Forward with Obamacare

Affordable Care Act premiums out of reach for many in state

There are a lot of reasons sign-ups for individual health insurance are falling below expectations as the deadline for 2015 strikes on Sunday. One big one may be that many people are finding they just can’t afford to pay for a policy, even if it means a potential penalty.

Olympia Coug 6 hours ago

The ACA is a fraud being perpetrated on the middle class and lower income people in our country. The UN-Subsidized premiums are very high compared to prior plans. My family’s insurance cost me $500 a month two years ago, 1st year with the ACA was $950 and 2nd year $985.
Plus my deductible went from $2,500 to $5,000 a year.
Even if someone does get a subsidy the deductibles are going to wipe them out. A $5,000 deductible for a family of 4 making $80K is a lot of money.
We need to be able to purchase Catostrophic Insurance that is affordable. But it won’t work with the ACA because the higher premiums are needed to make the whole plan financially work.
We need to make some major changes to the ACA before it literally kills our wallets.

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2025695963_exchangedeadlinexml.html

Costs derail Vermont’s dream of a single-payer health plan

GLENN RUSSELL/BURLINGTON FREE PRESS/AP

Demonstrators gathered on the steps of the State House in Montpelier on Dec. 18 for a rally in favor of single-payer health care, following Governor Peter Shumlin’s decision to pull the plug on Vermont’s single-payer plan.


www.bostonglobe.com/business/2015/01/25/costs-derail-vermont-single-payer-health-plan/VTAEZFGpWvTen0QFahW0pO/story.html

Giantsmax wrote:
11/14/2013 11:57 PM EST
I am a democrat and have been against this Obamacare since the start. The only thing I could support is a lowering of health care costs for ALL Americans. To me that is what reform means.
I knew this law was very flawed and not going to financially fund itself when i started reading and hearing about so many people getting subsidies.
It shows you the tin ears of so many politicians in DC.

Albany boy responds:
11/14/2013 11:59 PM EST
A good and honest post.

mercedesmans2000 wrote:
12:29 AM EST
I guess it turns out the Tea Party was right. Apologies are in order.

www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/charles-krauthammer-why-liberals-are-panicked-about-obamacare/2013/11/14/bd2e9834-4d6f-11e3-be6b-d3d28122e6d4_story.html

It remained unclear, however, just how much impact the fix delivered by an apologetic Mr. Obama would actually have. Though his proposal grants discretion to insurers to allow people to stay on their existing plans, there is no guarantee that insurers will do so, or that the states will allow such renewals.

Also unclear are what prices will be charged by insurers for existing policies that are continued in force through 2014. Insurers generally did not have rates approved for the renewal of such coverage because the policies were supposed to be terminated at the end of this year.

Some state insurance commissioners caught off-guard by the announcement said they did not intend to allow insurers to reinstate the policies. And insurance companies denounced the president’s action.

“Changing the rules after health plans have already met the requirements of the law could destabilize the market and result in higher premiums for consumers,” said Karen M. Ignagni, the president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group.

www.nytimes.com/2013/11/15/us/politics/obama-to-offer-health-care-fix-to-keep-plans-democrat-says.html

It took about three hours exactly for states to start pushing back against President Obama’s request that regulators allow insurance plans to offer current products in 2014.

Washington state insurance commissioner Mike Kreidler has announced that he will not allow insurance companies to do so.

“In the interest of keeping the consumer protections we have enacted and ensuring that we keep health insurance costs down for all consumers, we are staying the course,” he said in a statement moments ago. “We will not be allowing insurance companies to extend their policies. I believe this is in the best interest of the health insurance market in Washington.”

…It does feel a bit weird to have one of the most liberal regulators be the first out of the gate to oppose Obama. At the same time, it also makes sense: What Kreidler is doing is a full-throated defense of the Affordable Care Act.

The whole reason insurance policies are getting cancelled right now is because the Affordable Care Act wanted these plans – which have less robust benefit packages – to go out of business.


www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/11/14/the-backlash-to-the-obamacare-fix-has-already-started/

Thursday October 31, 2013 5:18 AM

For all who can’t grasp why Obamacare is so bad, let me put it this way: One has car insurance, one likes his car insurance, and one wants to keep his car insurance. However, the government says that it is increasing the regulation of all car insurance and it also has decided that one must buy motorcycle and boat insurance along with car insurance.

One doesn’t want this, but it is the law and one must buy it. Since one’s old insurance, which one wants to keep, does not offer motorcycle or boat insurance, that policy can no longer be sold and one will get a notice that one’s preferred insurance no longer is available.

One doesn’t own a boat or motorcycle and doesn’t plan on getting one, but the government said so. Who has to pay for the insurance that one doesn’t want? The one receiving the unwanted coverage.

Why is it possible for the rates and deductible to increase? Because the government also has said that if one is poor and never had insurance before, even if there is no way he can afford a boat or motorcycle, he has to have insurance for it, and we the taxpayers will pay for that insurance.

That is why people are having their insurance policies canceled. Insurers must offer maternal and prenatal care. Whether one is a single guy or a 50-year-old who doesn’t want any children, one must have it.

Even if one is in his 70s, contraceptive prescriptions have to be covered. This is what is happening and this is what is wrong.

RAY HOWE
Reynoldsburg


www.dispatch.com/content/stories/editorials/2013/10/31/1-obamacare-requires-useless-coverage.html

Here’s what else I don’t want: As a 60-something, relatively healthy person, I don’t want lactation and maternity services, abortion services, speech therapy, mammograms, fertility treatments or Viagra. I don’t want it. So why should I have to tear up my existing health-care plan, and then buy a plan with far more expensive premiums and deductibles, and with services I don’t need or want?

Why? Because Team Obama says I have to. And that’s not much of a reason. It’s not freedom.

www.cnbc.com/id/101164217

dOughnuts: You asked for it…! x2.

Eight user comments that explain the failings of HealthCare.gov

2. “They would prefer that people not attempt to enroll right now”
Chris wrote on October 23:

I tried to create an account twice this afternoon. Both times, after filling out pages of information, the system told me that my “account can’t be created at this time.” I decided to call the toll free number that was provided and the agent told me that the site doesn’t work and they would prefer that people not attempt to enroll right now. If that is the case, why don’t the website developers change the main landing page of www.healthcare.gov to advise people not to bother attempting to create an account because it won’t work. HORRIBLE!!!! Three days ago I received a notice that my current healthcare plan isn’t “compliant” with Obamacare regulations. The closest “compliant” plan will cost over $1,200 per month where my current plan only costs $409. I’m forced to pay for maternity coverage but my wife has had a hysterectomy and can no longer bear children. This is the most ridiculous infringement of our constitutional freedoms I’ve ever experienced. I never dreamed that America could come to this. Our president has hood-winked this country down a potentially irreversible path that will leave us in no better shape than Greece. God Bless America.

6. “Ineligible due to current incarceration”
Fred explained his struggles on October 21:

Web site said my wife and I were ineligible due to current incarceration. We have never been arrested in our lives, both 63!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/10/24/eight-user-comments-that-explain-the-failings-of-healthcare-gov/

Americans who sign up for Obamacare will be getting a big surprise if they expect to access premium health care that may have been previously covered under their personal policies. Most of the top hospitals will accept insurance from just one or two companies operating under Obamacare.

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/hospital-of-tomorrow/articles/2013/10/30/top-hospitals-opt-out-of-obamacare

White House tries to rally congressional Democrats in support of Obamacare

J. Scott Applewhite/AP – Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W-Va.), pictured, is working with Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) to press for a one-year delay in the individual mandate that Americans buy insurance or pay a $95 penalty.

newsman12 wrote:
10/26/2013 8:58 PM EST

I’m not sure the reason for the obsession with Fox News on this site because my opinions aren’t shaped by the voices heard on Fox News. I did, however, turn on MSNBC last night. Amazingly, you would have never known that the debacle known as healthcare.gov was the talk of the day around the country. Maddow and company were busy bashing the GOP on a litany of other issues, which is why everyone in the news business is keenly aware that MSNBC is where news goes to die.


www.washingtonpost.com/politics/white-house-tries-to-rally-congressional-democrats-in-support-of-obamacare/2013/10/26/3eb5ba6e-3d93-11e3-b6a9-da62c264f40e_story.html

What a difference a few weeks makes. Remember when Democrats voted to keep the government shut down rather than accept a delay in the individual mandate? Now that the Obamacare implosion is dominating the news, they are falling over each to see who gets credit for a delay.

With more Democrats joining the mandate-delay caucus, President Obama may have no choice but to go along. But such a delay would do nothing to right the Obamacare train wreck. That’s because hundreds of thousands of Americans are getting letters from their insurers informing them that their policies are being canceled because of Obamacare — and the numbers could soon be in the millions. If you are one of those Americans losing your health insurance on Jan. 1, the last thing you are worried about is some $95 fine. You are furious that you and your family no longer have health insurance because of Obamacare.

But because of the Web site fiasco, Americans losing their current insurance because of Obamacare can’t sign up for new insurance under Obamacare. That leaves them with two choices: Pay the skyrocketing rates now being demanded by insurers to keep comparable coverage on the individual market (because Obamacare mandates and regulations have driven prices through the roof), or go without coverage. Many can’t afford the exorbitant replacement plans. So unless Obamacare starts working as advertised, massive numbers of currently insured Americans could find themselves without insurance on Jan. 1.

jazbond007 wrote:12:24 PM EST
Obama June 15, 2009: “We will keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what.”
Biggest most blatant lie I can ever remember from a President.

AnnsThought responds:
12:26 PM EST
They even fooled members of Congress, who are now back pedaling because their constituents can’t afford the ACA exchange premium rates.

Rose4 wrote:
5:25 PM EST
Thiessen, like most of the rest of the Republican Party, takes great glee in finding fault and pointing fingers. What none of them do is offer anything helpful for the American People–except, of course, for those very wealthy folk who could care less about their medical insurance costs or the health of most Americans.
In the America Republican vision would effect, the very wealthy will live in secure, gated communities, enjoying he very best health care the system can deliver. The rest of us? Poor kids will do military duty. Poor people can go to an emergency room.
The Republican vision depends upon voter suppression and voter ignorance, not a sterling base from which to operate.

Orville.Tanner responds:
5:27 PM EST
You don’t know anything.

Jbianco28 wrote:
5:12 PM EST
“The big threat to Obamacare is not Republican intransigence, but the White House’s own incompetence”
A HANDSOME man told television viewers to pick up their phones and shop. “The phone number…is 1-800-318-2596,” he said on October 21st. “I want to repeat that: 1-800-318-2596.” This was not a microwave salesman, but the president of the United States. Barack Obama urged Americans to buy health insurance by phone, by mail and in person, because the website for his most important domestic reform does not work.”
http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/215883…
Only the government can build a website that is slower than snail mail.


www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/marc-thiessen-delaying-the-individual-mandate-wont-fix-obamacare/2013/10/28/fe4328da-3fd2-11e3-a624-41d661b0bb78_story.html

Obama admin. knew millions could not keep their health insurance

http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/10/28/21213547-obama-admin-knew-millions-could-not-keep-their-health-insurance

Garbage in, garbage out

The result of the headlong rush to October 1 was a system that had never been tested at anything like the load it experienced on its first day of operation (if it was tested with loads at all). Those looking for a reason for the site’s horrible performance on its first day had plenty of things to choose from.

First of all, there’s the front-end site itself. The first page of the registration process (once you get to it) has 2,099 lines of HTML code, but it also calls 56 JavaScript files and 11 CSS files. That’s not exactly optimal for heavy-load pages.

Navigating the site once you get past registration is something of a cheese chase through the rat-maze. “It’s like a bad, boring video game where you try to grunt and hack your way through to the next step,” one site user told Ars.

Once you get through all that, it’s not clear that it’s going to do you any good. Underlying problems in the back-end code—including the data hub built by QSSI—have been causing errors in determining whether individuals are eligible for subsidized plans under the program. In DC, that means health care plan prices won’t be available to people registering through DC’s portal until November. It may also mean that others who have registered already at the federal and state exchanges may get sticker shock later.

http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2013/10/obamacare-site-hits-reset-button-on-passwords-as-contractors-scramble/

Sebelius Thrust Into Firestorm on Exchanges

Doug Mills/The New York Times

Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of health and human services, on Monday as President Obama spoke of his health law’s online flaws.

Marcus New York

So I thought…how bad can it be? I waited until yesterday to try to sign up. I tried for nearly seven hours until I gave up. Once I begin the registration, the error messages appear like weeds in a lawn and you’re just out of luck. So that’s point # 1.
#2, cost…. My wife and I currently pay $753 a month. According to the websites I have visited from both my current insurer and others, our premium will go up to over $900…and that’s for a bronze level plan.
Yep…it’s a great program.
Oct. 23, 2013 at 9:01 a.m.

AMM NY

Oh, please get a grip people. We installed a new software system on January 1, 2013 in our office. It’s now October. We are still dealing with things that don’t work, or don’t work as intended, or situations that weren’t anticipated. This is a huge roll-out. Yes, it could have gone better. But it also could have gone worse, much worse. I’ve seen roll-outs that had to be abandoned halfway through and done over. It could have been much, much worse. It can all be fixed. The hysteria in the press is unreasonable.
Oct. 23, 2013 at 9:28 a.m.

apride1 boston
“Technology surge” – makes me laugh (cry) every time I hear it. What White House marketing genius invented that phrase? You can imagine the discussion. “OK, let’s tell them we are handling this with a technology SURGE. They bought the troop surge in Afghanistan, so they’ll fall for this surge too.”
Oct. 23, 2013 at 9:51 a.m.

nyhugenot Charlotte, NC
In the business world the department head gets fired. That’s what responsibility means. No one expects her to be a computer whiz, only that she monitor the progress and make sure it is on track and supplying direction. She blew it.
Oct. 23, 2013 at 9:55 a.m.

DaveD Wisconsin
A person with integrity, in her position, would have resigned already.
Oct. 23, 2013 at 9:57 a.m

PaulB Cincinnati, OH

There is no way around the fact that the Obama Administration failed to deliver a workable federal health exchange website.
Of course, a variety of circumstances negatively impacted the rollout, not the least of which was the decision by about half the states to opt out of a state-run exchange. This placed a huge burden on the federal government, but it should have been anticipated by anyone with enough sense to read a daily newspaper and hear the growing antipathy towards the ACA by governors.
I support the ACA and want and think it will succeed. Yet on balance, the Administration’s handling of the launch has been abysmal. The ball is in the President’s court to turn things around and silence the eager critics whose mantra is failure.
Oct. 23, 2013 at 10:01 a.m.


www.nytimes.com/2013/10/23/us/politics/sebelius-thrust-into-firestorm-on-exchanges.html

Kathleen Sebelius is just too darned busy to testify in front of Congress this week about the disaster that is Obamacare, but she is going to be in Boston tonight.

She’ll be at a “gala” at the JFK Library in Dorchester, along with an assortment of Beautiful People, including Vice President Joe Biden, Chelsea Clinton and Patches Kennedy.

And the master of ceremonies: Comrade Chris Matthews, the MSNBC host who gets a tingle up his leg whenever he hears Obama speak, and who just this week told two of the guests on his rotten cable-TV show to “be positive” about Obamacare.


http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/columnists/howie_carr/2013/10/carr_boston_gala_another_obamacare_flop

VIDEO


www.cbsnews.com/8301-505269_162-57608843/healthcare.gov-pricing-feature-can-be-off-the-mark/

Democrats own health care writes:

Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory
11:02 AM EDT
Everything Democrats own turns Detroit.

Wiggan
3:26 PM EDT
Democrats don’t own anything. They take what you own, and give it to Democrats.

drwestertenmd writes:
4:44 PM EDT

Perhaps it would be wise to consider why health insurance companies will not sell health insurance policies to those with pre-existing conditions for the same price as they sell health insurance policies to those without pre-existing conditions.
Have you ever thought to ask yourself why? If you answer “Greed”, you must ask “Greed for what?”
I think you’ll find the answer to be “Greed for more profit.” If you do, that implies that you understand that selling health insurance policies to those with pre-existing conditions REDUCES profit, which, unless the policy premiums are priced lower, means that profit is reduced because costs are greater. 
If costs are greater, how exactly do you expect forcing insurance companies to increase their costs will decrease their costs? If you say, “Because more people will be covered”, if those additional people mean additional costs NET of the additional revenues from forcing young healthy people to buy health insurance for higher premiums than they would otherwise choose to pay, then how exactly is that not stealing from Peter to give to Paul?

GaryEMasters writes:
We may be entering a time where everyone lies because a percent of the voters will believe any lie that comes down the pike.
5:25 PM EDT


www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-democrats-own-obamacare-now/2013/10/22/2e64c962-3b53-11e3-b6a9-da62c264f40e_story.html

Like the Bush administration in Iraq, the White House seems to have invaded the health insurance marketplace with woefully inadequate postinvasion planning, and let the occupation turn into a disaster of hack work and incompetence. Right now, the problems with the exchange Web site appear to be systemic — a mess on the front end, where people are supposed to shop for plans, and also a thicket at the back end, where insurers are supposed to process applications.

The disaster can presumably be fixed. As Cohn pointed out on Friday, many of the state-level exchanges are working better than the federal one, and somewhere there must be a tech-world David Petraeus capable of stabilizing HealthCare.gov. And the White House has some time to work with: weeks before the end-of-year enrollment rush, and months before the mandate’s penalty is supposed to be levied.

RJPost Baltimore

The defenders of ACA who view any discussion of operational problems as heresy and reflexively denounce any problems as friendly sounding “glitches” need to get a better grip on this problem. The first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have one .. this was/is not about volume or overload, its about poor software design and bad project management. If the Obama administration has not used some executive level privilege to scrap the existing contract and bring in a crisis team of experienced web designers, then they are fooling themselves over the severity of the problem. Problems on the front end and in the back office environment should have several people in the Obama administration having sleepless nights and unemployment. I’m not holding my breath
Oct. 20, 2013 at 10:15 a.m.

dpr California

My husband is a doctor. A few days ago, when someone complained about “Obamacare” to him, my husband pointed out that he could think of 3 of his patients who would not have lost a leg if they had had health insurance. Each had diabetes and upon discovering a wound on their foot, tried to take care of it themselves and put off seeing a doctor because of the cost. For each, without the proper medical care, the wound became an emergency and the only solution was amputation. Now, my husband points out, people like that will have insurance to cover necessary medical appointments, and that will be a big improvement.
So what if there are glitches in the IT rollout? Those will be worked out in time.
What we really need, of course, is a single payer system, but I’m not holding my breath.
Oct. 20, 2013 at 10:46 a.m.


www.nytimes.com/2013/10/20/opinion/sunday/douthat-obamacare-failing-ahead-of-schedule.html

Sorry, but Obamacare is not President Obama’s ‘Iraq war’

The media was quick to declare the Iraq war a success when it wasn’t. Now reporters can’t wait to label Obamacare a disaster


www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/23/obamacare-website-glitches-not-iraq-war

The Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) turns out to represent dreadful miscalculations by both the president and his Republican adversaries. Doubtlessly, Barack Obama imagined that achieving something close to “universal” health insurance would guarantee his legacy. It would make him the liberal heir to Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. Forget it. Even if Obamacare worked flawlessly — that’s now a joke — it’s too small to rank with the New Deal or the Great Society. Meanwhile, Republicans say Obamacare threatens liberty and would lead to a federal “takeover” of health care. This fiction, pursued fanatically with policies risking anarchy, has earned the GOP a deserved public backlash.

As readers of this column know, I’m no fan of Obamacare. Before it was introduced, I advised against it. It would be divisive, I argued. Just when the country — suffering economic collapse — needed to rebuild confidence, it would subvert confidence”>. Later, I objected that it didn’t do enough to control spiraling health spending. Finally, I worried that the ACA’s costs and complexities would deter some firms from hiring. I still believe all these criticisms.

What I don’t believe are liberals’ and conservatives’ self-serving myths. In their world, defending or destroying Obamacare has become a defining political choice of our time. Actually, it isn’t. Partisan arguments are disconnected from health-care realities. To see why, let’s examine some myths….Obamacare supposedly makes insurance more affordable. Not really. Health costs are simply shifted. To subsidize insurance for some means raising taxes for others, cutting other programs or accepting larger deficits. Only reducing costs or increasing efficiency can make health care more affordable.

Mn44rc writes:

2:30 PM EDT

Samuelson is correct. Obamacare does nothing to control health care costs, and in fact will increase the %GDP we spend on health care; thus, it really does “backfire on everyone”. As Samuelson points out, Obamacare just shifts health care costs. Mostly to working middle class Americans who won’t qualify for taxpayer subsidies. What is needed is first to control the exorbitant costs of medical tests and procedures. Then, a single-payer national health service can emerge, that does not bankrupt the country.

TFCFM responds:
2:39 PM EDT

You had me until your last two sentences:
What is needed is first to control the exorbitant costs of medical tests and procedures. Then, a single-payer national health service can emerge, that does not bankrupt the country.
What do you suppose “controls” medical costs (medical “prices” is what you really mean, I believe)?
[Hint: Rhymes with "the Smarket"]
Thinking of telephone and cable sevices, for example, what happens to prices in single-provider markets?
[Hint: Rhymes with "Sgrow-to-the-sky"]


www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/robert-samuelson-obamacare-backfires–on-everyone/2013/10/23/821f151a-3bff-11e3-b6a9-da62c264f40e_story.html

The main problem with Obamacare is not its addictive generosity; it is its poor, unsustainable design. Its finances depend on forcing large numbers of young and healthy people to buy insurance — yet it makes their insurance more costly and securing coverage less urgent. (Because you can get coverage during each year’s enrollment period at the same price whether you’re healthy or sick, the incentive to buy coverage when healthy is much diminished.)


www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/michael-gerson-republicans-should-speed-obamacares-demise/2013/10/03/6f3c860e-2c4f-11e3-b139-029811dbb57f_story.html

Reform Turns Real
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: October 3, 2013

At this point, the crisis in American governance has taken on a life of its own. Some Republicans are now saying openly that they want concessions in return for reopening the government and avoiding default, not because they have any specific policy goals in mind, but simply because they don’t want to feel “disrespected.” And no endgame is in sight.
But this confrontation did start with a real issue: Republican efforts to stop Obamacare from going into effect. It’s long been clear that the great fear of the Republican Party was not that health reform would fail, but that it would succeed. And developments since Tuesday, when the exchanges on which individuals will buy health insurance opened for business, strongly suggest that their worst fears will indeed be realized: This thing is going to work.

Wait a minute, some readers are saying. Haven’t many stories so far been of computer glitches, of people confronting screens telling them that servers are busy and that they should try again later? Indeed, they have. But everyone knowledgeable about the process always expected some teething problems, and the nature of this week’s problems has actually been hugely encouraging for supporters of the program.

First, let me say a word about the underlying irrelevance of start-up troubles for new government programs.

Political reporting in America, especially but not only on TV, tends to be focused on the play-by-play. Who won today’s news cycle? And, to be fair, this sort of thing may matter during the final days of an election.

But Obamacare isn’t up for a popular referendum, or a revote of any kind. It’s the law, and it’s going into effect. Its future will depend on how it works over the next few years, not the next few weeks.

To illustrate the point, consider Medicare Part D, the drug benefit, which went into effect in 2006. It had what was widely considered a disastrous start, with seniors unclear on their benefits, pharmacies often refusing to honor valid claims, computer problems, and more. In the end, however, the program delivered lasting benefits, and woe unto any politician proposing that it be rolled back.

So the glitches of October won’t matter in the long run. But why are they actually encouraging? Because they appear, for the most part, to be the result of the sheer volume of traffic, which has been much heavier than expected. And this means that one big worry of Obamacare supporters — that not enough people knew about the program, so that many eligible Americans would fail to sign up — is receding fast.

Of course, it’s important that people who want to sign up can actually do so. But the computer problems can and will be fixed. So, by March 31, when enrollment for 2014 closes, we can be reasonably sure that millions of Americans who were previously uninsured will have coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Obamacare will have become a reality, something people depend on, rather than some fuzzy notion Republicans could demonize. And it will be very hard to take that coverage away.

What we still don’t know, and is crucial for the program’s longer-term success, is who will sign up. Will there be enough young, healthy enrollees to provide a favorable risk pool and keep premiums relatively low? Bear in mind that conservative groups have been spending heavily — and making some seriously creepy ads — in an effort to dissuade young people from signing up for insurance. Nonetheless, insurance companies are betting that young people will, in fact, sign up, as shown by the unexpectedly low premiums they’re offering for next year.

And the insurers are probably right. To see why anti-Obamacare messaging is probably doomed to fail, think about whom we’re talking about here. That is, who are the healthy uninsured individuals the program needs to reach? Well, they’re by and large not affluent, because affluent young people tend to get jobs with health coverage. And they’re disproportionately nonwhite.

In other words, to get a description of the typical person Obamacare needs to enroll, just take the description of a typical Tea Party member or Fox News viewer — older, affluent, white — and put a “not” in front of each characteristic. These are people the right-wing message machine is not set up to talk to, but who can be reached through many of the same channels, from ads on Spanish-language media to celebrity tweets, that turned out Obama voters last year. I have to admit, I find the image of hard-line conservatives defeated by an army of tweeting celebrities highly attractive; but it’s also realistic. Enrollment is probably going to be just fine.

So Obamacare is off to a good start, with even the bad news being really good news for the program’s future. We’re not quite there yet, but more and more, it looks as if health reform is here to stay.

John F. McBride Seattle
I’m no expert on Affordable Care legislation, read about it as I may. I’m a combat veteran and our department of veterans affairs will address my health care in the years to come.
But I care immensely about the direction our nation takes and I know this about Affordable Care: it will insure fellow citizens who otherwise wouldn’t be able to obtain insurance, and it will save this nation billions of dollars in our economy.
The Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation told Paul Ryan that … “In a letter to Speaker Boehner (sent on July 24, 2012) CBO described the direct spending and revenue effects of H.R. 6079, the Repeal of Obamacare Act, as passed by the House of Representatives earlier in July. In that letter, CBO indicated that the net savings from eliminating the insurance coverage provisions of the ACA would be more than offset by the combination of other spending increases and revenue reductions that repeal of the ACA would entail. On balance, CBO and JCT estimated, repealing the ACA would affect direct spending and revenues in ways resulting in a net increase in budget deficits of $109 billion over the 2013-2022 period.”
The ACA will cost over $1 trillion.
But it raises revenue and will progressively cut health care cost. As a result, the CBO estimates that the law as a whole will reduce deficits.
Republicans aren’t trying to be frugal by killing ACA.
They simply don’t like government programs that aren’t for them and theirs.
Oct. 4, 2013 at 2:09 a.m.

Sleater Chicago I’m very glad to see Americans’ enthusiastic interest in the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare exchanges. I figured when all the dust settled and the sign up period started that far more people than anyone expected would be browsing the online offerings to see what they offered.
The need for health insurance is at desperation levels across the country, though if you only listened to journalists on TV or watched many reality shows, everyone is upper-middle-class and fine and worrying only about how to get their children into an Ivy League school or what model of expensive car to buy. In reality, quite a few of us in the 99% badly want and need what the Affordable Care Act has to offer.
I just hope we can work to improve and sustain it, and not let it fall prey to right-wing chicanery and demagoguery, the way that so many great New Deal and Great Society programs have. We can be fiscally responsible and ensure no American goes without the basics, which include a quality education, a decent place to live, food, clothing, health care, and equal opportunities for jobs and a viable living.
It took decades for such a law to be passed and signed; let’s work to ensure we have it for centuries to come.
Oct. 4, 2013 at 1:44 a.m.

Doug Broome Vancouver I had no problems reaching healthcare.gov, and for the purposes of a brief visit falsely declared myself a resident of the Republican dystopia Texas. I trust I won’t be arrested at the border by Orwellian Homeland Security next time I take a jaunt to Seattle. I found the site easily navigable despite the best efforts of Texan creepy-nasty misanthrope Rick Perry to make the “navigators” (wonderful name) an extinct species, as needlessly dead as too many poor Texans denied health care.
Obamacare shouid be a success because the current American health care system delivers the worst results at by far the highest costs of any wealthy democracy, worse overall results at double the costs. (It generates huge profits, and Republicans love big money as surely as they love taking food from hungry poor children. The GOP’s raison d’etre is serving and profiting off the rich.)
Obamacare starts on the premise that health care should deal with the health of Americans rather than the $20 million bonuses of health executives, thereby re-establishing a natural order. And it encourages competition, something Republicans hate except for the competitive drive to the social policy bottom among sadistic Republican states.
The current system is set to maximize profits by bamboozling the victim with bafflegab but healthcare.gov clearly presents the alternative coverages. Granted, it’s still barbaric compared to real national health insurance but a vast improvement over the current inhumanity.
Oct. 4, 2013 at 1:40 a.m.

gregrocker l.a.
Still there are Americans out there wondering how we got here. Since I was there and witnessed it on my radio, I’ll bear witness again:
Some of the dirtiest political tricksters on earth took over and set up the biggest disinformation operation in world history on our public AM radio airwaves. The German magazine Sterm surveyed it ten years ago and pronounced that it would “be the envy of Goebbels” They used this and a phonied up cable news channel operated by a Nixon trickster to dupe tens of millions of know-nothings and other neo-confederates only interested in taking down modernity and getting even with Yankees and other liberals.
Depending upon how they scare enough people their juggernaut includes up to a third of the population, utterly unmoored from facts and almost always acting loudly on entirely imaginary threats. Their leaders are almost all charlatans who have no shame.
Shame is exactly what is missing since without large-scale shaming as was done when a similar cohort of ignorants was raised in 1964, they are left to think they have the answers if they’ll only scream a little louder.
Oct. 4, 2013 at 1:25 a.m.

taiko Oakland, CA
Good summary, Paul.
I’m only partly pleased about ACA because it doesn’t go far enough. At least I’d like to have seen an alternative insurance program provided by the feds for low income people. Alternately, I’d rather see Medicare for all or, better yet, socialized medicine like they have in the UK. I worked on the UK economy for several years and had no trouble getting access to health care.
That said, at least millions of formerly uninsured persons will now be covered. Maybe we can improve on our infant mortality rate (a key indicator of health care), which is now 54th in the world. Being civilized is about taking care of our own, and ACA, though far from perfect, is a big step in the right direction.
p.s. My wife and I are covered by a retirement health plan, so ACA doesn’t directly affect us. We just want to live in a civilized society where everybody has good access to health care.
Oct. 4, 2013 at 1:15 a.m.

Mjones San Francisco
The Republicans got enough rope and were perhaps thrown off by Obama’s many earlier premature capitulations, that this time they overplayed their hand and sealed their own doom.
It’s not easy to get the truth out to voters in Republican states who have gerrymandered a permanent Republican advantage for all of their House Seats. Most people watch highly biased news as though it is factual reporting. But finally, the Republicans protested so long and so loudly against the socialist Obamacare healthcare law that even the naive ignorant voters in the Tea Party states know about it – under the name Affordable Health Care Act. Republicans must be cursing the day they gave Obama credit for this helpful social relief giving healthcare to those who previously couldn’t afford or couldn’t obtain insurance from the health insurance companies. What’s in a name? When voters are ignorant enough, they vote slogans – hence most are in favor of Affordable Care and totally opposed to Obamacare because they hate him. They are very surprised to discover their racial bias.
Now that it has been implemented, and is working, the Republicans are caught looking like the greedy, selfish, and rich-favoring privileged Good Old White Boys that most of them are.
Now the Republican Congressional Members are simply looking for a way to save face, They are in an embarrassing situation. but Barack and Nancy are in no mood to give them any relief. I’m sure many political ads will feature this event in 2014.
Oct. 4, 2013 at 1:15 a.m.

Michael Wolfe Henderson, Texas
I tried to sign up. The e-health server for Texas said, because of my pre-existing conditions, that not one of the plans on the exchange would accept me. (The law says, if they accept me, they must pay for those pre-existing conditions; it does NOT say they must accept me.)
Basically, there are some very cheap plans for some persons. Why? Because they offer absolutely no benefits if one reads all the fine print. Will people sign up? Some will, either because they don’t read the fine print, or if the plans are cheaper than the tax for not signing up.
Ultimately, this is a huge windfall for the insurance companies who paid the requisite baksheesh to be allowed onto the exchanges. These companies are getting lots of people directed to sign up with them, but only people whose legally mandated benefits are much less than their legally mandated premiums.
Oct. 4, 2013 at 1:12 a.m.

D. Martin Vero Beach, Florida
I live in a town full of people who would like to see Obama impeached and the Affordable Care Act revealed. They range from wealthy retirees to low-income people, and they faithfully vote for a congressman who will never vote to raise the debt limit.
This sort of alienation from the federal government is widespread, a major phenomenon in American society that perhaps isn’t very visible from more populated parts of the Northeast. Florida today is vastly more conservative than it was twenty or thirty years ago
In our form of government, the negative agendas of the Tea Party and the increasingly conservative federal judiciary can thwart moderate and progressive aspirations for effective government. The government shutdown seems merely a big example of the obstruction of government that’s going on all the time.
Oct. 4, 2013 at 1:00 a.m.

robertgeary9 Portland OR After reading a few of the disturbing items here, i.e., an ignorance about a law that is more than three years old; some Republicans who blatantly indicate that the common American should go without health coverage, I then wonder if we now resemble an empire close to its fall.
If so, to what cause do we attribute it? For example, ignorance usually is associated with sloth.
Furthermore, when one class despises another, snobbery is the usual culprit.
But perhaps, in today’s competitive atmosphere, maybe, just maybe, enough “young people” will stem the tide so that our nation, as we know it, may yet go on for another generation.
Or will it?
Oct. 4, 2013 at 12:40 a.m.

Gene Amparo Sacramento, CA ”Will there be enough young, healthy enrollees to provide a favorable risk pool and keep premiums relatively low?” This is the key to understanding insurance of any kind: sharing the risk. Instead of thinking of Obamacare as yet another entitlement program foisted upon taxpayers by the government, think of it as risk sharing. It is an encouraging sign that Obamacare premiums are lower than expected and young people may indeed ignore those creepy conservative ads paid for by Tea Party members (older, affluent, white) and sign up, the same way young people ignored the anti-Obama election campaign ads and voted him into office in 2008 and again in 2012.
Oct. 4, 2013 at 12:38 a.m

Sheldon Bunin Jackson Heights NY Defund Obamacare, that was the objective. That and continuation of sequester level spending. In exchange the insurrectionist neo-confederates, who have no interest in governing only the destruction of a government which serves anyone other than the .01% and requires no legislation, only a series of manufactured crises when it demands more and more freedom and respect.
Systematically they will demand freedom from voting, freedom from a living wage and safe working conditions and wage and hours laws, freedom from the habit forming programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, freedom from Dodd-Frank and any limitation on the power of banks and corporations from doing exactly what they want.
They will demand freedom from justice, fairness, equality before the law, democracy and good government. They also shall demand freedom to pillage the commons, our natural resources and to despoil our environment for the profit of the .01%.
They plan to achieve this by blackmail, extortion and taking the nation hostage. They want respect, love and deference. They revel in the injury they are inflicting but they to not wish to be called traitors, fascists, terrorists, corrupt and nut cases. They do not want their feelings hurt.
America needs to disrespect the Republican party as synonymous with traitors, fascists, terrorists, corrupted by bags of cash and ignorant nut cases. If the shoe fits etc., let them know what we think of them loud and often.
Oct. 4, 2013 at 12:24 a.m.


www.nytimes.com/2013/10/04/opinion/krugman-reform-turns-real.html


http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/six-ways-fix-obamacare

Obamacare is here. Get used to it.

By Eugene Robinson, Published: October 7

While Republicans were throwing their silly tantrum, Obamacare became a fact. There is no turning back.

The point of no return was reached when millions of people crashed the Web sites of the new Affordable Care Act exchanges while trying to buy health insurance. Republicans can fight rear-guard battles if they want, but last Tuesday they lost the war. All they can do at this point is harm the nation — and their political prospects.

Someday, if the GOP captures the presidency and both houses of Congress, President Obama’s health-care law could be altered or even repealed. But it would be replaced by some new program that does the same thing, because there is no politically viable way to snatch away the medical insurance that customers are buying through the exchanges.

Quite the opposite: As soon as the glitches are cleared up and everyone becomes a bit less hysterical, the question will be how to obtain coverage for as many as 30 million people who will still be uninsured — including upwards of 8 million ineligible for Obamacare because of a sabotage campaign by Republican governors.

Look at Texas, which the state medical association calls “the uninsured capital of the United States.” An estimated 22.5 percent of the population lacks health insurance, a higher percentage than in any other state. Many will remain uninsured because Gov. Rick Perry — a once and perhaps future GOP candidate for president — refused to set up a state insurance exchange and turned down billions in federal funds to expand Medicaid coverage.

Rejection of Obamacare may be popular in Texas now. But demographic trends are making the Lone Star State’s electorate more diverse, as the Latino population grows, and less reliably Republican. Small businesses that cannot afford to offer health insurance may soon worry about losing employees to states offering better coverage for the working poor through local exchanges and expanded Medicaid. Time is on the side of those who want to expand coverage, not those who want to restrict it.

I trust that conservative leaders will continue riling up the base with the untrue charge that Obamacare is “government health care.” It is nothing of the sort. Obama decided at the outset not to push for a government-run health system, such as those in Britain and Canada, or a single-payer system of any kind.

Instead, all of Obamacare’s insurance plans are offered by private firms — the same companies that also provide employer-sponsored insurance. Disappointing his liberal supporters, Obama declined to include even a single public, government-run health plan. All the apocalyptic right-wing rhetoric about socialism and the end of freedom is nothing but hot air. Soon, no one will take it seriously.

Those who are genuinely worried about the cost of a new entitlement should have their concerns taken seriously. But if money is the overriding issue, the obvious thing to do is go further and adopt a truly universal system like those in other industrialized countries.

The United States spends nearly 18 percent of its gross domestic product on health care, more than any other nation. France, Germany and Japan, to cite three countries with universal health care, spend between 9 percent and 12 percent of GDP on health — and obtain health outcomes at least as good as ours.

Someday, fiscal conservatives will acknowledge those numbers. For now, we are stuck with a fee-for-service health-care system that is perhaps the most wasteful in the world. Critics of Obamacare seem not to understand that the vast numbers of uninsured Americans — about 15 percent of the population — contribute heavily to the system’s inefficiencies.

We provide care for these people, but we do it in the dumbest way imaginable. Since they can’t afford to see a doctor regularly, treatable health problems and chronic conditions worsen. When ailments become acute, the uninsured go to hospital emergency rooms — the most expensive way to receive care.

The uninsured cannot pay their bills — medical costs are the biggest single cause of personal bankruptcy — so they are passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher health insurance premiums. Families USA, a nonpartisan health care advocacy group, estimated that in 2010 an average family in Texas paid an extra $2,786 in premiums to cover care for the uninsured. Are you listening, Gov. Perry?

Medicare guaranteed health care for the elderly, Medicaid for the poor. Obamacare begins to fill the remaining gaps. It will get better over time, but already — crashing Web sites and all — it’s a beautiful thing.

Observer581wrote:
5:28 PM EST
Speaker John Boehner said today he is willing to negotiate budget issues with President Obama without any conditions. He told reporters, “”I’m not drawing any lines in the sand.”
Boehner has indeed found himself sinking in quicksand.

DEC1123 wrote:
5:24 PM EST
We are sitting on $17 Trillion in debt (100% of GDP). We continue to borrow 40% of every dollar we spend. Interest rates are at historic lows, in fact, normally they are three times higher than they are presently.
If our debt payments are now 8% of the budget now they will go up to 25% of the budget when, and if, things ever return to normal. What do we do then?
I’m sorry, but what kind of idiot do we have for a President that he isn’t even willing to talk about the problem? Not only is this stupid, it is would be unreasonable for someone to NOT question the intent of Barack Obama. This will destroy us.

ov27 wrote:
5:19 PM EST
Been a pleasure folks to read all the useful insight to how divided we’ve becomed. How about we expect from our leaders and stop listening to bias media . Listen to all opinions and formulate your own. I hear too much MSNBC, NY Times, Hannity,Rush…..and all the others . Are we better than we were 5 years ago and where will we be in the next 10 ? I am an independent so I have voted both dem and gop. I have never been so disgusted with DC, starting form the top. The buck stops with the president. Get it done !

dons3 wrote:
5:17 PM EST
…your forcing people who don’t want insurance to buy it(the mandate). . .that is the point! It’s either everybody should get covered(single payer) or it’s voluntarily. When you began to read the fine print form Madison Ave hype teaser premiums for the suckers. As we get into the program, there will eventually appear the surprises and pain that accompanies all fee for service medical insurance. . . and remember in the end, this is private insurance that your dealing with.

Jmk55 responds:
5:20 PM EST
This is how it is in most European countries – everyone must pay to receive. No exceptions. Those who don’t pay do not get free and must look for charities, churches and other organizations for help. And their healthcare is still going broke and it becomes unsustainable.

Holmes6_66 responds:
5:26 PM EST
jmk55, you are clueless my friend. Not only is HC in the advanced western European countries universal in scope, it is of higher quality and much lower in cost. We spend twice as much as 2 Switzerland and are ranked much lower in quality.
What nobody wants to confront is why everything has to cost so much more here. The simple fact is that the HC industry is raping Americans and getting fat in the process.

Jmk55 responds:
5:36 PM EST
Holmes, it is you who is clueless. I grew up there and most of my family still lives there. 
Stay in touch with reality, my friend.

RGDOC wrote:
5:00 PM EST
S. Bean
4:32 PM EDT
“Okay, haters. If you’re so informed, I would appreciate links to reasoned, well thought-out, fact-based, thoroughly researched arguments against the ACA.
Nothing from Fox, or Rush, or Beck, or Hannity, or World Net Daily…. but have yet to find anything against the ACA that is trustworthy or written by anyone with academic esteem.”
4:48 PM EDT
S. Bean’
My pleasure, will focus on my pet peeve;
The Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) will be stocked with Ezekiel Emanuel and Donald Berwick (phenotype of liberals that believe England has a good model for rationed health care) like-minded individuals who will tow the Obama party line in keeping faith with the ObamaCare mandates. Briefly, ObamaCare mandates that the board impose deep Medicare cuts, while simultaneously forbidding it to ration care. Reducing payments to doctors, hospitals and other health-care providers may cause them to limit or stop accepting Medicare patients, or even to close shop (WSJ, David Rivkin and Elizabeth Foley).

Fumant responds:
5:02 PM EST
Oh, so you want to go on spending way more on health care than other countries while getting worse results? Smart. And Republicans are also the party of fiscal discipline, right?

RGDOC responds:
5:06 PM EST
Quick question, who should decide on the proper medical treatment, board of government bureaucrats or a patient & his/her doc?
Just axin…..

DMHE wrote:
4:51 PM EST
If you know how to read charts this will help you understand how the ACA will impact the US economy over the long term. Nothing good will come from the ACA according to the CBO.

http://www.cbo.gov/publication/44521

jmk55 responds:
4:57 PM EST
You really don’t expect liberals to believe this, do you?

DMHE responds:
4:58 PM EST
God no! even if they knew how to read the charts they would argue with what was carved out for them.

dofc responds:
5:00 PM EST
Funny, the CBO projected that Obamacare will save us $500 billion in the first 10 years, and their estimates are conservative.
Thanks for sharing.

jmk55 responds:
5:01 PM EST
They don’t understand that today, our debt exceeds GDP by over $1 trillion, and give another 3-4 years, and this number will quadruple and then, there will be no money to pay the bills and nobody to borrow the money from.

DMHE responds:
5:02 PM EST
So you are in favor of imposing your debt onto my grandchildren?

jmk55
5:04 PM EST responds:
Who, me? God forbid. I’d rather see us tighten the belt now and sacrifice, than pass this on another generation like most of our presidents are doing.

DMHE responds:
5:05 PM EST
no, my commet was for dofc. I read your comments, we are on the same page.

fumant wrote:
4:45 PM EST
Question: are right-wingers evil, or just stupid?

Ov27 responds:
4:46 PM EST
In touch with reality . Are you always so bitter?

jmk55 wrote:
4:33 PM EST
Currently, underfunded and often unfunded middle class entitlements consume over 46$ of the $3.5 trillion budget and are the main contributors to our skyrocketing debt.  
Can we really afford ACA which is another underfunded entitlement?

cbk1 wrote:
4:27 PM EST
And we have drug laws. Obama doesn’t enforce these drug laws, Republicans won’t fund Obama-Care. Get use to it.

jarstfer wrote:
4:31 PM EST
I think this is in reference to not enforcing pot laws in Colorado and other states that have voted to legalize, decriminalize, or allow medical pot. The irony of the post is likely lost on cbk1
Like

DMHE wrote:
4:23 PM EST
The DNC dove off a hill when they passed the ACA. What we had before with the community health clinic was far superior to what we have now, and cheaper. Hospital visits were paid for through a special tax included into each paid visit that started in the 1930’s. That tax is still in place and to boot, we pay additional taxes to pay for the ACA Medicaid program. Basically, nothing has changed in the quality of health care, you just pay more taxes to do the same job.

quark2 wrote:
4:18 PM EST
i’m loving this. gene writes an in-your-face article & the trolls come out in droves. they repeat lie after lie that they heard from fox and when called on it move on to another lie & don’t seem to be embarrassed about it. very few of them provide a source.
gene made his money today.


www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/eugene-robinson-obamacare-is-here-get-used-to-it/2013/10/07/486dfbe8-2f7e-11e3-bbed-a8a60c601153_story.html

Many remain locked out of federal health-care Web site

Two allies of the administration, both of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the controversy surrounding the rollout, said they approached White House officials this year to raise concerns that the federal exchange was not ready to launch. In both cases, Obama officials assured them there was no cause for alarm.

Robert Laszewski, a health-care consultant with clients in the insurance industry, said insurers were complaining loudly that the site, www.healthcare.gov, was not working smoothly during frequent teleconferences with officials at the Department of Health and Human Services before the exchange’s launch and afterward. “People were pulling out their hair,” he said.

Chippewa wrote:
10/8/2013 6:46 PM EST
I went to the web site of a private insurance company and within five minutes could see the coverages and premiums for more than a dozen options. I went to healthcare.gov and after about 30 minutes of frustration finally created a user ID and password. That was five days ago. For the past five days when I enter the username and password I get a blank screen. Forward!

Hitpoints responds:
10/8/2013 10:14 PM EST
Similar experience here, and similar thoughts about how companies have been offering the same functionality with a difference – theirs works.

Reading up on the development choices for healthcare.gov, it appears they were enamored with a new technology and had the not invented here syndrome (even if they utilized tech developed by others, it was a shiny new framework instead of boring-just-works).

Justanotherguy wrote:
10/8/2013 2:35 PM EST
This article must be a lie. I heard the President say he wouldn’t accept any delays rolling out ACA.


www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/many-remain-locked-out-of-federal-health-care-web-site/2013/10/08/be8e71e6-302c-11e3-bbed-a8a60c601153_story.html

Tkukoc
11 October 2013 9:57pm
Obamacare will never be a part of American life, like social security.
Social security was enacted by a huge, bipartisan majority. It has never “cut back” on its promises, like the long-term care component that was part of the originally passed bill but subsequently tossed overboard by the Obama administration; or the “we’ll have the employer piece in place by October 1, 2013 — well no we won’t. Try again next year. Well, no need to postpone the individual signup because by October 1, 2013, we will roll out a $650 million website that has not even been beta tested.
Obamacare will be remembered as the occasion of Obama’s biggest lies — it will cut health care costs, improve access, improve quality, let you keep your doctor and your current insurance plan and save your family $2,500 in its first year. Which of these, Ann Marie, is simply not a lie? Or perhaps what Churchill once termed “a categorical inexactitude.”
And for you British who don’t follow the fine print. Obamacare is discussed with reference to the national health care systems of Europe. Except that even when it is fully implemented — and these numbers are from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office and the federal Office of Management and Budget, there will never be fewer than 30+ million Americans without health insurance.
One single fact — in seven days, this greatest website ever to cost over half-a-billion dollars managed to enroll an actual reported total of 51,000 persons. Question: Would that number even half-fill Wembley Stadium? And, I guess those Republicans were just being crazy to say the thing wasn’t ready for prime-time.

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/oct/11/truth-obamacare-rocky-rollout

The Obamacare implosion is worse than you think
By Marc A. Thiessen, Monday, October 14, 10:52 AM
Obamacare is imploding. But thanks to the government shutdown, everyone is talking about the implosion of the GOP instead.

The shutdown drama has distracted from the fact that Obamacare’s debut is worse than many realize — and it threatens the fundamental viability of the law itself. The administration claims the Obamacare online exchanges crashed because the Web site got more than 8 million hits in the first week. Please. You know how many people visit Amazon.com every week? More than 70 million. The difference is: 1.) Amazon seldom crashes, and 2.) on Amazon, people actually buy something.

It appears virtually no one is buying Obamacare. While administration officials brag about how many visitors the site is getting, they refuse to divulge how many people actually signed up. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was asked that directly by Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show.” “Fully enrolled?” Sebelius stuttered. “I can’t tell you. Because I don’t know.” That is a frightening admission of incompetence. If the Obama administration can’t even track how many people signed up, how on earth is it going to verify whether those people are eligible for subsidies? How will it protect against fraud?

The Post reported this past weekend that the failure of the Web site is worse than previously known: “Even when consumers have been able to sign up, insurers sometimes can’t tell who their new customers are because of a separate set of computer defects.” It turns out that in some 99 percent of applications, the Obamacare site did not provide insurers with enough verifiable information to enroll people in their plans.

Computer experts say the problems with the site are not because of heavy traffic but are the result of structural flaws in system architecture. It is going to take months to rebuild it. That raises a question: If the federal government can’t manage a simple Web site, how on earth is it going to manage the health care of millions of Americans?

It also means that President Obama may have no choice but to delay the individual mandate. As my American Enterprise Institute colleague, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, points out, how can Obama penalize people for not having health insurance if the government’s Web site to provide that insurance doesn’t work?

Without the individual mandate, Obamacare unravels. The only way the law works is if the government forces young, healthy people into it by threatening them with penalties for not carrying health insurance. But if there is no penalty for not signing up, then fewer Americans will sign up.

Even if the administration manages to fix the Web site and finally implement the individual mandate, people still may not join — because the plans being offered are so unattractive. To entice people to join the exchanges, the administration forced insurers to offer low monthly premiums and cover people with preexisting conditions. Insurers have responded by increasing deductibles — the out-of-pocket costs people must pay before insurance benefits kick in — to stratospheric levels.

According to an analysis this weekend by the president’s hometown paper, the Chicago Tribune, “21 of the 22 lowest-priced plans offered on the Illinois health insurance exchange for Cook County have annual deductibles of more than $4,000 for an individual and $8,000 for family coverage. . . . Plans with the least expensive monthly premiums — highlighted by state and federal officials as proof the new law will keep costs low for consumers — have deductibles as high as $6,350 for individuals and $12,700 for families.” Even with federal subsidies, few Americans will bother to buy insurance with a $4,000 to $12,700 deductible — and millions won’t even be eligible for the subsidies.

If enough Americans don’t join the exchanges, Obamacare collapses. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the administration needs at least 7 million people to join the exchanges for Obamacare to be financially viable. While the administration won’t reveal sign-up rates, London’s Daily Mail reported that total sign-ups in the first week were just 51,000 people. If accurate, that would mean they have just 6,949,000 more to go to break even.

Bottom line: It turns out Obamacare is blowing itself up just fine without Republican help. Far from a few “glitches,” the president’s signature program is in free fall after only a week. But instead of focusing on the , the news is filled with stories about . . . the government shutdown. The irony is, the shutdown was intended to stop Obamacare. Instead, it is rescuing Obama from his own incompetence.

Matt Bracken writes:
10/14/2013 12:01 PM EST
Comrades, do not listen to capitalist stooges like Marc Thiessen! Soon Obamacare shall be smashing all records like Norelsk Tractor Factory in last 5-year plan! By November 2017, National Socialist health rationing will rival Cuban medical system, free for all good comrades! And best of all, the diligent comrade commissars working day and night at the IRS-NSA-ACA data hubs will be able to track down last desperate right-wing reactionaries, and exclude them from glorious National Socialist medical rationing! Onward to victory, comrades! A new National Socialist day is coming in next glorious 5-year plan! Soviet-style Obamacare soon shall be envy of world!

Ipsophakto writes:
4:37 AM EST
I’m losing my plan due to the ACA. I pay $525 per month for my private family plan, no employer sponsor.
The plan Obama said I could keep is affordable. The ACA plan is double that premium, and has a much higher deductible.
I can’t afford this “affordable” plan. I’ve had insurance all my life, now I’m losing it. Obama is a liar, straight up.
Over 30 years that’s $180,0000 I won’t be saving for retirement or my kids education or helping a friend or family. I won’t be investing that or saving it. It will just burn in an obamacare furnace. 

FlaxenMane writes:
1:03 AM EST
For young people it makes no sense to flush money down the toilet every month and get nothing in return. These young adults are smart consumers: they shop for phones, and computers, and high priced clothing. Obamacare sounds like a raw deal for this healthy group -because it is.
Buying a super low cost catastrophic plan, and then creating incentives to put away money in a healthcare savings account – is so much more fair. Why rip them off? Who did they ever hurt? Or is it that they don’t have their own lobbyists to represent them when the backroom deals are being cut?

coastofutopia writes:
10/14/2013 11:15 PM EST
No, the implosion is not worse than I think. For more than three years, I’ve been telling my Democratic friends, family members, neighbors, and colleagues that the law cannot work as drafted. 
The failures of the last two weeks were foreseen and foreseeable by anyone with common sense and the willingness to find out what the law actually said.  
The only question now is how to fix it. Repeal may be the only sensible option, but it would be great to start the national dialogue on this we need.

RichardRemmele responds:
10/14/2013 11:18 PM EST
It is a bad website. it has nothing to do with Obamacare. Look at California, it is a great easy to use website. Although there may still be some glitches on the actual behind the scenes sign u

dirkcheep writes:
10/14/2013 10:36 PM EST
A computer glitch doth not a policy failure make.
Mechanical problems will be fixed in due time. Policy improvements like insurance coverage despite pre-existing condition already in place.

SayWhat8 responds:
10/14/2013 11:04 PM EST
Fixing the website is easy. Unfortunately fixing Obamacare isn’t.

JamestheFirst writes:
10/14/2013 9:34 PM EST
“Even with federal subsidies, few Americans will bother to buy insurance with a $4,000 to $12,700 deductible….” WRONG! Young people who now by and large do not buy healthcare insurance will purchase the high deductible policies to protect them from catastrophic events. Probably a wise choice inmost such cases. Currently, they go without insurance as they feel like they are not subject to normal healthcare risks thus loading the current system with too many insured exhibiting a high risk profile. Read older people and families.
The current unbalanced system produces a system with high cost and excessive pay-out results. The mandate solves this problem.

JohnSpek responds:
10/14/2013 9:40 PM EST
wrong
plans are available now with
LESS risk
LESS premium
but they are not buying them because the money they would pay is used elsewhere
a plan with 5K risk is available in almost every state for less than 100 per month
a short term / limited benefit catastrophic plan is available for close to 50 per month
they are not buying them

John responds:
10/14/2013 10:38 PM EST
Why would a young healthy person sign up for something that costs money they choose to spend elsewhere? Fact is the penalty…oops tax is so small there is no reason to jump in. Fact until someone is 26 why bother? Fact if a otherwise healthy person has a serious health issue they can sign up in the hospital. Remember no one with pre-existing conditions can be denied. So who is going to pay for it? Yes if this fails as its intended to do, a single payer system will follow. Harry said this was a first step towards single payer, Mr. Obama is a huge fan of a system he will never have to depend on. The ACA is designed to fail, and its well on its way.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/marc-thiessen-the-obamacare-implosion-is-worse-than-you-think/2013/10/14/7efa4e74-34d7-11e3-be86-6aeaa439845b_story.html

Obama accused of breaking promise to consumers as health plans cancel policies

By Lena H. Sun and Sandhya Somashekhar, Published: October 29

A new controversy over the president’s health-care law is threatening to overshadow the messy launch of its Web site: Notices are going out to hundreds of thousands of Americans informing them that their health insurance policies are being canceled as of Dec. 31.

The notices appear to contradict President Obama’s promise that despite the changes resulting from the law, Americans can keep their health insurance if they like it. Republicans have seized on the cancellations as evidence that the law is flawed and the president has been less than forthright in describing its impact.

“The real problem is that people weren’t told the truth,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said Tuesday on “CBS This Morning.” “You can remember, they were told that they would be able to keep their policies if they liked them. Now you hear hundreds of thousands of people across the country being told they couldn’t.”

Administration officials say the canceled insurance will be replaced by better policies. But the new line of attack comes as the administration continues to grapple with its problem-plagued Web site, HealthCare.gov.

On Tuesday, the administration official directly responsible for the rollout of the Web site apologized, promising at a congressional hearing to fix problems that have prevented many consumers from signing up for coverage under the health law. Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, also defended her agency’s management of the project and blamed some of the setbacks on the main contractor, Fairfax-based CGI Federal.

If the accusations of broken promises stick, they could ultimately be more damaging than the glitchy Web site. Although some people are signing up and benefiting from federal subsidies to buy private insurance, the number is unknown because the administration has not revealed enrollment figures.

Meanwhile, insurance companies have sent hundreds of thousands of termination notices in recent months to previously insured Americans, telling them that their health insurance plans are changing to meet the requirements of the health-care law. Under the Affordable Care Act, beginning Jan. 1 insurers must offer renewal policies that cover a core group of essential health benefits, such as maternity care and prescription drug coverage. Policies that don’t offers such benefits can’t be sold after this year.

As a result, many insurers are discontinuing policies that do not comply with these new standards. If insurers discontinue a policy, they are required to give the policyholder 90 days’ notice and offer the option of enrolling in an alternative policy.

While Republicans are insisting that the president misled the public about the effects of the law, others who are sympathetic to the administration said the seeming contradiction shows the difference between political talking points intended to sell a controversial law and the intricacies of the health policies that underlie it.

Florida Blue Cross Blue Shield chief executive Patrick J. Geraghty said Sunday that the company is dropping about 300,000 policies. Customers are being informed that they can’t keep their current plans but that their new options might be better because of new benefits and government subsidies available to low- and middle-income people

Highmark Blue Shield of Pennsylvania sent notices in August to about 40,000 customers who are in a special plan for the hardest to insure, saying that their plans were being discontinued and that they might qualify for subsidies if they buy insurance on the federal exchange, spokeswoman Kristin Ash said.

In the Washington region, CareFirst, the region’s dominant carrier, has sent about 76,000 notices to consumers in Maryland, Virginia and the District in the past several months, informing them that as of Jan. 1, CareFirst “cannot sell or renew plans that do not comply with the requirements of the Affordable Care Act,” spokesman Michael Sullivan said.

In Maryland, nine carriers have informed regulators that they plan to send notices to about 73,000 consumers about plans they no longer intend to offer.

White House officials are blaming insurers, not the law itself, for the confusion consumers are facing.

To some extent, the disconnect between Obama’s statements and the cancellations reflects how elected officials sometimes gloss over nuances when making a political argument. When he was pushing his health-care law, Obama was mostly interested in reassuring the vast majority of Americans who are insured through their employers or federal programs that they could keep their insurance. The people whose policies are now changing are in the less-stable individual market.

White House press secretary Jay Carney emphasized this week that one of the reasons some Americans are losing their plans is that the policies are “substandard.”

Carney added that “it’s true that there are existing health-care plans on the individual market that don’t meet those minimum standards and therefore do not qualify for the Affordable Care Act.”

Republicans questioned why the president and his aides wouldn’t acknowledge the inevitable consequences of their own rules and mandates.

White House officials say that about 5 percent of the population buys insurance on the individual market, up to 15 million people. But there are no good estimates for how many people will lose their plans in the run-up to the new law.

“This market turns over a lot,” said Larry Levitt, a health insurance expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation. At the same time, the timing of the notices is “unfortunate,” he said. “The law does provide tax credits. The problem is that people are getting these cancellation letters at the same time, and yet, they aren’t able to get on the Web site to find out what their options are.”

Obama has also promised that people could keep their doctors if they liked them. But “that’s never been anything people were guaranteed,” Levitt said. Insurers have control over which doctors are in any particular network.

Rosalie Lacorazza, 42, and her husband, Leo Scott, 42, received a letter a few weeks ago from CareFirst notifying the Arlington couple about coming changes to their coverage. Lacorazza, an independent consultant, and Scott, who heads a small start-up company, pay about $450 a month for a health plan that allows them to choose their own doctors. Their out-of-pocket costs are capped at $2,800.

The Sept. 30 letter from CareFirst informed the couple that their plan does not meet the new requirements of the health-care law. As a result, “your current plan will cease upon your anniversary date” of March 1, the letter said.

The couple were given three options: apply for a new plan on the federal exchange, with coverage to begin Jan. 1; temporarily remain in their current plan beyond that date; or do nothing, in which case they would eventually lose coverage.

Lacorazza logged on to HealthCare.gov twice and got far enough to review insurance plans. Her initial search shocked her. The first plan with comparable deductibles was going to cost the couple nearly $2,100 a month. The second one would cost about $1,200 a month. The couple hasn’t decided what to do.

“In the end, if we’re forced to take a plan that is three times as much as we currently pay, and we like the plan we’re in, and if his promise was that we could keep our plan, that’s breaking his promise,” Scott said.

Domer81 wrote:
10/29/2013 11:05 PM EST
If you like your plan, you can keep your plan. Period. That is about as clear as it gets. Obama never qualified that statement. Yet, libs are trying to spin this. They just can’t get past that denial stage.

Marcuscassius responds:
10/29/2013 11:06 PM EST
qUIT YER WHINING. rEPUBLICANS SHOULD CHANGE THEIR NAME TO THE wHINER PARTY

steve2542 wrote:
10/29/2013 11:07 PM EST
As a Democrat who just had his policy cancelled. He’s simply telling the truth. We were misled.

4uDoc wrote:
5:18 PM EST
Well, it’s not as if the p.o.s. scamster a.k.a. “Mr Bait and Switch” and “The Doctor of Deceit” hadn’t ever lied through his teeth before.

PHW responds:
5:19 PM EST
What? No death panels?

The Gunniwolf wrote:
5:09 PM EST
The HSA I had covered most all of my out oif pocket., and my BCBS $10k deductible paid 100% of EVERYTHING after that. $409/mo for me the wife and 2 kids. 
The best “bronze” on the Obamacare site? $6350 deducctible, 20% copays and $1193/mo.

\Merlin999 responds:
5:18 PM EST
I cover me and the 16 employees here for less than a grand a month per employee now.
We get $15 co-pays, no deductibles and very good coverage and access to physicians.
BC/BS has already tole me that that’s gone.
This is going to be awful for the employees here.

Jeanlovegrove wrote:
4:33 PM EST
It’s not that Obama was not telling the truth it’s because the health company’s changed the landscape, they do’nt want to loose their free hand in control, they are dancing as fast as they can to hold on to overcharging us..

jmk55 responds:
4:37 PM EST
Most uninformed people may agree…

Merlin999 responds:
4:37 PM EST
Health insurance companies were among Obama’s largest donors in both of his Presidential runs.

Stephen Paul Delsol wrote:
4:04 PM EST

KATHLEEN SEBELIUS IS DOING A GREAT JOB!
As I was writing this post, a third health insurance broker visited my house to assist me to get better health insurance coverage for less. Two days ago, another health insurance broker was in my sitting room doing the same thing. A third broker visited me three weeks, ago. This hive of activity has never happened before! The major reason has been because of the impact of OBAMACARE! I have had my co-pay reduced by 100% because of the positive impact of OBAMACARE.
All I am saying is to give OBAMACARE a chance!
OBAMACARE is causing health insurance companies to lower their premiums. This has always been President Obama’s intention. His bottom line has always been to lower the cost of health insurance policies for Americans. His promise has always been nuanced and predicated on Americans getting better quality health insurance at competitive prices.
President Obama loves Americans and has consistently demonstrated his integrity and honesty, first as a Community worker and now. The President’s has always put the interests of poor and middle class Americans before his own.
OBAMACARE will eventually provide millions uninsured Americans accessible, affordable and quality health insurance coverage. To err is human. Mistakes will be made, but the President’s motivation is pure and noble.
The Federal government is the right institution to deliver health care for American citizens. It a fact that the Federal government has been successfully providing efficient and effective health insurance coverage for millions of seniors and poor Americans on Medicare and Medicaid.
Kathleen Sebelius has done an excellent job as Health Secretary in ensuring that Medicare and Medicaid costs have been substantially reduced since she came to office. Sebelius and Eric Holder have formed the ‘A’ team in their aggressive pursuit of Medicare and Medicaid fraud. They have recovered over $9 billion dollars from fraudsters.

Bookm responds:
4:08 PM EST
To paraphrase a great movie line:
“Mr. Delsol, what you’ve just said … is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

Bookm responds:
4:50 PM EST
I always enjoy when people stick up for one another. With regards to your (incorrect) assumption that I am republican, let’s talk facts:
1. “KATHLEEN SEBELIUS IS DOING A GREAT JOB!” – There is a saying about a million “atta’ boys” versus one “Uh-oh”, and let’s face it, this was about as big an “uh-oh” as one can have.
2. “I have had my co-pay reduced by 100% because of the positive impact of OBAMACARE.” – This would mean that you will be paying nothing. 100% of $100 is $100. This would mean that there is no longer a co-pay as you are no longer paying.
3. “President Obama loves Americans and has consistently demonstrated his integrity and honesty” – saying I didn’t know about (insert scandal) is not integrity, it is either incompetence or bald face lying.
4. “The President’s has always put the interests of poor and middle class Americans before his own.” – Like when he and Congress got in a urination trajectory contest over whether we should extend the individual mandate, and is now considering this exact plan?
5. “OBAMACARE will eventually provide millions uninsured Americans accessible, affordable and quality health insurance coverage.” – This is an assumption you’re basing on what? wishful thinking? Magic 8-ball?

I could keep going…

TiredofNonsense wrote:
3:52 PM EST

BCBS cancelled my current policy effective Dec 1. Their new policy costs $70 more a month, changed all of my networks, and has a $10K deductible. I went on the healthcare.gov website. I earn far less than the $40K limit but did not enroll. Why? Their policy costs $120 more a month, changed all of my networks, and has a $6,500 deductible. I don’t need coverage for maternity yet now I’ll be paying for it. I don’t smoke, drink, or have high-risk hobbies but I’m paying for people who do. I’m paying for all the dead-beat 18 – 25 year olds who live at home. When I was in college, I bought health insurance on campus. It was cheap and effective. Home Depot and several other companies who used to pay health insurance are stopping and sending employees to the gov market. Indirectly, I’ll be paying for those company profits plus the employees who qualify for the federal subsidy because they only work part-time. From what I have seen, the ACA favors the irresponsible over the responsible people who struggle to make a living. All they had to do was introduce pre-existing condition regulations on the health insurance companies. And, require providers to set standard and reasonble costs. So far the ACA has done more to undermine the health and welfare of the middle class than anything in recent history. The true poor have always had Medicaid. Seniors have Medicare plus supplemental. I and others like me will have nothing.


www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/obama-accused-of-breaking-promise-to-consumers-as-health-plans-cancel-policies/2013/10/29/860bed32-40bf-11e3-a751-f032898f2dbc_story.html


JoeG says:
November 20, 2013 at 1:26 pm (Edit)
The plan all along was to provide heavily subsidized healthcare for blacks and LaRaza members. This was to be paid for by white Americans. White Americans, according to Democrats, deserve to be punished for slavery and stealing America from LaRaza members. No politically aware white American should be surprised to see their insurance rates go up. Who did they think was going to pay for all the subsidized plans for People of Color?
Frediano says:
October 24, 2013 at 10:32 am (Edit)
Proud moment in “Run the Economy” ville.
We need one of those painted plywood Yosemite Sam cutouts from amusement parks, one that says “You must be at least this high to RUN THE ECONOMY”
Go perfectly with the rest of this joke.

Forward with Obamacare


About Jerry Frey

Born 1953. Vietnam Veteran. Graduated Ohio State 1980. Have 5 published books. In the Woods Before Dawn; Grandpa's Gone; Longstreet's Assault; Pioneer of Salvation; Three Quarter Cadillac
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