One of the most infuriating things about this current debate over the Obamacare website is that all these millions of dollars, dozens of contractors, and thousand of people hired as navigators is for a completely unnecessary middleman just to help people select another unnecessary middleman. There is no need or legitimate excuse for going with such a complex and expensive system. And not surprisingly it’s ended up more expensive and difficult than it should have been.
All the website is doing is helping people selecte a private insurance company and basically all the private insurance company is supposed to do is process people’s medical claims. It is layer on top of layer of needless bureaucracy. Waste on top of waste.
The government could have simply expanded some basic public insurance to people at a fraction of the cost and overhead. That is why the Medicaid expansion aspect of the Affordable Care Act is working relatively well.
Even if you insist on going with private insurance there was never a need to create these expensive exchanges, which after a month still aren’t working. We could have just required insurance companies to sell a highly standardized basic plan and let people shop however they wanted. This is essentially how the Swiss health care system works. There is no government-run exchange but people are perfectly capable of shopping around. You can go directly to insurance companies or shop on the private shop websites that developed on their own.
The real scandal isn’t that the federal exchange still isn’t working, it’s that something so stupid, expensive and unnecessary was ever built.
Photo by amboo who? under Creative Commons license