WaPo: Y’know, ObamaCare exchanges aren’t all that ready to go

posted at 12:01 pm on September 23, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

With just over a week to go before the individual mandate begins and Americans flood into ObamaCare exchanges to buy required health-insurance coverage, two of America’s biggest newspapers have suddenly discovered that the ACA is a disaster about to roll out across the nation.  First up is the Washington Post, which notes that some exchanges aren’t close to being ready:

New health insurance marketplaces for small businesses are scheduled to open across the country next week, and while most states are ready to begin enrollment, others have fallen behind, delaying some of the savings employers were promised under Obamacare.

Amusingly, however, the Post then spends the next nine paragraphs talking about what a success the District of Columbia exchange will be.  It’s true that the Post serves that community with local news, but ObamaCare isn’t a local news story, nor was its lead local.  Besides, if DC couldn’t launch the nation’s smallest ObamaCare exchange successfully (with an overall population of 632,000 in a city where over 90% of residents already have health insurance), that would be the story.

Only in the 11th paragraph do we find out that neighboring Maryland has postponed rolling out its small-business exchange until March at the earliest, also delaying both subsidies and business tax credits. Premium rates rose again in the final price sheets, rather than delivering the promised downward bend in the cost curve. In the 17th paragraph, we find out that the state of Washington’s small business exchange only has one insurer — which will only cover certain geographic areas.

In the 19th paragraph, we start to hear that the federal government’s own exchanges aren’t ready to go, either:

However, this summer, officials announced that the federal government’s small business portal will not allow employers the same flexibility business owners will have in the District. For the first year, employers will have to choose a single plan for their entire company, rather than the multiple-plan option lawmakers envisioned.

More importantly, software glitches on the federal exchange are making it difficult for the Web site to “reliably determine how much people need to pay for coverage,” according to a report last week by The Wall Street Journal.

In response, Joel Ario, a former HHS official who oversaw health exchange matters at the agency, told The Post’s Sarah Kliff that “nobody is going to say we’re not starting on October 1, but in some situations, you may see a redefinition of what ‘start’ means.”

Some of that is a repeat of older reporting, but it makes the previously cheery report on the DC exchange look exceedingly pointless.

Next, the New York Times finally discovers why the Obama administration claims that insurance premium costs will drop.  If you like your doctor … too bad:

Federal officials often say that health insurance will cost consumers less than expected under President Obama’s health care law. But they rarely mention one big reason: many insurers are significantly limiting the choices of doctors and hospitals available to consumers.

From California to Illinois to New Hampshire, and in many states in between, insurers are driving down premiums by restricting the number of providers who will treat patients in their new health plans.

When insurance marketplaces open on Oct. 1, most of those shopping for coverage will be low- and moderate-income people for whom price is paramount. To hold down costs, insurers say, they have created smaller networks of doctors and hospitals than are typically found in commercial insurance. And those health care providers will, in many cases, be paid less than what they have been receiving from commercial insurers.

Some consumer advocates and health care providers are increasingly concerned. Decades of experience with Medicaid, the program for low-income people, show that having an insurance card does not guarantee access to specialists or other providers.

Erika has a post coming up that will tackle this in more depth.  For now, let’s just say that the media has had ample warning of all these issues, going back to the debate over ObamaCare in Congress in 2009-10.  Only now, when their readers will begin to experience these failures up close and personal do they seem interested in highlighting them.

All of the above is a great argument for Republicans to demand a delay in the individual mandate, the exchanges, and the subsidies. It’s an even better argument to replace Democrats who passed this debacle when the midterms arrive in 13 months.


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LOL

and the lib posters on other websites are giddy saying ‘just you wait teabaggers, after oct 1 everyone is going to love healthcare and you’ll have to apologize to the american people for wanting to shut down the gov’t’

cmsinaz on September 23, 2013 at 12:06 PM

I love it when liberals try to claim that we conservatives soured on our own ideas when Obama “embraced” them for Obamacare.

I don’t remember any conservative idea that went along the lines of a government-regulated artificial marketplace “exchange” where the bureaucrats determine what the companies can sell.

I think that what conservatives suggested in the past was to allow insurance to be sold across state lines – thus allowing consumers more choice in a non-artificial manner.

Defenestratus on September 23, 2013 at 12:10 PM

I wonder if a President’s poll numbers can go into the negative?

kingsjester on September 23, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Yep. The new lib meme is “Republicans hate Obamacare because they’re scared it will work”

That’s their new messaging. It’s going to fall as flat as all the other messaging. People aren’t that stupid.

PetecminMd on September 23, 2013 at 12:11 PM

All of the above is a great argument for Republicans to demand a delay in the individual mandate, the exchanges, and the subsidies.

But Obamacare is settled law and it is awesome. You don’t hear one Democrat talking about delay of the individual mandate! Why would Dems want to mess what they have been billing as perfect public policy since the beginning and that early morning vote following the Stupak bribe.

We’ve got to initiate the exchanges to see what is in them.

Happy Nomad on September 23, 2013 at 12:13 PM

Knowing the GOP, they will manage to get blamed for this fiasco.

BuckeyeSam on September 23, 2013 at 12:13 PM

People aren’t that stupid.

PetecminMd

People elected Obama. Twice.

ex_machina on September 23, 2013 at 12:14 PM

I wonder if a President’s poll numbers can go into the negative?

kingsjester on September 23, 2013 at 12:11 PM

The media isn’t going to let this stupid lazy bastard’s number go below the 40s.

Happy Nomad on September 23, 2013 at 12:14 PM

PetecminMd on September 23, 2013 at 12:11 PM

+1

cmsinaz on September 23, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Yah, this scheme is so incredibly screwed up that you couldn’t script it any worse if you had ten years and a Cray computer to do it. Do some research about HR departments trying to access the HHS websites and getting nothing but lockups, “can’t locate destination” messages, and stone-cold drops from the sites after trying to navigate the piss-poor menus. My kid’s 6th grade Intro to IT class could design a better system.

If it’s this bad for the legitimate users then just you wait until the hackers have had their way; I can barely wait to see just how many people have their identities stolen or their most secretive personal information appear on social media a few months from now.

Bishop on September 23, 2013 at 12:16 PM

Which is EXACTLY why Obama is hoping the government shuts down, no matter who’s fault it is. Something big to distract from Oct. 1

ctmom on September 23, 2013 at 12:16 PM

I’m sure Obama has a killer speech line in him somewhere that will fix all of this.

NotCoach on September 23, 2013 at 12:16 PM

and the lib posters on other websites are giddy saying ‘just you

wait teabaggers, after oct 1 everyone is going to love healthcare and you’ll have to apologize to the american people for wanting to shut down the gov’t’

cmsinaz on September 23, 2013 at 12:06 PM

That’s what they said in 2010 too. It’s the lie that will be told between now and the mid-terms to provide political cover for Dems who voted this lunacy into law.

Happy Nomad on September 23, 2013 at 12:16 PM

I wonder if a President’s poll numbers can go into the negative?

kingsjester on September 23, 2013 at 12:11 PM

Not this imbecile…he will always have a 13% approval rating no matter what…

PatriotRider on September 23, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Happy Nomad on September 23, 2013 at 12:14 PM

they’ll blame anyone other than dear leader

cmsinaz on September 23, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Happy Nomad on September 23, 2013 at 12:16 PM

yup

cmsinaz on September 23, 2013 at 12:19 PM

***

I think that what conservatives suggested in the past was to allow insurance to be sold across state lines – thus allowing consumers more choice in a non-artificial manner.

Defenestratus on September 23, 2013 at 12:10 PM

The other important point was the insurance mandate. As I recall, about 20 years ago, Heritage proposed a mandate for catastrophic coverage. The idea was that everyone should pay into a system that covers the high-cost occurrences. It was never about cradle-to-grave, everything-under-the-sun coverage with no co-pays and no deductibles. Yet libs are trying to paint this as some GOP concoction.

And, of course, too many GOP members of Congress won’t know their a**hole from their earholes and will get rolled in every post-clusterphuck interview.

BuckeyeSam on September 23, 2013 at 12:19 PM

OT – they’s not learning…the pope will be lenient, I guess.

Schadenfreude on September 23, 2013 at 12:19 PM

People aren’t that stupid.

PetecminMd

Uhhh have you seen this country’s education system?

tetriskid on September 23, 2013 at 12:20 PM

People aren’t that stupid.

53% of them certainly are…

PatriotRider on September 23, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Ugh…this could make Dear Leader look bad…

d1carter on September 23, 2013 at 12:27 PM

cmsinaz on September 23, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Obama himself said the people were wrong and he was right.He even said that on TV so there’s that.

docflash on September 23, 2013 at 12:28 PM

You know who isn’t being stupid about this, the people who have seen what’s going to hit us, specifically the members of Congress. They’re running away so fast that land speed records are being set while doing it; makes a girl wonder what they know that we don’t.

Bishop on September 23, 2013 at 12:28 PM

docflash on September 23, 2013 at 12:28 PM

d’oh

:)

cmsinaz on September 23, 2013 at 12:31 PM

Honest… I ran out of gas. I… I had a flat tire. I didn’t have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn’t come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood.

Jake

I’m sure the LSM will somehow make this the R’s fault.

D-fusit on September 23, 2013 at 12:31 PM

You know who isn’t being stupid about this, the people who have seen what’s going to hit us, specifically the members of Congress. They’re running away so fast that land speed records are being set while doing it; makes a girl wonder what they know that we don’t.

Bishop on September 23, 2013 at 12:28 PM

I’m not sure I see Congress running away from this. If that were true then the narrative would not be the Dems hunkered down screaming that the Unaffordable and We don’t Care Act is perfect as it is.

That being said, you certainly don’t see Pryor or Landrieu out there defending it (and their votes for it) either. Of course, when you have McCain or one of his allies throwing opposition research against Cruz over the media’s transom, they don’t have to to much but lay low.

Happy Nomad on September 23, 2013 at 12:34 PM

With just over a week to go before the individual mandate begins

Wait? What?

steebo77 on September 23, 2013 at 12:34 PM

It’s an even better argument to replace Democrats who passed this debacle when the midterms arrive in 13 months.

Too little, too late.

chemman on September 23, 2013 at 12:35 PM

Layers of editors and fact-checkers… that Bezos needs to fire…

ajacksonian on September 23, 2013 at 12:36 PM

“nobody is going to say we’re not starting on October 1, but in some situations, you may see a redefinition of what ‘start’ means.”

Classic!!!

Cindy Munford on September 23, 2013 at 12:36 PM

NYT,

Stop messin’ with me.

-Obama

mjbrooks3 on September 23, 2013 at 12:37 PM

“ObamaCare exchanges aren’t all that ready to go”

Building criminal enterprises is hard work and takes time.

roflmmfao

donabernathy on September 23, 2013 at 12:38 PM

“young fool(s) only now at the end do you understand”

parke on September 23, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Meh.

Nothing a few EOs won’t fix right Obama?

Gatsu on September 23, 2013 at 12:40 PM

OK, enough is enough with the photo of the pony tail “doctor”. You’re giving me an ulcer.

forest on September 23, 2013 at 12:41 PM

I looked into healthcare.gov last week to see what they were saying. Then I just had to mock it.

BKeyser on September 23, 2013 at 12:43 PM

This is why part of me wants obamacare to kick in, so I can say told ya so to brain dead libs. Unfortunately when it does fully go into effect, the USA will be irreparably damaged. Add to that a Republican party more interested in fighting conservatives and the base instead of liberals.

We are so screwed.

Jack_Burton on September 23, 2013 at 12:45 PM

“nobody is going to say we’re not starting on October 1, but in some situations, you may see a redefinition of what ‘start’ means.”

Classic!!!

Cindy Munford on September 23, 2013 at 12:36 PM

Obamacare: It’s not dead, it’s just resting.

Happy Nomad on September 23, 2013 at 12:46 PM

Just read some of the posts on WaPo……..the usual leftist apologies and excuse making about this failure of a law. Still blaming Republicans for its failures.
Utterly Unbelievable.

avagreen on September 23, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Technically speaking, the individual mandate doesn’t take effect until January 1, 2014. Since uninsured individuals are allowed an initial three-month grace period, you really don’t have to jump into the exchanges until March 31/April 1, 2014.

steebo77 on September 23, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Happy Nomad on September 23, 2013 at 12:46 PM

It’s not dead enough for me.

Cindy Munford on September 23, 2013 at 12:55 PM

It’s not dead enough for me.

Cindy Munford on September 23, 2013 at 12:55 PM

And grandma’s not dead enough yet for Barack and Kathleen. But they’ve got an answer to that problem.

steebo77 on September 23, 2013 at 12:58 PM

The waste, fraud, and abuse of ObamaCare will be epic. Just like it is for all the other massive, unsustainable, backwards Big Government policies.

Forward!

visions on September 23, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Just read some of the posts on WaPo……..the usual leftist apologies and excuse making about this failure of a law. Still blaming Republicans for its failures.
Utterly Unbelievable.

avagreen on September 23, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Utterly unbelievable? Really?

The GOP will be scapegoated because that is the narrative the Dems and media came up with. Anything short of Boehner in a “I [heart] Obamacare” T-shirt will be portrayed as obstructionism. We had a drive-by troll earlier actually making the claim that this was all the GOP’s fault because they didn’t go to the lazy stupid bastard and say “lets work together to make this work.”

Happy Nomad on September 23, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Did y’all read this? Romneycare? If this could happen on the state level, just imagine what can happen federally.

Cindy Munford on September 23, 2013 at 1:08 PM

And those health care providers will, in many cases, be paid less than what they have been receiving from commercial insurers.

Which, of course, means fewer health care providers.

And that children, is how we get to universal coverage.

or something.

uh …

er …

Obama is awesome!!!!

PackerBronco on September 23, 2013 at 1:12 PM

“nobody is going to say we’re not starting on October 1, but in some situations, you may see a redefinition of what ‘start’ means.”

nobody is saying we’re not going to provide health care coverage, but in some situations you may see a redefinition of what ‘health’ means and … uh … ‘coverage’ means …. and um, ‘choice’, ‘doctor’, ‘untreatable’, ‘hospital’, ‘pain’, ‘death’, …

Liberals: redefining reality is our business.

PackerBronco on September 23, 2013 at 1:15 PM

“nobody is going to say we’re not starting on October 1, but in some situations, you may see a redefinition of what ‘start’ means.”

Classic!!!

Cindy Munford on September 23, 2013 at 12:36 PM
Obamacare: It’s not dead, it’s just resting.

Happy Nomad on September 23, 2013 at 12:46 PM

“Bring out your dead!”
Monty Python…

Khun Joe on September 23, 2013 at 1:15 PM

As someone who proctors the M-Cat, may I say that there appear to be plenty of people who think that being a doctor will be a lucrative job. I’d say they think that they are just givers ready to do their duty for society, but I think Med school is still pretty darn expensive.

Cindy Munford on September 23, 2013 at 1:18 PM

The waste, fraud, and abuse of ObamaCare will be epic.

The real scary part of this will be – what if the amount of pain and expense this EpicClusterFarkNado causes still doesn’t convince a majority of American’s to not vote for the continued expansion of the progressive fascist welfare state?

I can hear it now – in 2015, the President complaining that the economic and healthcare challenges are the fault of the ‘obstructionist’ GOP who continue to try to derail the ACA – and not because of the way the ACA was designed or written by the progressives.

It’s the same old argument offered by the progressive jacobins – the issue isn’t the bankrupt agenda or vision, it’s the mistakes made during the implementation of the bankrupt agenda or vision.

Athos on September 23, 2013 at 1:21 PM

People aren’t that stupid.

PetecminMd

People elected Obama. Twice.

ex_machina on September 23, 2013 at 12:14 PM

Sadly, tragically, you could pretty much end every HotAir discussion with this.

WitchDoctor on September 23, 2013 at 1:24 PM

Liberals: redefining reality is our business.

PackerBronco on September 23, 2013 at 1:15 PM

Hey, the lazy stupid bastard was clear about that. You grow old or infirm and you’ll get a pill to make the dying easier. But heart transplants are reserved for the party faithful. New knees are for those willing to denounce their neighbors for heresy. Etc.

Happy Nomad on September 23, 2013 at 1:26 PM

and with the influx of 11-30 million new patients depending on which lie you choose, who is going to take care of them…I just interviewed 5 docs for some quality assurance testing I am doing with 3 opening up tele-medicine practices only–no walk ins, just log onto your laptop video/audio session and I will give you a prescription for your sinusitis, allergy, migraine, etc…alot less hassle/overhead of an already crowded bricks and mortar office….

hillsoftx on September 23, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Put me in the group that thinks the GOP shouldn’t be threatening to shut down the government playing this faux defunding Obamacare game. That game will blow up in their face. Sign off the CR to continue funding the government, let Obamacare go into effect to the disaster it’s going to be. The only message the GOP should be putting out, every day, is nobody in the GOP voted for it. The Dems own it, the LIV live with the consequences of their decision to reelect the ones that voted for it.

TulsAmerican on September 23, 2013 at 1:31 PM

If you like your tyranny, you can keep your tyranny.

smoothsailing on September 23, 2013 at 1:34 PM

The waste, fraud, and abuse of ObamaCare will be epic.

Remember though, one of the basic tenets of liberalism: Government grows through failure.

Waste, fraud, and abuse will be cited as reasons to INCREASE the scope and power of ObamaCare, not as reasons to remove it.

PackerBronco on September 23, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Can you say “train wreck” boys and girls?

Hope King Barry isn’t going to be looking for sympathy. It wasn’t like anyone did not warn the Democrats.

But it’s the fault of the Tea Party! If it hadn’t been for the 2010 elections, we’d all be on a single payer system! ObamaCare was designed to fail. But Democrats lost the House. Now they have to make their “signature” program work.

GarandFan on September 23, 2013 at 1:55 PM

What’s significant about having to choose a doctor from a smaller network? Those doctors have agreed to lower reimbursements for procedures. They might do everything a more highly-paid doctor will do- or they might take shortcuts to save costs. Even if they’re competent, patients will see even worse service, bedside manner, fewer office staff to process the paperwork, fewer available appointment times, and shorter visits with the doctor.

I’m sure all of those outcomes will make for a healthier America, aren’t you?

hawksruleva on September 23, 2013 at 2:05 PM

I have a couple of semi-serious questions.

What happens if you walk into a doctors office and offer to pay cash for a visit? Is that against the law now?

That’s what I’ve always done, even when I’ve had insurance.
I don’t even know what a co-pay is.

What happens if you visit a doctor overseas?
Are they required to used to U.S. electronic records keeping system?

MichaelGabriel on September 23, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Washington can pass all of the healthcare laws it wants but if there are no doctors to administer it then their laws are meaningless. I am on Medicare and I can tell you that the number of doctors that refuse to see me is growing daily. If I am having trouble with Medicare imagine what the poor people on their expanded Medicare will experience since it will pay doctors even less than Medicare. It’s like Pelosi claiming that healthcare is a right. How about when you are on a deserted island Nan? Healthcare requires the services of another person. How do you make their service a right?

inspectorudy on September 23, 2013 at 3:02 PM

Obamacare is exactly like Obama, the continuously campaigning Community Organizer….

Not ready for Prime Time & makes you wish there could be a re-vote due to severe ‘Buyer’s Remorse’!

easyt65 on September 23, 2013 at 3:08 PM

TulsAmerican on September 23, 2013 at 1:31 PM

I hate to say it, but I agree. Fund the government and fund Obamacare, just add a non-negotiable provision that 1) invalidates all waivers and exemptions, 2) reaffirms all dates as per the original law and 3) makes tampering with the law via executive order or administrative rule a high crime via the Constitution.

dominigan on September 23, 2013 at 4:25 PM

What’s significant about having to choose a doctor from a smaller network?

hawksruleva on September 23, 2013 at 2:05 PM

There are fewer doctors, specialists and hospitals available “in-network” at a discounted rate. That means more are considered “out-of-network”, which means paying more and it counts against an increased level of deductible (usually twice as much). In other words, there will be a LOT more cost transferred directly to the consumer as compared to the exact same plan but with a larger network.

This is a significant issue as the startup project I’m on is dealing with these issues. You need to consider that right now hospital medical groups are buying up primary care physician (PCP) offices and are heading toward forming their own (smaller) network. Soon, Obamacare choice will involve 1 or 2 hospitals and some PCPs within a large metro area. Since many specialists are later to join, you will find doctors and 1 or 2 hospitals “in-network”, but few specialists. The PCP move has accelerated recently, with over half now tied to a hospital medical group. That number will probably hit 75% within 2 years.

In other words, much fewer choices in the next few years and if you go outside those choices it will cost a LOT more as a consumer.

Enjoy your OCare…

dominigan on September 23, 2013 at 4:33 PM

As someone who proctors the M-Cat, may I say that there appear to be plenty of people who think that being a doctor will be a lucrative job. I’d say they think that they are just givers ready to do their duty for society, but I think Med school is still pretty darn expensive.

Cindy Munford on September 23, 2013 at 1:18 PM

I’ve worked with docs over the the past 20+ years and knew several of them personally enough for them to talk about details of their practice. One of them was a good friend of mine who volunteered that he had to work for the first 3 mos of each year just to pay his malpractice premium, although the salaries of his employees (nurses, med techs, office people) went on. This was back in……2003 or so. Can you imagine what it’s like now, along with other issues that are looming on the future??!

avagreen on September 23, 2013 at 5:15 PM

…dumb…dumb!

KOOLAID2 on September 23, 2013 at 11:14 PM

Obamacare: It’s not dead, it’s just resting.

Happy Nomad on September 23, 2013 at 12:46 PM

“Bring out your dead!”
Monty Python…

Khun Joe on September 23, 2013 at 1:15 PM

See, look, Obamacare is just pining for the fjords!

TMOverbeck on September 23, 2013 at 11:52 PM