First of all, you need to think about how it works compared to other online shopping sites. At all other sites, you find your product, and then you submit your information. At Obamacare, you must submit your information before you’re allowed to go shopping for your product. It’s this information demand that has made a poorly constructed design collapse under the weight of even a relatively small number of visitors. So why was it built bass ackwards? Because it’s not really a free market exchange.
Here’s the deal: prices across the board have increased for insurance as insurers struggle to deal with the fact that they cannot scale prices depending on risk (which is, after all, what real insurance does) and because they are now required to offer a ton of services, whether consumers want to pay for them or not. Congress knew that this would happen, but it didn’t care. The real purpose behind Obamacare was to get the haves to pay for the have nots. The haves will take the high prices and like them . . . or else. But the have nots cannot be allowed to see the high prices lest they run away screaming. The reality for them is that, as have nots, their increased prices will be subsidized — and then some — by the haves. Everyone has to be fed into the system for this wealth transfer to work:
So, by analyzing your income first, if you qualify for heavy subsidies, the website can advertise those subsidies to you instead of just hitting you with Obamacare’s steep premiums. For example, the site could advertise plans that “$0″ or “$30″ instead of explaining that the plan really costs $200, and you’re getting a subsidy of $200 or $170. But you’ll have to be at or near the poverty line to gain subsidies of that size; most people will either not qualify for a subsidy, or qualify for a small one that, net-net, doesn’t make up for the law’s cost hikes.
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. Think about it the other way around. If the “Affordable Care Act” truly did make health insurance more affordable, there would be no need to hide these prices from the public.