Ed Morrissey at Hot Air reveals what will come as little surprise to those who have been following this story: the administration did not meet its November 30 deadline to fix the ObamaCare website:
Sloane’s description of the improvement boils down to this — you can go farther into the system before it fails. That’s well before anyone can actually enroll. Yesterday, the White House tried to spin the results by claiming that success was sustaining 50,000 concurrent connections in the database, but that’s only success if that’s all the government mandates Americans to do. And this was on a Sunday, the slowest traffic day of the week.
Of course, the mandate is to actually purchase insurance, and the site’s front end isn’t ready to do that on the heavy scale needed to enroll millions of people in the next 22 days in order to meet the requirement. And that’s just the front end, as the New York Times reminds us. The back end is still mostly missing (via Jeff Dunetz):
Weeks of frantic technical work appear to have made the government’s health care website easier for consumers to use. But that does not mean everyone who signs up for insurance can enroll in a health plan.
The problem is that so-called back end systems, which are supposed to deliver consumer information to insurers, still have not been fixed. And with coverage for many people scheduled to begin in just 30 days, insurers are worried the repairs may not be completed in time.
“Until the enrollment process is working from end to end, many consumers will not be able to enroll in coverage,” said Karen M. Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group.
The issues are vexing and complex. Some insurers say they have been deluged with phone calls from people who believe they have signed up for a particular health plan, only to find that the company has no record of the enrollment. Others say information they received about new enrollees was inaccurate or incomplete, so they had to track down additional data — a laborious task that would not be feasible if data is missing for tens of thousands of consumers.
In still other cases, insurers said, they have not been told how much of a customer’s premium will be subsidized by the government, so they do not know how much to charge the policyholder.
So where does the “mission accomplished” come from?
This is the administration where the DOJ investigates itself, where the State Department runs an investigation on Benghazi without interviewing the Secretary of State, and the head of the NSA appoints the people on a commission to investigate the NSA, of course they would have the people charged with fixing a failed website grading their own performance.
Healthcare.gov is not fixed from the standpoint of the insurance companies, nor has the security infrastructure been fixed, but that doesn’t stop the Administration from praising itself.
It took 42 months to roll out this turkey, and we’re going to be eating leftovers from the failure for months to come … and that doesn’t even include the damage done to coverage for millions of Americans who liked their plans. Continue reading
And you all think that Thanksgiving is about thanking Almighty God and having a great meal! Allahpundit at Hot Air sets us straight:
Believe it or not, these soulless robots have prepared an actual talking-points memo for the occasion replete with tips on how to plan your “talk.” My favorite: “Integrate the talk into family time.” Good advice — and for my money, the more dramatic the integration, the better. When your cousin pulls out baby pictures of her newborn and tries to pass them around, grab her arm gently but firmly and say, “Hey — isn’t there something more important we should be discussing?”
I like the idea that you, by dint of having donated to Obama and happily swallowed endless lies about keeping your plan and your provider network, are necessarily the “voice of reason” at the dinner table this year. In the unlikely event that you find yourself seated across from one of these benighted schmucks, you can play it three ways: One: Deflect. Change the subject. Bring up “The Walking Dead” or how boring the NFL is this year or whether maybe Orwell had a point about statism’s insidious power to dehumanize people by reducing them to cogs in a government propaganda machine. Two: Engage. Ace has prepared a helpful talking-points memo of his own in case you find yourself at a loss upon being pitched on O-Care by the same arrogant little sh*t who called you ignorant for doubting that the program would work at Thanksgiving dinners past. (If Ezra Klein has any conservative relatives, he or she is about to have the best Thanksgiving ever.) Three: If there are people at the table considering buying a plan on the exchange, wait patiently until they’re done cursing Obama for having forced their insurer to cancel their old coverage and then prepare them for how to shop on the exchange. Continue reading
Well it’s a Friday, I will be picking up my son for Thanksgiving Break and then tomorrow, he, my bride and I will be going to Monmouth College to see my daughter performing in A Christmas Carol. Life is good, and the story below makes it even better:
“In a shock to the system, the older staff in my office (folks over 59) have now found out their personal health insurance costs (even with the government contribution) have gone up 3-4 times what they were paying before,” Minh Ta, chief of staff to Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), wrote to fellow Democratic chiefs of staff in an email message obtained by POLITICO. “Simply unacceptable.” Continue reading
One could not ask for a better symbol of ObamaCare than yesterday when HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the woman purportedly in charge of this mess, was meeting with ObamaCare “navigators”, and I love the Orwellian implications of that title, and the ObamaCare website crashed.
The remarkable thing about this fiasco on stilts is that the Obama administration knew, or should have known, that the website was not going to work. Obama could have simply announced that he was going to delay the individual mandate for a time period which would have given time to at least make the website operational. Why didn’t they?
Overwhelming hubris I think. Shielded by a sycophantic press from every other disaster that has hit the country under his misrule, I think Obama assumed that this would be the same. Every problem encountered with the website or implementation of ObamaCare could be blamed on those obstructionist Republicans. Indeed, Obama is still trying to do this now, when it is obvious that such an absurd strategy is not working and cannot work.
Obama forgot the first rule of politics: reality always wins in the end. A website that does not work, mass cancellations of insurance policies, sky-rocketing premiums and deductibles, less choice regarding doctors and hospitals, these are the reality of the hilariously named Affordable Care Act. No amount of speeches, no biased news coverage, no liberal true believers on blogs can alter it. Continue reading
In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”
Kipling, The Gods of the Copybook Headings
The ongoing debacle that is ObamaCare just keeps rolling on:
OLYMPIA, Nov. 17.—Jessica Sanford, the Federal Way woman who got a shout-out from President Obama last month with her fan letter for the Affordable Care Act, got a rather rude awakening last week. Turns out she doesn’t qualify for a tax credit after all.
At least that’s what the letter said that she got from the state. Now she says her dream of affordable health insurance has gone poof. She can’t afford it. She’ll have to go without. “I’m really terribly embarrassed,” she says. “It has completely turned around on me. I mean, completely.”
Chalk it up to a bollixed-up state website that apparently still has major problems. Originally it said Sanford and her child would get a whopping tax credit that would reduce their total premium to $169 a month. Now the state is telling her it goofed – twice – and she has to pay full ticket. There may even be a third goof involved: At least one health-insurance broker says she may qualify for a tax credit after all, albeit a small one. Officials at the state Healthplanfinder website could not be contacted Sunday night. But it just goes to show that even in the state of Washington, which has earned national kudos for a health-insurance exchange that seems to function better than the dysfunctional federal website, there are big, big problems.
“They have to own up to what is going on,” Sanford says. “They have to fix it. They can’t just go around and say this is working great. In my opinion they ought to shut it down and just get all of it straightened out.” Continue reading
For decades I was a subscriber to the Chicago Tribune. The traditionally Republican paper in Chicago, for many decades it was the voice of Republicanism, and sometimes conservatism, throughout the Midwest. In the nineties I noticed that The Trib was changing. It was hiring more liberal columnists and the editorials took on an increasingly liberal flavor. The paper would still usually endorse Republicans at election time, but the endorsements were pro forma. Additionally, The Trib rarely had anything to say about the corruption that infested both parties and was busily producing the bankrupt Illinois that exists today. One columnist who was, and is, a bright light at The Trib, John Kass, constantly attacked “the Combine”, as he called it, that ruled both parties and made sure that insiders profited at the expense of the tax payers.
After my family became hooked up to the internet at the end of the nineties, living in a rural area did have its disadvantages back then in reference to obtaining a reliable internet service, I no longer needed The Trib for news, but I kept it out of inertia, although I was extremely unhappy with its increasingly leftist editorial views. The inertia came to an end when The Trib endorsed Obama in 2008. That ended my subscription, along with the subscriptions of quite a few other downstaters. I noticed after the fact that I didn’t miss the paper. It had become an anachronism in the age of the internet. My wife still buys a copy at Thanksgiving for the black Friday ads, but that is the only time a copy of The Trib enters McClarey Manor. The Trib endorsed Obama again in 2012 and its transformation into just another big city liberal rag seemed complete.
I was therefore surprised, and no doubt Obama was also, by The Trib’s editorial last Friday calling for the repeal of ObamaCare:
As Friday dawns, here’s what a health insurance crisis looks like to many millions of Americans: Barely six weeks shy of 2014, they do not know whether they will have medical coverage Jan. 1. Or which hospitals and doctors they might patronize. Or what they may pay to protect themselves and their families against the chance of medical and financial catastrophe. How much, that is, they may pay in order to satisfy the Democratic politicians and federal bureaucrats who are worsening a metastasizing health coverage fiasco.
For perhaps 5 million of those Americans thus far — estimates vary — the Washington-ordered cancellation of their policies is especially maddening. In the past these people took responsibility for their coverage and bought policies that balanced their needs, finances and personal choices. Congress and President Barack Obama, by enacting the Affordable Care Act, in effect ordered insurers to dismantle many of those individual plans — and cancel those policies.
The Americans manhandled by this exercise in government arrogance now find themselves divided into warring tribes: Those with chronic ailments who have found new plans on Obamacare exchanges and are pleased. Those who don’t want or can’t afford the replacement policies Obamacare offers them. Those whose new policies block them from using the health providers who have treated them for many years. The estimated 23 million to 41 million people whose employer-sponsored plans are the next to be imperiled. And on and on.
Most of these tribespeople only wish their big problem was a slipshod Obamacare website. On Thursday, their plight grew more frightful. With even Democratic members of Congress storming the White House over the cancellations, Obama declared — by what legal authority is unclear — that he would overrule the law he signed in 2010 and allow insurers to extend those canceled policies for a year.
If, that is, insurance regulators of the 50 states permit this potential distortion to risk pools inside and outside of Obamacare. The regulators, including those in Illinois, had better put protection ahead of politics: Within two hours of Obama’s announcement, Mike Kreidler, insurance commissioner of Washington, a Democrat-leaning state, rejected the president’s notion, citing “its potential impact on the overall stability of our health insurance market. … We will not be allowing insurance companies to extend their policies.” Continue reading
Since Nixon’s “I am not a crook ” speech during a news conference, the fortieth anniversary of which will be this Sunday, I have never seen a more bizarre Presidential performance than that given by Obama yesterday. In response to overwhelming alarm by Democrats in Congress to the fact that millions of Americans are seeing their insurance policies being cancelled due to ObamaCare, Obama at a news conference on November 14 announced the following:
Already people who have plans that pre-date the Affordable Care Act can keep those plans if they haven’t changed. That was already in the law. That’s what’s called a grandfather clause that was included in the law. Today we’re going to extend that principle both to people whose plans have changed since the law too effect and to people who bought plans since the law took effect.
So state insurance commissioners still have the power to decide what plans can and can’t be sold in their states, but the bottom line is insurers can extend current plans that would otherwise be cancelled into 2014. And Americans whose plans have been cancelled can choose to re-enroll in the same kind of plan.
We’re also requiring insurers to extend current plans to inform their customers about two things: One, that protections — what protections these renewed plans don’t include. Number two, that the marketplace offers new options with better coverage and tax credits that might help you bring down the cost.
So if your received one of these letters I’d encourage you to take a look at the marketplace. Even if the website isn’t working as smoothly as it should be for everybody yet, the plan comparison tool that lets you browse cost for new plans near you is working just fine.
Well, what is wrong with this? The glib answer is everything:
First, it is by no means clear that he has the power to do any of this. The requirements of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) allow for none of this and Obama’s job title is President not Emperor.
Second, some state insurance commissioners will not allow this to be done. The state insurance commissioner in Washington has already spoken up and said Obama’s policy would lead to great instability in the insurance markets of Washington and Obama’s suggestion is a dead letter in Washington.
Third, the insurance companies have responded and stated that it is impossible for them to comply with the time lines of the Affordable Care Act and do what Obama has said.
Fourth, it is only for one year, so people facing cancellation of insurance policies they like, even if their insurance company offers the same policy, would be facing the same dilemma in a year. Continue reading
Ditto to Jonah Goldberg at National Review Online:
First, the obligatory caveats. It is no laughing matter that millions of Americans’ lives have been thrown into anxious chaos as they lose their health insurance, their doctors, their money, or all three. Nor is it particularly amusing to think of the incredible waste of time and tax dollars that has gone into Obamacare’s construction. And the still-unfolding violence that this misbegotten legislation will visit on the economy and our liberties is not funny either. This very magazine has been downright funereal about the brazen and unconstitutional seizure of one-sixth of the economy, and rightly so.
If you can’t take some joy, some modicum of relief and mirth, in the unprecedentedly spectacular beclowning of the president, his administration, its enablers, and, to no small degree, liberalism itself, then you need to ask yourself why you’re following politics in the first place. Because, frankly, this has been one of the most enjoyable political moments of my lifetime. I wake up in the morning and rush to find my just-delivered newspaper with a joyful expectation of worsening news so intense, I feel like Morgan Freeman should be narrating my trek to the front lawn. Indeed, not since Dan Rather handcuffed himself to a fraudulent typewriter, hurled it into the abyss, and saw his career plummet like Ted Kennedy was behind the wheel have I enjoyed a story more. Continue reading
Hattip to Instapundit and commenter Nate. The above is an ad put out by “Thanks ObamaCare”, a group supporting ObamaCare. I wonder if the young lady will still be smiling when she calculates how much her “free” birth control is costing her.
I actually like the ad. It conveys the complete and utter contempt that the Obama administration consistently displays for their key voting blocs. I can imagine the bull session that went into the ad. “Yeah we have to convince young people to buy insurance that most of them do not need at an inflated price with high deductibles. How to do this? I know, we will put out an ad showing a hot guy and a hot gal and link having insurance to “free” birth control and having sex. Hey, stop laughing! I know it’s stupid, but so are our voters!”
Steven Hayward at Forbes Magazine makes a bold prediction: that ObamaCare will be repealed well in advance of the 2014 elections:
Senate Democrats endangered for re-election will lead the charge for repeal perhaps as soon as January, after they get an earful over the Christmas break. They’ll call it “reform,” and clothe it in calls for delaying the individual mandate and allowing people and businesses to keep their existing health insurance policies. But it is probably too late to go back in many cases. With the political damage guaranteed to continue, the momentum toward repeal will be unstoppable. Democrats will not want to face the voters next November with the albatross of Obamacare.
The politics of the repeal effort will be a game theorist’s dream. Tea Party Republicans will resist “reforms” to Obamacare in favor of complete repeal. Democrats will try to turn the tables and set up Republicans as obstacles to reform, hoping to inoculate themselves prospectively from mayhem at the polls next November. The House might want to insist that the Senate go first; after all, it was the Senate version of the bill that the House had to swallow after Scott Brown’s election in January 2010. The House can rightly insist that the Senate needs to clean up the mess they made. Obama may well give Capitol Hill Democrats a pass on a repeal vote, and veto any bill that emerges. He’ll never face the voters again.
This wouldn’t be the first time that a health care entitlement was repealed. The same thing happened in the late 1980s with catastrophic coverage for seniors. Because seniors were made to pay for their benefits under that scheme, the uproar forced Congress to repeal the measure barely a year after it went into effect. Obamacare looks to be on the same political trajectory, and for the same reason. Obamacare represents the crisis of big government; the limits of administrative government have finally been breached. For the first time ever, some polls are showing a majority of Americans doubting the goal of universal health coverage. Continue reading