Obamacare officials were so worried about the reaction should Americans actually see what their health coverage will cost under the president's signature law that they chose to set up a system that clogs up and crashes while an applicant's eligibility for a subsidy is evaluated.
That's according to a report by Forbes that says Healthcare.gov forces users to create an account and enter detailed personal information before they can start shopping.
Forbes contributor Avik Roy explains that the system creates a massive traffic bottleneck as the government verifies the information and decides whether or not the applicant is eligible for subsidies.
"HHS bureaucrats knew that would make the website run more slowly," he writes. "But they were more afraid that letting people see the underlying cost of Obamacare's insurance plans would scare people away."
Whatever the reason, it appears that very few people have successfully navigated Healthcare.gov
Officials in Colorado, running their "Connect for Health" program, said only 226 people signed up for the insurance in the first full week of operations.
And in that state, according to the Denver Post, customers "are still being asked to complete their purchases by phone to ensure they get appropriate government subsidies based on their incomes."
Talk-radio icon Rush Limbaugh discussed the Forbes report Monday.
"The purpose was to get healthy people with average incomes to sign up and then gouge them, but the IT experts say the regime didn't want them to see when they signed up they were getting gouged," he said.
"So they caused the glitches that caused the slowdown so that people would keep trying to sign up, while not being able to, all because at this stage the regime can't afford for people to learn that there isn't going to be a $2,500 discount in your premium, there isn't going to be free health care, there isn't going to be anything Obama's promised for healthy people with average incomes. They think that they are the chosen group!"
Roy's Forbes report said the Wall Street Journal documented that there was supposed to be an Obamacare option to browse before registering, but that tool was delayed.
The Wall Street Journal reported "an HHS spokeswoman said the agency wanted to ensure that users were aware of their eligibility for subsidies that could help pay for coverage, before they started seeing the prices of policies."
Roy says a Manhattan Institute analysis on which he worked found that Obamacare policies for men will be 99 percent more expensive – and for women 62 percent more expensive – than the cheapest plan offered under the old system.
"That raises an obvious questions," Roy writes. "If 50 million people are uninsured today, mainly because insurance is too expensive, why is it better to make coverage even costlier?
"The answer is that Obamcare wasn't designed to help healthy people with average incomes get health insurance. It was designed to force those people to pay more for coverage, in order to subsidize insurance for people with incomes near the poverty line, and those with chronic or costly medical conditions," he says.
"But the laws' supporters and enforcers don't want you to know that, because it would violate the president's incessantly repeated promise that nothing would change for the people that Obamcare doesn't directly help. If you shop for Obamacare-based coverage without knowing if you qualify for subsidies, you might be discouraged by the law's steep costs."
Healthcare.gov now can advertise plans for "$0" or "$30" instead of explaining the actual cost, $200, is subsidized.
"This political objective – masking the true underlying cost of Obamacare's insurance plans – far outweighed the operational objective of making the federal website work properly," Roy writes.
"Think about it. It's quite possible that much of this disaster could have been avoided if the Obama administration had been willing to be open with the public about the degree to which Obamacare escalates the cost of health insurance."
Limbaugh said the people "that vote for Obama, healthy Democrats, they think they're in it and Obamacare is to get this for them free or much cheaper than what it would cost them if they had to use their employer."
"And, of course, the dirty little secret – and it always has been, I mean by design – is that healthy people who are not going to access the system for treatment because they're healthy are going to be gouged and their higher premiums are going to cover the cost for those who do need treatment and the people that can't afford it," he said.
Limbaugh noted that Obama sold his health-care plan as: "You get to keep your doctor, you get to keep your insurance plan if you like it, and your premiums going to come down $2,500."
But "none of that's true," Limbaugh said.
"The truth starting to trickle out is that it isn't affordable, it isn't going to be cheaper, and it's actually designed to screw young, healthy people who are going to be paying more and eventually their fines are going to be higher than what the cost of a policy would be."
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