Oh, by the way: With 10 days to go before launch, ObamaCare websites still can’t calculate insurance subsidies correctly

posted at 3:21 pm on September 20, 2013 by Allahpundit

Via Avik Roy. I know what you’re thinking. “Doesn’t this mean ObamaCare’s insurance subsidies are bound to be plagued by fraud and waste?” Why, yes — but the good news is, HHS decided weeks ago to suspend the program’s anti-fraud measures. You’ll be punished if they catch you cheating, but they’re telling you in advance that they won’t try too hard. So if a website glitch means you end up with twice the amount of subsidies you’re supposed to get based on your income, hey. They promised you life would improve with universal health care, didn’t they? (Sidenote: “Universal health care” isn’t remotely universal.)

Good enough for government work?

Less than two weeks before the launch of insurance marketplaces created by the federal health overhaul, the government’s software can’t reliably determine how much people need to pay for coverage, according to insurance executives and people familiar with the program…

A failure by consumers to sign up online in the hotly anticipated early days of the “exchanges” is worrisome to insurers, which are counting on enrollees for growth, and to the Obama administration, which made the exchanges a centerpiece of its sweeping health-care legislation…

Four people familiar with the development of the software that determines how much people would pay for subsidized coverage on the federally run exchanges said it was still miscalculating prices. Tests on the calculator initially scheduled to begin months ago only started this week at some insurers, according to insurance executives and two people familiar with development efforts.

“There’s a blanket acknowledgment that rates are being calculated incorrectly,” said one senior health-insurance executive who asked not to be named. “Our tech and operations people are very concerned about the problems they’re seeing and the potential of them to stick around.”

People have until March to sign up but the more word gets around that the websites don’t work correctly, the less inclined would-be enrollees may be to try again later after an initial failure. And of course, early glitches are a looming PR disaster for the White House as they try to convince a skeptical public that Republicans are cuh-ray-zee to think the law should be delayed for a year. The GOP may end up having some unlikely allies in that effort, though: Per Roy, the head of Connecticut’s own ObamaCare exchange says he’d welcome a year’s delay in the name of working out the kinks before the system goes live. “Sometimes it feels like we’re driving a car and then changing the tire at the same time,” he said. There’s a nifty line for Boehner’s first press conference after he finally gives up the “defund” strategy and embraces delay.

Anyhow, none of this is “news,” strictly speaking. Tales of glitches and other logistical nightmares imperiling ObamaCare’s exchanges have been swirling for months. Reuters reported six weeks ago that the federal government was “months behind” on meeting the technical challenges of the exchanges by the October 1 launch date; two weeks ago, they followed up by noting that lots of glitches still remain. Just two days ago, Instapundit posted an e-mail from a reader who claims to work in this field. Quote:

Through serendipity I’ve ended up working in HIT (health information technology). I take 50 calls a day with independent insurance agents/brokers to navigate the hoops to qualify to sell on the FFM (Federal Facilitated Marketplaces). The Government websites they need to access to register are riddled with random error messages, and simply attempting to log in to complete this process routinely fails. The agents/brokers are, to a person, terrified. If they cannot complete this process by October 1st (the deadline) they are hosed. Nobody knows what to do, and this will only get worse when millions of consumers join the fray of the marketplace. It appears nobody scaled the back end to accommodate this exponential growth. And now?, It’s too late. It’s like the owner of the White Star line getting a telegram about the Titanic sinking and saying “We need to order more lifeboats.” And these are the smartest guys in the room? #soscrewed. For obvious reasons, don’t use my name please..

The news isn’t that they’re having trouble. The news is that, having discovered early this year that the technology wasn’t yet ready for prime time and devoted their best efforts to avoiding a clusterfark in the rollout, they’re still staring at a meltdown now. Good lord.

Via the Corner, here’s Boehner laying into O-Care after this morning’s “defund” vote in the House. Exit quotation via WaPo: “‘Nobody is going to say we’re not starting on October 1,’ says Joel Ario, who previously oversaw health exchanges at HHS, ‘but in some situations, you may see a redefinition of what ‘start’ means.’”


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are the glitches high or low,in favor of the buyer or seller?

gerrym51 on September 20, 2013 at 3:27 PM

Ah. The Exchanges are starting on Oct 1! You will be able to put your name and SS # in, plus your address and income, but nothing more for months while they get around to securing the data!

No fraud to see here! I am shocked, Shocked at the idea!

Still, I hope they try. Personally, I think the Republicans would have a lot more public support on defunding once the inevitable flood of horror stories starts pouring out of this disaster.

Vanceone on September 20, 2013 at 3:28 PM

Anyhow, none of this is “news,” strictly speaking. Tales of glitches and other logistical nightmares imperiling ObamaCare’s exchanges have been swirling for months. Reuters reported six weeks ago that the federal government was “months behind” on meeting the technical challenges of the exchanges by the October 1 launch date; two weeks ago, they followed up by noting that lots of glitches still remain.

Hey, they only had 3 1/2 years to get ready for this. I mean, c’mon.

Bitter Clinger on September 20, 2013 at 3:31 PM

But according to John McCain, Ted Cruz is an idiot…

dpduq on September 20, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Feature not a bug.
APOTP

Galt2009 on September 20, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Got O-care papers from the accountant today. Among other things, the papers say that no choice is now “one stop shopping”.

forest on September 20, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Wait, wait ,wait. It’s not about whether the calculations are “right” as defined by your patriarchal view of numbers. What if a 5 was feels like it’s a 3 trapped in a 5′s body? Who are we to judge if a 2 wants behave like an 8? Sheeesh, the intolerance of it all…

trubble on September 20, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Still, I hope they try. Personally, I think the Republicans would have a lot more public support on defunding once the inevitable flood of horror stories starts pouring out of this disaster.

Vanceone on September 20, 2013 at 3:28 PM

You may be right. I am not onboard the ‘delay’ strategy. This could be a good start to Let It Burn.

Bitter Clinger on September 20, 2013 at 3:33 PM

CULTURE OF CORRUPTION: Insiders Reaping Profit After Drafting ObamaCare. “Those who had a hand in the law’s passage are now finding lucrative work in the private sector, as businesses try to understand the complex measure, reshape it by pressing for regulatory changes — or profit from it. That means boom times for what might be called an Obamacare cottage industry, providing work for dozens of former administration and mostly Democratic Congressional officials whose immersion in health policy minutiae, and friendships, make them invaluable to private business.”

Akzed on September 20, 2013 at 3:34 PM

Thanks AP for posting that Instapundit article.

“‘Nobody is going to say we’re not starting on October 1,’ says Joel Ario, who previously oversaw health exchanges at HHS, ‘but in some situations, you may see a redefinition of what ‘start’ means.’”

I can’t laugh loud enough.

These are Tech experts????

bluefox on September 20, 2013 at 3:34 PM

The Death March continues.

ajacksonian on September 20, 2013 at 3:34 PM

It’s an annoying auto insurance commercial come to life…..

The name your price tool – only from Progressive(s).

rw on September 20, 2013 at 3:36 PM

Don’t worry, the State will be able to calculate, quite precisely, how much you will be fined, if you don’t submit.

OhEssYouCowboys on September 20, 2013 at 3:40 PM

Arithmetic has never been the REB’s strength, or that of any democratic.

slickwillie2001 on September 20, 2013 at 3:41 PM

Chaos is a feature of Obamacare, not a bug.

GaltBlvnAtty on September 20, 2013 at 3:41 PM

“‘Nobody is going to say we’re not starting on October 1,’ says Joel Ario, who previously oversaw health exchanges at HHS, ‘but in some situations, you may see a redefinition of what ‘start’ means.’”

Sounds like something Biden would say.

Bitter Clinger on September 20, 2013 at 3:43 PM

Look, the tolerant leftists in their glory.

Schadenfreude on September 20, 2013 at 3:45 PM

Per Roy, the head of Connecticut’s own ObamaCare exchange: “Sometimes it feels like we’re driving a car and then changing the tire at the same time,”

Well that’s comforting.

tru2tx on September 20, 2013 at 3:45 PM

Ah, yes. The direct version of the Federal School Lunch Program! “Fill out this form.”
“We don’t need assistance.”
“Don’t care. Fill out this form. We need to know if you have an intact family and how much you bring in every year.”
“WE DON’T NEED ASSISTANCE!”
“FILL OUT THE FORM OR ELSE!”
“Else what?”
“Else the school can’t claim your child.”
“WE DON’T NEED ASSISTANCE!!!!!!!!!!!!”

The form is now un-filled out and has gone through my shredder. Stupid government!

UnderstandingisPower on September 20, 2013 at 3:45 PM

Never letting a crisis go to waste.

ama on September 20, 2013 at 3:46 PM

Everything would have worked just fine if not for the racist partisan Republicans who hate Obama, thwart him at every turn, and imposed their sequester on the country.

– The Left

Liam on September 20, 2013 at 3:48 PM

“Oh, by the way: With 10 days to go before launch, ObamaCare websites still can’t calculate insurance subsidies correctly”

…let me make a “wild” guess at how the OBOZO regime will handle this screw-up = Let everybody decide how much subsidy they want, and then they get that (plus 10% for their effort) !

TeaPartyNation on September 20, 2013 at 3:49 PM

Exit quotation via WaPo: “‘Nobody is going to say we’re not starting on October 1,’ says Joel Ario, who previously oversaw health exchanges at HHS, ‘but in some situations, you may see a redefinition of what ‘start’ means.’”

That depends on what the definition of “is” is.

Jeebus.

nukemhill on September 20, 2013 at 3:50 PM

Go see Drudge.

Schadenfreude on September 20, 2013 at 3:52 PM

He’s brilliant, … he thinks in a strategic way in how to get something done … and he’s completely eloquent.

-Nanzi Pelosi.

antipc on September 20, 2013 at 3:52 PM

This explains it all.

Schadenfreude on September 20, 2013 at 3:54 PM

Your math adds a new dimension to your usual pedantry.
 
urban elitist on August 7, 2013 at 9:31 PM

rogerb on September 20, 2013 at 3:55 PM

Socialist pinheads are never able to handle scaling things very well. Most of that is because it is easier to think something than to do something for 300M people. But socialist pinheads are also to venal, corrupt and stupid to even know that.

So they plunge ahead breaking eggs…many eggs..to make a really sucky omelet that few people really want.

I ran across an awful story about Don Berwick and the tragedy of the NHS. Berwick, like obama, is omitted to the ideology of universal free care..if it sucks, and people are left in fetid conditions…well, hell it is the ideology that counts.

i only pray that this county can reverse course

r keller on September 20, 2013 at 3:58 PM

Your math adds a new dimension to your usual pedantry.

urban elitist on August 7, 2013 at 9:31 PM

Thanks for the reminder, rogerb.

Obama: ‘Raising the Debt Ceiling…Does Not Increase Our Debt,’ Though It Has ‘Over 100 Times’

Leftist math…get with it.

Schadenfreude on September 20, 2013 at 4:00 PM

“‘Nobody is going to say we’re not starting on October 1,’ says Joel Ario, who previously oversaw health exchanges at HHS, ‘but in some situations, you may see a redefinition of what ‘start’ means.’”

So what’s Hussein gonna do ?
Can he start a war?
If not in Syria, then maybe someplace else ?
I mean, he needs a distraction …like really really needs a distraction before October !

burrata on September 20, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Death March. As a software developer nothing terrifies me more than hearing about a project like this. I’ve worked on one before and it was a freaking nightmare!

dominigan on September 20, 2013 at 4:14 PM

Too funny – Drudge

OBAMA: Republicans ‘trying to mess with me’…
‘We are not some Banana Republic’…

Hah, who are you kidding, dummy?

Welcome to the US of Zimbabwe. YOU won just like the last round of Mugabe.

Schadenfreude on September 20, 2013 at 4:22 PM

One plus to a Cruz filibuster or to a Reid shutdown of the government would be a status quo “freeze” of these websites and exchanges as of their legally-mandated launch date.

And while everyone’s waiting for the gubmint money to start flowing again, everyone can be encouraged to poke around on these shabby, shoddy, far-from-ready one-stop shop sites to see what a disaster Obamacare already is, and why it must be defunded.

Something Cruz could bring up in the well of the Senate. And Republicans at every mic put in front of them. If only.

de rigueur on September 20, 2013 at 4:25 PM

Maybe the Republican strategy is brilliant after all.

Obummer and the left will demagogue this defunding of Ocare and thereby advertise the Republican strategy in ways the the clumsy Republicans are never able to do.

And then on October, absolute disaster as all those IBM and Time Warner retirees can’t complete the login process for the healthcare exchanges, the Republicans will seem like the smart party, for a change.

It can happen.

esr1951 on September 20, 2013 at 4:29 PM

de rigueur on September 20, 2013 at 4:25 PM

like I said.

esr1951 on September 20, 2013 at 4:30 PM

Hated by both sides, way to go Senator Cruz.

Schadenfreude on September 20, 2013 at 4:40 PM

Hey! King Barry LIKES giving away “free” money. You might say that he’s built his entire political career on it!

GarandFan on September 20, 2013 at 4:45 PM

Obamacare: like the wagon queen family truckster, you think you hate it now, but wait till you drive it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OBN9Qilu8Y

@1:40

Charlie Stevens

CPStevens on September 20, 2013 at 4:53 PM

dominigan on September 20, 2013 at 4:14 PM
-
The govt. has yet to certify system security. Domestic and foreign hackers will have a field day. Errors and system failures will be legendary. The drones (think TSA) running the system will have access to your medical records, SSN, DOB info etc. Identity theft should be rampant. I also imagine NSA & IRS political data mining.

diogenes on September 20, 2013 at 5:06 PM

OK, so there are going to be a few small problems with verification of the individuals signing up and how much the premiums actually are.

Is it even remotely possible that insurance companies will be receiving hundreds of billions in subsidies for non-existant people’s subsidized insurance?

At the rate the govenment is building these systems, it will be far beyond the statutory limit on sueing them before the fraud is even uncovered.

Freddy on September 20, 2013 at 5:11 PM

EpicClusterFarkNado ™

McSenile needs to go to the home.

dogsoldier on September 20, 2013 at 5:23 PM

Death March. As a software developer nothing terrifies me more than hearing about a project like this. I’ve worked on one before and it was a freaking nightmare!

dominigan on September 20, 2013 at 4:14 PM

I have survived a few. Uuuuuuggly.

dogsoldier on September 20, 2013 at 5:24 PM

I mean the words “government” and “software” together is enough to spontaneously cause nausea, panic attacks, cramps and chest pain.

dogsoldier on September 20, 2013 at 5:26 PM

……see post above!

KOOLAID2 on September 20, 2013 at 8:25 PM

…thread…sorry!…DWS

KOOLAID2 on September 20, 2013 at 8:25 PM

I expect Mark Zuckerberg will fix the web-site, because he is so brilliant. (but he may be too busy schmoozing DC for cheap immigrant labor).

virgo on September 22, 2013 at 1:39 AM