Commentary: The Obamacare turkey comes home to roost
Over the Thanksgiving holiday, a critical White House government website of great national interest received significant attention from the public. It is no surprise — the very tenets of President Barack Obama’s message of hope were on the line.
Major public policy concerns were on the table, and it was essential that this website worked flawlessly. Indeed, the website worked perfectly, and a serious national debate was settled as a result.
I am referring, of course, to the National Thanksgiving Turkey website (www.whitehouse.gov/turkey) that pitted two pardoned turkeys named Caramel and Popcorn against one another for the title of National Thanksgiving Turkey.
At no time did this website crash. It functioned perfectly, allowing visitors to cast their votes for their preferred turkey via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
If you were indecisive, you could listen to audio files of each turkey’s unique gobble before making this important choice.
Remains a work in progress
Meanwhile, the government website to enroll Americans in health insurance following the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, remains a work in progress.
Obviously the White House had to prioritize the resources it deployed when trying to manage a cyber-canary-fight between two pardoned turkeys and health insurance for millions of Americans. Only one of these efforts had a working website.
As far as the Obamacare web portal, well, this turkey’s not done yet.
While a presidential pardon may save a turkey, it can offer no salvation for the complete failure Americans have witnessed in the deployment of Obamacare. Here in Connecticut, we are witnessing a Macy’s parade of ballooning problems that do not seem to end.
Do the math: Promises not kept
Right as the holiday season began, the state Legislature’s Insurance and Real Estate Committee held a public hearing on the status of the changes from Obamacare and Connecticut’s own health exchange portal.
Despite predictions from administration officials that continued to promise a full plate with all the trimmings, the news was bad.
The main point of Obamacare, we have been told, is that more people will be covered by health insurance, and at a lower cost. That isn’t happening.
There are only 16,480 new enrollees at this point, compared to the 38,000 policy cancellations as a direct result of the implementation of Obamacare, impacting more than 70,000 individuals.
One only needs to do a little math to see that this means fewer people are insured now in Connecticut than before. That isn’t much to give thanks for.
Additionally, with most enrollees skewing toward the higher age brackets, the impact will be more expensive healthcare overall as a higher percentage of pool participants avail themselves of treatment than originally planned. Very few younger, healthier people have signed up through the exchanges.
False and untrue
We have been told that we could keep our own doctor if we liked our doctor. That is clearly false. We have been told that we can keep our own coverage if we like it. That has also been shown to be untrue.
When you add in that the federal website is still not working entirely correctly, Americans are getting the short end of the wishbone.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy has been proudly touting that under the exchanges more people have enrolled in private insurance than for Medicaid. Of course, what he doesn’t tell you is that, pursuant to Obamacare, Connecticut expanded the Medicaid population to single adults two years ago, adding over 48,000 people to Medicaid.
Had those people signed up now instead of then, those selecting Medicaid would far outpace those selecting private insurance.
Deserve a better choice
Americans continue to be overwhelmingly opposed to Obamacare, and as new aspects of the law reveal themselves, the numbers of those opposed increase.
We need a common sense approach which reforms malpractice insurance, encourages free market competition and highlights consumer choice. Americans deserve more than the choice between two turkeys.
State Rep. Jason Perillo, a Republican, represents the 113th District that covers most of Shelton.