Sunday, April 27, 2014

Obamacare Schadenfreude - Stop Dragging My Heart Around!

I keep thinking it's time for this thread to die, and talk about something important, like how an Obama supporting, 80 year old millionaire team owner told his black-hispanic girlfriend (he's married) that he'd really rather prefer it if she were to continue sleeping around with the black athletes and entertainers, she should refrain from bringing them to his basketball games and putting them on Instagram. As Glen Reynolds might say, 21st century relationships. . .

But the Obamacare Schadenfreude keeps on coming:

Behind the scenes, much of is still under construction
The Obamacare website may work for people buying insurance, but beneath the surface, is still missing massive, critical pieces — and the deadline for finishing them keeps slipping.

As a result, the system’s “back end” is a tangle of technical workarounds moving billions of taxpayer dollars and consumer-paid premiums between the government and insurers. The parts under construction are essential for key functions such as accurately paying insurers. The longer they lag, experts say, the likelier they’ll trigger accounting problems that could leave the public on the hook for higher premium subsidies or health care costs.

It’s an overlooked chapter in the health care law’s story that has largely escaped scrutiny because consumers aren’t directly affected. Yet it bolsters the Republican narrative that the government has mishandled the implementation of Obamacare. . . 
It's almost like they didn't really expect it to work and expected to replace it with single-payer.

Rand tells docs Dems will be begging for Obamacare cure
Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul is predicting that a revolt against Obamacare will pressure congressional Democrats in tough midterm fights into approving GOP-proposed changes to the controversial health insurance mandate.

“I think the Democrats may well beg us for change because they’re getting slaughtered at the polls right now because they said if you like your doctor you can keep him or her and that wasn’t true,” Paul, a former ophthalmologist, told a conclave of eye doctors in Boston yesterday.

“The Democrats will look like they’re trying to do something to fix Obamacare,” he said.

He said Democrats may agree to change the 30-hour-a-week full-time mandate that has prompted some employers to drop workers down to part-time status. He also called for an expansion of health savings accounts, though he conceded it’s unlikely Republicans will ever be able to fully repeal Obamacare.

Paul railed against the red tape created by the more than 130,000 proposed new codes for medical diagnoses during his speech at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

“We’ve turned over health care to people that don’t know the difference between a cataract and a Cadillac,” Paul told the crowd at the annual meeting of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery and American Society of Ophthalmic Administrators.
That's what I like about Rand Paul; he's such an optimist.

Obamacare Love And Trepidation As Told On The Websites Of Congressional Democrats
Want to know how Democrats really feel about campaigning on Obamacare? Go to their websites.

The pages touting lawmakers' reelection, or advertising the work they do in the House or Senate, often show how closely they want to associate themselves with the health care law. The Huffington Post undertook the task of looking at those pages for 186 House Democrats up for reelection (we didn't count those who've announced retirements), as well as 20 Democrats running for Senate (including three current House members and a few clear frontrunners who don't currently hold federal office).

The results tell the story of a party still skeptical of the law's political benefits, but overwhelmingly committed to upholding President Barack Obama's signature piece of legislation. . . 

Even the usually reliable pro-Obamacare Washington Post has an article predicting chaos and price increases in the new healthcare markets: Affordable Care Act plans pose actuarial and rate challenges for insurers
. . .“We’re working with about a third of the information that we usually have,” said Brian Lobley, senior vice president of marketing and consumer business at Pennsylvania’s Independence Blue Cross. “We’ve really been combing the data to get a first look.”

At stake are price increases that buyers on the federal exchange,, and other online marketplaces will encounter when they get renewal notices this year. Forecasting success or failure could also affect whether insurers stay on the exchanges, a key pillar of the health overhaul.

The 2014 enrollment period closed at the end of March for most consumers. But carriers selling medical plans on must file initial 2015 rate requests with federal regulators in late May or June — even though they have little idea about the health and potential costs of their newly enrolled members. Deadlines also loom for state-run exchange filings.

WellPoint, the biggest player in the online exchanges, is talking about double-digit rate hikes for 2015. Such increases would give ammunition to Republican critics before the November elections.

Analysts’ expectations vary, but nobody is predicting decreases.
. . .
“It’s still too early to draw conclusions,” said Amy Yao, Blue Shield’s chief actuary. “I have the best actuarial team in the whole country. Even with that, it’s less than 50 percent confidence” that they’ll hit the rate-setting sweet spot for 2015, she said.
And Glen Kessler, the pro-Obmacare fact checker spinner for the Washington Post calls out the Presidents team for spinning the bad news on the demographics of the the enrollment claims:

Spinning Obamacare success: The president highlights a less relevant number
Last summer, in background briefings for the media, the administration set an ambitious goal: 40 percent of the enrollees would be between the ages of 18 and 34. That added up to 2.7 million of the anticipated 7 million enrollees.

But the early numbers for Affordable Care Act were a bit grim, as reporters homed in on the percentage of enrollees between 18 and 34. In February, as the percentage edged up from 24 percent to 27 percent, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius touted what she called a “65 percent rate of growth.” (She was counting the increase in the raw number of young-invincible enrollees.) But the percentage stayed stuck at 27 percent in March.

So you can see why there might be some excitement about a figure of 35 percent, as it sounded rather close to the original 40 percent goal. Indeed, the 35 percent figure was first spread a few hours before the president’s remarks by state insurance commissioners, who had met privately with the president at the White House.

“They shared the 35 percent under 35, but no details on that number, and they did not disclose the 18-34 (28 percent) figure during the meeting,” said an official with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

In other words, the stage was set for reporters to zero in on the under-35 number when the president cited it at the start of his news conference. . .
Verdict: Two Pinocchios
Significant omissions and/or exaggerations. Some factual error may be involved but not necessarily. A politician can create a false, misleading impression by playing with words and using legalistic language that means little to ordinary people.
Mr. President, Stop dragging my heart around!

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