I think your criticism of the program is premature. I don't know if it will work or not, I hope it does. I would rather socialize than privatize health care if it comes to that. Hospital costs are outrageous and the insurance companies just pass it on. That's what's not working.
My criticism of the program isn't premature. Leave aside technical glitches (and boy, do they sure look worse by the day). Also leave aside the bull shit "if you like your insurance you can keep it" sales pitch that is turning out to be a lie by the millions as we type back and forth.
Let's just look at how the program is structured to accomplish it's primary goals of:
- greater access to healthcare for those with pre-existing conditions
- increasing the percentage of the population with health insurance overall
- "better" healthcare plans by mandating more coverage into what constitutes the baseline coverage.
The first and the third are by nature going to cost health insurers money. They add riskier, costlier people to the insurance pool or increase the base amount of treatments insurance companies must pay for. This is offset by goal #2 above, which for all intents and purposes is expanding who has coverage by forcing those who wouldn't otherwise carry it to get insurance. This population is largely the young and invincible who don't see any reason to get insurance. This is the reason the individual mandate exists. They need to grab these people to offset the more expensive people that they just forced insurance companies to cover otherwise the insurance companies will all go bankrupt or those with employer provided plans will see their plans skyrocket.
The entire structure hinges upon goal #2 coming true. If it doesn't, we see the death spiral. If sufficient numbers of young and healthy don't sign up (and so far they are not) then insurance companies must raise premiums on everyone else in order to cover #1 and #3. But if they raise premiums less people can afford insurance so you further decrease the number of people targeted by #2 who are willing to sign up AND you end up losing other people who were paying in because they can no longer afford insurance.
What happens then? Well insurers have to raise rates again, because they are still by law required to offer those mandated coverages and they are mandated by law to still cover pre-existing conditions. So the process from the last paragraph happens again and again until the system collapses and goes bankrupt.
The ONLY way this is avoided, and this is by design, is if enough young and healthy folks sign up.
Oh, and I forgot the other really popular provision. The one that says "children" (seriously, can we infantalize ourselves any more in this idiotic society) are allowed to stay on their parents plans until they are 26 years old. So... why would the young and healthy go out and buy coverage when they can stay on their parents much cheaper plan until they are practically fucking grandparents themselves.
Lets recap. We design a system that requires young people to sign up and pay for insurance in order for the system to be viable when meeting its other goals and then, in the same damn stupid monstrosity of a law, we undercut that viability requirement by allowing the largest % of people without insurance to simply go back on mom and dad's cheap insurance for likely no cost. And we put in place a "penalty" that will be significantly cheaper than the cost of the insurance.
So, can the system work? Sure. Unfortunately it wasn't a guaranteed proposition before all of the technical disasters. And now that it's been such a mess, the structural problems are just exacerbated by the lack of ability to sign up.
It may even still work, but in no way at all is my criticism premature. This thing was horrendously designed and somehow even more horrendously executed and sold to us with a bunch of bull shit promise that anyone who read the details, even those in favor of it, knew weren't going to be kept.