting [off-the-books income], don’t start now.” At the Irving office, when the O’Keefe investigator confided that he smokes a cigarette occasionally, the navigator tells him not to acknowledge the cigarette on his application because insurance companies are allowed to charge smokers 50 percent more than tobacco teetotalers. The navigator, one Sabrina Hill, told him: “You lie, because your premium will be higher.”
The navigators are not likely to pay a price for their candor in encouraging applicants to break the law. The many Obama scandals, from the betrayal of Americans at Benghazi to the fatal scandal of Fast and Furious, have shown that there’s only one firing offense in the Obama administration, and that’s telling the truth. Earline Davis, a worker at an Obamacare call center, was fired last month after telling radio host Sean Hannity that nobody she talked to liked Obamacare.
The more the public learns about the health care takeover, the less they like it, no matter how the White House spins it. The administration promises it will have updated enrollment numbers available Friday. We can expect to see a few asterisks.