Author Topic: Obamacare’s Mugged by Reality Moment  (Read 389 times)

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Offline Rapunzel

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Obamacare’s Mugged by Reality Moment
« on: October 25, 2013, 11:50:38 PM »
http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/obamacare-s-mugged-reality-moment_764689.html


Obamacare’s Mugged by Reality Moment
Nov 4, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 08 • By JAMES C. CAPRETTA

As  metaphors go, “train wreck” turned out to be pretty apt. That’s how retiring Democratic senator Max Baucus described his expectations for the implementation of Obamacare at a hearing last April. If anything, he could be accused of soft pedaling the fiasco that has been on full display since the beginning of October.
 



The main entry point into Obamacare for citizens in 36 states is healthcare.gov, an online portal through which consumers are supposed to enter personal information and then shop for health insurance. But healthcare.gov is so poorly constructed that it is essentially useless as an enrollment system. This is a website the Obama administration had three years to build. It is absolutely essential to making Obamacare work, if it is going to work at all, because the program relies on broad enrollment, especially among young and healthy Americans, to keep premiums low for everyone else. Administration officials note that applicants can apply by phone and submit paper applications to get the process started, but that approach takes weeks to complete and eventually the information must still go through the same automated systems. Without a functioning healthcare.gov, Obamacare will never get off the ground.

The 14 states that chose to construct their own exchanges have been modestly more competent at building the front-end user interface than the federal government. But even these states must rely on federal systems to determine eligibility for subsidies financed by federal taxpayers. And those “back-end” federal systems are as badly mangled as the entry point for consumers into the federal portal.

The result is that Obamacare’s launch has been far worse than a dud. For the moment, the program is at a standstill.

The administration is trying to convey momentum by pointing to unverifiable estimates of nearly 500,000 “applicants.” But these numbers are meaningless. One of the main problems with healthcare.gov is that it requires any curious consumer to submit an “application” and establish an account before looking at the insurance options, including the premium amounts and cost-sharing requirements. How many of the 500,000 supposed applicants are people who have other insurance today but want to see what Obamacare has to offer? And how many of these applications are for people who will decline to enroll once they see the high premiums they must pay, or are households with incomes that will put them into Medicaid instead of the federally facilitated or state-run insurance exchanges?

A clearer picture of what is happening emerges from data provided by the participating insurers. After all, if someone actually enrolls in a health insurance plan, and by so doing agrees to pay a monthly premium for the coverage, the insurer selling the product surely knows this and has the consumer’s relevant information. From numerous media reports, it is clear that insurers have so far received only a trickle of enrollees—maybe in the thousands, but far, far less than 500,000. The applications that have been received by insurers have made it through the entire process only because low volume has allowed the transactions to be completed through direct contact with the customers. The automated systems have been utterly unreliable and therefore are not trusted by the insurers.

There is no prospect that these enrollment systems will be fixed anytime soon. The surest sign of that came with the administration’s announcement that it has recruited the IT industry’s “best and brightest” to help repair the problems. The thought that outside, unpaid advisers could parachute into a multiyear IT project and untangle the mess in a matter of weeks could only come from people unfamiliar with the actual operational realities of the federal government. The truth is that fixing the problems will almost certainly require another massive investment in software programming, and probably with the same contractors who wrote the first batch of bad code. Switching now to a whole new team of players would only delay any possible fix by months.

It remains possible that the administration could pull these systems together into a minimally functioning whole by late November or early December. Doing so would be a near-miraculous feat, given the complexity of what’s involved. But it’s possible.

But that wouldn’t be the end of Obamacare’s woes. The other reality now emerging is that millions of Americans are going to be pushed into these exchanges against their wishes, and they aren’t going to like what they see.

snip - rest at the link.......

“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776

Offline Rapunzel

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Re: Obamacare’s Mugged by Reality Moment
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2013, 12:01:52 AM »
I'm pretty certain everyone here sees what this is - now.  You know how bad drivers have to get insurance through assigned risk... high cost policies because they know you are a poor risk and the rest of us have reasonable policies because are have good driving records, so are not as big a risk - so we get "insurance" - for just in case we do something or someone else does and we need insurance.

Under the "old" healthcare system the population with existing illnesses could still obtain insurance  - just at a higher fee like "assigned risk auto insurance."  While the rest of us could get insurance through our employers, unions, self-employment group policies, etc.... the elderly "had" medicare and the poor have had medicaid - and medicaid and medicare cannot kick you out for existing illnesses.  The only caveat in medicare is if you have renal failure (as I do) then you better purchase your secondary policy the day you are eligible for medicare - otherwise you will not get it later.  They also have a special area they place their renal patients who are what is called "end stage" - so those costs can be tracked...

Now along comes O-Care.  They say everyone come - everyone will be covered and you people who have chronic illnesses and were in high risk - we'll let you sign up, too and in addition we are going to mandate all policies pay for maternity, contraception, mental health and much more whether you want or need it or not... oh and we are going to have the healthy young people pay for you who are not healthy.  However they also (and stupidly) said all of you can stay on your parents policy until you're 26.  So now those "young" (and presumably healthy) won't even be signing up because so many are covered on mom or dad's policy.  And they did another thing that is just now going to start hitting home... you know that massive expansion of medicaid?  Well the old people are having the money supposed to be sitting there for medicare stripped and sent over to medicaid - so the people who paid into medicare are having their money stripped (and yes I know it is going broke) and sent over to a fund that no one paid into - ever.  And if you think there was fraud in medicare - you haven't seen anything yet with medicaid.

“The time is now near at hand which must probably determine, whether Americans are to be, Freemen, or Slaves.” G Washington July 2, 1776


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