The Oba­macare as­ter­isk

Ev­ery­thing the ad­min­is­tra­tion says about it comes with a catch

The Washington Times Daily - - Editorial -

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.

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