HealthCare.gov can’t even enroll people properly in Medicaid.
I suppose the upside is that maybe expanded Medicaid enrollment isn’t inflating the make believe total enrollment figures too terribly much
And, yep, they’re from both parties:
The USA Freedom Act, authored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., the original author of the Patriot Act, has 107 co-sponsors in the House. The Senate version, authored by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., has 18 co-sponsors.
The bill would reform sections of the Patriot Act to end the federal government’s mass collection of phone records and Internet activity — essentially ending the spy programs leaked by Edward Snowden.
“The days of unfettered spying on the American people are numbered,” Amash said when the bill was introduced.
“Unfettered” is kind of a weasel word in this context, but it’s better than nothing.
I’m aure Boehner will hold a vote in the House, but what will Harry Reid do in the Senate?
The big talk is just how many seats will the GOP pick up in the Senate next year, and we’ve spent a lot of time right here talking about just that. But how about the House? We do still have a bicameral legislature, even if it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell them apart.
The House is in the strange place where although it’s almost universally reviled, not much is going to change. Yes, gerrymandering is a part of that, but it isn’t the whole story.
People are fed up with Congress generally, but with ObamaCare specifically and increasingly. To punish the Democrats for ObamaCare would mean voting in more Republicans, and the out-of-the-White-House party does tend to make big gains during an incumbent President’s sixth year.
But the Democrats are already probably pretty close to their floor number of House seats. Is some Republican going to unseat Nancy Pelosi? How many blue Massachusetts districts could possibly swing? I haven’t yet gone to the map to look district by district, but it’s hard to picture the Democrat caucus ever getting very much smaller than it already is. 180 might be a hard floor for them.
My buddy Tom Dougherty has been running those numbers, too:
Is that bad news for Republicans? In one sense, maybe. Since there’s not much chance of them picking up the 20 or more seats history says they should, it will be easy for the Democrat/News Industry Complex to paint anything less as a “loss.”
In another sense, maybe not. If Frustrated Voter Sally is unable to vent her frustration at her safe Democrat Congressman, she could choose vent her frustration at her Democrat Senator. The safety of House Democrats might make Senate Democrats even more vulnerable than they already are.
Megan McArdle has the question of the year regarding those folks who simply must sign up at HealthCare.gov for the rickey system not to become a total shambles:
Will they pay?
That, folks, is the trillion-dollar question. The answer is unclear:
We couldn’t tell even if we wanted to, because the part of the website that pays insurers still hasn’t been built yet. In fact, while the part that serves consumers is working much better, the part that sends the information to insurers is still having a lot of problems. So even if we knew how many consumers intended to actually enroll in, and pay for, a policy, we wouldn’t know how many of them would actually have an insurance policy come Jan. 1.
Which sums up all of our information about the site, broadly: We don’t know, because the administration doesn’t really have the information we want or any way to get it. It’s clearly choosing the most optimistic metrics possible while ignoring more obvious ones. But even the more obvious ones wouldn’t tell us what we really want to know, which is: Come Jan. 1, or April 1, how many people in the U.S. will have insurance?
That’s a lot of questions without answers, but I can at least provide a little perspective.
Jan. 1 is four weeks from now. The time from Jan. 1 to April 1 is only a few weeks longer than the time from Oct. 1, when HealthCare.gov was disastrously launched, to the end of the open enrollment period.
If you saw the Drudge headline about some sort of global wealth tax, I’d like to add my two cents (with 0.63¢ of that going to the government). Here’s the nutshell version:
In his November investment commentary for bond giant Pimco, Mr. Gross asks the “Scrooge McDucks of the world” to accept higher personal income taxes and to stop expecting capital to be taxed at lower rates than labor. As for the IMF, its latest Fiscal Monitor report argues that taxing the wealthy offers “significant revenue potential at relatively low efficiency costs.” The context for this argument is the IMF’s expectation that in advanced economies the ratio of public debt to gross domestic product will reach a historic peak of 110% next year, 35 percentage points above its 2007 level.
The short version of this argument is: You must be forced to pay for my profligacy. Which is nice work if you can get it, I suppose.
But government profligacy is now in theory infinite — no amount of taxation can ever pay for it. I’ll move now from the global scale of this story and focus instead on our domestic problem to explain what I mean. But given that the US produces about a quarter of the world’s wealth and a jillion percent of its debt, that seems fair.
I’m not kidding, being facetious, or even exaggerating when I say that there’s no longer any kind of theoretical limit on what Washington can spend. “Entitlement” spending — now bigger than defense — must by law go up every year and the checks must by law go out as scheduled. These items are not a part of our budgeting process, assuming in an age of endless Continuing Resolutions that there still is a budgeting process. Why did we get an $857,000,000,000 stimulus in 2009? Because that’s how much Congress figured it could get away with. But some future Congress might not feel such nobel restraint.
The Fed is injecting $85,000,000,000 a month into the economy. That’s up from $40,000,000,000 because the Fed found that $40,000,000,000 wasn’t creating enough jobs. Well, I think it’s safe to say that $85,000,000,000 hasn’t done a whole lot in that regard, either. So why not pump $150,000,000,000 a month? A trillion? A whatever-comes-after-a-trillion. “Don’t tell Obama what comes after a trillion,” goes the old joke; but I’m pretty sure Janet Yellen already knows.
There’s no limit on what Washington can spend, not in the Age of Entitlements. And there’s no limit on what the Fed can print, because they say so.
Let’s take an Enemy of the State bad guy billionaire like Sheldon Adelson. There aren’t many like him, what with him being the 11th richest man in the world according to Forbes. His net worth is estimated to be $28,500,000,000. Let’s pretend you could get that much in cold, hard cash if you forced him to liquidate his assets in a rush. On Sheldon Adelson — and there are only ten richer than him — could pay for one-thirtieth of the Stimulus. Or he could cover about ten days worth of the Fed’s multi-year cash pump.
“You’re gonna need a bigger billionaire,” would be Brody’s message to the IMF.
You can’t tax the rich nearly enough to cover what government can spend, so they’ve got to come after the middle class. But between the Fed’s pump and Washington’s foot, the middle class is having the life squeezed out of it — so where will they go for the money?
We’re $17,234,000,000,000 in debt which was supposed to make the economy grow, and yet still the debt grows faster (5.5% this year) than the economy (maybe 2.5% this year if we’re lucky).
So if you want to know where the money will come from, the answer is: They already spent it.
It’s Bill Whittle’s turn to host three segments on one topic, and he’s got a good one. He’s looking at the erosions of our liberties, through the lenses of the 1st, 4th, and 10th amendments.
Today is the 1st.
More to come.
100,000 people — pretty good, right?
ObamaCare is still kicking people off the insurance that they liked and were told they could keep (period!) far faster than it’s signing them up. And even if Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom hadn’t spent three years telling the lie — unchallenged by the press — that you could keep your plan, even if 5.5 million people hadn’t lost their coverage…
…then HealthCare.gov would still be nearly an order of magnitude behind its enrollment goals.
That’s right: They’ve enrolled about one-eighth the number of people they need at this point.
Of course, those “enrollments” include people who haven’t actually paid for their insurance, because the website still has no payment mechanism. It also includes people who have put a plan in their shopping basket, whether or not they actually intend to buy it. (How many items are saved in your Amazon basket? How many of them have been in there a year or more? Be honest!) Kathleen Sebelius might still be counting people who have merely managed, despite all the attendant aches and pains, to create valid accounts. Since I have never seen a decline in the enrollment figures, and Sebelius once admitted she was counting members of that last group as “enrolled,” then I suspect they are still being counted in the totals.
We must also subtract those who have signed up for expanded Medicare, because by definition they won’t be contributing to the risk pool — assuming for the moment one is extant. Instead, they will be by definition adding to the Giant Sucking Sound of tax dollars leaving your wallet.
I reminded you yesterday that the real fun would begin around the third week of December, if the expected rush of enrollees fails to materialize. But the really very quite real fun might begin on January 1st, when a rush of the newly-insured show up to see the doctor, only to be told they aren’t actually covered. Because there’s no payment system, and thus no insurance.
But for those people, I have pity instead of schadenfreude.
Unless they voted for Wiggleroom last year. They’ll just have to learn the hard way that elections have consequences.
Back in July, Five Thirty Eight’s election guru Nate Silver believed that control of the Senate was a tossup. That has all changed now that voters got their first real look at the brutal consequences of ObamaCare.
Starting with the generic ballot that simply pits Republican lawmakers against their Democrat counterparts, the movement towards the GOP has been striking. In the Real Clear Politics average of these polls, going back as far as the beginning of the year, Democrats have consistently led by 3 to 4 points. During the government shutdown, Democrats leaped to 6 and 7 point leads. Since the disastrous rollout of ObamaCare, though, Republicans are not only in the lead by 2.5 points, they have led in every poll but one since November 10.
It’s heartening to me that the battlefield has widened enough to include Colorado’s own Mark Udall, who was considered one of the Democrats’ safe seats until recently. “Recently” in this case is defined as “since the ObamaCare rollout.”
But I’ll reiterate that for the GOP to win control, it all comes down to the candidates. This isn’t the House, where rinkydink districts can be won be rinkydink candidates. These are statewide races garnering national attention by a hostile(ish) media. So say it with me now just one more time: Fewer Todd Akins, more Rand Pauls.
A bloody beating by police that left a California homeless man dead began when one of the officers on trial in his death grew frustrated with his evasiveness, snapped on a pair of latex gloves and told him, “Now you see my fists? They’re getting ready to (expletive) you up,’” a prosecutor said Monday.
The warning came after the officer, Manuel Ramos, had bantered with Kelly Thomas, a 37-year-old mentally ill man, for more than 10 minutes while investigating a call that Thomas had been tampering with cars at a Fullerton transit center, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas told jurors in his opening statement at the trial.
“There was a change at this point, a significant change for the worse,” Rackauckas said. “This was the turning point where Ramos went from casual to malicious.”
Yes, by all means let’s give the police more Army surplus tanks and stuff.
It took 62 days for one man to get a quote from the federal government’s Obamacare marketplace.
Dave Petno, an insurance broker and blogger based in Ohio, wrote Sunday that just over 2 months after first attempting to obtain a health insurance quote for his family, HealthCare.gov finally delivered.
And according to Petno, his insurance costs would shoot up by 52% for a worse plan than the one his family currently has.
“My family currently has an HSA Plan through Anthem with a $6,000 Deductible, and $6,000 OOP Maximum,” Petno wrote. “We currently pay $735/month for this plan design.”
Under Obamacare, for Petno to keep a $6,000 deductible with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, his monthly premium will increase to $1117.15 — a 52% jump.
A government service with fewer options at higher prices. Inconceivable!
Don’t believe any of Wiggleroom’s claims of innocence — or at least that’s what I’ve decided.
There were two moment from the 2012 campaign which never made sense to me until right now. Both involved his “signature” legislation and conceived and wheedled by Harry Reid. I don’t remember which order they came in, but bear me out.
The first one that came to mind was when Wiggleroom tried, very awkwardly, to claim ownership of what everybody had been calling ObamaCare for two years already. There he was on the stump, with what was perhaps the worst line of any of his campaigns. He said something like, “It’s ObamaCare because, yeah, Obama cares.” Even he was wincing at the sheer awfulness of it, even if slightly below the surface. Besides, a man who once posed himself in front of Greek columns should never, ever refer to himself in the third person. You can get away with one or the other, maybe, but never both.
The second moment was during one of his debates with Mitt Romney. I believe it was the first one, when Romney pretty much swept the floor with him, but I could be wrong. Romney was going on a tear in one of his answers, with ObamaCare this and ObamaCare that. And when Wiggleroom’s turn to answer came, he too used the word ObamaCare. And it dripped bitterly from his lips. You could tell he did not want his name associated with that law.
At the time I was stumped. The law might not have been very popular even at the time, but it wasn’t yet universally loathed and/or a laughingstock. I do remember thinking that the heartless little bureaucrat in his soul probably just wanted everything addressed by its proper name. “Affordable Care Act.” “Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.” “Equality 7-2521.”
But now I’m certain that’s not even close to right.
Wiggleroom didn’t want his name on that law because he knew, he fully knew by the summer of 2012 just what a stinker it was. He knew the website wasn’t going to work, he knew you weren’t going to be allowed to keep anything you liked, and he knew it was going to be as reviled as ClintonCare — but made real, made the law of the land. People hated ClintonCare — AKA, the Health Security Act — in theory, but they never had to hate it in practice. ObamaCare would get no such reprieve.
And he knew it.
And his response wasn’t to push for fixing legislation in 2011 or 2012. And it certainly wasn’t to get out in front of the law’s problems in the middle of a campaign when everybody was looking.
Wiggleroom’s response was to delay doing anything until after his election, making the problems with HealthCare.gov even tougher to fix on time. And the fixes implemented over the last two months still haven’t made things much better. The site responds much faster when asked to provide you with phony quotes, but it’s still a non-functioning mess when it comes to actually selling people insurance.
And affordable? Don’t make me laugh, bitterly.
Patient protection? Tell that to Dave Petno.
And care? Not one whit.
So just keep saying it: ObamaCare, ObamaCare, ObamaCare.
“People looked like they were busy,” said Andrew Slavitt, group executive vice president for QSSI and its parent company, Optum, “but it was hard to tell what they were working on and how it fit in.”
But while the contractors were grateful to Mr. Zients for helping to create order, they saw the administration’s “tech surge” — announced by Mr. Obama in the Rose Garden a few days before QSSI took over — as mostly an exercise in public relations.
The announcement conjured images of an army of software engineers descending on the project. In fact, the surge centered on about a half-dozen people who had taken leave from various technology companies to join the effort. They included Michael Dickerson, a site reliability engineer at Google who had also worked on Mr. Obama’s campaign and now draws praise from contractors as someone who is “actually making a difference,” one said.
Even so, one person working on the project said, “Surge was probably an overstatement.”
NYT tries to save some White House face, but there’s not much to be said:
The website, which the administration promised would “function smoothly” for most people by Nov. 30, remains a work in progress. It is more stable, with many more people able to use it simultaneously than just two weeks ago. But it still suffers sporadic crashes, and large parts of the vital “back end” that processes enrollment data and transactions with insurers remain unbuilt. The president, who polls showed was now viewed by a majority of Americans as not trustworthy, has conceded that he needs to “win back” his credibility.
Another round of hardware upgrades and software fixes was planned for Saturday night. Administration officials say they will give a public update about the site’s performance on Sunday morning.
Here’s the update, in case you missed it yesterday.
I have to admit that, having just had breakfast when I saw the link, I didn’t actually read Kathleen Sebelius’s HealthCare.gov op-ed from USA Today. And thanks to intrepid blogger Charlotte Hays, I didn’t have to.
“Don’t give up,” says it all, doesn’t it? A two-month extension, most of a billion dollars, and they still haven’t come up with a working payment system for a site built to sell you stuff.
So in honor of arguably the worst government program rollout since Jimmy Carter promised to have the Consumer Protection Agency make all new clothes feel itchier, I’d like to dedicate what is arguably the worst song of my senior year of high school, to our very own Secretary of Health (cough) and Human Services (cough, cough).
Who is today’s mystery pundit? Take a gander at these harsh words and see if you can Name That Pundit:
President Obama needs to fire himself. Not literally, of course, but practically: He needs to shake up his team so thoroughly that the new blood imposes change on how he manages the federal bureaucracy and leads.
A series of self-inflicted wounds during his fifth year in office, capped by the botched launch of the Affordable Care Act, have Americans questioning the president’s competence and credibility. History suggests that second-term presidents rarely recover after their approval ratings fall as much as Obama’s have this year.
History also suggests that there are two types of White House shake-ups. The first is mostly cosmetic and is aimed at sending a signal that the president is serious. He fires somebody, anybody, as a sacrificial lamb. The second is deep cleansing–that rare occasion when a president rebuilds his team to change himself.
The latter is what Obama must do.
If you guessed “Ron Fournier,” then take a $20 bill out of your wallet, stick it in your pocket, leave an IOU in your pocket for $20, spend the $20 on bean sprouts, pat yourself on the back for saving that $20 in your wallet, and call yourself a Democrat.
And a big congratulations to Mr. Fournier, our first three-time Name That Pundit winner — he’s no been retired from the competition.
The old HealthCare.gov is just like the old HealthCare.gov:
I decided to log in this morning and take the Web site for a test drive, as I’m sure many others are doing. Early reports had been promising. What I found was hardly encouraging — long delays loading pages, an endless circle of tasks (some already completed) and ultimately an error message.
The load-time issues (sometimes more than a minute) reminded me of the problems users encountered in the very first days of the Web site, which handles health insurance enrollment for residents of 36 states. It also appears to contradict what Health and Human Services officials said had been fixed.
“Response times are under 1 second. Error rates are down well under 1%. And the system is stable, with uptimes exceeding 90%,” HHS bragged in a blog post yesterday.
Additionally, once I had completed and submitted my application and verified my identity, the site told me that I was missing information and had to review it again. Nothing was missing. Ultimately, I got an error message telling me to come back later.
I didn’t have those problems, but that was on a sleepy Sunday morning, and I never tried to actually register.
So, to sum up: HealthCare.gov is fine if you want to window shop for policies you can’t buy at prices that aren’t real.
But if you want to actually buy something at any price, it still sucks.
Business Insider already has their list of 2013′s worst ads, and coming in at Number Five… just wow.
Amazingly poor taste. Bordering on truth, perhaps. But still tasteless.
Details from The Hill:
Former administration officials and Democratic operatives say President Obama is ill-served by his current White House staff and must reboot his second term team following the disastrous ObamaCare rollout.
First-term insiders argue the White House’s weakness was defined by a lack of preparedness, messaging blunders and failure to keep the president informed.
They say Obama’s team lacks depth after the departures of longtime advisers David Axelrod, David Plouffe, Robert Gibbs and Patrick Gaspard, and suggest new people must be brought on.
“You basically have [White House senior adviser Dan] Pfeiffer and [deputy chief of staff] Rob Nabors running the show politically, and that’s it,” one former administration official said.
The current White House appears to have “blinders” on, said another former senior official, adding “It’s been a weak spot for them during the second term. It’s not for a lack of advice, that’s for sure.”
The first term Administration guys never think the second term Administration guys are nearly as good as they were — and I’m having trouble remembering a case where that wasn’t the stone cold truth.
Of course, this particular batch of First Term guys seem to honestly think that ObamaCare was doable, or perhaps more to the point that it was doable by them. In light of that, I’d like to make a modest proposal. Since we seem to have given up debating the constitutionality of any given legislation before voting it into law, how about we at least first have a debate as to whether or not the federal government is competent enough to execute it?
Just barely over one-third of ObamaCare’s open enrollment period is over, and according to Enroll Maven, just barely under 3% of the enrollment goal has been achieved.
And that’s using a pretty liberal standard for “achieved.” HHS is pretty much handing participation trophies to anyone with a valid email address.
I’m reminded of my worst memory of 9/11. I was watching Fox or CNN, and they kept cutting to this pretty doctor at one of New York City’s hospitals. She and her team had set up a triage station outside on a closed-off section of the street.
But they had nothing to do. The last time I saw them switch over to her, the sun had gone down and there was dread in her voice when she said something like, “There’s nobody coming in. There’s nobody coming in.”
There weren’t any wounded for her to tend to. Wounded = Dead.
ObamaCare hinged on the healthy coming in to buy insurance. I suspect we’ll see those Enroll Maven numbers shoot up, maybe even dramatically, over the next week or two. That will be people who really need insurance, due to age or sickness, finally being able to get through the New & Improved HealthCare.gov.
But the young and the healthy — what if they make HealthCare.gov like that telegenic young ER doc, left waiting for a rush of people who never arrive?
We’ll know in the next three or four weeks.
China took a significant step toward eventually landing a person on the moon with Monday’s successful launch of a rocket carrying its first moon rover, the “Jade Rabbit.”
The rocket blasted off from southwestern China at 1:30 a.m. Monday, a day after India’s maiden Mars orbiter left Earth’s orbit on its journey to the red planet, in what some observers characterize as Asia’s new space race.
China’s rocket is expected to deposit the rover in the right eye of the “Man in the Moon” in mid-December, specifically targeting a large volcanic crater known as the Sinus Iridum or Bay of Rainbows, thought to be relatively free of large rocks.
If successful, China will be the third country to achieve a soft landing on the moon, after the United States and Russia.
The last time an American set foot on the moon, I was three years old. Now that’s the age of my youngest child.