The administration is planning a “workaround” for payments, said Daniel Durham, vice president for policy and regulatory affairs at America’s Health Insurance Plans.
Health plans will estimate how much they are owed, and submit that estimate to the government. Once the system is built, the government and insurers can reconcile the payments made with the plan data to “true up” payments, he said.
“The intent is to make sure plans get paid on time, which is a good thing,” Durham told Reuters.
The fix puts an additional “burden” on insurance companies, already taxed by having to double-check faulty enrollment data from the HealthCare.gov system.
Now, companies need to quickly put together financial management systems to make the payment estimates, so they can be paid beginning in January, he said.
Can an entire administration be impeached for gross negligence?
“We’re not repealing it as long as I’m president,” said Obama, who was flanked by Americans who have benefited from aspects of the law. He said, “If I have to fight another three years to make sure that this law works, then that’s what I’ll do.”
And who’s that “we,” kimosabe? When last I checked, it was Congress that passed legislation, including repeals. Of course, Obama might mean he would veto any repeal, but as I wrote in an earlier post today, if enough Democrats turn against Obama and Obamacare (not likely, but possible), his veto might be overriden.
Even if [Obamacare] continues to collapse in such a dramatic fashion – thousands of doctors unavailable, numberless accounts hacked, etc – so what? The MSM starts to figure out it’s a scam and start actual reporting about the extent of the disaster? So what?
It doesn’t matter how outraged we are. It doesn’t matter how many Dem senators are tossed out in 2014. We CAN’T get rid of Obamacare. Unless there are 66 Republican votes in the Senate, the “President” will veto any repeal bill sent to him, and Obamacare will continue to grind away at our freedoms until 2016, when the cancer will have taken root and it will be too late.
I tend to think it’s impossible to be too pessimistic about Obamacare. But I think the situation may be a bit better than buddhahat is indicating.
If things continue to go poorly—and that’s a fairly big “if”—it will be the Democrats who will put pressure on Obama to allow them to repeal it. That doesn’t mean he’ll acquiesce, of course, but it’s possible.
People often say the result of all the chaos will be to try to pass single payer. But if Democrats don’t have the votes to do this in 2014, they won’t have them during the Obama presidency (as long as his presidency only lasts two terms).
That doesn’t mean it couldn’t happen later, as soon as Democrats get back more power in Congress and a new Democratic president (Hillary? Elizabeth Warren?) is elected. But I don’t think it will be happening during Obama’s presidency. And if Congress is controlled by Republicans, and enough Democrats join in (the ones coming up for re-election in 2016, for example), there even could be enough votes to override an Obama veto.
There’s also the impeachment avenue, which I do not think will succeed because they will not have enough Senate votes to convict. But SCOTUS could also surprise us by ruling against Obamacare in some of the upcoming lawsuits.
There’s also the problem that, if Obamacare is undone, another system would need to replace it. The old system will have been at least somewhat destroyed by that time, and I’m not at all sure it could be successfully reinstated (can Humpty be put back together again?). Republicans would need to facilitate a way to do that, plus add a few of their long-suggested-but-never-enacted reforms: fewer mandates rather than more, portability, some way of dealing with the pre-existing condition problem (a national high-risk pool?). Obama might veto a bill like that, too, but if enough threatened Democrats join in with the Republicans (to protect their own political hide) there could be enough votes to override Obama’s veto.
There’s a larger issue, of course, which is that a combination of factors means that the country has been leaning more and more leftward as time goes on. Will Obamacare disillusionment result in a course correction to that drift? Perhaps, perhaps not; I really can’t predict that. But the immigration battle coming up will be very telling. If Republicans lose that one (or chose not to fight it) all bets are off, because if amnesty goes through it is likely to solidify Democratic gains enormously.
Researchers found that many of the connections in a typical male brain run between the front and the back of the same side of the brain, whereas in women the connections are more likely to run from side to side between the left and right hemispheres of the brain…
A special brain-scanning technique called diffusion tensor imaging, which can measure the flow of water along a nerve pathway, established the level of connectivity between nearly 100 regions of the brain, creating a neural map of the brain called the “connectome”, Professor Verma said…
Men tend to outperform women involving spatial tasks and motor skills – such as map reading – while women tend to better in memory tests, such as remembering words and faces, and social cognition tests, which try to measure empathy and “emotional intelligence”.
Anyone who doesn’t think men and women are different in the way their brains operate hasn’t been paying attention. And anyone who thinks the differences are entirely due to nurture and not nature also hasn’t been paying attention (or has been paying attention but is in denial for political reasons). I’m pretty sure, however, that articles such as the one I linked to are oversimplifications and overgeneralizations, and that there’s a fair amount of overlap between the sexes in the results. But my intuition tells me that there’s a general truth there.
However, I wonder whether they actually mean “map reading,” or whether they mean “sense of direction.” For example, I’m very good at reading a map. In the pre-GPS days I was the navigator in most of the male-female driving teams of which I was a member, and I did fairly well at that task. It’s when I’m trying to find my way around a place without a map that I fall down. When I ask for directions (which, even though I’m a woman, I really don’t like to do) I prefer to get simple instructions rather than more conceptual ones. Just tell me “go three blocks, turn left, then turn right at the Citgo station” rather than trying to get me to understand whether I’m going north or south or anything like that.
And give me a paper and pencil. I must write it down if it involves anything more than two steps.
Obama administration officials acknowledged today that some of the roughly 126,000 Americans who completed the torturous online enrollment process in October and November might not be officially signed up with their selected issuer, even if the website has told them they are.
Technical problems surrounding the transfer of an applicant’s personal information from the federal marketplace to the selected insurance company have plagued the system since its launch, making it difficult for insurers to finalize some enrollments. The 834 forms that issuers receive from the system have been riddled with errors, including often duplicate or incomplete information.
While the front-end of the website has been vastly improved, the back-end glitches remain a serious concern, IT experts and industry officials say.
It makes sense, doesn’t it? The whole thing seems to be about PR at the moment, and has been for quite some time. We have a president who can’t manage to do much except undo things (such as, for instance, the health insurance system in America) going out to sell what he can’t manage to do: create a functional alternative health insurance system and a website on which people can actually buy it.
The title of that Politico piece to which I just linked, “White House returns to Obamacare sales mode,” seems a bit in error. After all, has Obama ever left Obamcare sales mode? He’s been selling it for four years, with no end in sight, although it has become a harder sell over time:
President Barack Obama will launch a coordinated campaign Tuesday by the White House, congressional Democrats and their outside allies to return attention to why the Affordable Care Act passed in the first place.
So Obama wants to return attention to the Cornhusker Kickback and all the other wheeling and dealing, including the use of reconciliation to get around the problem in the Senate? No, of course not; it turns out he wants to emphasize the benefits Obamacare affords:
After two months of intense coverage of the botched HealthCare.gov rollout, the president will host a White House event kicking off a three-week drive to refocus the public on the law’s benefits, senior administration officials told POLITICO.
The White House will take the lead in emphasizing a different benefit each day until the Dec. 23 enrollment deadline for Jan. 1 coverage. The daily message will be amplified through press events and social media by Democratic members of Congress, the Democratic National Committee, congressional campaign committees and advocacy organizations, officials said.
I got a new slogan for them: “A benefit a day keeps the doctor…away.” No, I guess that one won’t do.
I would think that if there actually were benefits from Obamacare, then people could perceive them and judge for themselves. Obama is afraid that won’t happen, and that it certainly won’t happen before the all-important 2014 election, so in the absence of felt benefits I guess we must have rhetorically-stated benefits. I would also imagine that those benefits will continue to be ones that are lied about, just as they were before the last election.
Some of those lies will be that the cancellations will only affect a tiny percentage of the population. Others might be about keeping your doctor; how many people will notice the narrowness of the networks right away, or realize what effect Obamacare will have on the US healthcare system as a whole over time? Other lies will involve not just the supposed benefits, but will misrepresent and exaggerate the previous problems with health insurance, including the oft-repeated one about how insurance companies were always cancelling policies when people got sick.
[NOTE: This is a slightly edited version of a previous post.]
Chanukah began the night before Thanksgiving. But since it has eight days I still get a chance to wish you a happy one—tonight and for two more days, anyway.
The words of this Chanukah song in Yiddish—written in 1924 before the Holocaust and before the establishment of Israel—are not happy. But I didn’t know that when I first heard it, and I post it anyway because I think it’s very beautiful:
The government has had three and a half years to construct the website, and two months to fix it after its disastrous first opening.
Before I talk about the re-opening, here’s a hypothetical: let’s suppose that Healthcare.com really had been “fixed” in those two months. What would that have said about the failure of the previous three and a half years? What was the Obama administration and the people it hired to design the website doing all that time, if it was that easy to reach the goal in a concentrated two-month push? Do backs have to be against the wall and political futures starkly at stake in order to create a functioning website? And what does it all say about the administration’s ability to perform more complex and important tasks—including, for example, designing a system by which all Americans will have effective health insurance without impacting negatively on the economy and the health care system itself?
Of course, if the website really isn’t yet functioning all that well—if (as is highly suspected) the security is still bad, or it can’t handle a large amount of traffic, or the information it conveys is often incorrect, or the website continues to be unable to interface with insurance companies to get payments to them—that also doesn’t say much for the efficiency and competence of the government.
I think we can safely say that either way, this is not government’s finest hour.
In fact, Jeffrey Zients, the man chosen to fix the website, doesn’t seem to have a whole lot of faith in the government’s ability to do this, either [emphasis mine]:
“If you bring this all together — private sector speed and execution; the command center in Columbia with real-time monitoring; troubleshooting when things go wrong, and overall coordination and direction; a hardware-upgrade team, and then a software-fix team — what’s happened is the site has gotten better and better each week,” Zients said.
If you read the entire article, it’s clear what extraordinary efforts have been made during the past two months. It’s hard not to wonder how much that has cost on top of the hundreds of millions of dollars already spent.
It also seems clear that the last two months were spent concentrating on how the site would appear to the person using it, rather than how it would actually function. The whole thing may now be a sort of Potemkin village:
One example of the “ruthless prioritization” was to focus first on fixing the site for consumers, officials said. That decision has meant that insurers are still getting faulty reports on those who have signed up for coverage, which could become a major problem once more people buy insurance and try to use their benefits.
[NOTE: Because my main source for the information in this post was this article in Politico, I'd like to point out that Politico is ordinarily a pro-Obama pro-Democratic website. So if that's what Politico is saying, just imagine what the truth is.]
I guess they’re counting on the fact that most of America isn’t paying attention to what the goal actually was, or is.
[NOTE: More here. I'll just add that the "Mission Accomplished" banner that Zombie references, the one that became so notorious for President Bush, actually referred to the mission of the aircraft carrier on which he gave the speech. That mission was indeed over, as were the major combat operations that Bush specifically mentioned in his speech:
The banner stating "Mission Accomplished" was a focal point of controversy and criticism. Navy Commander and Pentagon spokesman Conrad Chun said the banner referred specifically to the aircraft carrier's 10-month deployment (which was the longest deployment of a carrier since the Vietnam War) and not the war itself, saying "It truly did signify a mission accomplished for the crew."
The White House claimed that the banner was requested by the crew of the ship, who did not have the facilities for producing such a banner. Afterward, the administration and naval sources stated that the banner was the Navy's idea, White House staff members made the banner, and it was hung by the U.S. Navy personnel. White House spokesman Scott McClellan told CNN, "We took care of the production of it. We have people to do those things. But the Navy actually put it up." According to John Dickerson of Time magazine, the White House later conceded that they hung the banner but still insists it had been done at the request of the crew members
Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the Battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country…
We have difficult work to do in Iraq. We are bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous. We are pursuing and finding leaders of the old regime, who will be held to account for their crimes. We have begun the search for hidden chemical and biological weapons, and already know of hundreds of sites that will be investigated. We are helping to rebuild Iraq, where the dictator built palaces for himself, instead of hospitals and schools. And we will stand with the new leaders of Iraq as they establish a government of, by, and for the Iraqi people. The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is worth every effort. Our coalition will stay until our work is done. And then we will leave — and we will leave behind a free Iraq…
Al-Qaida is wounded, not destroyed. The scattered cells of the terrorist network still operate in many nations, and we know from daily intelligence that they continue to plot against free people.
It certainly doesn’t sound like a person saying the struggle is over, does it? The promise to stay until our work was done was not kept, of course. But it was Bush’s successor who broke that promise.]
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. Read More >>