Sunday, May 18, 2014

Obamacare Schadenfreude - Give it Up or Let me Go

Another mostly sunny, coolish morning here.

Obama allies revive push for Obamacare CEO
A group of healthcare experts close to the White House is urging the Obama administration to appoint a new chief executive officer to oversee Obamacare's online health insurance exchanges and safeguard the next open enrollment period that begins in six months.

The recommendation, in a report due to be released by the Washington-based Center for American Progress think tank, calls for a major shakeup within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which presided over last year's disastrous rollout of the federal market portal,

The idea would be to take the exchanges out of the current bureaucracy and put them in the hands of a CEO with private-sector experience who could run them as true e-commerce sites. The CEO would answer only to President Barack Obama and his intended new health secretary, Sylvia Mathews Burwell.

CAP's plan would have the CEO assume full oversight of both federal and state exchanges, as well as insurers and market regulations, but not Medicare or Medicaid.

The White House said in a statement it had not reviewed the CAP recommendation, but was open to considering "all ideas" that might improve the law's implementation after the botched October rollout and subsequent recovery.
Just what the feds need, another Czar (or do we prefer the crossword spelling Tsar?). A Obama administration official with private-sector experience?  That would be novel.

More on that problem of over and underpayment of Obamacare subsidies from HotAir:
The original report has all the details, and the part of this story that is both frightening and aggravating is that this is apparently yet another problem which they knew about all along, but never bothered to mention. And it has a very direct impact on hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of Americans. In the best case scenario, the subscriber may be receiving too little in subsidies. This makes life a bit harder in the short term, but if they manage to come up with the cash to keep their policy, then after the discrepancy is noted and resolved, they’ll get the money back. But for the rest of the users who have been incorrectly assigned, they may think they’re getting a really good deal on their insurance. Then, when tax time comes around next year, they’ll be slammed with a bill for the “overpayment” they’ve been receiving without even knowing it.
The government has identified these discrepancies but is stuck at the moment. Under federal rules, consumers are notified if there is a problem with their application and asked to upload or mail in pay stubs or other proof of their income. Only a fraction have done so, according to the documents. And, even when they have, the federal computer system at the heart of the insurance marketplace cannot match this proof with the application because that capability has yet to be built, according to the three individuals.
So piles of unprocessed “proof” documents are sitting in a federal contractor’s Kentucky office, and the government continues to pay insurance subsidies that may be too generous or too meager. Administration officials do not yet know what proportion are overpayments or underpayments. Under current rules, people receiving unwarranted subsidies will be required to return the excess next year.
And remember, some of the key portions of the back end of the site are not simply malfunctioning due to unforeseen technical problems. That could be almost forgivable if you lean toward being an ObamaCare apologist. But that’s not the case here. These are critical functions of the application which were never even built and the government knew it. I’ll leave the parting shot on this story to Rick, who sums it up nicely.
They’re not only liars, they’re sneaky liars. Just when were they going to get around to telling us about this problem?
It’s incredible that the back end of the website still isn’t working because much of it hasn’t been built yet. It’s unconscionable that they would spend a billion dollars to push these policies and subsidies on Americans knowing full well that there was no way to verify income and get the correct amount of subsidy. And it’s ridiculous that sometime in the future, hundreds of thousands of Americans are going to be shocked that they owe the IRS hundreds and maybe thousands of dollars.
That about sums it up.
This is what happens when you're more concerned with getting it in place than in getting it right. It's a good thing is wasn't an airplane.

Wombat-socho has the big "Rule 5 Sunday: Memorial Day Weekend Edition" post up at The Other McCain.

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