Quotes of the day
posted at 10:41 pm on November 20, 2013 by Allahpundit
A top tech official for the ObamaCare exchanges said just days before the launch of the troubled health law website that people inside the White House were nervous the site would be unavailable after its launch and would be a big embarrassment, Fox News has learned.
A Sept. 25 e-mail from HealthCare.gov project manager Henry Chao,obtained exclusively by Fox News, suggests Obama administration officials had more fears than they let on publicly that the website would have problems before its Oct. 1 launch.
In the e-mail to a number of apparent colleagues, Chao suggests the administration should design a more palatable way to tell the public that the website was not working in case it failed after the launch, saying that such a move could help prevent the media from “just ramping up the hyperbole about hc.gov not [being] functional.”
Consumers can’t go to healthcare.gov to learn whether their doctors participate in an Obamacare-approved health care plan because the website doesn’t include such information.
That’s because federal officials were so eager to approve insurer health plans for the exchanges, they didn’t ask how many doctors, hospitals, labs and clinics were participating in each plan, according to a key health insurance industry trade association executive…
Howard described Obamacare’s reduced reimbursement levels as “Medicaid Lite” because, he said, the program’s reimbursement rates are somewhere between Medicare and Medicaid levels.
“The structure is to really try to keep premiums down as much so you can to get that sweet spot with these essential health benefits,” Howard said.
“So, the only way is for providers to go to start slashing doctors from them and start slashing hospitals and get them to accept these lower payments,” he said.
More importantly, these physicians are finding that their patients are being forced out of the insurance plans they have, because Jay Carney and Zeke Emmanuel have deemed them “substandard.” Some of the doctors said they will try to continue caring for their patients even after the insurance runs out, others said they just can’t afford to give away free care.
Obamacare is no answer. The health plans in the exchanges are using “skinny networks” to save money. That means no payment if a patient goes to an “out-of-network” provider, and in many cases only a third of an area’s physicians and hospitals are in the network. Naturally, these are the cheapest and worst providers in the region. The Anthem plan in Maine, one of only two choices in that state, will make no payment for any out-of-state provider, even though most patients with serious conditions in Maine go to Boston for treatment…
I had to tell these physicians that I see no way out. The politicians, bureaucrats, and special interests have destroyed what was a reasonably effective health care system.
Henry Chou, the fellow from CMS who oversaw the healthcare.gov web site development, famously said last spring that he was hoping the web site wasn’t “a third-world experience.” That’s the least of it. We are now facing an entire health care system that is a third-world experience.
A new and independent analysis of ObamaCare warns of a ticking time bomb, predicting a second wave of 50 million to 100 million insurance policy cancellations next fall — right before the mid-term elections.
The next round of cancellations and premium hikes is expected to hit employees, particularly of small businesses. While the administration has tried to downplay the cancellation notices hitting policyholders on the individual market by noting they represent a relatively small fraction of the population, the swath of people who will be affected by the shakeup in employer-sponsored coverage will be much broader…
For workers, their experience could mirror that of the 5 million or so on the individual market who already received cancellation notices because their plans did not meet new standards under the Affordable Care Act.
Second, there are inescapable similarities in the ways that Bush and Obama handled their crises, and those actions changed the public’s view of their presidencies. Specifically:
* Their mismanagement raised questions about competence, compounded by deceptive and tone-deaf responses that undermined their credibility.
* The crises came after a series of unrelated events that had already caused doubt among voters about the presidents. To borrow a cliché, Katrina was the last straw.
* Their personal and job-approval ratings tanked.
* Their dwindling political capital was squandered by defensive, insular advisers who refused to recognize the dangers.
* They both ran reelection campaigns without a positive forward-looking message and made the races primarily about their opponent. That left them little political capital going into their second term.
Bush never recovered. Obama might still have time to learn history’s hard lessons.
“The redistributive arithmetic of Obamacare’s architecture could never add up,” Steven Hayward, a visiting scholar in conservative thought and policy at the University of Colorado, wrote in Forbes magazine: “The wonder is that Obama’s political team didn’t see this coming and prepare a pre-emptive strategy for dealing with the inevitable exposure of the duplicity at the heart of Obamacare’s logic.”…
The industry sets rates three months in advance of each year. The rates for 2014 were set last month. If the industry is forced in 2014 to accept smaller profits, or actual losses, because of a government-mandated requirement to continue current policies, it will attempt to make up for lost revenue in 2015 by raising premiums. Providing temporary relief may create an even more severe problem in October 2014 with an election looming…
Obama has placed himself and his party in what now looks like a zero-sum bind, forcing a choice between inflicting the painful consequences of Obamacare on the electorate now or 11 months from now.
“But it’s such a small minority” is the administration’s rejoinder; the entire individual market covers just 5 percent of the population, and some of those people will be net beneficiaries of Obamacare, thanks to the subsidies. This logic was always a bit shaky — all the people who are ultimately expected to get additional coverage from the new law, including the Medicaid expansion, amount to only 7.5 percent of the population, so if 5 percent is too small to worry about, then probably so is the number of uninsured. But it’s not even true. I mean, it’s true that only 5 percent of the population gets its coverage from the individual market. But Obamacare is also making significant changes in the employer market. Twelve percent of workers are expected to be affected by the “Cadillac tax” on especially generous health-care benefits when it kicks in in 2018. When those people find out that they too will be in the group of people who can’t keep their plan, even though they like it, they will be livid. The unions, who will be disproportionately affected by this, are already getting restive.
To be clear, I still don’t think that repeal is probable. But I do think it’s possible, and getting somewhat more likely, though not under Obama’s presidency. Having two outlets talk about this as more than a Republican pipe dream tells you that people are starting to think that this is actually possible. And that by itself makes it more likely to happen. Not all at once, the way the Republican Party dreamed. But it might be dismembered in pieces, until there’s no reason not to repeal what’s left of the desiccated corpse…
The moment that it looks like there’s a big risk that Obamacare won’t work, both Democrats and insurers are going to stampede for the exit. Yes, Obama can veto anything that threatens his favorite law. But if it gets that far, he’s already lost. His veto will cost his party big in the 2014 midterms, quite possibly enough to cost them the Senate. But by then it will probably be irrelevant, because if Obama has to veto something like a bipartisan bill to delay or repeal the individual mandate, his presidency will be over, and his signature legislation will be in grave danger. Insurers were willing to risk fairly substantial losses in 2014 to help the law get established and build market share. If it looks like the law is going to fail, they probably aren’t going to be willing to do it again in 2015.
Via the WFB.
Via the Daily Rushbo.