The editors of the LA Times make a somewhat overwrought plea to postpone the individual mandate:
Not long after she uttered that infamous phrase, Pelosi got her way. She stampeded House Democrats to vote for a massive, complex Obamacare plan that few lawmakers in either party had time to understand. She and Democratic Senate leaders ramrodded Obamacare without a single Republican vote.
Democratic lawmakers voted for a bill without a clear idea of how well it would work.
Now they know.
Obamacare is faltering under its own bureaucratic weight. Massive computer problems are preventing people from signing up for coverage in the new online marketplaces. Worse, many people who finally manage to log in suffer sticker shock at high insurance premium or deductible prices.
Congress can start to fix this mess by delaying the mandate that everyone have insurance or pay a penalty. As it is now, people must sign up for insurance by March 31 to avoid penalties.
The feds already have granted a one-year reprieve on the companion mandate that employers provide insurance or pay fines. The administration has allowed any number of carve-outs for other special pleaders.
A delay in the individual mandate isn’t a special break. It’s simple fairness.
In the rush to pass Obamacare, Democratic leaders reassured lawmakers that Americans would love it, once they understood it.
Uwe Reinhardt gives Obamacare an “F” on the midterm:
Woe to the members of the management team in a corporation if problems with a project are hidden from the chief executive when they become known, exposing the chief executive to embarrassing public relations surprises. Heads would roll. The board, however, would assign the blame for such problems not primarily to the management team and instead to the chief executive himself or herself. He hired and supervised the team.
From that perspective, the blame for the disastrous rollout of HealthCare.gov goes to its entire management team, to be sure, but primarily to the chief executive on top of that project. In my view, not only the proverbial buck stops on the chief executive’s desk, but, for the management of this particular project, the grade of F goes there as well.
It is worth reminding readers, however, that grades on midterm papers or tests do not constitute the overall grade in a course. Students receiving an F on a midterm paper or test often end up with a respectable overall course grade, spurred on in part by that very failure.
Similarly, with enormous effort and, one hopes, constant future supervision by the chief executive, there is hope that the technical problems encountered so far can be fixed in time, with the celebrated A-team of software experts now on the scene.
As I’ve said before, I think these assessments are grossly premature. All they’re rating is the user experience. That’s only the tip of the PPACA iceberg. Beyond the user experience there’s the inner workings—the accuracy of the information presented, data exchange with insurance companies, and so on. The user experience could behave flawlessly but if the guts of the system remain broken the system itself will remain broken.
In the final analysis we won’t really know whether the PPACA is working unless more people have healthcare insurance after it’s fully implemented than did before and it’s actuarially sound. That won’t be for years.