- - Friday, July 18, 2014

Billions have been spent nationalizing health care, but it’s still no easier for many Americans to get adequate health coverage. In Minnesota, it’s actually more difficult because the only place to find a policy, the Obamacare exchange, still doesn’t work.

Eager bureaucrats did their best to make socialized medicine shine. It’s one of their fondest dreams. They dumped $155 million into the website, yet thousands of Minnesotans who go there find only frustration and disappointment. Not even an aspirin.

State officials concede that about 16,000 residents tried to sign up but the new system screwed up their applications. When they tried to sign up on the Minnesota state exchange they were left waiting forever, with nothing to amuse themselves with but their thumbs, which they could twiddle for months. Many had to put off needed doctor visits or find a way to pay full-freight rates for medical procedures that couldn’t be delayed. They heard only silence from the bureaucracy.

They would have appreciated even a letter explaining why their applications hadn’t been processed, but the website couldn’t handle even that simple task. Oversight by the Minnesota Department of Human Services could have revealed the reason for the delay, but with the government in charge, there was little incentive to reassure a taxpayer.

Afflicted by similar snafus, several other states have given up creating their own websites and tell their constituents to go to the federal Healthcare.gov for their insurance needs. Service at the national exchange is little better. For February, Americans for Tax Reform discovered that site errors on the Obamacare website left 22,000 applications untouched.

Despite receiving $304 million in federal grants to construct the nation’s first state portal to the Obamacare program, Oregon residents could never complete their applications on the Oregon state Obamacare exchange website and were forced to use a time-consuming mix of paper forms and online documentation to receive Obamacare. The state realized this was an absurd setup and abandoned ship in favor of the federal website. Nevada also scrapped its malfunctioning $90 million website. Maryland paid $90 million to build an exchange, and discovering it was useless, abandoned it to start over from scratch. After spending its initial allotment of $170 million to constructs its Obamacare exchange, Massachusetts says it needs an additional $121 million to fix it. Hawaii’s Obamacare website cost more than $200 million, or $24,947 per Obamacare enrollee.

Writing on The Federalist blog, Phil Kerpen calculates that seven states spent $1.2 billion building faulty and abandoned Obamacare sites. As the implementation of Obamacare continues in fits, starts, burps and hiccups, it has become clear that the program is a black hole, swallowing resources, and is a nightmare for enrollees and an embarrassment for the administration.

How much will taxpayers have to pay in higher premiums and endless hassle before the White House recognizes its error? We’ll probably never know. But Minnesota’s expensive example, as well as the experiences of other states, demonstrate that government health care is no dream.