A New York Post article from Sunday seemed to be the latest indignity in a long line of Affordable Care Act (or Obamacare) screw-ups that have followed the program since it was implemented in the fall. The article told the story of a Long Island family—both adults self-employed—who were initially told they were unable to add their youngest child to their existing policy purchased on the New York Health Exchange until the child was two years old.
According to The Post, once they contacted the insurance company in question they insisted it was simply a mistake.
The source of the problem, of course, falls back to the embattled Healthcare.gov website. According to The Associated Press, the site “can’t handle new baby updates, along with a list of other life changes including marriage and divorce, a death in the family, a new job or a change in income, even moving to a different community.”
In the past, such changes were handled by contacting the insurance company, yet it seems as if with the addition of the government website the companies are suddenly baffled by how to handle these simple changes.
According to Capital New York, Bill Schwarz from the New York Department of Health called the story completely false. “Family plans in New York cover the whole family,” including newborns. Apparently Cornelius Kelly—who Capital says ran for Suffolk County legislature as a Conservative Party candidate—mistakenly left his fourth child off of his initial application.
The update process was supposed to be part of the Healthcare.gov site from the beginning, but “that feature [was] postponed as the government scrambled to fix technical problems that overwhelmed the health care website during its first couple of months” according to an Associated Press article published today on Business Insider. If anything this current Obamacare glitch says more about how the law and its problems are being covered, rather than the extent to which the problems are not “solvable.”
The Post and then Fox News ran with the story, approaching from the angle that the “baby problem” was fundamentally part of the law and not another in a long line of glitches that the government needs to fix. It also shows—if the Kelly’s story is true—that the insurance companies themselves opted to “trick” them into buying an additional plan rather than fixing things on their end. And all in the name of making Obamacare look bad.
It begs the question then: how can the Affordable Care Act succeed, if the news media, the insurance companies, and even the consumers themselves want it to fail?