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Your ObamaCare Fail of the Day [Morning Edition]

December 12th, 2013 - 6:12 am

The positive spin: ObamaCare enrollment now up to 365,000 people.

The negative spin: That’s out of 7,000,000 needed by the end of march.

The really negative spin:

The can’t-be-spun:

“There is also a lot of worrying going on over people making payments,” industry consultant Robert Laszewski wrote in an email. “One client reports only 15% have paid so far. It is still too early to know for sure what this means but we should expect some enrollment slippage come the payment due date.”

Another consultant Kip Piper, agreed. “So far I’m hearing from health plans that around 5% and 10% of consumers who have made it through the data transfer gauntlet have paid first month’s premium and therefore truly enrolled,” he wrote me…

Blue Shield of California said it has sent out thousands of payment request letters…

There’s going to be chaos come spring. A month ago I might have tempered that claim with “there might be chaos,” but there’s no longer any room left for doubt. The insurers simply must get millions into the risk pool, but my back-of-the-envelope math suggests that with less than three weeks before the new policies start to kick in, maybe 73,000 enrollees are actually paid up.

To get to that number, I took the 365,000 at face value and then multiplied by the generous figure of 20%, just in case Robert Laszewski is too pessimistic. The actual figure could be half of that — or even half of the half, if we take the worst-case numbers.

But nobody knows. The White House isn’t talking, Kathleen Sebelius is leading a mock-charge into her own office, and the press seems intent on keeping its collective head up its collective bottom until the next October 1-type crisis rolls around.

Which it will, like clockwork, on April 1. That is, if it doesn’t happen on January 1.

The chaos is coming. Anyone can see it who chooses to look — where is the leadership from the Administration, and where — dear lord where — is our Forth Estate?

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All Comments   (7)
All Comments   (7)
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My question is: what will the Administration do, when they're hard up against the deadline with no time left and no room to maneuver?

Will they make up fake numbers to buy a little more time? Will they find some group to strong-arm into registering against their will? (It won't be enough, whoever it is.)

It's gonna get ugly out there.

And who will take the blame for the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, who will die because their insurance policies were canceled? (I have a feeling it won't be the President.)
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Stephen, I can scarcely believe my lyin' eyes. The inexplicable, monumental denial of plain MATH with which this administration is charging towards chaos will be a whole chapter -- nay, a volume -- in management school textbooks.

I'm aware these analyses are already being formalized, but in comparison to what is yet to come, the hull has not even kissed the iceberg.

(I wonder if J-schools will do similar studies on "how we missed the looming headline right under our noses.")
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Enrolled"? No, 365,000 people put plans in the shopping cart. So (probably much smaller) number of people then actually "checked out" and said they wanted the policies. And 10% - 20% OF THAT SECOND GROUP has actually paid.

The insurance companies don't get notified about someone when that someone puts the company's plan in his or her "shopping cart". Their numbers are "of the people who actually, fully, signed up, 10% - 20% are paying."

SO I'd say it's less than 50,000, total, who've paid so far.

How many of those have pre-existing conditions that will cost $50,000+ / year?

The insurance companies are boned. And for supporting ObamaCare, they deserve that.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
When this nightmare is over and insurance is sold nationwide across state lines, I intend to shop exclusively among insurers who refused to take part in this un-American, coercive scheme.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
The scenario: A family of four, with $75K/year income, looking to buy insurance off the exchange.

The problem: In a state that took the Medicare expansion, that family will have to spend roughly $22K *after tax* (out of, maybe, 45K after-tax income including state and local taxes depending on location). That $22K looks pretty constant no matter which plan you choose.

So, they're looking at this as having to pay $10K to $14K up front per year, in order to pay a further $8K to $12K before getting any benefit from the insurance plan. If they have to pay 50% of their after-tax income for medical expenses in any given year, they're going to go bankrupt anyway. So it's not really insurance for them. It's a massive head tax. Why not just pay the (small) fine, go without insurance, try to negotiate the cash payments down, and if somebody gets sick they go bankrupt--just like they will anyway WITH the insurance?

If the Feds are going to make this fly, the only possible way is to directly subsidize the Medicare, low-income exchange policies, and 100% mental health benefits, so that the policy premiums aren't so sky-high. Of course, they'll have to "borrow" the money from the Fed in order to do that.

It's a disaster, no matter how you look at it.
18 weeks ago
18 weeks ago Link To Comment
Enrolled? What does that word actually mean? The only numbers that count are: who has purchased health insurance for 2014 via the "market places" and who has had their health insurance cancelled because the policies don't meet Ezekiel Emanuel's demands.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
Where is the Fourth Estate? Where they've been since the days of Walter Cronkite (at least): With their lips firmly welded to the cheeks of the Democrat Party.
19 weeks ago
19 weeks ago Link To Comment
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