Why did Obamacare try to reinvent the wheel?

News reports on the catastrophic failure of the Obamacare website have become a daily event, the latest being the news that Healthcare.gov will be down for maintenance every night for the next week.

But most people would be surprised to know that there is a successful US government healthcare insurance program website that works with very few problems; Tricare.  It covers almost 10 million military personnel and dependents who sign up primarily over the web.  It lets you look prior to enrolling for doctors and hospitals in your area, and lists the exact costs of the different plans.  It covers active duty, Guard and Reservists, military retirees and family members of all of those groups.

Incidentally, one portion of the Tricare program has to be a very tempting target for the White House right about now as they struggle to get people signed up for the ACA.  Tricare Reserve Select, available to weekend drilling soldiers and their families for a very low monthly premium, covered over 200,000 enrollees as of the end of 2011.  Military members are on average healthier than the civilian population, which means we are exactly the type of people the administration needs to sign up with Healthcare.gov in order to offset those with serious medical problems.

If the White House gets desperate enough to keep Obamacare away from the insurance death spiral, I’d expect the Pentagon to quietly announce that Tricare Reserve Select has become a victim of the evil sequester budget cuts and phase the program out quickly.  The administration can tout this as the type of budget cutting that Republicans always demand, at the same time they dump 200k people into the insurance market.