ObamaCare’s headaches: Are all of these untrue, too?
posted at 9:21 pm on February 27, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham
The implementation of this law has broken down at every single level. Harry Reid has chosen to defame those who speak out about their giant, life-threatening problems with Obamacare, but what of the thousand daily headaches the law is causing due to bad design, unintended but entirely predictable consequences, and the error cascade that followed the exchanges’ disastrous launch? Sen. Harry Reid would call these mere trifles since he’s willing to dismiss women with cancer losing their coverage. But I don’t think it’s politically wise to argue that that the people living this stuff every day are not really living it. Or, that their time and trouble means nothing so long as we’re marching forward toward Reid’s dream of a health care system, where ladies with cancer are slandered on the Senate floor for not thanking the Senate for the chance to have a plan they liked taken from them to gamble on the unpredictable, expensive, subpar plans Obama wants them to have.
This came from NPR, so is this a lie, Senator? Julie Boonstra’s life means nothing to Reid. Sheila Lawless’ time will mean even less. But it should mean something to us:
Sheila Lawless is the office manager at a small rheumatology practice in Wichita Falls, Texas, about two hours outside of Dallas. She makes sure everything in the office runs smoothly – scheduling patients, collecting payments, keeping the lights on. Recently she added another duty–incorporating the trickle of patients with insurance plans purchased on the new Affordable Care Act exchanges.
Open enrollment doesn’t end until March 31, but people who have already bought Obamacare plans are beginning to use them. “We had a spattering in January—maybe once a week. But I think we’re averaging two to three a day now,” says Lawless.
That doesn’t sound like many new customers, but it’s presented a major challenge: verifying that these patients have insurance. Each exchange patient has required the practice to spend an hour or more on the phone with the insurance company. “We’ve been on hold for an hour, an hour and 20, an hour and 45, been disconnected, have to call back again and repeat the process,” she explains. Those sorts of hold times add up fast.
In the past, offices have been able to make sure patients are insured quickly, by using an online verification system. But for exchange patients, practices also have to call the insurer to make sure the patient has paid his premium. If he hasn’t, the insurance company can refuse to pay the doctor for the visit, or come back later and recoup a payment it made.
More than an hour on hold per exchange patient just to do the routine verification that the private sector pre-Obamacare status quo we hear was so horrible had down to a several-second online process. This is one of these instances where Obamacare’s chestnuts are ironically pulled out of the fire by its failures, to some extent. Imagine how bad this would be for Lawless and her countless counterparts all over the country, if the error-ridden system with its pay-is-optional design had actually managed to attract 7 million Americans. It’s easy to think this isn’t a huge deal, especially when compared to someone with cancer losing coverage for her medication. But Lawless is a symbol for many other Americans and many other actors in the health care system. How much attention to other patients is being eaten up by the 6-8 hours she’s spending making sure three or four are actually enrolled in Obamacare? This was reform that was supposed to bring more attentive patient care and less administrative worry. So much for that. So much for whatever work Lawless did instead of verifying Obamacare patients for hours a day, and for the time she maybe spent with her family or doing a hobby, which is now spent playing catch-up on the rest of her normal verification work.
And, then there’s this. When they attack my pizza, they attack me:
Tucked deep in the Affordable Care Act is language requiring all restaurants with at least 20 locations to list nutritional information alongside each and every item on their menu.
That edict is now creating headaches for small business owners across the country, particularly pizza chains.
Take Domino’s. There are 34 million different pizza combinations available at the chain, when all crusts and cheeses and toppings are factored in.
Now imagine walking into a Domino’s and navigating a menu board with 34 million different options on it.
Executives say figuring out the small print will be a big burden.
“Our company, like many pizza enterprises, is individual small business franchisees, so these are people that own three or four, or one or two Domino’s pizza stores,” said Domino’s spokeswoman Lynn Liddle. “To have to redo the menu boards every time something changes on a calorie count would cost them several thousand dollars.”
Even some Democrats have turned against the calorie count requirements, as they’ve turned on other onerous Obamacare requirements after they voted for them:
“What the FDA did, I think, was really an overreach,” Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Calif., told Fox News.
Sanchez backs legislation that encourages the FDA to allow certain restaurants — especially places that deliver frequently — to provide information online or through an app, or offer information for a variety of toppings and combinations.
The Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2013 has bipartisan support in Congress.
Hey, just a couple thousand dollars per small business. Just a couple hours per Obamacare verification. Just a couple doctors you can’t see, cancer patient.
And, your headache will last forever and ever, whether you like it or not: