Quotes of the day

posted at 8:01 pm on October 18, 2013 by Allahpundit

Obamacare was always going to be a major issue in the mid-term elections, since so many of its major pieces — the new health coverage, the online marketplaces where the coverage is available, the expansion of Medicaid, and the hated individual mandate — become real in January.

But now, Democrats will also have to talk about a federal health insurance website that barely anyone can use. Even White House spokesman Jay Carney was reduced to arguing Thursday that Obamacare isn’t just a website — after Obama has been saying it would be as easy as shopping for flat-screen TVs online…

“If the website isn’t fixed soon, it’s not just a Republican issue. Everyone’s concerned,” said Tim Jost, a law professor at Washington and Lee University who’s a vocal advocate of the law. “I don’t see this as just a political problem. I see this as a real problem for millions of Americans.”

***

Two weeks after the launch of the Michigan Health Insurance Marketplace, it’s still unclear how many Michiganders have been able to buy insurance there.

Comments earlier today by the chief deputy of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services underscored the lingering confusion over health insurance exchanges, the centerpiece in each state of the federal Affordable Care Act.

Ann Flood, who on Nov. 1 will become the director of the department, said she checked with her staff and “we actually do not have any confirmation of anyone (in Michigan) signing up on the exchange.”

***

Now that we’re two weeks into open enrollment, and shoppers aren’t facing much luck actually enrolling, there’s chatter among health wonks about what that means for the sign-up period: Could it get extended? The individual mandate delayed? Some other option?…

If the problems happening now though persist until the end of the month, that’s when you might see more serious talk of policy changes that give people more of an opportunity to sign up.

“We clearly have one important deadline here, which is December 15,” says Ron Pollack, president of Families USA. “They have to be fixed prior to that, so people can get enrolled in January. That means if we haven’t seen very substantial progress before the end of this month, that’s worrisome.”

***

But insurers are focused on a much earlier date: Jan. 1. That’s when the insurance plans will start to become active. The nightmare scenario for insurers would be if, at the beginning of the new year, they are bombarded by complaints from consumers who, based on information displayed on the federal website, were expecting a certain set of benefits that don’t correspond to the plans to which they signed up.

This doesn’t even get to the broader health policy issue. The success of Obamacare hinges on the exchanges being able to enroll enough young and healthy individuals to offset the cost of covering older and sicker patients, particularly those with pre-existing conditions.

Given that Americans with higher medical costs are more likely to endure an arduous enrollment process than healthier individuals, sustained technological problems could be devastating to the program.

Right now, there isn’t enough data available to say whether insurers are achieving the right mix of enrollees.

***

Healthcare.gov is a colossal, expensive failure that projects a 1970s-era DMV experience into cyberspace. It wasn’t for lack of money. As The New York Times reports in a devastating anatomy of failure, some $400 million has been spent so far in creating “a one-stop click-and-go hub for citizens seeking health insurance.” But rest easy, America, since the Times cites a source who says that “the project was now roughly 70 percent of the way toward operating properly.” And the other 30 percent, which is kinda sorta important? “I’ve heard as little as two weeks or as much as a couple of months.” Which is to say, don’t go skydiving or skiing come January 1, 2014

Eventually, the crowd at healthcare.gov will thin out, either because fed-up folks—especially the “young invincibles” who are so important to any chance of the program’s success—stop going there or because the government hires some decent programmers. Whether it’s in two months or 12—and whether it costs another $400 million—is anybody’s guess. But while you’re waiting, consider this: The Congressional Research Service found that the Obama administration missed half of its statutory deadlines for the implementation of The Affordable Care Act in its first three years.

There’s no rush. After the program becomes fully operational, then the real troubles will begin. Who in their right mind is going to feel comfortable giving income and other personal information to a site that inspires less sense of security than a Russian mail-order bride website? The government’s super-spy outfit—the National Security Agency—allowed a short-term contract employee to walk out with a bazillion incriminating PowerPoint slides. And you’re asking us to believe that HHS is going to keep things confidential?

***

Gallup’s tracking suggests little progress has been made in uninsured Americans’ awareness of the insurance requirement or familiarity with healthcare exchanges in the weeks since they have been open. On the positive side, more than seven in 10 uninsured Americans are aware they need to get insurance. However, the same percentage say they are unfamiliar with the exchanges, the primary place uninsured Americans are supposed to be able to find insurance.

gal

***

The U.S. individual health insurance market currently totals about 19 million people. Because the Obama administration’s regulations on grandfathering existing plans were so stringent about 85% of those, 16 million, are not grandfathered and must comply with Obamacare at their next renewal. The rules are very complex. For example, if you had an individual plan in March of 2010 when the law was passed and you only increased the deductible from $1,000 to $1,500 in the years since, your plan has lost its grandfather status and it will no longer be available to you when it would have renewed in 2014.

These 16 million people are now receiving letters from their carriers saying they are losing their current coverage and must re-enroll in order to avoid a break in coverage and comply with the new health law’s benefit mandates––the vast majority by January 1. Most of these will be seeing some pretty big rate increases.

But unless they live in Washington state, Nevada, Colorado, and Kentucky, they can’t now get on an exchange site to see their plan options, new prices, and provider directories so they can make an informed decision before they lose their coverage.

This is a fine mess.

***

Obama, no doubt, wants to avoid the political embarrassment of a delay — or even the mere suggestion of one. But what happens if it’s the middle of December and enrollments are nowhere near where they need to be to make the system viable? What if, by necessity, he has to seek a delay?

The operating assumption would be that Republicans would jump at the chance to delay it. But after the past few weeks, can we really be sure that this would be the case?

It’s perfectly conceivable that if such a scenario played out, the position of the Tea Party activists and their allies in Congress would be that delaying the law for a year would be tantamount to a bailout of Obamacare.

If Obama doesn’t agree to full repeal, they could argue, the law should go into effect and destroy the private insurance market so that Americans can experience the full disaster of the law and increase the public pressure to repeal it entirely.

***

Keeping in mind that the pressure for delay will be intense from the states where exchanges are not functioning a month or more from now – which would likely include every state in the federal exchange – and that insurers will insist that they can’t delay the mandate without also delaying the goodies (pre-existing, community rating, etc.), there are a couple of things that I think could come next. Here are, broadly speaking, five different scenarios:

1. The White House could call for/implement via executive order or some other unilateral step a real delay of the individual mandate, just owning the problem or framing it as “we won’t enforce the penalty for 2014″ (likely bringing on a lawsuit from insurers, unless you find a way to make them whole)…

5. POTUS, convinced that he’s in a powerful position in the wake of the shutdown, could refuse any and all delays and privately threaten any Democrats who consider proposing them. Obamacare is the law of the land.

Which of these are we likeliest to see? I expect options 1 and 5.

***

Of course it’s possible this nightmare will not happen. Things will get ironed out somehow.

But if they don’t, who’s responsible? First, a president who is not much interested in how government works on the ground. As a community organizer he never did get all the asbestos removed from the Altgeld housing project…

Third, government IT procurement rules are kludgy. Apple didn’t bid on this. The IT work went to insider firms that specialize in jumping through the hoops and ladders of government procurement rules…

[I]f Obamacare’s software crashes, the consequences will be catastrophic — for the nation and for the Democratic Party.

***

Via the Examiner.

***



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Schadenfreude on October 19, 2013 at 1:18 AM

Thank you, my friend. As a matter of fact, I am doing better every day. :)

I know what you mean, and a lot of us are feeling the same way. It’s like a kind of lingering hangover.

People just need a chance to read the lay of the land and catch their breath.

Once the fight for the midterms begins in earnest, people will begin to get back into the swing of things.

thatsafactjack on October 19, 2013 at 1:23 AM

,,,OVER!

KOOLAID2 on October 19, 2013 at 1:24 AM

Working Class Hero – Govt Mule

thatsafactjack on October 19, 2013 at 1:25 AM

redbone

Fred

jrsrigmvr on October 19, 2013 at 1:27 AM

Texas is covered with cheese.

Cripes, and Twerp failed to report the CheeseNado

SparkPlug on October 19, 2013 at 1:28 AM

SparkPlug on October 19, 2013 at 1:26 AM

What about a fine chocolate fondue, Spark?

thatsafactjack on October 19, 2013 at 1:28 AM

I hope the Deadbirds play the RS. Ryan Dempster-former Cubbie-is a RS ace!

annoyinglittletwerp on October 19, 2013 at 12:03 AM

If you mean The Cardinals —- yes, you’ll be able to watch them…..don’t know who they’ll be playing, but the Cardinals will be the only other team playing in the last Series of Baseball Games this season!

…..In fact – fans from EVERY OTHER MLB Team and players from EVERY OTHER MLB Team will be able to watch them…….only one team will be left to play them……

williamg on October 19, 2013 at 1:29 AM

three dog night

Fred

jrsrigmvr on October 19, 2013 at 1:32 AM

What about a fine chocolate fondue, Spark?

thatsafactjack on October 19, 2013 at 1:28 AM

Ok.

Fondue for me and you. (:

SparkPlug on October 19, 2013 at 1:33 AM

Hi canopfor. Keep on linking bro.

SparkPlug on October 19, 2013 at 1:34 AM

I am doing better every day. :)

thatsafactjack on October 19, 2013 at 1:23 AM

Good to hear!

Good night J.

Nite HA.

Nitey nite America.

Schadenfreude on October 19, 2013 at 1:34 AM

Nothing Else Matters – Haynes/ Grateful Dead

thatsafactjack on October 19, 2013 at 1:35 AM

Schadenfreude on October 19, 2013 at 1:34 AM

Goodnight, Paladin. Get some rest. Tomorrow is another day… and another fight. Sleep well. :)

thatsafactjack on October 19, 2013 at 1:35 AM

baby i’m a want you

Fred

jrsrigmvr on October 19, 2013 at 1:36 AM

SparkPlug on October 19, 2013 at 1:33 AM

Very cool. :)

thatsafactjack on October 19, 2013 at 1:37 AM

I hope the Deadbirds play the RS. Ryan Dempster-former Cubbie-is a RS ace!

annoyinglittletwerp on October 19, 2013 at 12:03 AM

As you watch the best baseball organization in the Cardinals, understand that if the Cards play against the Dumpster, he will not be able to get rid of the stench of his former club and will revert back to the cubbie mentality as he gets his azz handed to him.

Vince on October 19, 2013 at 1:38 AM

As The Years Go Passing By – Moore

I bid you all a fond goodnight. It’s been a pleasure, as always.

Live in the moment.

“Keep yourselves where the light is.”

thatsafactjack on October 19, 2013 at 1:40 AM

ramblin’ man

out of whiskey. get a beer or go to bed. hmmmmm

Fred

jrsrigmvr on October 19, 2013 at 1:40 AM

Use advanced google search to locate comments. Limit domain to HotAir.com

Put “[screen name] on”

That will give you list of all comments and only (for the most part) their comments

bluegill on October 19, 2013 at 1:43 AM

*Just One Thing Is Important, Jackie: Make Somebody Happy……Susan Tedeschi & Derek Trucks with Santana…….

williamg on October 19, 2013 at 1:44 AM

can’t you see

Fred

jrsrigmvr on October 19, 2013 at 1:55 AM

“I don’t see this as just a political problem. I see this as a real problem for millions of Americans.”

Obamacare affecting 1/6 of our economy passed on a mere 51 votes with none of the opposition party voting for it. Obamacare will become a huge oppression of an entire nation. But I notice the ocean is already starting to recede a bit and our nation is united with a whole bunch of purples states just as Obummer promised.

Herb on October 19, 2013 at 7:50 AM

As you watch the best baseball organization in the Cardinals, understand that if the Cards play against the Dumpster, he will not be able to get rid of the stench of his former club and will revert back to the cubbie mentality as he gets his azz handed to him.

Vince on October 19, 2013 at 1:38 AM

Interesting chat about Dempster. Since the rotation was trimmed to 4 pitchers from 5 for the playoffs, he’s the odd man out/new long reliever. As a Red Sox fan myself I hope to see him on the mound little or not at all.
Presuming they beat Detroit to advance.

22044 on October 19, 2013 at 8:19 AM

Good Morning, Patriots! And, Trolls.

It’s time to fundamentally change the way that we do business in Washington. To help build a new foundation for the 21st century, we need to reform our government so that it is more efficient, more transparent, and more creative. That will demand new thinking and a new sense of responsibility for every dollar that is spent.

– Barack Obama
My take: “Obamacare: The Failure of Healthcare.Gov Due to Old-Fashioned Political Shenanigans”

kingsjester on October 19, 2013 at 8:22 AM

Steve Eggleston on October 18, 2013 at 9:22 PM

Thanks for additional information.

Another thought that occurred to me is that we’ll likely see another debt jump on the next government payday… since they will be paying the back wages since October 1st for both “essential” and “non-essential” government employees.

ITguy on October 19, 2013 at 8:28 AM

14 days, 98.68%

Bmore on October 19, 2013 at 8:45 AM

Sorry SparkPlug, 14 days 99.68%

Bmore on October 19, 2013 at 8:46 AM

Good morning all, just thought I say howdy before I head to the gun show…..
Obamacare, hmmm, so does anyone think they will have a million signed up by Christmas???…… ;-D

angrymike on October 19, 2013 at 9:19 AM

Those two trains are picking up speed and are coming ’round the bend. Thanks, Baucus, for the apt description.

Kissmygrits on October 19, 2013 at 9:26 AM

My take: “Obamacare: The Failure of Healthcare.Gov Due to Old-Fashioned Political Shenanigans”

kingsjester on October 19, 2013 at 8:22 AM

…very good…read your government at work people!

KOOLAID2 on October 19, 2013 at 9:40 AM

KOOLAID2 on October 19, 2013 at 9:40 AM

Thank you, my friend!

kingsjester on October 19, 2013 at 9:49 AM

Two weeks after the launch of the Michigan Health Insurance Marketplace, it’s still unclear how many Michiganders have been able to buy insurance there.

My spouse can’t even log into Medicare to provide bonafides and credentialing for her office. She’s been trying day and night, at work and from home.
Another new requirement ya know … *sigh*
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on October 19, 2013 at 12:32 PM

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