Billion-dollar ObamaCare contract pays people to do … nothing?
posted at 9:21 am on May 13, 2014 by Ed Morrissey
What kind of business could possibly survive by simply hitting refresh buttons every 10 minutes while no business comes across their desks? If you guessed public sector, congratulations, and claim a bonus for specifying ObamaCare. St Louis’ KMOV News looked into an ObamaCare contractor with a billion-dollar contract after hearing employee complaints that the well-motivated workforce is getting paid to do nothing — a whole lot of nothing (via Daniel Halper):
“A billion dollar government contract involving hundreds of local workers at an Obamacare processing center … But now employees on the inside are stepping forward, asking, Is this why we’re broke? Some of them claim to spend most of their day doing nothing,” reports a local St. Louis reporter.
The contractor is called Serco and local reporter discovered that, despite there not being any work to be done, the government contractor is still hiring.
“The company is still hiring,” says a local reporter. “A current employee wonders why … After providing proof of employment, this Serco employee agreed to speak through the phone with their voice altered. The employee says hundreds of employees spend much of the day staring at computer screens, with little or no work to do.”
The reporter asks the employee, “Are there some days where a data entry person may not process one single application?”
“There are weeks when a data entry person would not process an application,” the employee responds.
The reporter explains, “The facility is one of three Serco locations that process paper applications, people seeking to qualify for insurance.”
“It’s no secret, the rollout for the website was a mess. But now that the website is running, this employee says the paper applications are trickling in less and less. Our employee doesn’t appear to be the only one complaining. On April 16, a person claiming to be a former Serco employee posted this online, ‘This place is a JOKE. There’s nothing to do–NO WORK.'”
These Serco employees aren’t the only people experiencing a disillusionment in government solutions and spending. The New York Times finally gets around to reporting an ObamaCare phenomenon that has been well-known for months — that the so-called savings in the system came from substantially limiting access to physicians in provider networks (via Jeff Dunetz):
In the midst of all the turmoil in health care these days, one thing is becoming clear: No matter what kind of health plan consumers choose, they will find fewer doctors and hospitals in their network — or pay much more for the privilege of going to any provider they want.
These so-called narrow networks, featuring limited groups of providers, have made a big entrance on the newly created state insurance exchanges, where they are a common feature in many of the plans. While the sizes of the networks vary considerably, many plans now exclude at least some large hospitals or doctors’ groups. Smaller networks are also becoming more common in health care coverage offered by employers and in private Medicare Advantage plans.
Insurers, ranging from national behemoths like WellPoint, UnitedHealth and Aetna to much smaller local carriers, are fully embracing the idea, saying narrower networks are essential to controlling costs and managing care. Major players contend they can avoid the uproar that crippled a similar push in the 1990s.
This has been reported all over the country since last October, perhaps most dramatically in California, where the ObamaCare exchange erroneously included physicians in the networks while consumers chose their plans. But this quote should be remembered for a very long time as the best description of ObamaCare ever:
“We have to break people away from the choice habit that everyone has,” said Marcus Merz, the chief executive of PreferredOne, an insurer in Golden Valley, Minn., that is owned by two health systems and a physician group. “We’re all trying to break away from this fixation on open access and broad networks.”
The “choice habit”? Funny, insurers seemed to be doing OK before ObamaCare while enabling that “choice habit.” In fact, this isn’t just the best description of ObamaCare — it will probably end up being the best description of the Obama administration and progressivism in the end. If only government took away the “choice habits” from Americans, then we could establish Utopia on Earth!