Amy Goldstein's lead front-page piece in today's print edition of the Washington Post isn't featured on the Post's website. This is unusual—featured pieces in the print edition are most often featured online as well. It’s unfortunate that Goldstein's fine reporting has almost disappeared from the home page of the website, since it constitutes a devastating indictment of Obamacare.
The headline summarizes the piece well: "Health plans for high-risk patients attracting fewer, costing more than expected." These health plans are a major feature of Obamacare, as they are intended to make it easier for people with preexisting health conditions to purchase insurance. Instead, they seem to have managed to achieve the liberal big-government public policy trifecta: the plans aren't helping nearly as many people as they were supposed to; they're costing more than they were supposed to; and the big government solution to this will be ... to seek more clients through advertising, so as to expand the size of an inefficient program and break the bank even more quickly.
Is this program just one minor feature of Obamacare? No, it's central to its claims to expand health insurance while controlling costs. And as Goldstein writes, "According to some health-policy researchers, the success or failure of the pools also could foreshadow the complexities of making broader changes in health insurance by 2014, when states are to open new marketplaces—or exchanges—for Americans to buy coverage individually or in small groups."
The data so far? "In the spring, the Medicare program's chief actuary predicted that 375,000 people would sign up for the pool plans by the end of the year. Early last month, the Health and Human Services Department reported that just 8,000 people had enrolled." Nonetheless, the plans will cost more than the $5 billion budgeted for them. But fear not: government bureaucrats "are doing more marketing. Michigan is running Internet ads through Google. North Carolina is advertising on billboards across the state and on cable television."
Your Obamacare tax dollars at work.
Memo to the 112th Congress: Repeal, defund, and replace!