Weekly Columns

Recent reports indicate that fewer than 200 Arkansans have signed up for health care coverage through the exchanges. Insurance company executives blamed problems Arkansans have encountered logging on to Healthcare.gov, the federal website that must be used to sign residents up for the exchanges. Americans across the country have encountered the same problem. The website is simply not ready for use, but Obamacare’s problems are much greater than just a broken portal.  

However, even if you could manage to log on to the Arkansas Health Connector Website, you would find at most, four plans offering coverage. Over 75% of the state will have three or fewer provider options.

Before the law’s implementation, state officials assured us that there would be up to eight carriers offering insurance on the individual market. The President even compared shopping on the exchanges to the ease of buying airline tickets online from a website like Expedia or Travelocity.

How does this shopping experience remotely resemble anything close to Expedia or Travelocity when you have only one, maybe two carriers to shop from?  This is sadly the case in large parts of Arkansas—just one airline with overpriced tickets for coach to pick from.

The Administration wants to brush these troubles off as a small bump in the road to implementation. The lack of coverage options is just one example of how the troubles with Obamacare run far deeper than “technical glitches.” The Administration’s lackluster response to the online enrollment problems shines a light on this program’s gross mismanagement.

The clock is ticking. Every American who is not enrolled in Administration-approved medical insurance by the end of March will be taxed. Yet, the Administration’s failures make compliance impossible for millions of Americans. Instead of acknowledging this error, the President and his team plan to subject Americans to this unjust tax if they do not comply by March 31, 2014, despite the fact that the administration has failed to make the website work.

This is all the more reason why every American should be granted a reprieve from Obamacare. This week, I joined Senator Marco Rubio and seven of our colleagues to introduce the Delay Until Fully Functional Act. This bill would delay the individual mandate until six months after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) certifies that the exchange website is fully functional. 

Certainly the rollout of the Obamacare website has been nothing short of a disaster. However, Healthcare.gov is a microcosm of the serious problems created by putting a government bureaucracy in charge of our health care. Setting up and thoroughly testing a fully-operational website prior to launching it should be the easy part. The fact that the Administration can’t deliver on the easiest of its healthcare promises doesn’t bode well for Americans forced into this bureaucratic monstrosity. It is safe to say that there will be more problems if we continue to move forward, even for those “lucky” few who can sign-up before the deadline.

Until we can achieve the real solution of repealing this law and replacing it with market-based reforms, delaying the individual mandate is the only fair course of action.