For the umpteenth time, the
The latest delay was aimed at helping those caught up in the last-minute rush to sign up through the federally managed exchanges or the website they share, HealthCare.gov. That crush stemmed in part from the disastrous technical problems that rendered the website all but useless for the first month after it opened for enrollment. The change came just days after the administration announced that it was summarily waiving for one year the mandate to buy insurance for anyone whose policy had been canceled. Before that, the rules had been altered at least six other times.
Some critics of Obamacare argue that the spate of changes show that Washington's reach exceeded its grasp. A simpler explanation is that the uncertain progress shows how hard it is to make the systemic changes needed to fix the healthcare system's complex and intertwined problems. The ambition of the Affordable Care Act wasn't motivated by hubris, it was necessitated by the challenge posed by the system's perverse incentives, its runaway costs and the growing number of uninsured people.
The administration certainly handled several key tasks poorly, and Democrats grossly underestimated how much harder it would be to implement the law if states opted out, as most of those with GOP legislatures have. President Obama made matters worse by repeatedly promising people that they could keep their current policies, despite new coverage standards that were designed to eliminate many of those plans.