Dec 22 2013
Sorry for the light posting. ‘Tis the season to be way too busy.
Besides, I have been quietly watching the disaster that is “Obamacare” unfold over the last month. Watching as I see the collapse of a program so screwed up it boggles the imagination. So screwed up, because it is the nexus of shallow, liberal thinking.
As I posted here a while back, Obamacare was implemented by amateurs who had no experience in how to run a large federal IT contract. It was run by a Civil Servant cadre who allowed the White House to delete the very programmatic tools needed to have ANY chance to succeed. Led by a SW System neophyte, the Healthcare.gov program suffered:
- Endlessly changing requirements
- The deletion of its Concept of Operations document (vacated because it laid out the true challenges of ObamaCare – thus depriving the developers and stakeholders any agreed upon baseline to work against)
- A test program that was a joke because it never happened
- Serious and criminal security lapses, etc
I think the amateurs at HHS pretty much nailed every thing you should NEVER do on any computer based development effort.
This debacle is a great example of liberal thinking. You know the kind. Where a cursory assessment by a self-proclaimed genius decides the entire human race had missed the obvious. That a simple fix could right an infinite number of wrongs in a very complex environment covering 100′s of millions of patients and tens of millions of care givers would fix wrongs introduced by reality. Like the “wrong” of having genes that predispose some to illnesses and not others.
Some things cannot be fixed via policy. Liberals have yet to become enlightened enough to grasp this fact.
The fact is: life is diverse. Therefore life creates diverse strengths and weaknesses. Instead of trying to level the playing field, humanity should be leveling the opportunities, and expanding the resources that lift those up who need a bit of a hand. Not tear everyone down to a lesser state.
Right now, Obamacare is creating more uninsured. It is doing this by dramatically RAISING the cost of health care (premiums and deductibles). The administration is doing this to cover a few people who did not have the financial resources or support to deal with serious illnesses and conditions. Is this a good trade? Obviously not.
Worse yet, Obamacare attempts to cover the elderly and sick by sticking the bill to the young and the healthy. The big problem with this liberal brain-fart is the elderly tend to be much better off financially, and the Obama Economy has ruined the career opportunities of everyone between 20 and 30 years old!
The demographic least capable of affording a huge spike in their basic cost of living is the one shouldering the burden of Obamacare!
So here we are, just a few days before Christmas watching the ObamaCare House of Cards crumble. Megan McArdle probably has the best run down of what has happened this week. Basically, the neophytes are in full-panic mode (though I am 100% sure they think they are in crisis-management mode). They are making rash decisions without any thought of the ramifications. A sampling:
As Avik Roy points out, catastrophic plans aren’t that much cheaper than the so-called bronze plans. They’re also not eligible for subsidies. This is unlikely to be much help to folks who lost insurance; all it does is introduce some much-unneeded complexity to Healthcare.gov.
As Aaron Carroll points out, insurers calculated their premiums for this year on the expectation that the relatively healthy folks who were already buying insurance would be buying policies on the exchange. The insurers are not happy about this latest change, and Carroll predicts that they will ask the administration to push more money to them through the “risk corridors.” I think he’s right.
As Ezra Klein points out, this seriously undermines the political viability of the individual mandate: “But this puts the administration on some very difficult-to-defend ground. Normally, the individual mandate applies to anyone who can purchase qualifying insurance for less than 8 percent of their income. Either that threshold is right or it’s wrong. But it’s hard to argue that it’s right for the currently uninsured but wrong for people whose plans were canceled
When President Obama released the previously insured from the rules of Obamacare, specifically due to the “hardship” of Obamacare, the dam basically broke. Legally, Obamacare just became a litigator’s dream! Why some and not others? Why the insured and not the uninsured? Heck, why individuals and not small companies? We small companies have been nailed by the cost of ObamaCare – can I now get my old plan back due to financial “hardship”? The lawsuit possibilities are endless – and highly lucrative. The need to limit legal exposure in the health care arena will come front and center for quickly.
The Weekly Standard posts another insightful item, because many people DO consider the implications of an act before taking it and can predict what could easily happen:
In addition, what’s to stop those with canceled policies who fought their way through healthcare.gov from now changing their mind and dropping their plans in light of the administration’s announcement? These families would need only to file a form indicating that the premiums they were facing in the exchanges are unaffordable. As matters stand, the administration would have no basis for denying an exemption to such households.
The upshot is that the administration has voluntarily opened another very big escape route out of Obamacare, and the most likely escapees will be young and healthy Americans who don’t want to pay high premiums for Obamacare’s expensive benefit plans.
Here is something for the backers of ObamaCare to carefully consider.
While ObamaCare sounded like a nice, painless way to help people in need (you can keep your plan and your doctor), the truth is much worse. ObamaCare is not painless, and is not helping as many people as it is hurting. And that is the equation that maters:
Where you better off before or after ObamaCare kicked in?
If the answer is “before” to a majority of voters – watch out Democrats!
The second aspect of this is something that never occurred to the liberals who thought up this Rube Goldberg fiasco. What happens if the uninsured were mostly uninsured because they chose to be? No one knows for sure what fraction were in need of health care, or were in need of health care but could not afford it, OR decided to self fund their health care!
What happens if the majority of the uninsured fell into the last category? That means these people will stay out of ObamaCare, stay uninsured, stay independent. And likely not even face a fine this year given the disaster that is ObamaCare.
If that is true, ObamaCare just established the beginning of the death spiral. People will opt out as best they can to save money. Leaving the insurance pool full of the most expensive cases.
And don’t be suckered into thinking ObamaCare is over the tough technical issues. Not even close. I also predicted the ‘fix’ to the technology underpinning ObamaCare would take months. So far, that prediction is also holding.
In spite of the recent improvements in the HealthCare.gov website, the co-chair of the Wisconsin Hospital Association’s task force on Affordable Care Act enrollment said the sign-up process remains time-consuming and confusing.
Therese Pandl, president and CEO of the Hospital Sisters Health System eastern Wisconsin division in Sheboygan, said the situation continues to baffle both consumers and hospital staff, according to the hospital association’s Dec. 13 newsletter.
“Our enrollment counselors say the process takes an hour or two per person, so they are only able to enroll maybe five to seven people per day,” Pandl said.
Private health insurance exchanges still are not able to directly enroll consumers in subsidized health plans offered through Obamacare even though the government has said problems doing so should have been cleared up weeks ago.
Executives from three online health exchanges that contract with both insurance companies and government agencies to enroll consumers eligible for federal subsidies in marketplace plans say the process still isn’t ready to go and that more work remains.
“We’re not going to launch anything that doesn’t work, but we can’t even start testing for a while yet,” said eHealth.com CEO Gary Lauer, weeks after the first round of fixes were announced in mid-November.
“We’re still going through all of this. The stuff we’ve had up to this point has been junk, and that’s why I’m so concerned about this. It may not work,” he said.
But weeks later, company spokeswoman Andrea Riggs said the direct enrollment process is still not ready for public use even though her company has been in near-daily contact with CMS.
“We’re not going to put it in front of the consumer and make noise about it until it’s a great experience,” Riggs said.