March 31st, 2014

It’s Obamacare deadline day—sort of

And here are statistics about it—sort of.

You can find the articles nearly everywhere in the MSM on the success of the six million signups. Or enrollments. Or somethings. How many have paid or will pay, how many are well or ill or young or old, how many are largely subsidized, how many are only there because they lost their previous insurance through Obamacare, and how many are actually necessary for the success of the program? Only the Shadow knows, or at least the government’s not saying if indeed it does know, and what it says today may be quite different from what it says tomorrow.

In some ways it doesn’t matter. Obamacare is so central to Democrats’ plans that they will do whatever they can to continue it, and say whatever they need to say to make it sound successful. It’s no great trick to promise vast numbers of people free stuff (or nearly-free stuff) if you’re the federal government and you can print more money or take it from other people. And if your partners the insurance companies are hurting, you can cover for them for a while, too. You can do all of it for a while.

And it always has been clear that there will be many success stories to trumpet. I don’t think that even Obamacare’s harshest critics ever contended that it will be bad for everyone. But it has already been, and will continue to be, bad for many many people. It was completely unnecessary, too, in order to redress problems such as pre-existing conditions or portability, but it’s pretty clear that was not really the goal.

The PR campaign on both sides will almost undoubtedly feature a bunch of people citing dueling anecdotal evidence, most of which will be meaningless because a couple of stories one way or the other are meaningless. It will also almost undoubtedly be the case that all the success stories will involve subsidies of one kind or another, and the pro-Obamacare forces will act as though the money transfer involved is on the order of manna falling from heaven.

Plus, enrollment numbers are one thing. The actual insurance that people will receive is another, as well as how it all will affect the much larger employment-based health insurance market. My guess is that most people on the exchanges have no idea what they signed up for, and won’t know till they have to use the health care system. What doctors and hospitals will be covered? Do they understand how high their deductibles might be? For those newly on Medicaid (who would not be among the six million), will they be able to get care at all outside of the emergency rooms?

27 Responses to “It’s Obamacare deadline day—sort of”

  1. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    FOXNews is reporting that, JUST 1.7% OF UNINSURED COVERED

    “Obamacare, the plan purportedly created to provide health coverage for the uninsured, has enrolled just 1.7% of America’s 48.6 million uninsured.

    News of the disastrous numbers comes as nervous Democrats and President Barack Obama, ahead of the November midterm elections, did their best on Monday’s enrollment deadline to put a positive spin on the deeply unpopular Obamacare program. The latest Associated Press poll finds that Obamacare has now hit an all-time low approval rating of just 26 percent.

    The White House now claims an Obamacare enrollment figure of six million people. However, according to The New York Times, at least 20% of those never paid their premiums to activate coverage, leaving them uninsured. That drops the number down to 4.8 million.

    Next, as Washington Post columnist Ed Rogers notes, “the official HHS numbers still include duplicate enrollments.” No one knows how many duplicate enrollments are in the stack; the White House refuses to say.”

    In addition, Breitbart is reporting that, Obamacare Website Down on Final Day — Twice!

    “Since 3:00 a.m. Eastern time, HealthCare.gov has been down to fix a software bug.
    “The tech team is working now to bring the system online as soon as possible,” a spokesperson told Politico.
    News of the Obamacare bug fix comes as the Obama administration continues to claim it has surpassed the six million enrollment mark–a figure that includes 20%, at least, who never paid their first premium and are, therefore, not insured. It also includes duplicate enrollment and incomplete applications. The Obama White House has stonewalled reporter requests for specific demographic data about what are roundly regarded as inflated numbers.
    Most importantly, the White House is remaining tight-lipped about the all-important question of how many of those it claims have enrolled were previously uninsured.”

    The better part of a BILLION dollars paid (not spent we can be sure) for a website that is still an embarrassment, a scandal and proof of utter incompetence.

  2. Ymarsakar Says:

    It’s like a rapist making excuses.

  3. carl in atlanta Says:

    I have been trying to help a homeless man sign up for obamacare. After more than two hours online and on the phone, his application was “completed” but I was told that he doesn’t qualify for any subsidy because he pays no taxes because he makes no money because he’s homeless. And they don’t just approve po” folks for Medicaid, you have to start from scratch with your home state.

    A real Charlie Foxtrot.

  4. Cornflour Says:

    This hasn’t received a lot of publicity, because compared to other Obamacare problems, it may seem small. But if you’ve retired early and then lost your private health insurance due to Obamacare, then you’ll be forced into the expanded Medicaid program. The same would, of course, be true for people with significant assets, but temporarily(?) low incomes.

    When you use Medicaid, you aren’t using an insurance program, you are borrowing from the government. In this case, you’re being forced to borrow from the government. The government can then seize your property — of any sort — to recoup their expenses. The de facto and de jure vigor of these property seizures vary from state to state, but will inevitably increase as the states’ costs increase, and as federal support for Medicaid decreases.

  5. Ray Says:

    Democrats love to spend other peoples money and then brag about the good things they are doing spending other peoples money. They really believe that doing good at somebody else’s expense demonstrates their moral superority. I’ll admit, their good intentions and self righteousness are awesome.

  6. Cornflour Says:

    In my comment above, I meant to say that this Medicaid problem would apply to anyone, including early retirees, whose income falls below that required to purchase insurance on the Obamacare exchanges. This could result in your state government seizing all your property. Sorry about any confusion.

  7. parker Says:

    They will have to keep changing deadlines, tweaking the regulations, creating bogus statistics out of thin air, and lying through their teeth to keep this contraption from toppling over. If the NYT and WaPo are actually reporting bad news for obamacare, who will be next to slowly walk away from this train wreck?

  8. Beverly Says:

    Well, here’s Ann Coulter’s funny/merciless account of Her experiences with Obamascare.

    http://www.anncoulter.com/

  9. Beverly Says:

    Also, the New York Exchange was apparently crashed last night and today, but they said it was “down for routine maintenance.”

    ?

    Timing? hello!

  10. blert Says:

    Cornflour…

    I’ve read that the Democrats are moving to have those provisions eliminated ASAP.

    As it currently stands, you’re not only required to purchase 0-care, but you’re required to borrow from the government/ expose your assets to attachment based upon what the Feds determine is fair to themselves.

    This latter calculation bears no relation to reality — and is very much in the same vein as ER charges — marking to fantasy.

    0-care is the wound that keeps on bleeding.

  11. Mr. Frank Says:

    A point I’ve not seen made is the fact that premiums have to be paid every month. The first payment just gets you started in the program. People who have health insurance through an employer never see the payments. They come out of their check before they see it. We all know that people miss car payments or rent or light bills or credit card bills. How is the obamacare system going to deal with this?

    If you are arrears, have you lost coverage? People will have an insurance card, but that won’t guarantee a service provider payment if you have missed a payment.

    This could be a real mess.

  12. Tom_Ohio Says:

    I have seen the bad side of Medicaid back in the 80′s when my brother could not own a car and get any sort of help even though he was disabled due to a heart condition.
    The rules used to be pretty strict and I have no reason to think that they are still similar. He could work some, but he had to work under the table and had a car worth less then 500 dollars and of course no house or personal property worth anything.
    Medicaid is sad
    Still, it was a very hard life for him for the 5 +years he was alive and on it. IT only paid for hospital stays of 30 days in any given year, so he was tossed into nursing home care and it was a dismal effing existence, and the “medical care” received back then at nursing homes was as dismal as today

  13. neo-neocon Says:

    Mr. Frank:

    Autopay?

  14. parker Says:

    “This could be a real mess.”

    Even though we are only 14 years into the century, after 86 more years this will be in the running for the understatement of the 21st century. ;-)

  15. Don Carlos Says:

    Repeal it. Sh$t, Prohibition was repealed and booze was nowhere near 16% of GDP. It would seem most of us have since learned to crawl on our bellies instead of walking upright.

    Plastic surgery and dermatology are the two toughest specialties to get into. Cardiology, not so much.

    I predict the future will see laws commanding docs to take patients regardless of insurance, just like the Beltway Brats commanded ERs. Then docs will just become less and less available. Never mind the quality of care.

  16. Beverly Says:

    Folks, it’s SPRING! Here’s a little ditty for you: Jupiter, bringer of Joy!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nz0b4STz1lo

  17. Richard Saunders Says:

    It seems very clear that Obamacare is a plot by the Indian Medical School Association.

  18. JuliB Says:

    Cornflour – isn’t the Left against inheritance? So it fits right into their schemes.

    Neo – unfortunately, “stories of real people” (anecdotes) are consumed by LIVs. Fortunately, the Rs have finally learned that lesson. On one hand, meaningless propaganda for everyone, on the other – fight fire with fire.

  19. holmes Says:

    You need to be on Twitter.

  20. Bill West Says:

    Looking at it from a distance, this administration shows what can be achieved with the majority of the press in support. They will ignore dishonesty and incompetence and will carefully select the most supportive data from which to draw conclusions. If they don’t want to work that hard, they will simply publish/broadcast slight revisions of WH press releases. Commentators will then frame the “news” in the administration’s best intentions.

    The Bush administration demonstrates the precise opposite, if you ignore the period from 911 to the announcement that Carter would be getting the Nobel Prize.

    I used to call that “home field advantage” for the progressives. One of the commenters on this site called it “air superiority”. That, unfortunately, is a more apt description. The press has abandoned its role in defending the citizens from an overreaching government.

  21. Kyndyll Says:

    Cornflour – As my husband and I reach the “danger age” of the Medicaid trap, I have been watching that closely. In some states, it’s a real risk to 50/60-somethings, formerly successful with some worthwhile assets, now forced onto hard times thanks to that “improving” economy. One of us already has been unemployed/underemployed for most of the Obama years – all it takes is another job loss and the right age combination and everything we have worked our whole lives for could be at risk. As noted, the Left hates the idea that people would work their whole lives to leave something for their kids – this is totally a feature, not a bug.

    And of course just yesterday one of my leftiest left friends, who has been crowing about Obamacare for years, announced that she could not afford Obamacare so she will be paying the penalty instead. Seems there were two options: possibly affordable insurance with a $6K deductible, or insurance with no deductible (don’t believe that, really) that was NOT affordable. Wow. What a surprise. And no apologies to us – I recall harsh words at some point as we had been saying this all along – or concessions that it’s a bad, unworkable idea.

  22. neo-neocon Says:

    JuliB:

    Absolutely. I wouldn’t for a moment suggest that Republicans shouldn’t offer a ton of anecdotes to counter the Democrats’ anecdotes. I’m just saying none of it actually means much in the big picture, although all of it affects many voters when they listen to the stories.

  23. Ymarsakar Says:

    And no apologies to us

    They don’t consider you human. Why should they apologize to dogs that talk about healthcare?

    To the Left, humans are merely livestock that must be managed. And healthcare is a great way for farmers to manage livestock.

  24. Ymarsakar Says:

    The press has abandoned its role in defending the citizens

    The press class never had that role to begin with.

    They are that way because ignorant sheep keep thinking they had this role.

  25. Cornflour Says:

    At the risk of warping the comment stream, I’ll add another note about the Medicaid trap. The trap existed before Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, but it applied to fewer people, and Obamacare has the effect of actually forcing people into Medicaid, and then forcing them to give up their property to the government. It’s really not much of an exaggeration to call this part of Obamacare Stalinist. And it’s very hard not to suspect that it’s intentional.

    On the other hand, the negative effects of Obamacare are so numerous that I don’t want to overemphasize the importance of the Medicaid trap. It’s very visible to me because I happen to know a lot of self-employed people, with somewhat erratic incomes, but with significant assets. These people are all very vulnerable to the expanded Medicaid trap. Some of them have consulted attorneys, and are being very tight-lipped about solutions they’ve adopted. I’ve also been hearing of quite a few people choosing out-of-pocket payment for small and routine expenses, combined with medical tourism for more expensive procedures. Thailand and Panama seem to be the most popular destinations, and I think reasonable private health insurance is available in Thailand. Don’t know about Panama. Everybody seems to be taking a one-year-at-a-time approach.

    Sorry if this seems like too much hazy anecdote, but that’s Obamacare.

  26. Mr. Frank Says:

    Auto Pay requires a bank account with a substantial balance which could be problematic. I heard this morning that of people who signed up for Obamacare and made the first payment, ten to fifteen percent have missed a payment.

    I’d be interested in knowing if missing payments means losing you insurance or just coverage for the month you did not pay. Do you have to make up missed payments as with car insurance.

  27. neo-neocon Says:

    Mr. Frank:

    Traditionally, insurance companies have given people a one-month grace period in which to pay (one month after the usual payment deadline, that is). If they don’t pay up in that time, the insurance policy is canceled.

    But now the government has its finger in the pie, and it has a huge political interest in the policies NOT being canceled. My guess is that Obama will announce (or not publicly announce, and just do it quietly between him and the insurance companies) a relaxing of that rule. My guess is that it might even be considered evidence of hardship and the need for a subsidy increase if a person has trouble making the payments. If the feds promise to make up the difference to the insurance companies in case of a person defaulting, why would the insurance companies care, as long as they get paid?

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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