What do Tom Dougall of Elgin, S.C., and 15 U.S. Senate Democrats have in common?
They’re all understandably alarmed about the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Mr. Dougall is worried about a blatant violation of the privacy pledges given by Obamacare advocates.
Those senators are worried about how much the law’s farcical rollout since Oct. 1 will imperil their re-election bids next year. The law’s increasingly apparent flaws are strengthening its opponents’ “We told you so” case.
Mr. Dougall created an account on HealthCare.gov early last month to research the Obamacare insurance exchange plans it offered. Last week, Justin Hadley of North Carolina contacted Mr. Dougall to tell him that his own HealthCare.gov account was linked to Mr. Dougall’s personal information.
Mr. Dougall alerted the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, seeking to have his information removed. After several days passed without the HHS getting that job done, Mr. Dougall contacted S.C. Sen. Tim Scott.
Finally, after Sen. Scott pressed Centers for Medicare and Medicaid administrator Marilyn Tavenner for answers on this case at a Senate Health Committee hearing Tuesday, CMS took down that private information.
Sen. Scott’s apt reaction: “It is unfortunate that the Obama administration apparently required a Senate hearing with an Obamacare administrator in order to resolve such a dramatic breach of privacy.”
As for those 15 Democratic senators, they are rightly wary about carrying the Obamacare burden into next year’s re-election races. They even met with President Barack Obama on Wednesday, trying to craft a united front on how to minimize their political damage.
But though Mr. Obama has managed some extraordinary buck-passing spin in his nearly six years as president, it’s hard to see how he could persuasively lay the blame for the ongoing Obamacare debacle on Republicans. After all, he sold that legislation with phony pitches — and it passed without a single vote from a GOP lawmaker.
The president and many fellow Democrats repeatedly assured Americans that if they liked their insurance plans, they could keep them — and dismissed GOP warnings that the law’s government insurance exchanges would endanger the privacy of those who used them.
And since President Obama signed the bill into law on March 23, 2010, the White House has rampantly issued exemptions and waivers from its mandates. The administration also ordered federal funding for most of the insurance-exchange costs that members of Congress and their staffs face due to the law.
More selective reprieves loom. From Thursday’s Wall Street Journal: “The Obama administration is planning to exempt some labor unions and businesses from paying part of a contentious reinsurance fee under the health-overhaul law.”
Though those unions and businesses are asking for even more, such selective reprieves emit a powerful double-standard stench.
And why did Congress even bother to consider those breaks for organized labor this fall if the administration is simply going to keep ruling on such matters by executive fiat?
Meanwhile, that website remains a mess wrought of stunning incompetence.
Sen. Scott summed up the unseemly spectacle well Wednesday:
“HealthCare.gov has become synonymous with failure, and this administration’s complete lack of accountability only continues to reinforce what we already knew — Obamacare is a disaster. Premiums are skyrocketing, millions of Americans are losing their current plans, contrary to the president’s promise, and now we have seen concrete evidence of the security issues in play on the website.”
And that’s not just a threat to the privacy security of Americans who use HealthCare.gov.
That’s a threat to the job security of congressional Democrats.
Notice about comments:
The Post and Courier is pleased to offer readers the enhanced ability to comment on stories. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point.