American Elephants


Fully Functioning Website 0, More False Assurances 100. by The Elephant's Child

The promised deadline of December 1 has come and gone, and the “fully functioning” website is still off glimmering in the far distance, with a lot of burnt-out bulbs. Just another addition to President Obama’s long, long list of broken promises, false assurances and hope and change talk for low-information voters. It’s still all campaigning. He talks a good game, but doesn’t notice that no one believes him anymore, and in case they did his words are recorded for later review.

Ezra Klein, the liberal Washington Post reporter, a true believer, notes that “the site still suffers a disastrous outage rate judged by the standards of major retail Web sites — that’s not counting the time it spends down for scheduled maintenance.” The insurance companies who have to deal  with the mess the administration is creating are in a panic as the system transmits data that is full of errors, fails to transmit at all, and warns that even those few who have managed to sign up for coverage may show up at their doctor’s office in January to learn that they didn’t purchase the insurance they think they purchased.  Oh well, details.

We have learned that at least 30% of the website has never yet been written. It doesn’t exist, including the payment mechanism for subsidies. The effort to fix the website is based on the politics of it — the public, embarrassing part, rather than the serious back-end problems. Subsidies are improperly calculated, consumers are misidentified, relationships are misstated — National Review adds that one customer was surprised to learn that he had three wives instead of one wife and two dependents — and in many cases the information is not being transmitted to the insurers at all. If the information sent from the website to the insurance provider is not accurate or complete — there is no insurance and the website is all a lie as well.

The Washington Post quantifies the enrollment problems — it find that “errors cumulatively have affected roughly one-third of the people who have signed up for health plans since October 1.”

The errors, if not corrected, mean that tens of thousands of consumers are at risk of not having coverage when the insurance goes into effect Jan. 1, because the health plans they picked do not yet have accurate information needed to send them a bill. Under the 2010 law designed to reshape the health-care system, consumers are not considered to have coverage unless they have paid at least the first monthly insurance premium.

The “Tech surge”, “team of experts” according to reports consists of 6 people.

The White House, Barack O’Blameless — blames consumers:

Some of the errors in the past forms were generated by the way people were using the system, another senior official on the project said, such as clicking twice on the confirmation button or moving backward and forward on the site.

The primary promise was universal coverage. President O’Blameless emphasized over and over that the country has a “moral imperative” to cover those who could not find coverage on their own. Somewhere around 30 million to 47 million, depending on the numbers of illegals and those who are eligible for public assistance, but do not partake. The recession increased the uninsured by 6 million,  number that continues to grow. The CBO’s latest estimate says there will be 31 million uncovered Americans in 2019. So much for the universal coverage bit.

The second big promise was to reduce the cost of health care, specifically the cost of premiums. Bwa-ha-ha-ha. Health Care expert Avik Roy has found that costs for a family of four would increase by $7,450 by 2022. In some states costs will be far higher. The ObamaCare people say that the law will provide subsidies to offset the higher cost, but , of course being liberals, have no idea who is going to pay for it. The rich and big corporations?

The incentives are all wrong. Once they fulfill the dream of universal coverage, they have to figure out how to pay for it. The overriding incentive for government becomes controlling costs. The more they move toward “Single Payer”, the more the cost becomes an overriding problem. The ObamaCare people may have copied the mandates from Romney’s plan for Massachusetts, but the overall dream was Britain’s NHS, which Obama’s advisers really admired.

Most of the big cost in health care was for old people in their final years. Limiting their care was the driving force behind Obama’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), unelected, unaccountable, which will decide what the Government will pay for and what they will not. Sarah Palin referred to it accurately as a “Death Panel.” And Obama has frequently suggested that perhaps the old folks should just get a pain pill instead of any expensive medical treatment.

The Daily Telegraph reports that 1,158 NHS care home residents have died of thirst or while suffering severe dehydration over the past decade. Some 318 died from starvation or severe malnutrition, and 2,815 deaths were attributed to bed sores. This does not include those who died in hospital. NHS’s medical director will spell out the failings of 14 hospital trusts in England who have been responsible, between them,  for 13,000 “excess deaths” through poor care, medical errors and failures of management. That’s what you get when the incentives are all about cutting costs, as it is in the liberal dream of Single Payer.

 

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