We have a threefer for you this morning, believe it or not, and just in time for the next open enrollment period. First up, Jason Pye at FreedomWorks:
Though President Obama says the administration is working to make sure HealthCare.gov performs “super well,” the Washington Post reports that officials are crossing their fingers in hopes that they won’t see another disaster. For example, they’re planning to use “throttling” if the system becomes overloaded, basically turning the experience into a DMV where customers take a number and wait their turn for service.
The administration also appears to be vastly behind on notices to consumers who already have coverage through the exchanges. These notices, due to arrive on Saturday, when the open enrollment period begins, contain subsidy eligibility information. If consumers decide not to go through the process of picking a new plan, given the dreadful experiences they may have had last year, they’re going to be on the hook for significant premium increases
That might explain the Administration’s “contingency plans” as described by Amy Goldstein for the Washington Post:
“We’re really making sure that that Web site works super well,” [He’s super-cereal this time! -ed.] President Obama said at a news conference a few days ago. “We’re double- and triple-checking it.”
Despite such efforts, the confidential documents written in recent weeks hint at elaborate backup planning that undercuts the administration’s predictions that an improved HealthCare.gov will be able to handle everyone who wants to sign up. More broadly, they reflect the high stakes confronting the administration as it tries to avoid last year’s mistakes and deal with new threats to the Affordable Care Act: the Republican gains in the midterm elections and the Supreme Court’s decision to review the government insurance subsidies that are a linchpin of the law.
But I’m less worried about a repeat of last year’s Healthcare.gov crash for a couple reasons. The first is that Washington has thrown another half-billion dollars or so at the problem, and money fixes everything (cough, cough). The second reason is that ♡bamaCare!!! is too popular — nobody buys it anymore:
The Obama administration on Monday offered a surprisingly modest estimate of the number of people who would sign up for health insurance in the second round of open enrollment, which begins on Saturday.
Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of health and human services, said she was working on the assumption that a total of 9.1 million people would have such coverage at the end of next year.
By contrast, the Congressional Budget Office had estimated that 13 million people would be enrolled next year, with the total rising to 24 million in 2016.
You want to know the real kicker to that last item? WaPo oh-so-helpfully headlined it with “Estimate of Health Coverage Enrollment Leaves Room to Grow.”
Left room to grow — that ought to go on this law’s tombstone.