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Because if you know what it'll cost, you won't vote to re-elect Democrats.
Those planning to purchase health insurance on the Obamacare exchange will soon find out how much rates have increased - after the Nov. 4 election.
Enrollment on the Healthcare.gov website begins Nov. 15, or 11 days after the midterm vote, and critics who worry about rising premium hikes in 2015 say that's no coincidence. Last year's inaugural enrollment period on the health-care exchange began Oct. 1.
"This is more than just a glitch," said Tim Phillips, president of free-market Americans for Prosperity, in a Friday statement. "The administration's decision to withhold the costs of this law until after Election Day is just more proof that Obamacare is a bad deal for Americans."
Robert Laszewski, president of Health Policy and Strategy Associates, said in a Monday column in USA Today that "when it comes to a lack of openness and transparency about Obamacare, this administration has no peer."
If the premiums were going down you can bet they'd be telling you. Loudly.
Even so, details about cost increases are trickling out in states with pivotal Senate contests: Alaska, Iowa and Louisiana. All three states are wrestling with double-digit premium hikes from some state insurance companies on the exchange.
The most dramatic increases are underway in Alaska, where the state insurance division has cleared double-digit rate hikes for two insurers, Premera Blue Cross and Moda Health. Premera's premiums will rise by 35 to 40 percent.
The Iowa insurance commissioner approved last week premium increases for three insurance carriers: Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, CoOpportunity Health and Coventry Health. Two of those insurers will implement double-digit hikes ranging from 11.9 to 19 percent, the Des Moines Register reports.
The issue is also resonating in the Louisiana Senate race, where Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu is seeking re-election against Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy. Documents filed with the Louisiana Department of Insurance show some insurers are anticipating double-digit rate hikes, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
"Premiums have gone up by 53 percent for the average Louisiana policyholder and many of these policies will again see double-digit increases," Mr. Cassidy said. "It's unfair to Louisianans who have to balance their budgets and their businesses."
Obamacare, it's so great, you're forced to buy it. Sight unseen! With only half the time to sign up that they gave you last year. Because that clunky website is working now. Honest.
Hey, remember when
Obama promised to cut your premium by $2,500 per year? Let me know how
that's workin' out for you.
Who you gonna believe, Obamabot propaganda, or your own lyin' eyes?
Over a quarter of Americans now say Obamacare has personally hurt them, according to a Gallup poll released Wednesday.
Twenty-seven percent of Americans say the health-care law has hurt them, up from 19 percent in May. The percentage saying Obamacare has helped still lags behind, up to 16 percent from 10 percent earlier this year.
Count me among the 27%. Obamacare is costing my family more money, for crappier coverage, with daily hassles over formerly routine stuff like prescription renewals. My doctor hates it too.
Apparently that's not a bug.
According to the Obama administration, however, this is what the public can expect when Obamacare is working as intended. The White House has repeatedly declared victory on Obamacare; the health-care law's new chief, Health and Human Services secretary Sylvia Burwell, is calling for the public to "move beyond the politics," she told The Washington Post this week.
If you like getting screwed, you can keep getting screwed…
As always, a majority of Americans oppose the health-care law on principle. Fifty-three percent of those polled disapprove of the health-care law, while just 41 percent approve.
what who else the public hates?
A clear majority of Americans describe President Obama's tenure as a "failure" according to a new poll released Monday.
The survey from IBD/TIPP indicates that 53 percent of adults in the United States now characterize Obama's presidency as a "failure," while 41 percent chalk it up as a success. Half of the people who live in states won by Obama see his tenure negatively, as do 59 percent of those aged 25-44 years old.
There's that "41 percent" figure again. Who are these deluded Obamabots?
Xbox-playing basement dwellers, and Lena Dunham fan-grrls!
Some of the key groups remain solid in their support of the president, though. More than three-quarters of voters aged 18-24 see Obama's presidency as a success, as do 54 percent of single women.
Hey, sooner or later the slackers are gonna have to find a job. And then, uh oh, the only jobs left are part-time.
Starting this year, the United States' working population will face three major employment disincentives resulting from the very benefits the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides: (1) an explicit tax on full-time work, (2) an implicit tax on full-time work for those who are ineligible for the ACA's health insurance subsidies, and (3) an implicit tax that links the amount of available subsidies to workers' incomes.
A new study published by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University advances the understanding of how much these ACA taxes will reduce overall employment, and why. It concludes that the reduction will be nearly double that projected by previous analyses. Labor markets ultimately will reduce weekly employment per person by about 3 percent — translating to roughly 4 million fewer full-time-equivalent workers.
No wonder the Obots are so enamored with raising the minimum wage. It's all they'll ever earn, at whatever crummy job they manage to slither into. Hey, elections have consequences dontcha know, and not to put too fine a point on it, but you idiots voted for this shit.
You know, before it's too late, we should raise the voting age back to 21 and
repeal the Nineteenth Amendment. Responsible government might ensue.
On the plus side, you'll have (allegedly) cheap health insurance, and more time to play golf.
Because, thanks to Obamacare, your job just went poof!
Businesses are cutting jobs due to ObamaCare, according to surveys by several regional Federal Reserve Banks.
Health economist John Goodman noted that "three Federal Reserve Banks in Philadelphia, New York and Atlanta have surveyed the folks in their area and roughly one fifth of the employers are saying they cut back on employment."
"Roughly one fifth are saying they're moving from full time to part time," Goodman added. "More than one in ten are saying they're doing more outsourcing - all this because of the new health care reform."
Doug Holtz-Eakin, former Director of the Congressional Budget Office, said for the smaller employers -- those that have between 20 and 49 employees -- you get a negative impact on jobs, you get a negative impact on wages in those jobs. What this means for small business as a whole is over $22 billion of earnings gone for their workers and 350,000 jobs."
The president repeatedly has delayed the mandate requiring businesses with more than 50 employees to provide insurance. But businesses know it's coming, so many avoid hiring to keep their worker rolls below 50.
Also, the mandate applies only to those who work more than 30 hours a week -- an incentive for employers to reduce hours.
Fewer jobs. And the jobs that remain are part-time.
But wait, there's more bad news.
Prices are rising, and incomes are shrinking.
More than a third of manufacturing firms in the NY Fed survey said they're raising prices to cover the costs of health care, and about half the businesses surveyed by the Dallas Fed said ObamaCare is raising insurance costs for their employees.
"Yes we are going to see increased cost to employers who are trying to provide health care for their employees, but employers don't just take that lying down," said Tevi Troy of the American Health Policy Institute.
Goodman added, "Even among full-time workers, their take home pay is going to go down because one thing that almost all the employers are doing in response to ObamaCare is raising the deductibles, raising the co-payments and making the employee pay more of the premium."
Oops. Scratch that "cheap health insurance" baloney. I can tell you from first-hand experience that the decrease in disposable income is all too real.
But smug liberals get to feel good about themselves for "helping" the uninsured, so there's that.
Meanwhile out here in The Real World, Obamacare is a train wreck. And that
light at the end of the tunnel? Yeah, it's another oncoming train.
You'd think the Obamacare brain trust would have learned their lesson. But, no, they rolled out a companion website to Healthcare.gov, and it failed spectacularly too.
Another federal government-run website created under ObamaCare is suffering the same symptoms as the troubled federal health care exchange -- grappling with delays, data problems and other hiccups as the deadline to take it public nears.
At issue is a database known as the Open Payments website. It was created under the Affordable Care Act to shed light on the financial ties between doctors and pharmaceutical companies as well as device manufacturers.
The transparency initiative is supposed to include detailed information about drug payments made by doctors as well as the value of gifts and services given by drug makers. Such items can include everything from meals to swanky retreats.
The database project, though, is dealing with a minefield of technical problems and confusion over the data. The problems led the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to shut down what is currently a private site for 11 days earlier this month.
The government is hoping to take the site public on Sept. 30. But it's already a year behind schedule, and if some industry heavy hitters have it their way, the schedule will slip by another six months.
The data is hopelessly garbled. The procedure for registering is convoluted, and inaccurate. There are major technical glitches. And it's more than a year behind schedule.
It's deja vu all over again!
After people signed up, would they pay? That was the Big Question lurking in the shadows as the White House trumpted 8 million enrollees in Obamacare.
"Trust us," said the Obamabots, "they'll pay."
Except, as you might have guessed by now, the checks got lost in the mail.
ObamaCare exchange statistics should clear up any doubt as to why the Obama Administration has been tight-lipped about enrollment since celebrating 8 million sign-ups in mid-April.
Reality, evidence suggests, could require quite a come-down from those lofty claims.
The nation's third-largest health insurer had 720,000 people sign up for exchange coverage as of May 20, a spokesman confirmed to IBD. At the end of June, it had fewer than 600,000 paying customers. Aetna expects that to fall to "just over 500,000" by the end of the year.
That would leave Aetna's paid enrollment down as much as 30% from that May sign-up tally.
Insert obligatory George Costanza shrinkage joke here.
Meanwhile, Obamacare premiums are rising by an average of 7.5%. This is, quixotically, being spun as good news.
The average national increase of 7.5 percent is "well below the double-digit increases many feared," HRI Managing Director Ceci Connolly wrote in an email.
Yeah, they screwed us over so much last year they can cut back a little.
Last time I looked nobody's paycheck went up 7.5%. But hey, Obamacare is still a bargain, right?
Me? I find out next month what my increase will be. And let me tell ya, I'm
praying it's only 7.5%. Because if history is any guide, that'll
be a bona fide miracle.
It seems like everybody is exempt from Obamacare, except me.
Today comes the breathtaking news that 90% of the remaining uninsured are exempt from paying the individual mandate tax penalty.
Almost 90% of the nation's 30 million uninsured won't pay a penalty under the Affordable Care Act in 2016 because of a growing batch of exemptions to the health-coverage requirement.
The architects of the health law wanted most Americans to carry insurance or pay a penalty. But an analysis by the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation said most of the uninsured will qualify for one or more exemptions.
Remember when John Roberts twisted the Constitution by deciding Obamacare was a "tax?"
Well, the joke's on him. It's a "tax" that virtually nobody has to pay.
The Obama administration has provided 14 ways people can avoid the fine based on hardships, including suffering domestic violence, experiencing substantial property damage from a fire or flood, and having a canceled insurance plan. Those come on top of exemptions carved out under the 2010 law for groups including illegal immigrants, members of Native American tribes and certain religious sects.
Factoring in the new exemptions, the congressional report in June lowered the number of people it expects to pay the fine in 2016 to four million, from its previous projection of six million. Also bringing down the total: At least 21 states have opted not to expand the Medicaid insurance program for lower earners under the health law, and those residents may be exempt from the penalty.
Dear Anybody Paying The Fine: You're a schmuck.
"If your pajamas don't fit well, you don't need health insurance," said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former director of the Congressional Budget Office and president of the American Action Forum, a conservative think tank. "It basically waives the individual mandate."
Yup, the catch-all exemption is "hardship."
In December, a hardship application form was released that laid out the 14 exemptions. Among other things, people could avoid the penalty if a close family member had died recently, if they were facing eviction or if they had medical expenses that couldn't be paid in the last 24 months and resulted in substantial debt.
Critics have assailed one exemption for people who "experienced another hardship obtaining health insurance" as too broad. That exemption asks for documentation if possible but doesn't require it.
Hey, I "experienced hardship obtaining health insurance!" Aetna raised our rates so high we were forced into buying a craptacular Oxford plan which is still about 20% more expensive that what we paid last year. The renewal forms should be here in another month or so, I can't wait to see what next year's premium increase will look like. Because single guys paying for maternity and pediatric dental coverage is the epitome of fairness, or something.
And spare me the whole "cost sharing" nonsense. If cost sharing was actually the goal, there wouldn't be so many damn exemptions from having to actually share some costs.
Nope, Obamacare was, and is, all about vote-buying. Exemptions exist because otherwise Democrats would have already gotten creamed in 2012, and the idea now is to soften their looming chances of losing the Senate in November. If people had to pay the true cost of Obamacare nobody would vote for Obama's duplicious cronies.
The only thing Democrats care about is Power. They've got it, and they'll do
anything to keep it. You? Me? America? We're, in the candid words of Nancy
Incompetence? From the Obama Administration? Surely you're as shocked as I am!
But really, it's true. The GAO says so.
A nonpartisan congressional investigation has concluded that management failures by the Obama administration set the stage for the computer woes that paralyzed President Barack Obama's health care program website last fall, officials told The Associated Press.
The findings are in a report to be released Thursday by the Government Accountability Office, which has spent months investigating the health law's chaotic rollout. GAO is the nonpartisan investigative agency of Congress.
The official report doesn't come out until tomorrow, but Washington insiders are already leaking it to the media. And it doesn't paint a very pretty picture of Dear Leader's minions at HHS.
Among its conclusions:
· Contractors were not given a coherent plan, and instead they were kept jumping around from issue to issue.
· The cost of the project grew by tens of millions of dollars as the contractors tried to accommodate administration requests.
· CMS, the lead agency, failed to follow up on whether contractors were doing the work assigned to them, and to review that work for quality.
· CMS sent conflicting signals, at one point notifying one contractor it was so dissatisfied that it would start withholding payments, and then quickly rescinded that decision.
· The type of federal contract that the administration selected for HealthCare.gov was open-ended, which may have encouraged costly changes.
What else would you expect from a bunch of socialists who never built so much as a dog house on their own?
Even now, almost a year later, the thing is still held together with duct tape and bailing wire. The back-end remains largely dysfunctional. HHS can't verify 1/3 of the applicants' citizenship or income eligibility. And half of the new enrollees are in Medicaid, which has created a whole 'nother kind of time bomb.
As my friend Bob used to say about bad news, "Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"
In the 1950's our government built the Interstate Highway System.
In the 1960's our government put a man on the moon.
Today, not only can't they build a website, or a highway, they can't go back to the moon, or even get their own people up into space without help from the Russians.
But we've now got more Americans on food stamps than ever before.
Apparently this is "progress." If you're a liberal.
I imagine that somewhere in the land of unicorns and rainbows there is someone who was once helped by Obamacare.
But here in the Real World, it's been nothing but a royal pain in the butt.
And now, a new poll by those noted right-wingers at CNN confirms what most sane people already know.
Obamacare's overall approval rating remains upside-down by nearly 20 points (40/59), virtually unchanged from its March "rebound." Democrats' self-congratulatory convulsions over "eight million new enrollees" failed to move the needle. (Reasons for scare quotes here, here, here, and -- new today! -- here). Asked whether the law has helped or hurt their families, respondents shared the bad news:
I wonder if CNN asked the fake applicants what they thought…
And sooner or later everybody is gonna hate Obamacare.
It's a dubious honor, but New Jersey now has the highest Obamacare premiums in the nation.
New Jersey residents who qualified for federal subsidies to buy health insurance have the highest monthly premiums of any state using the federal marketplace, a new report shows.
The average monthly premium offered by the three companies selling Affordable Care Act policies in New Jersey was $465.
The reason for the high numbers in New Jersey is simple, said Joel Cantor, director of the Center for State Health Policy at Rutgers University: Health care in New Jersey is very expensive.
"The big question is, 'How do we solve the affordability problem?' We've come a long way, but most would argue we haven't solved it. There's still a huge problem of underlying costs," he said.
Remember when Obamacare was going to save everybody $2500 per year?
Yeah, me neither.
They testified on Capital Hill yesterday, and they all said the same thing, the Obamacare website still isn't working correctly.
The witnesses included Frank Coyne of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Mark Pratt of America's Health Insurance Plans, Paul Wingle of Aetna, Brian Evanko of Cigna, J. Darren Rodgers of Health Care Service Corporation, and Dennis Matheis of Wellpoint, Inc.
"There are still issues on the back-end" of the website, said Coyne.
Wingle said, "There's still work to be done."
Matheis was the most diplomatic, saying, "Yes, to echo my colleagues' statements, we still have opportunities for improvement."
When applied to the Obama Administration, the phrase "opportunities for
improvement" has gotta be the understatement of the year. It's trainwrecks
everywhere you look.
The VA needed a way to handle a backlog of more than 2 million pending medical orders. There was no chance they could get to them all on time, so they decided to randomly delete 1.5 million of them.
More than 1.5 million medical orders were canceled by the Department of Veterans Affairs without any guarantee the patients received the treatment or tests they needed, the Washington Examiner has found.
Since May 2013, veterans' medical centers nationwide have been under pressure to clear out 2 million backlogged orders for patient care or services.
They were given wide latitude to cancel unfilled appointments more than 90 days old. By April 2014, the backlog of what the agency calls "unresolved consults" was down to about 450,000.
What happened to other 1.5 million appointments is something that no one, including top officials at the veterans' agency, can answer.
Go ahead, tell me this stuff won't happen with Obamacare.
The White House is already fudging the enrollment numbers. And we've seen examples of acute doctor shortages. So if somebody is waiting "too long" for care, watch for their records to inexplicably go missing too.
Because Obamacare has to look good, even if it doesn't do good.
"We found they closed consults but there was no evidence as to why it was closed," Debra Draper, health care director for the GAO, told the Examiner.
"By not having that independent verification or any other controls, there isn't any way of knowing whether they were appropriately closed out," Draper said.
"You don't know whether people received the care or if they received it in a timely manner. There's no audit trail. There's no way to know whether they were appropriately closed," she said.
Audit trail? They don't need no stinkin' audit trail! They're the government!
And when folks went looking for the records, they found a mess.
In 2012, officials at the VA headquarters in Washington tried to build a database to track consult orders. But the database proved to be useless because of poor record keeping and the lack of standard procedures for tracking and filling the orders, Draper said.
Sound familiar? Wanna bet the various Obamacare databases are in better shape?
Your health care is in the very best of hands.
Veterans seeking help from Obama's VA were left to die.
At least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, many of whom were placed on a secret waiting list.
The secret list was part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix who were trying to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor, according to a recently retired top VA doctor and several high-level sources.
Internal e-mails obtained by CNN show that top management at the VA hospital in Arizona knew about the practice and even defended it.
When a veteran comes in seeking an appointment, "they enter information into the computer and do a screen capture hard copy printout. They then do not save what was put into the computer so there's no record that you were ever here,"
The information was gathered on the secret electronic list and then the information that would show when veterans first began waiting for an appointment was actually destroyed.
"That hard copy, if you will, that has the patient demographic information is then taken and placed onto a secret electronic waiting list, and then the data that is on that paper is shredded."
"So the only record that you have ever been there requesting care was on that secret list," he said. "And they wouldn't take you off that secret list until you had an appointment time that was less than 14 days so it would give the appearance that they were improving greatly the waiting times, when in fact they were not."
Gee. Remember how the While House is crowing about their 8 million Obamacare signups?
Any bets on whether or not those numbers were fudged too?
Because you know they've got a "secret list." Of people who've actually paid. And I can guarantee there's way fewer than 8 million names on it.
Which, of course, is why they won't show it to you.
So, who here thinks they don't already have an Obamacare death list too?
If this president is willing to let veterans die anonymously, do you really
believe he'll care whether or not your children get the life-saving medication
they need? Especially if it costs
a dollar more than their death?
It's the product you're forced to buy, except now you're no longer allowed to buy it, at any price, until the next open enrollment period. Even if you really, really, really need it.
The Obamacare insurance exchange window slammed shut on March 31st, and it won't open again until January 1, 2015. So, if you're uninsured, you're out of luck.
There is yet another ObamaCare surprise waiting for consumers: from now until the next open enrollment at the end of this year, most people will simply not be able to buy any health insurance at all, even outside the exchanges.
"It's all closed down. You cannot buy a policy that is a qualified policy for the purpose of the ACA (the Affordable Care Act) until next year on January 1," says John DiVito, president of Flexbenefit which has 2,500 brokers.
John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas adds, "People are not going to be able to buy individual and family policies, and that's part of ObamaCare. And what makes it so surprising is the whole point of ObamaCare was to encourage people to get insurance, and now the market has been completely closed down for the next seven months."
No Mr. Goodman. "The whole point of Obamacare" is to destroy the private health insurance market in the United States.
And gee whiz, it succeeded.
I hope all you Obamabot assholes are happy.
You already know this but, if you liked your plan, you couldn't keep your plan.
And of course, if you liked your doctor, you couldn't keep your doctor.
Do you remember when Barack Obama told you the average family would save $2,500 a year under Obamacare?
Yeah, that was a lie, too.
Everything Obama says is a lie. Including "and" and "the."
The United States has seen the sharpest increase in health insurance premiums in the last year than possibly ever, a new survey has found, and analysts have concluded the "increases are largely due to changes under the Affordable Care Act."
According to Forbes Magazine, a quarterly survey by investment bank Morgan Stanley of 148 brokers who sell insurance showed that premiums accelerated in the last quarter more than of any of the 12 prior quarterly periods, a peak which has coincided with the run-up to the Obamacare deadline.
The average premium increases for insurance renewals in the most recent quarter were over 11 percent in the small group market and 12 percent in the individual market where consumers buy coverage directly from health plans. By comparison, the September survey showed that increases in the small group market averaged 3 percent, and 2 percent in the individual market.
In some states, increases have been 10 to 50 times those averages, according to Forbes. For the individual insurance market, premiums have increased an average of 100 percent in Delaware, 90 percent in New Hampshire, 54 percent in Indiana, 53 percent in California, 45 percent in Connecticut, and 37 percent in Florida.
For the small group market, Washington had an average increase of 588 percent, followed by Pennsylvania at 66 percent, California at 37 percent, and Indiana at 34 percent.
The data shows that "rate hikes have accelerated as Obamacare's regulations have started to get implemented," wrote Scott Gottlieb, a Forbes contributor who analyzes policy, regulation and public health.
Yippee kai ay.
Want more bad news? That's just the premiums. Add in the ballooning deductibles and shrunken provider networks to really bring home the point that "Affordable Care Act" is in fact the ultimate oxymoron.
Barack Obama has done real and lasting damage to the health care system in this
country. On purpose. All of you who voted for him? Yeah, you're complicit in
Talk about your pyrrhic victories.
The Obamabots achieved their goal of signing up 7 million Americans for health insurance.
Bribery. They achieved their goal the way the Democrats always do, with bribery. Something for nothing, passing the bill on to our children. Take 5.6 million people, give 'em an average of $250 per month in premium subsidies, and that's $16.8 billion dollars of wealth transfer a year, just to buy votes.
Your tax dollars at work!
But think about it, they're giving away health insurance for free and they still had to beg, cajole, and plead while dragging the mendicant class kicking and screaming into the exchanges.
And don't forget, in order to give that free health insurance to 5.6 million grifters, they had to ruin it for all the rest of us too.
So, no matter what
the media tries to tell you, if that's a "success," I'll eat my hat.
In case you've been living under a rock (or in Mom's basement playing X-Box), today is the absolutely last day to sign up for Obamacare!
Except, it isn't. HHS extended the deadline.
So don't sweat it. Don't clog the "swamped" federal call center either. Operators are not standing by. But they'll call you back!
High call center volume right now. System will now allow consumers to leave their info to be contacted later when we can serve them.— HealthCare.gov (@HealthCareGov) March 30, 2014
They'll still respect you in the morning too.
HHS never created a deadline it couldn't ignore, repeatedly.
And just as I predicted, the "absolute" deadline of March 31st to enroll in Obamacare for this year has been "extended."
People who've started applying for health insurance but aren't able to finish before the March 31 enrollment deadline will get extra time, the Obama administration announced Tuesday.
"We are experiencing a surge in demand and are making sure that we will be ready to help consumers who may be in line by the deadline to complete enrollment, either online or over the phone," Health and Human Services spokesman Aaron Albright said.
The White House is scrambling to meet a goal of 6 million signed up through new online markets that offer subsidized private health insurance to people without access to coverage on the job. The HealthCare.gov website got more that 1 million visitors Monday, and the administration also wants to prevent a repeat of website problems that soured consumers last fall.
Officials said the grace period will be available to people on the honor system, meaning applicants will have to attest that special circumstances or complex cases prevented them from finishing by March 31.
It's unclear how long the extension will last. Some have urged the administration to allow until April 15, the tax filing deadline. People who are due refunds may be willing to put some of that money toward health care premiums.
And guess what? This latest ploy makes Kathleen Sebelius a lying sack of shit. (But you already knew that.)
During a March 12 congressional hearing, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told Texas Republican Rep. Kevin Brady that there would be no such extensions.
'Are you going to delay the open enrollment beyond March 31?' Brady asked.
'No, sir,' she replied.
Oops. Remember when lying to Congress was a crime?
I smell desperation in the air.
It reminds me of those cheesy highway furniture stores that are perpetually "going out of business." There's one on Route 46 in Parsippany that's had a huge "Everything Must Go!" sign plastered across the front windows for at least as long as I've been alive. It catches the casual observer's attention, but after a while it's just another part of the landscape, easily ignored.
Obamacare's enrollment process is like that. What's the urgency, since the deadlines are so malleable? People will be like, hey, if I don't sign up now, no sweat, they'll make another exception, right?
Of course they will. Count on it.
The website works. Sometimes. And the deadline for signing up is rapidly approaching. Again. But there's one big piece of Obamacare that's still missing.
Much emphasis has been placed on enrollment stats as the Affordable Care Act's inaugural open enrollment period comes to an end. But there's a key function on the federal exchange that remains inactive: the mechanism to reconcile payments between the government and insurance companies.
This "back-end mechanism" has been missing for the entirety of open enrollment period, which launched Oct. 1, meaning insurance companies have had to manually bill the government for subsidies and cost-sharing plans, a procedure that's being dubbed an administrative nightmare.
An insurance industry source close to the matter says insurance companies have been participating in a manual workaround over the last five months, which has been "an incredibly labor intensive process."
Right now, insurance companies are manually billing the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for all subsidy and cost-sharing plans. If a person is eligible for a $250 subsidy toward a $450 plan, once he or she makes their $200 payment, the insurance company would continue to wait on the government to complete payment. The enrollee would remain insured all the while.
The check is in the mail!
Hey, they only had 3 years to get this right, so whaddaya expect?
CMS continues to work on the back-end system, although it is not yet clear when it will be up and running.
Nobody's been fired. No one is accountable. So, really, who cares when it will be up and running? There's no downside to the guys in the bureaucracy, all the pain falls on the big bad insurance companies.
And get this. The lack of a back-end is actually helpful to the Administration in the short term. How? Because it muddles the true enrollment numbers; there's no way to count how many people have actually paid their premiums. Even the folks who've paid may not have seen their subsidy applied to their account. The insurance company can't accurately bill them for the next month's premium.
But if you can't tell who's paid, how can you tell who's insured?
Everybody! Everybody is insured! Enrollees have to stay on the enrollment roll for 90 days, even if they don't pay. So presto! Full enrollment!
Now, I happen to know a thing or two about back-end systems for insurance companies. Especially billing and premium payments. First off, they're far and away the least sexy systems to work on. There's nothing particularly creative about them, there's no cool user interface, and each state has a zillion bizarre rules about what the bills can look like and how the verbiage needs to read.
Coding and maintaining the software is indeed mind-numbing.
It's also the two areas that are most visible to upper management. If money isn't coming in, they want to know why. If bills aren't going out, they really want to know why, because no bills going out equals no money coming in.
Believe me, when the billing cycle abends, I stay up all night to fix it.
So I gotta wonder why HHS didn't put a higher priority on this function for Obamacare. Insurance doesn't work if people aren't paying their premiums. They oughta know that. Then again....?
Your health care is in the very best of hands.
Obamacare is almost 4 years old. And unlike wine, it's not improving with age.
A new Pew Research poll quantifies the failure.
Only 41% of Americans "approve" of Obamacare, and a mere 26% "strongly approve" of it. Meanwhile, 53% of us dispprove, and more than 3/4 of that number strongly disapprove.
As the four-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act approaches, the law remains unpopular with the public. Currently, 53% disapprove of the 2010 health care law while 41% approve of the law.
There is substantially more strong opposition than support for the health care law. Overall, 77% of those who disapprove say they feel this way very strongly (41% of public); 64% of approvers hold this view very strongly (26% of the public).
Across most demographic groups, strong opposition to the law is greater than strong support. Moreover, while 79% of Republicans strongly disapprove of the law, a much smaller share of Democrats (53%) strongly approves of it.
Among young people — who split on the law generally (50% approve, 47% disapprove) — about twice as many say they strongly disapprove (32%) as say they disapprove not so strongly (15%); among approvers, roughly equal shares hold this view strongly (27%) as not strongly (23%).
Most men disapprove of the law (57%) while 39% say they approve. Women are more closely divided with 44% saying they approve and 50% saying they disapprove.
No matter how you slice it, Obamacare is wildly unpopular. Except among partisan Democrats.
There continue to be deep partisan differences over the Affordable Care Act — 72% of Democrats approve of law compared with 37% of independents and just 8% of Republicans.
Interestingly, in the survey's demographic breakdown, Democrats and Independents outnumber Republicans by about 3 to 1. Which makes the overall negative perception even more glaring, because Democrats are the only group still pretending to love Obamacare. If Pew had sampled an equal number of Republicans the results would look even worse.
Remember when Debbie Wasserman Schultz proclaimed that by trumpeting Obamacare
Democrats would sweep the 2014 midterm elections?
Good luck with that Deb.
It's not like they had 3 years to figure this stuff out. Oh, wait, yes they did!
The implementation of the Affordable Care Act has clogged the system for nearly all types of health insurance in New Jersey, causing frustration and delays for consumers, agents and policyholders say.
Lingering backlogs have left thousands in limbo, unsure of whether they're covered and unable to reach anyone to find out. Some people who completed applications late last year — before the deadline for coverage to begin on Jan. 1 — are still waiting for insurance cards.
And so are those who have signed up for N.J. FamilyCare, the state's newly expanded Medicaid program, and private policyholders.
The paperwork chaos has real-world consequences, said insurance agent Susan Goodman, director of group benefits for New Agency Partners in Parsippany.
Her clients report pharmacies don't know how much to charge for prescriptions, hospitals are asking for credit cards upon arrival and pre-certifications for special services can't be obtained.
"It's truly, truly a disaster," she said. "I've been doing this for 30 years and I've never seen anything like it."
Meanwhile, yesterday, Obamacare officially jumped the shark.
Your health care is in the very best of hands.