CMS Official on ObamaCare Exchanges: “Let’s Just Make Sure It’s Not a Third-World Experience”

Tomorrow is third anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which we’ve come to know as ObamaCare. Americans still haven’t embraced the law as many have seen their insurance premiums continue to rise at an astonishing pace or changes to their coverage — in some cases, losing it entirely.

Many businesses are experiencing problems as they try to deal with the mandates, the latest example of which comes from a San Diego bakery that could lose half of its profits or half of its full-time workers because of ObamaCare.

Despite a concerted effort from the Obama Administration to sell the law, the refrain from from at least one official — Henry Chao, Deputy Chief Information Officer and the Deputy Director of the Office of Information Services at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — doesn’t sound all that optimistic about the state health insurance exchanges.

Philip Klein has the story:

With time-running out before the major provisions of President Obama’s health care law are set to be implemented, the official tasked with making sure the law’s key insurance exchanges are up and running is already lowering expectations.

“The time for debating about the size of text on the screen or the color or is it a world-class user experience, that’s what we used to talk about two years ago,” Henry Chao, an official at the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services who is overseeing the technology of the exchanges said at a recent conference. “Let’s just make sure it’s not a third-world experience.”

Chao also described himself as “nervous.” His comments, which came at a policy meeting of insurance industry lobbying group America’s Health Insurance Plans, were first reported by CQ Health Beat and picked up by Avik Roy at Forbes.
The CQ article also quotes Gary Cohen, director of the federal Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, as conceding that the exchanges may not be fully functional in all 50 states in time. “I think it’s only prudent to not assume everything is going to work perfectly on day one and to make sure that we’ve got plans in place to address things that may happen,” Cohen said.

They’re not even trying anymore. Expectations are slow low at this point that they’re just hoping that patients in states that setup the exchanges don’t have a “third-world experience”? That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement of ObamaCare.

Earlier today, I wrote about Michael Cannon’s new whitepaper, “50 Vetoes: How States Can Stop the Obama Health Care Law,” that explains how states can avoid the state health insurance exchanges by opting out, which was made possible due to the Supreme Court decision last year on ObamaCare. It was perhaps the only silver-lining in the otherwise terrible decision.

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