Healthcare.gov Works – Finally

Waldman pays attention to the site’s success:

The news, an old saying goes, doesn’t cover successful airplane landings. But there’s one extremely notable successful landing happening right now, and unless you’ve gone to the inside pages of your newspaper, you might have missed it: open enrollment for the second year of the Affordable Care Act exchanges has begun, and in its first day, the federal exchange signed up 100,000 customers with only minor technical glitches.

But McArdle warns that this “open enrollment period isn’t the biggest test for Obamacare in the next 12 months”:

The biggest test will be what happens on or around April 15th.

That’s the first time all the people who didn’t buy insurance will get hit with the individual mandate penalty, and the ones who thought that it was a nominal $95 fee are in for a nasty shock. April 15th will also be the first time that people who got too much in subsidies are going to be asked to pay back some of that money.  I do not have hard figures on this, but my basic experience in personal finance and tax reporting suggests that approximately zero percent of those affected will be expecting the havoc it will wreak on their tax refund.  Brace for a wave of taxpayers angrily complaining to congressmen and their local newspapers.  The size of this pressure — and how the administration handles it — will tell us a lot about the future of this program.  As will Tax Day in 2016, when the penalties get bigger.