EDITORIAL: Obamacare failing in Nevada, nationwide


Four months into the rollout of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Nevadans are all too familiar with what happens when Washington tries to remake a significant portion of the economy. As reported by the Review-Journal’s Jennifer Robison and Sean Whaley last week, the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange — the website created to enroll Nevadans in Obamacare — has been plagued by errors and extensive wait times.

Gov. Brian Sandoval put his foot down with website developer Xerox, saying, “They’ve made a promise to the state of Nevada, and I intend to make them fulfill that promise. Their reputation is at stake. The buck stops here, but we hired Xerox to build this system and ensure that it works, and right now it’s not.”

If the governor is legitimately shocked at this development, he shouldn’t be. Healthcare.gov, the national exchange, has been a disaster since its Oct. 1 launch, and it is well off the enrollment pace required to sign up 7 million Americans by April 1. Even if the national exchange reached its goal, Obamacare won’t be viable because younger, healthier people aren’t signing up in sufficient numbers to subsidize the costs of older, sicker enrollees. At least 40 percent of enrollees must be younger and healthier for the law to pencil out.

Likewise, Nevada’s exchange isn’t garnering anywhere near the number of paid enrollees needed to meet its first-year goal of 118,000 — or 323 people every day, including weekends and holidays. As of Jan. 18, the exchange had 13,159 paid policyholders, about 24,000 off the pace through 110 days, which means it must sign up 411 people per day through September to reach its goal. And just 26.8 percent of Nevada enrollees are younger than 35.

Democrats made Obamacare the law without a single Republican vote, then spent most of last year lampooning House Republicans for holding more than 40 votes to repeal Obamacare. You don’t hear such lampooning anymore — only desperate, vulnerable Democrats calling for fixes they previously insisted weren’t needed.

The House is still trying to roll back this nightmare, proposing bills that address the law’s most significant flaws, such as its various incentives for part-time work. On Tuesday, a Congressional Budget Office report projected the ACA would reduce the number of full-time workers in the United States by 2 million people by 2017 and 2.3 million by 2021 — nearly three times the CBO’s previous projected labor force impact of 800,000. Obamacare subsidies are partly to blame, the CBO reported, because they are “encouraging part-year workers to delay returning to work in order to retain their insurance subsidies.” That’s another way of saying Americans can’t afford mandate-heavy, ACA-compliant policies that President Barack Obama promised would be cheaper.

There’s a reason Obamacare is failing at every level. The law attempts to do too much all at once. The federal government has thrown the health care sector into complete chaos. The Affordable Care Act isn’t salvageable.

Keep those repeal votes coming, because no one’s laughing anymore.

 

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