EDITORIAL: The Potemkin website

The Obamacare facade is beginning to crumble

Oppressive regimes throughout history have built cities of false facades meant to impress from afar, concealing the embarrassing condition of the places. In its quest to persuade Americans that Obamacare is working, the Obama administration has built the most expensive Potemkin website yet.

Rep. Darrell E. Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wants to bulldoze the facade of Healthcare.gov to find what lies beneath, but Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is telling her aides they better keep quiet, or else. In a Dec. 6 letter to Creative Computing Solutions, she instructed the Healthcare.gov construction workers not to talk to Congress.

The directive could be considered a crime. “The federal obstruction laws,” Mr. Issa wrote in a letter Wednesday, “reflect the fact that Congress’ right of access to information is constitutionally based and critical to the integrity and effectiveness of our oversight and investigative activities.”

Behind the smiling faces on the front end of the Obamacare website are millions who’ve been cast into the cold as new health care mandates are designed to demolish existing insurance. Pressed about the cancellations, Mrs. Sebelius told a congressional panel that Americans are “thrilled” at the choices they now have with Obamacare. But not quite everyone. Jim Hoft, a conservative blogger, recently found that a strep bacteria was eating a hole in his heart, causing a series of strokes. His private insurance allowed him to go to the doctors at St. Louis University, who saved his life.

Waiting for him when he returned from St. Louis was a letter from his insurance company canceling his policy. He fears for his life. “God willing,” writes Mr. Hoft, “I will be able to keep my doctors at St. Louis University. I trust them. They saved my life. Please pray for me and the millions of working Americans who are going through this same ordeal.”

The Department of Health and Human Services maintains a rapturous face, insisting 365,000 Americans have happily enlisted in government-approved health care. Left out of the pronouncement is any mention that the figure counts anyone enrolling in Medicare, which is not private insurance. The White House is actually more than 3 million sign-ups short of the goal set for the end of 2013. The number of actual enrollees may be as low as 18,000 because the Obamacare website can’t do what other major websites, such as Amazon or eBay, do without a crisis every day — inform customers about a product and process sales without a headache.

With a Potemkin village, appearance is everything. That’s why no one should be surprised that the Obamacare exchange in Connecticut spent $75,000 on three colorful murals to adorn its office walls. As mayor of this village, Mrs. Sebelius insists the site is “working faster” and “responding quicker,” yet her clerks have been required to match individual applications to insurance companies by hand, because of enrollment “glitches.”

Eventually, prospective customers notice the Potemkin village is a fake. Polls show Americans already see through the multimillion-dollar propaganda and advertising effort, and they learn the government has made health care harder to buy and more expensive. The only solution is to tear down Healthcare.gov and allow a free market to replace it with something that actually works.

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