Peter Suderman on Obamacare's Phony Success Story


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In the first weeks after Obamacare's health insurance exchanges launched on October 1, 2013, almost nothing worked. The main federal exchange, which served as an insurance hub for 36 states, was down more often than it was up, and when it was online, it didn't work. Many exchanges run by state governments were in disarray as well. Millions of people with individual health insurance policies received letters indicating that their existing coverage would be canceled. The law's mandated small business exchange had been delayed, as had its Spanish language website. Thousands of applications were stranded inside the glitchy exchange systems. It seemed entirely plausible that between the cancellations and the website failures, Obamacare's expansion of insurance coverage-the main selling point of a $2 trillion overhaul of the health care system-might end up making no meaningful dent in the uninsured rate at all. It could have been worse, writes Peter Suderman in the August/September issue of Reason.