It's already too late for ObamaCare
Why, I'm old enough to remember when the "drop dead" date was November 15. That date was bandied around by a lot of experts, at the beginning of October, as the point beyond which it would be extremely difficult for insurance purchases to be completed in time to ensure January 1 coverage. And that was before five million people learned about Barack Obama's Big Lie the hard way.
I kicked around some back-of-the-envelope calculations with online buddies a few weeks ago, and found it hard to get much lower than 150,000 ObamaCare signups per business day to cover the number of existing uninsured plus new ObamaCare victims. That was when the absolute cutoff date was December 15. It has ostensibly been extended to December 23, through the benevolent grace of His Majesty, although I find myself dubious that the logistics of processing the first premium payment (a legal requirement under the Affordable Care Act) are going to work out for a lot of post-December 15 enrollments... especially since big chunks of the HealthCareDotGov back-end don't exist yet. I'm surprised we're not hearing horror stories from insurance company employees looking at monster overtime during the holiday season to process the biggest backlog of insurance applications in the history of their industry.
Or maybe they're not really expecting that much of a backlog, because the ObamaCare front-end is still a clusterfark - the new promises are for an improved, but still paltry, 50k users at a time, which works out to a mere thousand people per state. Judging by the geysers of flop sweat pouring from crisis manager Jeff Zients and his IT people, and the sudden warnings the White House is giving about the perils of inviting too many people to give HealthCareDotGov 2.0 a spin, my guess is that it will collapse again under considerably less traffic than the promised 50k users. I don't see how a network like that is going to let enough people through to hit the target numbers.
And maybe they won't try to get through. There's a certain sense of permanent disgust growing among the electorate, which will only intensify if Thanksgiving weekend brings new stories of exchange crashes and interminable prison sentences in the spiffy new "online waiting rooms." (And I still think the first report of widespread hacking or data theft is going to clean out the feeble ObamaCare market like a shark sighting clears out the beaches.) The stories of insane premium and deductible hikes have killed a lot of the Day One interest in Obama's "product." Young Invincibles are better off paying the tax/penalty and making do without insurance, as are a lot of people who are less young and less invincible. The gathering storm of "doctor shock" stories is probably going to reduce interest even further.
I think time will prove out those original predictions that HealthCareDotGov really needed to be up and running by November 15. It's already too late for ObamaCare, and today's news of a one-year delay in yet another portion of the busted system - the small business exchanges - makes further delay in full repeal of this disastrous program look increasingly absurd. Maybe a bad weekend and panicked Monday will finally get Congress moving.