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Friendly Hands From Overseas

October 2nd, 2013 - 9:05 pm

Obamacare is already producing new jobs — in India. Jochelle Mendonca of The Economic Times says “Indian outsourcers see business booming as Obamacare kicks in”.

MUMBAI: As US President Barack Obama’s new health insurance plan takes effect this month, Indian outsourcers handling customer care for insurers there are expecting a big boost in business.

These BPOs are betting on confused customers jamming phone lines and cluttering inboxes seeking clarity on what kind of health coverage they are eligible for, what they need to do to sign up and how much it will cost them.

And who better to do that than the men from Mumbai? Administration officials were already turning to foreign help as the deadline loomed closer. According to an article by the New York Times in July, 2013 officials recruited a British company to help them rollout Obamacare.

WASHINGTON — Racing to meet an October deadline, Obama administration officials said Thursday that they had awarded a contract worth as much as $1.2 billion to a British company to help them sift applications for health insurance and tax credits under the new health care law.

The company, Serco, has extensive experience as a government contractor with the Defense Department and intelligence agencies, and it also manages air traffic control towers in 11 states and reviews visa applications for the State Department. But it has little experience with the Department of Health and Human Services or the insurance marketplaces, known as exchanges, where individuals and small businesses are supposed to be able to shop for insurance. …

“This is a huge undertaking,” said Alan Hill, a spokesman for Serco’s American unit, in Reston, Va. “We have some tight deadlines to meet.”

The exchanges are supposed to be in operation in every state by Oct. 1. Under the contract, Mr. Hill said, Serco and its subcontractors will immediately begin hiring 1,500 people. …

Several insurance and health policy experts said they were surprised at the selection of Serco because it did not have experience with the exchanges. But that may have helped the company win the contract. In the last six months, federal health officials expressed concern that companies already working with exchanges could have an unfair competitive advantage because they had access to nonpublic information about how the government was setting up its eligibility and enrollment system.

In the event its efforts did not prove to be entirely enough to overcome and SERCO is now hiring “hundreds more” to process the health insurance applications made through Obamacare.

SERCO was recently in the news in Britain, where it was referred to the Serious Fraud Office for allegedly overcharging on electronic tags. The Telegraph reported, “the Ministry of Justice said it had passed details of an internal audit to investigators, who will now consider whether criminal charges should be brought against the company.”

Despite the fact that SERCO is nominally British, a large part of its business is red-white-and-blue. Sarah Kliff of the Washington Post wrote in July, 2013 that “Ninety percent of its business is with the federal government … 8,000 workers across 45 states … Serco’s experience isn’t in health care. It’s in paper pushing.”

Kliff says the contract with Obamacare is worth $1.2 billion, with another $1.2 billion due after 5 years.

The administration’s efforts leading up to the rollout however, did not completely avert glitches. The Daily Mail reports that problems in the exchanges are still happening:

Less than 1 per cent of Web visitors are signing up for Obamacare on some state health exchange websites

California’s program registered an estimated 0.58 per cent of website visitors in its first day

A Connecticut congressman boasted that his state took 167 applications for Obamacare services on day one, a rate of 0.59 per cent

Obama administration won’t say how many Americans signed up on the central website that covered insurance exchanges for 36 states

Kentucky’s 5.3 per cent application rate seems to be the nation’s highest

Other states wouldn’t provide statistics, or tracked only the creation of new online accounts, not numbers of completed applications

Obamacare works, as the President said, a little bit like the Iphone when it first came out. I wonder who told him that? The tech companies in Mumbai? Or Serco? Little wonder that the Indian tech giants are rubbing their hands in anticipation.


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Top Rated Comments   
On the broader subject, remember always the Tea Party cannot lose, in the long term they have arithmetic on their side.

Which makes the contrast with Obambus all the more stark. He and his have been whining, "Nobody ever made such a fuss about funding the government before." Well, nobody ever had a seventeen TRILLION dollar deficit before. Nobody ever failed to pass a budget for four years in a row before. No president ever whined (publically) about his personal entitlement to do whatever he wants before. Never before in American history has the president's PARTY refused to even attempt to write and pass a budget before. Never before has a president (publically) "refused to negotiate" with the opposition party - the president's wife (Hildabeast, in 1994), but not officially the president.

Never before has the MSM utterly refused to look at both sides before, supporting the most scurrilous and absurd explanations from one side and ignoring the other. For that matter, seldom before has any major party been so ineffectual as the current Republicans. They have finally found their nads on this, or else are simply paralyzed, it's hard to tell the difference at this point.

Never before has the sun dawned on this day. Man up, Obambus, or at least try to fake it, huh?
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
We are here to service your claim with most excellent claim service.
Are you pregnant sir?

For decades people marveled at Americans for their simplicity and honesty. You asked a question of an American and you got an answer. Friend or enemy they looked you in the eye and spoke the truth. Unless the answer was "None of your beeswax" what you heard was what you asked for. Obama has transformed America, into a place with global standards of dishonesty. Now we will be like China before WW-II, where the census results varied by over half depending on whether the poll taker was working for the Relief or the Conscription Ministries. Now we will be like Italy, where people really do tell the accountant to keep three sets of books. One for me, one for the partner, and one for the government.

Idiots are eliminated from the state of nature and that is what we are in now that the protections of civilization have been stripped away. The government is no longer our servant but just another hostile beast in the jungle. Those who would survive will learn to smile and lie. They will lie about their incomes, diseases, families and locations. We are all Muslims now.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (32)
All Comments   (32)
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Ooh can't wait for the Belmont treatment. http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2013/10/02/feds-shut-down-12-billion-criminal-internet-marketplace/?intcmp=latestnews

Criminals using bit coins and the government seized the bit coins. Not big news. The big news is the scale of the trading going on. And the fact that they seized a large number of bit coins paradoxically made the remaining ones in circulation more valuable.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obamacare is good for you
Your Foddah and your Muddah
Until you find Mumbai is too
The black hole of Calcutta

I tell you that Barack is sly
He sets it up so that Mumbai
Becomes the keystone of his plan
Of perfect health for every man
And every woman, pet and child
And all in reach and eas’ly dialed
Connected swiftly to a voice
You listen closely and the choice
That is presented sounds quite good
But that’s because you understood
Her words to say not what she said
But something different instead
And so you sign on dotted line
And thus avoid Obama’s fine
And then you find to your dismay
Obama had it planned this way
Confuse the caller more and more
With English accented so poor
That left is right and right is left
All proving that Barack is deft
At pulling wool down over eye
Oh yes the man is very sly

46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
On a somewhat related note, the Obamacare infrastructure seems custom-made for cyber terrorism. If I was Iran, China, or etc. I know what I would have my hackers working on right now.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
What hackers? With the number of foreign nationals supporting the IT effort at the federal and state level, this thing will be sabotaged from within by the original designers and developers, before outside hackers get to it.

I've worked with and been in the homes of some Indian friends, and they are some of the greatest new American citizens you could meet. Unfortunately, the comments I frequently hear from people like them is that even THEY don't want to work with other Indian nationals. My own experience is variable, but I've run into many foreign nationals working in IT here in the US who are in America for the cash, and could care less about America, American interests, American traditions, or American style ethics. One man comes to mind in particular, who would rant all day long at one site about the evil's of capitalist, world-dominating America, while wearing his cowboy boots, driving the latest BMW, living in a half million dollar+ home, and making mid-six-figure earnings, all courtesy of the "evil" nation he was living in. He was at least forthright, i.e. he said he hated America but intended to take every dime he could get from this country.

It's one of those ironies in life, i.e. that moving into the Oracle professional world put me into a market place where a third world mentality and sense of ethics prevails, and particularly, Socialist ethics. Life is cheap in India, so everyone that works in Oracle is considered easily replaceable. That results in a very submissive, unquestioning work force, who will say "yes, yes" to almost anything, and work under ungodly conditions, for 1/3 of the market rate (less kick backs), just to stay in America and earn American dollars. (I have to laugh about the titans of Silicon valley who demand more immigrant visas for technical resources, while they offer $38 per hour for employees with advanced degrees and 15 years of Oracle experience.)


I can guarantee just by the numbers of foreign national contractors and consulting agencies, that there will be data security problems with the ACA software. Guaranteed. The problems will come from people on the inside, or who have worked on the inside, and the data leaks will pipe outside of the USA. The data collection mandated by the ACA will simply be too valuable (and vulnerable, due to the ramshackle development), NOT to be stolen and exploited.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've seen several posts on other sites that essentially say:

" I was against the shutdown, but now that we're in it we're better off to go down swinging".

People are getting the piecemeal passage of essential and liking it. Support is growing for hanging tough. Hang on long enough and the big slimy onus will be firmly planted on Buraq's face. Victory is in sight.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
OT, good advice off the PowerLine blog:

''... Congressional Republicans ought to memorize, and preface their every statement with, some simple formula. “One: Make Congress and the White House obey the same Obamacare rules you do. Two: Obama let business off for a year; we want workers to be let off for a year too. That’s the GOP plan. What part don’t you like?”...

What could be better? ''Why don't you have to follow the same laws we do?''
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Let's say you are opening a bank aimed at two sorts of customers. The first is allowed to take money out but is not expected to pay more than a little of it back. the need of this first group is established and refusal would be mean. The other group is expected to make significant deposits so there will be money on hand for the first group. This second group will find it hard to make any withdrawals for, oh, several decades because their lack of need is assumed. When you open your bank, which group would you expect to show up first?

I think the deductibles will keep the working poor away from the doctors office but the upper middle class will demand that more services be covered by "insurance." After they meet the initial deductible it is all affordable. So why not demand more? You may have self esteem issues that only plastic surgery can help. The politicians will compete to provide the coverage while the insurance company, in effect, collects quite regressive taxes to pay for it all (the insurance premium is the tax and if you think it ain't try avoiding it in, say, five years time).

The working poor will be on medicaid (and wait all day in clinics to see an intern). So in the end the working "doing OK" will subsidize the well to do. It will all be terribly fair. Of course as cost skyrocket and quality falls (that is the system's incentives) not even the well to do will be all that well.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
rand paul" I think we can win this thing"

That is a very important statement. The gist of the Rino/Institutional argument is that we can' t win this battle, so we must retreat and submit until some hallowed time in the future when our fortunes align perfectly which in fact will never come.

We can win thing. buraq with his "Beria Doctrine" / scorched earth approach is making it easy.

All we have to do as conservatives is to open our mouths and tell the truth -for once- en masse.

time to get the word out about who is really shutting down our government and is cutting off services. buraq hussein's actions are the antics of a dictator who could give a crap about his people. We should make Buraq's petulant, destructive tantrum/shutdown a legend about what the Dem's are really about.

Many want to say that too many Americans have already submitted to Buraq's Nanny Police State tactics. you'll never know unless you fight, and it might as well be now because if you let Obamacare survive, that battle only gets much tougher.

This battle is really about the heart and soul of America and whether we are still the home of the brave and the land of the free or are we now a nation full of dependent sheep all too willing to sell out our principles or our neighbor for the next handout?
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
On the broader subject, remember always the Tea Party cannot lose, in the long term they have arithmetic on their side.

Which makes the contrast with Obambus all the more stark. He and his have been whining, "Nobody ever made such a fuss about funding the government before." Well, nobody ever had a seventeen TRILLION dollar deficit before. Nobody ever failed to pass a budget for four years in a row before. No president ever whined (publically) about his personal entitlement to do whatever he wants before. Never before in American history has the president's PARTY refused to even attempt to write and pass a budget before. Never before has a president (publically) "refused to negotiate" with the opposition party - the president's wife (Hildabeast, in 1994), but not officially the president.

Never before has the MSM utterly refused to look at both sides before, supporting the most scurrilous and absurd explanations from one side and ignoring the other. For that matter, seldom before has any major party been so ineffectual as the current Republicans. They have finally found their nads on this, or else are simply paralyzed, it's hard to tell the difference at this point.

Never before has the sun dawned on this day. Man up, Obambus, or at least try to fake it, huh?
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
Via the underappreciated Protein Wisdom blog (http://proteinwisdom.com/?p=51293):
I made this observation earlier on Twitter, but let me repeat it hear, where fewer people will read it: reading through the comments of an NRO piece by Robert Costa this morning, it occurred to me that the commentariat at NRO is really not significantly different these days than the commentariat at Huffpo. And it’s not just that the left has brought in a vocal minority: look at the up votes and down votes, and you’ll see that NRO readers who bother with the comments are clearly backing the Democrats and hold the TEA Party in utter contempt.

In fact, it’s beginning to look like what I will call the “Balloon Juice Syndrome” — after John Cole’s once useful site that, with the rise of Obama and John’s desire to be liked by certain kinds of people, quickly turned into a bizarro parody of itself – where the infiltration of (many paid) leftist commentators, who begin by trolling the site, eventually move the more and more leftward, incrementally, until those to whom the site ostensibly is committed to speaking are the defensive, harangued, mocked minority, dismissed and marginalized not only by the leftist trolls but also by the “realist” Republicans who, in many ways, are themselves dedicated statists and/or think of politics not as having any kind of real world implications, but rather as a chess match between parties for perceptional primacy — leading them to detest those who use “principle” as an excuse to enter into their nuaced and high brow wonkish bailiwick.


The link didn't carry through, so here's the NRO article being discussed:
http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/360234/boehner-gop-grand-bargain-works-robert-costa

I thought that Jeff G. was being a bit hyperbolic, but after reading the article in question, he really was spot on, at least for this article. I'm not a regular reader of NRO, being a bit too squish for my taste, but I like some of their individual writers, so I do visit occasionally. I've always viewed the commentariat as "moderate" Republican, but this kind of turn around seems quite shocking for even a moderate publication.

Protein Wisdom commenter dicentra says:
Having read and participated in quite a few NRO comment sections, I can affirm that this one is an anomaly.

It appears that some Lefties (or Establican hangers-on) have been recruited to concern-troll and uptick the threads; usually, the left-wingy comments get almost unanimous downticks and vice-versa. I don’t recognize the handles of the commenters;the usual left-wing trolls aren’t present.

Someone’s trying awfully hard to persuade conservatives that Even Other Republicans think the push to defund is lunacy, illegitimate, and wrong.


Based on my previous experience at NRO, I tend to agree with dicentra that this is an organized concern troll op. But after having my foolish dreams of a "preference cascade" dashed after the 2012 election, I try to check my internal biases a bit more to ensure I'm not viewing things through rose-colored glasses. So based on the fact that there is such little pushback in the comments, I'm not 100% sure about the concern troll idea.

Either way it shakes out, it's interesting. If that's the true feelings of the NRO commentariat, then that's a shocking data point. If the more likely case it true that this is organized concern trolling, that's very interesting as well. We all know that OFA has a very sophisticated online reputation management system. But it seems like a lot of resources and organization for one blog post. And if it is organized, that means it's going on in a lot of other places.

Sorry for the wall of text, but this just struck me as an intriguing part of the battle, one way or the other.

(P.S. When can we get edit and retention of our login, just like Instapundit has?)
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
I stopped looking regularly at NRO after John Fund went squish.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment

Did you mean John Derbyshire?? I stopped sending them $$$.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
No, Fund, who lost his mind I think in the 2012 election cycle.

I gather others there have also gone full RINO, squish, or barking mad, and like Frodo setting Saruman on the road one can only hope they find a cure as unlikely as that seems, and it didn't work out for Saruman at all.
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
46 weeks ago
46 weeks ago Link To Comment
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