ObamaCare: Stop me if you’ve heard this before …

posted at 12:01 pm on March 27, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

“What the hell is this, a joke?” That was John Boehner’s reaction to the latest delay in ObamaCare, and he’s not wrong. In fact, it’s such a joke that only one major broadcaster bothered to report it on its evening news:

They probably didn’t take it seriously in the first place. CBS reported that the deadline is, ahem, “fluid,” depending on circumstances:

Insurers aren’t happy at all about this banana-peel punchline. They’d love for this to be over so they can stop having to deal with the White House, The Hill reports today:

The health insurance industry can’t wait for ObamaCare’s first enrollment season to be over so that it can have a break from dealing with the White House, sources on K Street say.

Insurers feel that the administration has taken advantage of them by making repeated delays and changes to the law, even as they have gone above and beyond the call of duty to fix problems with the rollout.

The administration is nursing grievances as well, feeling insurers don’t have the best interests of consumers at heart and should temper their criticism as they do more to make the law work.

The tensions between insurers and the White House were described to The Hill by five healthcare lobbyists, both Republican and Democrat, who requested anonymity to speak freely.

Kathleen Sebelius arrives in Nashville, Tennessee to promote the Healthcare.gov web portal in part by pulling a Chip Diller and proclaiming that all is well with the website and the program:

Will anyone believe her? In my column today for The Fiscal Times, I note that her record of honesty and competence makes her campaign a joke, too:

Perhaps Kathleen Sebelius can explain her Congressional testimony to Speaker Boehner by claiming to have been joking when she insisted that there would be no further delays in Obamacare earlier this month. Sebelius was asked specifically by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) about any potential pushbacks on the open-enrollment deadline two weeks ago, and replied, “No sir.”

The day prior to that testimony, the spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services told reporters that HHS didn’t have the authority to do so. “We have no plans to extend the open enrollment period,” Julie Bataille said. “In fact, we don’t actually have the statutory authority to extend the open enrollment period in 2014.”

I guess they were just kidding when they said that, eh?

Rich Lowry calls Sebelius “the Baghdad Bob of health insurance“:

Obamacare has been a long workshop in improv tragicomedy. The delays, regulatory rewritings and extensions are always an attempt simply to live for another day, to put off the political pain of cancellations, or rate hikes, or layoffs, and to manage to get just enough traction to make the law viable.

Millions have now signed up for the exchanges, but it’s not clear that the demographic mix is right to avoid steep premium increases by insurers in 2015. So far, it looks like young people— essential to making the economics of the exchanges work — aren’t signing up in the necessary numbers. The extension is surely a ploy to squeeze every last “young invincible” out of the current enrollment period, and hope the news for the rates in 2015 isn’t so bad.

And after that? It’s anybody’s guess. All we know for sure is that whatever Kathleen Sebelius says today may not be operative tomorrow.

Their self-congratulatory PR effort shows the real joke of this program, as I conclude in my column:

The biggest joke, though, is the pride in which the White House promoted its five millionth sign-up earlier this month. The imposition of the Obamacare regiment kicked as many as six million Americans out of their existing plans by the end of 2013 despite the “you can keep your plan” promise, which means that we still have not yet hit the break-even point on market churn. …

If this system works as well as the Obama administration insists, where are all of the uninsured? Why haven’t we seen massive numbers of enrollments from the beginning if that was such a crisis as to require the kind of intervention Democrats imposed, at an estimated cost of $1.5 trillion dollars over the next ten years?

That is the real joke, and it’s on us. Don’t expect us to laugh about it. Instead, we should double our efforts to jettison the jokers who are responsible for it.

Finally, IBD offers the real reason for the extensions and the Obama administration attempts to dodge demands for the hard numbers from HHS:

No, the real reason for the deadline delay is that Obama is desperate to get lagging enrollment numbers as high as he can, any way he can.

It’s the same reason the administration refuses to produce data on how many ObamaCare “enrollees” have actually paid their premiums: HHS officials insist they just don’t have that information.

But this week Reps. Dave Camp and Kevin Brady discovered that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has been telling insurers to report both enrollment and payment data. That, the lawmakers say, strongly suggests “the administration knows who has enrolled and paid their first month’s premium.”

In addition, eight state-run exchanges — each built with federal grant money — have managed to produce nonpayment data for some time now.

That picture isn’t very pretty. In Maryland, 46% of enrollees haven’t paid their premiums so far. In Vermont, 36% are unpaid. Overall, about one in five people in these states has yet to pony up.

If that average holds nationwide, it means that fully 1 million people haven’t paid for their ObamaCare plans yet and could lose their coverage.

They won’t be laughing, either.


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Obama…destroyer of the land…

PatriotRider on March 27, 2014 at 12:08 PM

I don’t think it’s fair to compare her to Baghdad Bob. By the time he was saying those absurd things, the regime was in tatters and he was probably winging it as best he could. Cerberus on the other hand is in constant touch with the administration and these lies are planned well in advance.

Flange on March 27, 2014 at 12:09 PM

Funny. I thought for sure it would be that joke that goes something like this. “Don’t piss down my leg and tell me its raining.”

Bmore on March 27, 2014 at 12:09 PM

If the Government is lawless, why in hell should the rest of us obey any laws.

there it is on March 27, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Health insurance has been outlawed, replaced with a welfare program that has been renamed “insurance.” – Ann Coulter

I am going to love quoting that, over and over and over.

RushBaby on March 27, 2014 at 12:10 PM

If that average holds nationwide, it means that fully 1 million people haven’t paid for their ObamaCare plans yet and could lose their coverage.

Coverage that isn’t worth the paper it’s written on…

PatriotRider on March 27, 2014 at 12:10 PM

Insurers aren’t happy at all about this banana-peel punchline. They’d love for this to be over so they can stop having to deal with the White House

Boo hoo, motherfletchers. You got in bed with this a$$hole to begin with, either out of fear or out of some type of greed (I hate that word).

You’ll get no sympathy from me.

Lanceman on March 27, 2014 at 12:11 PM

If these actions regarding ObamaCare, by everyone from the president on down the administrative chain, were in regard to anything other than a federal government program, the RICO act would be invoked and they’d be facing charges for racketeering.

thatsafactjack on March 27, 2014 at 12:13 PM

Big joke.

Hilarious.

itsspideyman on March 27, 2014 at 12:13 PM

Last Month: Harry Reid Calls Obamacare Horor Stories “Lies” – Yesterday: Harry Reid Says He Never Called Obamacare Horror Stories “Lies”…
Chutzpah.Via America Rising:

On March 26, 2014, Harry Reid said he never said ObamaCare stories – to his recollection – were lies.

Februry 26, 2014, Harry Reid said the “tales” were “made up from whole cloth, lies distorted by the Republicans…”

Harry Reid Says He Never Called ObamaCare Stories Lies
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=nefN-QvOPXY
http://weaselzippers.us/180828-last-month-harry-reid-calls-obamacare-horor-stories-lies-yesterday-harry-reid-says-he-never-called-obamacare-horror-stories-lies/

DinaRehn on March 27, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Insurers aren’t happy at all about this banana-peel punchline. They’d love for this to be over so they can stop having to deal with the White House

They are merely playing the role of the scorned lover, they know the legislation has the sugar-daddy bailout built in for them…

hillsoftx on March 27, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Funny. I thought for sure it would be that joke that goes something like this. “Don’t piss down my leg and tell me its raining.”

Bmore on March 27, 2014 at 12:09 PM

I just spent a good half hour on your site, per a post from Schadenfreude – you are crazy talented.

Odie1941 on March 27, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Just try this “fluidity” with the April 15 tax deadline with the IRS.

rbj on March 27, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Keystone cops. Gallows humor. Obamacare is the destruction of what use to be the finest healthcare system in the world.

People don’t have insurance. People who think they have insurance don’t have insurance. People who have insurance don’t understand that they cannot afford the large deductibles that must me paid first.

Doctors, hospitals, patients, and especially taxpayers are getting screwed by the dims. It must be reversed, and soon.

Kaffa on March 27, 2014 at 12:17 PM

DinaRehn on March 27, 2014 at 12:14 PM

That’s to change the focus from his corruption to him just being a liar.

Flange on March 27, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Pope Francis, Obama meet in March 2014
53s
President Obama confirms Vatican Secretary of State raised issue of Affordable Care Act contraceptive issue, says it did not come up in talks with Pope Francis – @petermaercbs

canopfor on March 27, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Odie1941 on March 27, 2014 at 12:16 PM

You got the crazy part correct. Lolz! Thanks. Send them to all across the land. ; )

Bmore on March 27, 2014 at 12:20 PM

Insurers aren’t happy at all about this banana-peel punchline.

Fluke all those insurers who decided to band together and support tyranny, the destruction of their own industry, and the ensuing premature deaths of their fellow citizens instead of banding together for the cause of liberty.

Typical, greedy, short-sighted morons …

ShainS on March 27, 2014 at 12:20 PM

My doctor has diagnosed me as having “Obamaitis”, which is a temporary feeling of general fatigue and despair when exposed to news, conversation, or mental images of Obama.

In fact, I need a nap right now just for typing this comment.

His prognosis is generally positive, saying that in a couple of months Nov-Dec time frame) the symptoms should begin to recede, and the issue should resolve itself in about two years.

BobMbx on March 27, 2014 at 12:21 PM

Speaking of “who is paying”… are these first month premiums – or “quarterly/bi-annual/yearly” paid folks?

Because when folks try to use HC services – and then find out a certain Dr or hospital isn’t covered, they will just stop paying for useless care.

When they get a bill – out of pocket or deductible – then realize coverage won’t kick in, they will cancel their plans.

When the net HC cost for services start eating into month to month bills – no Obama, they won’t cancel their cable or cell phone – they will cancel their HC payments

If you have to lie about paid signups, while dragging people to the first month and pray they are paying – the continuance of a program is doomed from the start. We are just seeing the tip of the iceberg of this drastic failure.

Is single payer the goal – perhaps – but if Rep’s were wise, they would hammer “just go back to what was and what worked”

Odie1941 on March 27, 2014 at 12:23 PM

This creates a real dilemma. Since enforcement of Obamacare is now administered by the IRS, thanks to Judge Roberts tax declaration, and the Obama administration is changing the tax rules ad hominem, can we all just ignore our federal income tax? He has no power to change tax laws.

Just a thought.

Tater Salad on March 27, 2014 at 12:24 PM

DinaRehn on March 27, 2014 at 12:14 PM

That’s to change the focus from his corruption to him just being a liar.

Flange on March 27, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Haha!

Good point, I’d forgotten about the corruption case.

Are we to have another arrest of a member of the ‘mystery party’ soon?

DinaRehn on March 27, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Is it racist to call Obama-democrat Care black humor?

jukin3 on March 27, 2014 at 12:25 PM

It’s hard to sell when people see they are only buying a deductible with a couple of free health checks,if they can even get an appointment for those.

docflash on March 27, 2014 at 12:26 PM

This is the ultimate example of the line from Reagan’s “A Time for Choosing” speech; “when central planners plans fail, they continue planning”.

Tater Salad on March 27, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Still OnGoing:

Heads UP:

New Jersey, US
3m
Live video: Attorneys conducting review of George Washington Bridge lane closings hold media briefing – @NBCNews
read more on nbcnews.com

http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/coming-bridgegate-review-findings-released-n63671

canopfor on March 27, 2014 at 11:43 AM

canopfor on March 27, 2014 at 12:27 PM

I have already seen patients with their shiny new “bronze level” cards trying to pick up prescritions on plans cancelled just two months in. Will get much worse next month when the forced-coverage month elapses and the insurers can finally cancel for non-payment.

winoceros on March 27, 2014 at 12:28 PM

Why would anyone pay when it’s free, right?

Winston_Smith on March 27, 2014 at 12:32 PM

They keep putting on these shills who are so grateful that for the first time in their lives they have med insurance. What they don’t know is what it is going to cost them and what is the deductible. In for a surprise.

rjoco1 on March 27, 2014 at 12:32 PM

Fluke all those insurers who decided to band together and support tyranny, the destruction of their own industry, and the ensuing premature deaths of their fellow citizens instead of banding together for the cause of liberty.

Typical, greedy, short-sighted morons …

ShainS on March 27, 2014 at 12:20 PM

I was in the IT department of one of these insurers when this was being enacted. A lot of these companies administer Medicare and are subject to CMS’s rules and regulations. CMS can cutback are even put a company out of the Medicare business.

I am not sticking up for the insurance companies, but they were pressured to participate in Obamacare with the implied threat of losing their Medicare business.

Kaffa on March 27, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Kaffa on March 27, 2014 at 12:17 PM

Excellent Executive Summary.

Tsar of Earth on March 27, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Are we to have another arrest of a member of the ‘mystery party’ soon?

DinaRehn on March 27, 2014 at 12:24 PM

Not with the cowardly lyin’ Eric Holder in charge of Just-us.

Flange on March 27, 2014 at 12:36 PM

Why the deadline at all?

BKeyser on March 27, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Am I mistaken or did we have a big old government shut down by the Republicans that I had to hear about ad nauseam as pretty dang near the end of the world for this exact thing? We should barricade some open air memorials.

Cindy Munford on March 27, 2014 at 12:41 PM

The joke is the corrupt State Run Media….

d1carter on March 27, 2014 at 12:42 PM

BKeyser on March 27, 2014 at 12:39 PM

Because the insurance companies need months to figure out that everyone that signed up has a pre-condition and that the premiums and deductibles will need to get even higher next year. Just before the 2014 election. I think that part falls into the every cloud has a silver lining category.

Cindy Munford on March 27, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Next, we’ll have TSA agents asking for our O’care cards before we are allowed to gain access to airport terminals.

freedomfirst on March 27, 2014 at 12:50 PM

Is single payer the goal – perhaps – but if Rep’s were wise, they would hammer “just go back to what was and what worked”

Odie1941 on March 27, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Oh, it was quite clear in 2009 that single payer was the ultimate goal. But even with the Congressional super-majority, there weren’t enough dedicated progressives to ram that through. Even within the last couple of weeks, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, has been touting single payer and full government control being the solution to ‘fixing’ the EpicClusterFark.

Unfortunately, for most of the past 4 years, this mendacious Administration and its sycophantic ‘Ministry of Truth’ aka mainstream media have driven the meme that what was before was even more broken, substandard, unfair, non-functional, racist, etc than the EpicClusterFark currently is.

This Administration, and their supporters, have 2 very big fears over the EpicClusterFark.

One is, despite the propaganda campaign that the pre-ACA system is irretrievably broken, the American people will prefer to totally role back the ACA and then take simple measured steps to implement the few popular components. That would halt the movement towards single payer.

Two, they fear that too many of the American people, including LIV, will really look at the EpicClusterFark and place the blame for it exactly where it belongs – on the big government progressives and that will end any concept that big government can be more efficient, fair, and effective than the private sector / free market.

Athos on March 27, 2014 at 12:51 PM

The joke is the corrupt State Run Media….

d1carter on March 27, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Unfortunately, we’ve been having to deal with that sad joke for far too long.

Athos on March 27, 2014 at 12:53 PM

Insurers feel that the administration has taken advantage of them by making repeated delays and changes to the law, even as they have gone above and beyond the call of duty to fix problems with the rollout.

The insurers made their bed with Obama, they can just STFU and sleep in it!

GarandFan on March 27, 2014 at 1:00 PM

They are merely playing the role of the scorned lover, they know the legislation has the sugar-daddy bailout built in for them…

hillsoftx on March 27, 2014 at 12:16 PM

That’s why we need the Senate. A GOP House-Senate could easily tie a repeal of the risk corridor bailout to a debt limit extension.

No way Obama can veto that.

And without the risk corridor slush fund, insurers will flee and Obamacare crashes.

Frankly, I’m surprised more insurers haven’t fled already — this is a disaster. I have no sympathy for them, either; they have been, and remain, whores and traitors to free enterprise.

matthew8787 on March 27, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Athos on March 27, 2014 at 12:51 PM

I agree. The best part of ACA – is it was rolled out to actual failure – and is a great point of comparison, instead of the “perception” about what was so wrong and how ACA would be so right. As tech folks love to say “I need data, even bad data, to make it better”

The emotional ploy of “preexisting conditions and non insured millions” means nothing now, because those preexisting folks are the reason for the increased price, while the uninsured are still uninsured, by their own doing.

Because this “tax” was levied on all, it will slowly effect “all” To think around 1-2% are now effected, without the company mandate kicking in – and its still a disaster – lets us know how bad it’s really going to get. Factor in the rule changes and delays (which aren’t done due to success) – the entire premise and roll out is a complete failure.

Odie1941 on March 27, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Frankly, I’m surprised more insurers haven’t fled already — this is a disaster.

matthew8787 on March 27, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Many are afraid of losing their Medicare business which is dependent on the whim of CMS.

Humana tried to warn their clients and sent out a letter which told the truth about Obamacare.

CMS came down on them hard (I was in that meeting) telling all Medicare insurers that these people were NOT their clients. Medicare recipients are the clients of CMS. No letter can go out without the explicit approval of CMS.

Kaffa on March 27, 2014 at 1:18 PM

Goebbels loves Nurse Ratched.

Schadenfreude on March 27, 2014 at 1:20 PM

The health insurance industry can’t wait for ObamaCare’s first enrollment season to be over so that it can have a break from dealing with the White House

1. They really thought it would be “over?”
2. They really thought they would get “a break?”

ncinca on March 27, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Embrace the change

Schadenfreude on March 27, 2014 at 1:37 PM

But these Obamacare posts are about whistling past the graveyard, by next Novemeber Democrats will be openly running on the ACA. Mark my words.

libfreeordie on December 20, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Schadenfreude on March 27, 2014 at 1:42 PM

ObamaCare is a tax on the middle class. The middle class is now paying medical costs for the welfare class.

bw222 on March 27, 2014 at 1:53 PM

The joke is the corrupt State Run Media….

d1carter on March 27, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Not really. The state-run media got what it wants – more state control. The joke is on productive, tax-paying Americans.

bw222 on March 27, 2014 at 1:59 PM

The joke is the corrupt State Run Media….

d1carter on March 27, 2014 at 12:42 PM

Not really. The state-run media got what it wants – more state control. The joke is on productive, tax-paying Americans.

bw222 on March 27, 2014 at 1:59 PM

…#1

KOOLAID2 on March 27, 2014 at 2:42 PM

I am too damn old to be wishing my life away… but here I am counting down the days to November 4, 2014 and I will be counting them down to November 2016, too, unless the SHTF before then, of course.

I soooo hate these people! Someone please make this nightmare stop!!

jffree1 on March 27, 2014 at 2:42 PM

Insurers aren’t happy at all about this banana-peel punchline. They’d love for this to be over so they can stop having to deal with the White House, The Hill reports today

Waahhhh! Nobody put a gun to their heads and made them be a party to this debacle. When they signed on to this they were too busy rubbing their hands together and counting the money they were going to get once this was foisted on the public. They just don’t like the reality that they, too are getting the high hard one in this. Welcome to the party, pal.

ghostwalker1 on March 27, 2014 at 2:53 PM

What do the insurance companies care, they’re going to get bailed out if things don’t go their way. We’ll be paying for this boondoggle the rest of our lives.

scalleywag on March 27, 2014 at 3:55 PM

Many are afraid of losing their Medicare business which is dependent on the whim of CMS.

Humana tried to warn their clients and sent out a letter which told the truth about Obamacare.

CMS came down on them hard (I was in that meeting) telling all Medicare insurers that these people were NOT their clients. Medicare recipients are the clients of CMS. No letter can go out without the explicit approval of CMS.

Kaffa on March 27, 2014 at 1:18 PM

Courage is doing what is right regardless of the cost.

Humana tried and folded.
They should have taken CMS to court and made the intimidation public, when it would have done some good.

Kind of like Hobby Lobby.

AesopFan on March 27, 2014 at 5:03 PM

Obamacare is meant to do two things: force employers to drop coverage and bankrupt private insurers. This will create a healthcare “crisis” where the people will be clamoring for a solution, which will be single payer.

As days go by I become more convinced that none of this was meant to be smooth and painless.

Obama said himself, we can eventually get there.

Axeman on March 27, 2014 at 6:31 PM

Embrace the change

Schadenfreude on March 27, 2014 at 1:37 PM

You misspelled “suck”.

Axeman on March 27, 2014 at 6:32 PM