The tradeoffs of simplicity, Obamacare edition

April 30, 2013

Sarah Kliff's got the new, slimmed-down Obamacare application. Where the draft form was a hefty 21 pages, the new form is a svelte 5 pages.

Well, kind of.

The original form was lengthy because it included the forms for a family of six. If you were a single adult, you just ignored most of those pages.

The new form is short because it's only for a single adult. But if you head to the HHS Web site, you can find the new form for family coverage. It, too, is shorter: A mere 12 pages rather than 21. But it only includes the forms for ... two people. If your family includes more than two people, the form advises you to "make a copy of Step 2: Person 2 (pages 4 and 5) and complete."

The result is that the new form for a family of six is 20 pages long and includes a substantial amount of time spent in front of a copier.

So the new form really is less intimidating for single adults, who now get an application catering to them. But it's a bigger pain in the neck for a family of four, who now get an application catering to families of two — and to a media that equates fewer pages with better forms and laws. As larger families will now find out, shorter and simpler are not actually synonyms.

Comments
Show Comments

Get Wonkbook in your inbox

Sign up for our morning economic policy primer.

Most Read Business
Next Story
Sarah Kliff · April 30, 2013