You ever seen that scene in Scanners where the dude’s head blows up?
Caption readers are hereby issued an apology for the compound movie reference. Link clickers are issued an apology for the quality of that video. And health insurance exchange customers are issued their usual packet of vague information and warnings. We also got an email beginning with this sentence:
You’re unique, so why should your health plan be any different?
Uh…[explodes.] Close reading of why this sentence is a threat to skull integrity after the jump.
The Affordable Care Act required states to set up health insurance exchanges when it was passed in 2010, but 34 states refused. The federal government set up exchanges on their behalf, which seemed like a reasonable expedient at the time. This morning, however, a DC Court of Appeals ruled 2 to 1 that the ACA prohibits the IRS from offering subsidies to people who bought their insurance on federal exchanges. That includes about 70% of the people getting subsidies, meaning that 4.7 million people just got some very bad news. For reference, it also means that 70% of the people who needed Obamacare the most live in states whose governors fought it the hardest.
As a self-insured weirdo, I have been looking forward to the state insurance exchange feature of Obamacare for three years now. Unfortunately October 1 brought me no succor, as the federal insurance exchange website, Healthcare.gov, does not work. Even the way in which it doesn’t work does not work. The cycle of errors and try-again-laters sets in during the account creation phase, which is for some reason the first step. You can’t see the insurance plans in your area until you log in, and you can’t log in until the federal government figures out how to work the internet. Meanwhile, in San Francisco, three 20 year-old programmers have developed an alternative website that works perfectly.