Obama Administration Continues to Dodge Questions About Obamacare

Whitehouse.govWhitehouse.govIf you want answers from the administration about Obamacare, tough luck. The federal exchanges have been open, and broken, for nearly four weeks now, but the White House and federal health officials aren't exactly being forthcoming with details.

A speech by President Obama earlier this week that was expected to address the online sign-up issues that have plagued HealthCare.gov came across more like an infomercial, complete with call-in number, for all the ways the administration says the law can work without the website.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney repeatedly referred questions about the health law to federal health officials. But federal health officials aren't much help either. As The Washington Examiner's Phil Klein writes, an "operational update" from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Communications Director Julie Bataille yesterday left a lot of unanswered questions.

We still don't know how many people have actually enrolled in health insurance yet. All the administration will say is that 700,000 applications have been submitted so far. But that just means that people have applied to shop around and determine their eligibility for subsidies, not that they have applied for or even seen specific plan options.

Moreover, that's a national number, across all the exchanges, including those run by the states. CMS won't say how many of those submitted applications came from the more deeply troubled federal exchange system that covers 36 states. Indeed, Bataille claimed not to know how many were from the federal system and how many were from state-run exchanges. That doesn't make much sense. In order to come up with the 700,000 applications figure, application data would have to be collected from the state exchanges. Anything on top of that would be the federal portion. It's not plausible that no one at CMS knows the federal/state split. 

Bataille also dodged questions about who, besides management consultant and former acting White House budget director Jeff Zients, is involved in the "tech surge" of IT-experts the administration is supposedly bringing in to fix the website problems. 

And she refused to say whether Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius knew about the exchange's problems before launch. According to Klein, when Bataille was first asked about Sebelius, she responded to a different portion of the question. 

When pressed further on Seblelius, call moderator and HHS spokesman Richard Olague stepped in and said, “Next question, please.”

When asked about Sebelius one more time, Bataille said, “I don’t think any of us were able to fully predict the consumer demand that we would have seen on Oct. 1.”

Given that the problems go far beyond opening-day traffic volume, that still doesn't answer the question.

The evasiveness is not new. The administration has long been dodgy and secretive when it comes to the health law's internal operations. Senior officials insisted over and over again that it would work, and work on schedule, but never provided the kind of evidence or system previews they presumably would have if it had actually been working well. And they kept insisting that implementation was on track up to the very last minute, even as key tests were delayed, and then failed. 

So when Josh Barro, who is basically supportive of the law, writes that "there's no reason not to level with the public right now, unless the truth is so horrible and the website is so un-fixable that Obama administration officials can't bring themselves to discuss the matter publicly," I wonder if he might be on to something. Barro says he suspects that it's not the case that things are truly disastrous behind the scenes. But if there were positive developments to share, wouldn't someone be stepping forward to share them? Given the administration's history of both poor implementation and misleading communications about the status of the health exchange project, it's not clear to me why anyone ought to continue to give the administration the benefit of the doubt. 

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  • Ken Shultz||

    Incidentally, this is why they didn't want us to call it "ObamaCare".

    Even way back when they were passing the damn thing, they didn't want people to blame Obama for it when it inevitably blew up in their faces.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Which is why it's so important that we continue to call it Obamacare in every instance.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It's funny because I can't seem to think of anything to call it but ObamaCare--and I can't seem to think of anything else to talk about!

  • ReasonableS||

    Try the Affordable Care Act.

  • Jeff||

    "Affordable"? Lawlz.

  • Aresen||

    "Affordable Care Act."

    That is right up there with

    "War is Peace"

    and

    "Freedom is Slavery"

  • ||

    Actually that's what's fun about saying "Affordable Care Act" people seem to respond to the obvious Orwellian use of "affordable."

  • BakedPenguin||

    Yeah, "Act" seems to be the only truthful word there.

  • SusanM||

    Inaffordable Uncaring Inaction is way too unwieldy.

  • The Last American Hero||

    Care? HAHHAHA!

  • The Last American Hero||

    Just to clarify - carrying around an insurance card, if people eventually get one, does not equal care.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Try the Affordable Care Act."

    That doesn't really convey what the legislation is all about. Especially considering how important Obama's imprint was on the legislation, and how it so clearly demonstrates his political ideas and how...*ahem*...well his ideas work in the real world, I think "ObamaCare" is the only honest word for it.

    Calling it "affordable" is actually dishonest, isn't it?

  • ReasonableS||

    We don't know yet. It hasn't gone in to effect fully yet. It is the name of the law though. Like "No Child Left Behind" or "Patriot Act" the results might turn out to be contrary to its name, but those are the names. If you want an alternative to the Republican nickname which was later embraced by the Democrats then its name is probably the best alternative.

  • Loki||

    We don't know yet. It hasn't gone in to effect fully yet.

    We know enough. Premiums are already increasing for many younger less well off people. But I suspect you probably already knew that.

  • Paul.||

    We don't know yet. It hasn't gone in to effect fully yet.

    I can't wait until it's doing even more than it is now.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I have a responsibility to call it like I see it.

    Other people may refer to Jack Murphy Stadium as "Qualcomm Stadium" now, but Qualcomm hasn't paid me a penny, and I have no obligation to call it that.

    I think I do have an obligation to be honest to the people I communicate with, and from where I'm standing, using the word "affordable" to describe what ObamaCare does to health insurance is fundamentally dishonest.

  • setTHEline||

    ReasonableS, are you really unable to make an educated guess about what ObamaCare will do for premiums? It was designed to raise premiums on those who already had insurance, in order to subsidize the insurance policies of those who either didn't want insurance or couldn't afford it. Maybe we should just call it, "The Affordable Care For Some Through The Theft and Redistribution of Most Other's Wealth Act". So, the ACFSTTTRMOWA. That's probably the best alternative.

  • ReasonableS||

    No I can't make an educated guess yet. The Heritage Foundation put out a report suggesting costs are going to rise due to the Affordable Care Act, but I don't understand how they arrived at their conclusion. I am waiting for someone to respond to the report like they did for the impact of immigration reform. Even then I am pretty sure I'll have to wait to see if there is a rise in cost due to the ACA. Premiums at my job have increased over the years and I've had to pay more and more for it so I am pretty sure premiums will go up, but I don't know how much of that will be due to the ACA or whether the ACA will slow that increase in premiums.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    No I can't make an educated guess yet

    I'd say the fact that hundreds of thousands of people are getting booted off their insurance plans is a pretty "reasonable" indicator of the law's impact.

  • ||

    Can't tell if serious.

  • Nixonfan||

    The Government Dependency Maximization Act.

  • sasob||

    How about calling it what it is - The Great American Ripoff?

  • Square||

    "Which is why it's so important that we continue to call it Obamacare in every instance."

    But then doesn't that let Hillary wash her hands of it for her 2016 run?

  • WTF||

    "What difference at this point does it make?"

  • AuH20||

    Remember when he briefly tried to flip it? How he claimed to like it because he liked hearing he cared?

    That was probably ill advised.

  • Rich||

    WDATPDIM?

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    Funny. Yesterday at a bar I overheard a conversation about how the problem with this whole thing is that everyone is calling it Obamacare instead of the Affordable Care act, thus distracting everyone from how great it is.
    And racism.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "When asked about Sebelius one more time, Bataille said, “I don’t think any of us were able to fully predict the consumer demand that we would have seen on Oct. 1."

    Interpretation:

    Is there any way to blame this on the Republicans?

    No?

    Okay, well, then it's nobody's fault.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdOEindANdY

  • Aresen||

    The "no way to predict consumer demand" thing is kind of hilarious when they similtaneously claim they want to cover tens of millions of people who do not have health insurance.

    Are there any reliable numbers for people who have signed up and actually gotten health coverage?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Are there any reliable numbers for people who have signed up and actually gotten health coverage?"

    The correct answer is "no". At least we don't have access to those numbers.

    And Sebelius dodged Congress, yesterday, so she that she wouldn't have to report those numbers to the public.

    http://www.reuters.com/article.....PQ20131021

  • R C Dean||

    I suspect the answer will be "no" for quite some time, regardless of the website snafu and official obfuscation.

    A typical health insurance contract doesn't actually arise/go into effect until the beneficiary pays the first premium. There is also (typically) a grace period (30 days) to make that payment.

    So you apply, and your application is approved, and you have coverage on day one PROVIDED you pay the first premium within the grace period. If you don't, the contract is void, and any charges you incurred during the grace period are all yours.

  • John||

    And don't forget, all the website does is apply for your insurance and tells you what subsidies you are eligible for. You don't get insurance until the company processes your application and you pay the first premium as you point out. So even if they were to unfuck this thing and millions of people were to successfully use it, that would just move the pig a little further down the python as companies tried to work through the huge backlog created by the website.

  • Ken Shultz||

    She still knows how many people managed to get an enrollment confirmation email.

    She'll delay and obfuscate on that until those numbers are no longer embarrassing, and if that takes a couple of quarters, then we won't get the numbers for a couple of quarters.

    ...but she has some meaningful numbers now, and if they were something to be proud of, rather than ashamed of, she'd be screaming them at the top of her lungs to anybody who'd listen.

  • SweatingGin||

    IIRC, they've asked the insurers not to release the numbers.

    In June, Yglesias predicted Obamacare would be a huge success. I'll predict now:

    On March 31 on 2014, there will be less people with insurance than there were on March 31 of 2013.

    Adjust dates as needed to cover individual mandate issues and such.

  • Rich||

    On March 31 on 2014, there will be less people with insurance than there were on March 31 of 2013.

    "We never claimed it was a *perfect* law!"

  • Ken Shultz||

    I hate to look forward to train wrecks--the whole purpose of opposing ObamaCare was to save misguided people from such carnage, but with that having been said...

    When the insurers report earnings for Q1 2014, after paying for all those motivated insurance buyers with preexisting conditions, and not getting enough healthy, young people to pay into the system--that's going to be interesting.

    ObamaCare has all been happening in Fantasyland until now. If the insurers have to hike premiums so high that the exchanges become pointless, what happens to ObamaCare? If the Obama Administration steps in to try to prohibit insurers from hiking their rates that high, what happens to ObamaCare?

    I still don't understand why people who thought insurance was unnecessary before are going to suddenly shell out hundreds a month for insurance--why?

    Because now insurance is offered on an exchange website?

    Because they want to avoid paying a small penaltax sixteen and a half months later?

    Because the government ran some commercials for the exchanges on MTV?

    Why are people who didn't think they needed insurance before suddenly going to go out and spend money for it--so that the results show up for the insurers come reporting time for Q1 2014?

  • Paul.||

    I hate to look forward to train wrecks--the whole purpose of opposing ObamaCare was to save misguided people from such carnage, but with that having been said...

    I have come to the conclusion that there's nothing ignoble about "looking forward" to a trainwreck, insofar that you warned, and warned, and warned, and made every reasonable effort to stop it, and the people driving the train raised their middle finger at you and jammed the throttle into full forward. Nothing wrong with that. Especially when there is truly nothing you can do to stop it.

  • John||

    Paul,

    As bad as this is, there is a part of me that enjoys finally for once justice being served. I hate it how so many people who never wanted this thing are being harmed. But at the same time, I am thoroughly enjoying all of the people who designed this and the people who supported them who were convinced it was going to be a free lunch now have to bear some consequences.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I suppose it's inevitable, but they will try to use our gloating against us.

    But it isn't really like winning an argument with a girlfriend, where it's usually better to just never mention that you were right all along...

    If gloating is necessary in order to get people to trashcan ObamaCare, then, as a means to an end, I guess we should gloat.

  • John||

    Ken,

    We must gloat. Ridicule is the one weapon the progs have no defense against. Obamacare and everyone who ever supported it has to become a punchline. It is the only way they can be discredited. Otherwise, they just come back with "we just didn't have enough power this time". If they are a joke, that makes them even funnier.

  • Bryan C||

    Amen. And it doesn't do us any good to refrain from gloating, anyway. Even the mildest expressions of skepticism is mercilessly shouted down. They've already decided that mindless adulation is the only acceptable response.

  • R C Dean||

    I still don't understand why people who thought insurance was unnecessary before are going to suddenly shell out hundreds a month for insurance--why?

    That's the fundamental flaw, right there.

    Hospitals everywhere have dedicated staff to signing up people for Medicaid. These people have been eligible for 100% free health insurance for months or years, but never signed up.

    You're either the kind of person who wants insurance, or you're not. If you're not, then the website, penaltax, all that jazz, aren't going to change you into someone who does want insurance.

    And so, you're going to continue not being insured.

  • John||

    RC

    Being on medicaide requires you having a social worker and showing up to a bunch of bullshit appointments and basically letting the government run your life. Most people don't bother with that. Why would you when you can show up and they have to give you care even if you can't pay?

  • John||

    That staff that is signing people up RC are not there to help the patients. They are there to help the hospital get some reimbursement for the care they are required to give by law even though the person can't pay.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "You're either the kind of person who wants insurance, or you're not. If you're not, then the website, penaltax, all that jazz, aren't going to change you into someone who does want insurance."

    People will respond to price signals, but then you have to make not buying insurance more expensive than buying insurance. ...and right now, not buying insurance is a pittance compared to the cost of buying insurance (even discounted insurance).

    They'd have to make not buying insurance a criminal offense, and didn't the SC say that wasn't okay?

  • Juice||

    On March 31 on 2014, there will be less people with insurance than there were on March 31 of 2013.

    Clearly the free market cannot handle health insurance.

    oh...and *fewer

  • Adam330||

    Any idea what the law is for insurers to cancel the contract before it goes into effect? I'm thinking that the next shoe to drop is an insurer on the federal exchange announcing that they're not selling policies anymore because the risk of getting a bad pool is way above what they projected in setting premiums.

  • Ken Shultz||

    +1

    Once the insurers think they're going to start losing money, it's game over for ObamaCare.

    I don't know what the rule is, but I've been thinking about what happened during California's Energy Crisis, when the state's utilities could no longer sell electricity profitably as being suggestive of what might happen.

    Gray Davis threatened to throw the executives of one electric utility in jail if they tried to exit the industry. One of California's biggest utilities went bankrupt, and the other was circling the drain before the politicians involved were finally willing to acknowledge that their flawed legislation was the problem.

  • Bryan C||

    I'm not sure. But I think the insurance companies themselves have until October 31 to pull out of the federal exchange.

    Of course, any insurance company that would do such a terrible thing is undoubtedly run by chief executives too busy downloading child porn to notice all the tax fraud, OSHA violations, racial discrimination, and improperly filed environmental impact studies that vigilant federal investigators would coincidentally discover the very next day.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    The "no way to predict consumer demand" thing is kind of hilarious when they similtaneously claim they want to cover tens of millions of people who do not have health insurance.

    It's also ludicrous since IT'S FUCKING MANDATED BY LAW.

  • Lord Humungus||

    just wait until a Republican runs it - if they ever get a president elected again. Robot Hillary/Biden/Obama forever!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If they put the effort into working with Congress to craft thoughtful health care, immigration or budget reform, or into foreign policy, that they put into message control- meh, things would still be terrible.

    Liberal commentators get phone calls from the White House when they go off message.

  • prolefeed||

    Liberal commentators get phone calls from the White House when they go off message.

    This should have been a two part reply to the WH staffer:

    "Do you understand how this journalism thing works? You know, where y'all get held accountable?"

    "You sure you want to keep on saying things like that to me on the record? Because, again, I'm a journalist."

  • Brett L||


    "You sure you want to keep on saying things like that to me on the record? Because, again, I'm a journalist."

    Its off record. But they should tell them that any threats are considered on-record and do they care to repeat themselves?

  • R C Dean||

    Liberal commentators get phone calls from the White House when they go off message.

    Record it. If its a threat or bullying, publish it. "Off the record" be damned.

    These days, "off the record" often means "I'm leaking this for publication, so just don't use my name" anyway.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    You people seem to be confusing liberal commentator with steely-spined journalist. But credit to Beckel for offhandedly remarking on the bullying tactics the current administration employs. (I'm sure he got a second phone call after that.)

  • Bryan C||

    If threats from the White House are not automatically on the record then they're never going to be.

  • Drake||

    I can't look at Carney without thinking of Martin Short in "Mars Attacks". He's a caricature of a hack.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Yep. He also reminds me of Short's SNL character Nathan Thurm when the press actually bothers to press him for answers.

  • Rich||

    Bataille said, “I don’t think any of us were able to fully predict the consumer demand that we would have seen on Oct. 1.”

    FFS, Julie, what have you all been doing since Democratcare was rammed though and *shamelessly hyped*?

    Even CBS is starting to jump on the administration's shit.

    If multiple heads don't roll over this fiasco I will be surprised.

  • Spartacus||

    Actually, we probably shouldn't be surprised by this, considering that "us" is a set of federal bureaucrats who are barely capable of predicting whether or not the sun will rise tomorrow.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It's government fucking mandated demand.

  • ||

    Bullshit there was that much "consumer demand" that the website couldn't work. What was their page view threshold? 5,000?

  • Root Boy||

    2000

  • Aresen||

    "If multiple heads don't roll over this fiasco I will be surprised."

    Prepare to be surprised. There may be a token sacrifice among the higher echelons, but they will land in nice cushy jobs somewhere else.

  • Rich||

    Ordinarily I'd agree. But as the thing truly goes FUBAR the base will start turning and more, um, accountability will be demanded.

  • Sevo||

    Problems?
    I haven't heard of any problems other than rethuglican-teapariters-Bush-racist.

  • Almanian!||

    ^^THIS

  • mr lizard||

    When single payer comes up for a vote then you'll have your answer. Although they really screwed up their setup for blaming the insurance companies on the super high rates. It's tough to waltz into "blame capitolism, go single payer" after enduring "the website sucks". Guess which one the rubes understand more?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    As little as I trust congressional Republicans, I really think it will take another super majority to get single payer. I don't care how bad the insurance industry gets broken over this.

  • Drake||

    And more liberals packed into the Supreme Court.

  • prolefeed||

    They already got 4 SCOTUS judges who are for single payer, and 1 SCOTUS who has a track record of rolling over for them on health coverage issues.

  • R C Dean||

    Single payer is actually a lay-down win based on the current SCOTUStitution. Basically Medicare for all.

  • John||

    Most people on medicare have private insurance. Medicare is the primary payer and the supplemental fills in the gaps. So, medicare is not single payer.

  • R C Dean||

    Having the federal government pay your medical bills (whether via Medicare or single payer) is clearly allowed under the SCOTUStitution, otherwise we wouldn't have Medicare, would we?

  • John||

    The Feds can spend money on about anything. But single payer means making it illegal for anyone but the feds to spend money on healthcare. That is a completely different issue and likely to be unconstitutional.

  • prolefeed||

    Yeah, I don't think the Ds can count on getting a single R vote for single payer. That only happens with the Ds controlling the WH, the House, having 60% of the Senate, and at least 5 out of 9 SCOTUS votes.

  • SweatingGin||

    "Look, I know we kind of screwed up and rammed through a monstrosity in the middle of the night last time we had both houses and 60 votes in the Senate, but we've learned, and we'll get it right this time. It won't be a debacle, trust me. Because birth control!"

    Alternatively:

    "Okay, good Democrat soldiers! Time to vote on single payer! Try to not think about what it did to our party in the 2010 elections -- that wasn't really about Obamacare, it was all racism. Get in line!"

  • Ken Shultz||

    We need to start getting our story out there right freaking now on single payer.

    As bad as this exchange problem is, it's only affecting a relatively small group of people who don't have insurance--how you gonna like it, America, when everyone is subjected to this mistreatment equally?

    If the government completely screwed up the part they were responsible for--why would we give them the responsibility for the whole damn thing?

  • John||

    Millions of people are losing their insurance. But millions more are not. All of the people who still have insurance are not signing up for single payer.

    The fact that needs to get out is that "your insurance got canceled or got worse because the government decided someone else needed insurance and everyone who had insurance was going to pay for it." This whole thing has to used to get the middle class to understand that single payer means they get worse off so a few people will get free shit.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "Nobody could have predicted this. NOBODY."

  • Sevo||

    Au contraire!
    "Just temporarily lost in the woods"
    "I'm not sure why anyone is surprised at the less-than-adequate performance of HealthCare.gov..."
    Lefty says we all knew it was gonna be tough, since this is the first web site ever!
    http://www.sfgate.com/entertai.....917684.php

  • BakedPenguin||

    Wow. "Hurrah for the state!" What a dick.

  • Root Boy||

    It is in the entertainment section for some reason -- what is it some theatre critic writing about politics in SF's hometown paper?

  • Sevo||

    .."what is it some theatre critic writing about politics in SF's hometown paper?"

    Nope, just the run-of-the-mill brain-dead, but he gets to pull the Jon Stewart sleaze:
    'I'm a humorist!' when he's called on his BS. 'I'm a pundit!' when he gets away with it.

  • sarcasmic||

    Here's a link to the updated Affordable Care site. Click Apply Now to get started.

  • sasob||

    Cute.

  • John||

    This sure puts the 2012 election in a different light. Had Romeney won, the Democrats would have filibustered and kept him from repealing or changing Obamacare. This thing would have ended in the exact same disaster but the Democrats would have been able to blame Romeney. If we had just kept Obama in there, his brilliance would have made this thing work.

  • Ken Shultz||

    The whole Republican shutdown is starting to look ingenious. Letting the Democrats blame the Republicans for the shutdown is starting to look ingenious.

    As the ObamaCare train wreck proceeds in slow motion, there is no plausible way to blame the Republicans for it--not in any way that will stick in the public's imagination.

    And the Tea Party Republicans can honestly look the American public in the face and say, "We did everything we could to try to save you from this".

    I saw a really interesting, short documentary illustrating both the ObamaCare implementation and its likely impact on the Democrats chances in the upcoming midterms on YouTube. Check it out:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFeWw2YFXlM

  • John||

    I totally agree. The thing about establishment Washington conventional wisdom is that it is almost always the opposite of the truth. So when the entire establishment, left and right, started screaming about what a disaster the shutdown was for the Republicans, you knew it was just the opposite.

    The GOP establishment likes Obamacare. They would have, if they had ever had the power, loved to have done a watered down version of it and if you gave them truth serum they don't want it repealed, just modified to benefit them and their cronies a bit more.

    So the last thing the GOP establishment wants is for the Dems to take all of the blame for this. That will force them to actually repeal it. What they want is for it to be a bipartisan train wreck that allows them to reach a grand bargain with the other side that just tweaks it but keeps it in effect even though it is a total disaster. If it is bipartisan, the thing never gets repealed. The tea party has kept the GOP establishment from making Obamacare bipartisan. And man does the establishment hate them for it.

  • Loki||

    What they want is for it to be a bipartisan train wreck that allows them to reach a grand bargain with the other side that just tweaks it but keeps it in effect

    "Look what we did! We're pragmatic leaders willing to reach across the aisle and work with the other side! Aren't we awesome! Now, love us for it! LOOOOOVVVVVEEEE USSSSSS!!!!!1" - GOP Establishment "leaders"

  • John||

    Bipartisanship is like crack to those assholes.

  • John||

    Remember how David Frum and the rest of the righwing concern trolls in Washington were saying that the Republicans were doomed after passage of Obamacare because they didn't get in there and vote for it and get some of the credit?

  • Restoras||

    Funny, I saw over at HotAir yesterday an article saying that the establishment Republicans are looking to cleanse the TEA party element out of the House.

    I don't think that's how it is going to work out.

  • John||

    I don't think so either. The business people are looking to go after them for voting no on immigration reform. They actually believe their own propaganda that money rather than votes wins elections. I don't care how much money the chamber of commerce dumps into some primary challanger, no Tea Party house member is going to lose an election for opposing immigration reform. Amnesty is unpopular and no amount of money or pretending otherwise will change that.

    They are also going after Amish for allegedly not bringing home the pork like a good Congressman should. I wish them luck with that. "This guy is honest and isn't stealing like he is supposed to" doesn't sound like much of a campaign slogan to me. But what do I know. I am not one of those top men.

  • PapayaSF||

    I had forgotten that. LOL

  • SweatingGin||

    I saw a really interesting, short documentary illustrating both the ObamaCare implementation and its likely impact on the Democrats chances in the upcoming midterms on YouTube. Check it out:

    +1

  • Ken Shultz||

    I know it's going to come as a surprise to a lot of people, and we might have to wait until after the Democrats, maybe, don't live up to rumors regarding their invulnerability in the mid-terms, but every president in recent memory has gone through a period, at the end of his presidency, when the people in his own party distance themselves from the president as much as possible.

    It's gonna be funny when that happens to Obama. It's gonna be hilarious. He's never experienced anything like that.

  • John||

    For sure. But there has never been a President with such a cult of personality before Obama. A lot of people, particularly journalists, who have a lot of emotional investment in Obama. It is not going to be so easy to walk away from Obama the way it was with other Presidents. The whole process is going to be ugly and funny as hell. The bill for taking a idiot community organizer and raising him up as a blank slate upon which voters can project their hopes and dreams is finally going to come due. I can't wait.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Yeah, this part I'm really looking forward to.

    The MSM will be running stories about the epicness of his legacy...

    Even as the healthcare system is falling apart at the seams.

    Even as his approval ratings hit new lows.

  • John||

    As Democrats try to run as far away as possible from Obama in 2016, the media will be running story after story about how Obama is the greatest President since FDR and all that is good and righteous about the Democratic Party and America.

    Think about how nostalgic these clowns are going to get as the administration winds down? The media will not be able to help themselves. Obama is their guy. He is one of them who finally got to be President.

  • Root Boy||

    What's almost sad is that Obama never returns the love. He's got his head so far up his own colon complimenting himself on how he smells, he has no time to say thanks to the media for carrying him on their shoulders.

  • Brian||

    Current front story at CNN politics: the return of Sarah Palin.

    What could be more newsworthy than tracking the current activity of a failed VP candidate from 5 years ago, with no political power what so ever?

    It's not like there's anything else going on in the world.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    If multiple heads don't roll over this fiasco I will be surprised.

    Haha, good one.

  • John||

    Great isn't it? This administration has so much dirty laundry to hide, I doubt anyone at the top doesn't have some kind of dirt to hold over their heads. And even if they want to be a loyal soldier, once they are out of government, the administration can't fight Congressional Subpenas for them anymore. So even if the person wants to be a good soldier, doing so will require being held in contempt of Congress. So they can't fire anyone.

  • prolefeed||

    Shorter: you don't dare fire someone who can blackmail you.

  • John||

    How much do you think Sibelius knows about the IRS scandal? I bet a lot more than Obama wants out to the public.

  • Square||

    "I doubt anyone at the top doesn't have some kind of dirt to hold over their heads."

    That's not just this administration - that's politics.

    To quote Arthur Brown, "the price of entry is sin."

    People who can't be blackmailed get run out of the business - they are more dangerous than anyone.

  • ReasonableS||

    The title of this article is misleading. It isn't about the Affordable Care Act, it is about the websites which are an integral part of the Affordable Care Act and probably in the future other government programs. The UK has a bunch of disastrous IT rollouts, but then they decided to stop contracting out and run their IT in house. It has worked out quite well. Not only does the UK government have better websites, but the government services are more integrated. Perhaps a NASA style program would help us avoid these disastrous roll outs in the future.

  • John||

    First, there is a lot more wrong than just the website. Second, the website is unlikely to ever be fixed. Third, the website is the only place you can get the subsidy. Without the website functioning, no one can get the subsidy. Meanwhile, the uncertainty about the website means people are very unlikely to buy health insurance at all. Why buy insurance before you know if you are eligible for the subsidy? If if no one signs up, the whole thing collapses.

    This is a big deal. It is more than just "well me messed up a website".

  • Aresen||

    Yes. Britain's NHS is such a model for health care.

    /snark

  • ReasonableS||

    I wasn't talking about the entire health care system just the government's approach to websites.

    This article was entirely about the website. It is an integral part of the Affordable Care Act and it isn't working. I think the Obama Administration needs to get this resolved immediately or push out enforcement of the law another three months to compensate for the non-functioning website.

    Unfortunately too many people are more interested in obstructing the implementation of the law instead of pressuring the Administration to get it right.

    Regardless of the merits of the law, it is unreasonable for the Administration to have botched one of the key components of the law so badly. I am a pragmatic independent and I want this website to work ASAP.

  • Aresen||

    Unfortunately too many people are more interested in obstructing the implementation of the law instead of pressuring the Administration to get it right.

    Team Blue set the timetable for this, and they knew that a lot of people opposed it. If they wanted it to fly, they should have made sure of details like wings.

  • Loki||

    I am a pragmatic independent...

    Yet you're jumping through hoops to spout the same lame defenses that I can find on pretty much any leftwing website, bleating on about how much better Britain and Europe have done things since they got the EVUL private contractors out of the picture (without a single citation other than an NPR article below, which is totally non-biased, I'm sure). Yeah, I'm gonna go ahead and call bullshit on the whole "pragmatic independent" thing. You're just a shill.

  • Restoras||

    In the last 100 years, where was the worst place to be if you wanted to reach old age?

  • ||

    Not America.

  • Eitan||

    In a volcano?

  • ReasonableS||

    Okay, your loss. Did you know about the problems that the UK had and about the improvements that were made when they stopped contracting out and went inhouse? Did you do research on your own to find out if the NPR was bullshit or not or did you just go with your gut like you did with me?

    From what I hear the contractors aren't "evil" the problem was that the government tried to spread the wealth around and didn't have anyone contractor in charge. Some State websites faired much better because they did put one private contractor in charge and it was another subsidiary of CGI.

    I really think you should strive to be more objective in your evaluations. You will make better conclusions.

  • Brian||

    Reasonable said:

    Unfortunately too many people are more interested in obstructing the implementation of the law instead of pressuring the Administration to get it right.

    This law seems crafted to increase the demand for health insurance and healthcare by federal mandate, thus increasing the costs on healthcare and insurance by both consumers and the government. If the authors didn't know this, then they are economically illiterate.

    In such a situation, what does "getting it right" look like?

  • ||

    Because it's a bad law.

    If you don't want to get destroyed as another team blue dipshit, you might stop sucking their cock long enough to think about what you are talking about.

  • Jordan||

    It has worked out quite well.

    [Citation needed]

    but the government services are more integrated.

    Wonderful. So the DEA, NSA, and IRS won't have to work quite as hard to spy on people.

  • ReasonableS||

    Here is an NPR story on the UK approach.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/allte.....gital-core

  • Jordan||

    Ooh an interview with the UK's totally unbiased chief tech guy who provides no data to support his claims. That's totally not propaganda.

  • ReasonableS||

    What is wrong with what he said? Did you do research before dismissing it?

    I am not out to convince you that we should go the way of the UK, I just brought it up because it sounded promising to me. I like the idea of a nice streamline website for all government services. The interview mentioned that a lot of people thought the new UK approach was an improvement. If you have links to information suggesting that isn't true I would appreciate you posting them. I don't want to hide from contrary information I want a chance to evaluate it.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Did you do research before dismissing it?

    Talk about shifting the burden of proof. If he's making a claim, he should have provided the data to prove it.

    And it's not like we haven't seen this "It should have been done in-house, not by contractors!" bullshit. That talking point is about two days old.

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services oversaw the website's development. According the contractors, no end-to-end testing was done before roll-out, the government didn't even provide them with all the requirements until just this year.

    This shit is ALL on the Obama administration. Don't try to pull this "I'M AN INDEPENDENT" concern-trolling when you do nothing but spout Team Blue talking points. You're more transparent than cellophane.

  • sasob||

    National Progressive Radio? Please.

  • Cdr Lytton||

    Perhaps a NASA style program would help us avoid these disastrous roll outs in the future.

    Like this?

    http://abcnews.go.com/m/story?id=4525039

  • GILMORE||

    ReasonableS|10.25.13 @ 11:27AM|#

    "...See, Europe... and NASA...."

    Hmm.

    Yes.

    Does any of this make the Obama Admins' implementation of the ACA any less a complete monkey-fuck?

  • Brian||

    ReasonableS said:

    The title of this article is misleading. It isn't about the Affordable Care Act, it is about the websites which are an integral part of the Affordable Care Act...

    A and not A?

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    You're a paid troll. You are spouting every lefty talking point that is out there.
    Especially how we have to stop calling this Obamacare, as I head that exact same thing yesterday, meaning that talking point was fed to you.

    Fuck you.

  • ReasonableS||

    Me? I am not a paid troll. I am expressing my own opinion. You can call it Obamacare. A lot of people call it that on both sides. I prefer to call it the Affordable Care Act just as I called the Patriot Act by its official name though I thought it didn't represent America's ideals.

    Please ignore me or refute what I say don't try to label me and swear at me. It just makes me look more reasonable and you more emotional. If I am a paid troll embarrass me by exposing my lies not by calling me names.

  • Brian||

    Me? I am not a paid troll.

    Silly Ayn Random Variation: do you think profit motive taints dear ReasonbleS?

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The administration has long been dodgy and secretive when it comes to the health law's internal operations.

    This is because THEY DO NOT KNOW. This whole thing has been an appeal to magic from day one. "Wouldn't it be great if..." is the sum total of the plan.

    I would like to believe somebody, somewhere, deep in the bowels of the White House, is rocking in a corner clutching his head and muttering, "How the fuck could anybody keep track of all this shit? It's impossible. WHAT WERE WE THINKING?"

  • DK||

    It's just the Little Red Riding Hood Law of Politics in action:

    My grandma Pelosi, what a big bill you have.

    The better to endlessly tinker with it, my dear.

  • Marshall Gill||

    More like the Underwear Gnomes Law of Politics.

    1. Claim a need.

    2.

    3. Fixed by benevolent government!

  • sasob||

    Why. It should be: Why Grandma Pelosi, what a big bill you have.

    Second line should be: The better to endlessly diddle you with, my dear.

  • Almanian!||

    Yeah, but the GOOD thing is that my insurance is going up by 40% in annual cost, so - BONUS!

  • Brett L||

    Look, 300,000 Floridians who just found out they don't like their insurance plans.

    I think I would have been one of those if I hadn't joined a new company that had a policy that you can either have their insurance or not, but they don't give you any more money or other benefits.

  • prolefeed||

    This is a bonanza to insurance companies. You get to cancel what would otherwise be uncancellable coverage, jack up the rates for the relatively healthy, and dump the sick risks.

  • prolefeed||

    That's a lot of pissed-off voters in a swing state. I think Florida will go R in the next prez election.

  • John||

    I don't think Florida is going to be alone in its supply of pissed off voters. I wonder if a few states that are considered solid blue might go R the next time.

    Corry Booker's opponent, who was a real Tea Party candidate and had Sarah Palin doing campaign appearances for him, lost by 10 points in New Jersey. That is 8 points better than Romney did in 2012 and better than any Republican Senate candidate has done in New Jersey in like 20 years. There are a lot of soft liberal northeastern suburbanites who voted for Reagan and the odd R senate candidate back in the 1980s. I wonder how many of them are going to turn on the Democrats once they realize that they personally are paying to give the poor insurance.

  • Restoras||

    Deep blue NY won't but some of the purplish places might be vulnerable.

  • John||

    California, Illinois and New York, no way. But Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and places might.

    The frustrating thing is that if the Republicans ran fatso, places like New York and Illinois might flip too. But what is the point of winning if your prize is Fatso in the White House continuing nearly all of Obama's policies in your name?

  • Square||

    "I think Florida will go R in the next prez election."

    Is there no hope that people will eventually wake up and stop supporting the Tweedle-Dee/Tweedle-Dum cycle?

    Probably not.

    Long live Romneycare!

  • SweatingGin||

    Aside from all the people losing insurance because of it, and all the other disasters, this is an amazingly funny law roll out.

    It's going to wind up with less people having insurance than would have before it. It's essentially destroying the individual insurance market, pushing people into more expensive plans that they didn't want. March 31 hits, and they start talking about the penalty, and it's going to turn out less people have insurance than did on March 31 this year.

    But wait there's more! Then throw in adverse selection on these pools. If there's a delay in the individual mandate, at all, rates go up. More adverse selection. Death spiral. Then around June or so, exchanges announce the new prices, which are ridiculous. More drop out. Worse adverse selection. Presumably insurance companies start leaving the exchanges entirely. Lots of people due for penaltax.

    And then we get the employer mandate actually taking effect, and do this all over again in the group policy market.

  • John||

    The fewer people being insured is best irony of all. They spent all of 2009 talking about how anyone who opposed this just wanted people to be uninsured. Don't forget also all of the talking points about how the uninsured were the reason medical costs were so high. We were told over and over that if we could just get everyone insurance we would bend the cost curve. And now the act is going to result in millions losing their insurance.

    Look for the media to do everything it can to cover up the drop in the number of people with medical insurance. They will claim "well we just don't know how many people in this country have insurance" or just not talk about it.

    At some point a Republican will go into office and they will start talking about the crisis of the uninsured again. But as long as the Dems hold the White House, the media will tell us how it will just be impossible to know how many people have insurance.

  • SweatingGin||

    Hmm... even today, there's massive lying about the number of uninsured. Someone on CSPAN this morning (didn't stay there long enough to catch who) was saying "45 million uninsured right now" (I may have the number slightly off, but it was in that ballpark).

    Of course, the 45 million number is "were without insurance *at some point* in the last 12 months." Could be for a day, could be for the full year. At any particular instant, (until January 1 when all these cancellations start kicking in), it's probably much more like 4 - 9 million without insurance.

  • John||

    That there are millions suffering and uninsured in this country is pretty much a point of religious faith on the left. It is going to take a while for them to get out of the habit of saying it and to properly bring those who do in line. But they are going to have to. If they admit people don't have insurance, they admit Obamacare is a dismal failure.

  • Square||

    I know lots of people who don't have insurance because they're poor.

    I don't know very many people, however, who feel that other people owe them medical care.

    If you offer them free medical care, however, they are not going to refuse.

  • John||

    For sure. And if you give them insurance, they are going to go to the doctor for a lot of non emergency stuff that they would have just not bothered with when they didn't have insurance. One of the bigger lies the Progs told to get this thing passed was that giving people insurance would lower medical care costs.

  • Square||

    Yes - I have no idea how one could just declare that giving everyone insurance would lower medical costs when that is so absolutely counter to common sense.

    The people I know who are working people who can't afford insurance I don't think would abuse it quite the same way I've seen upper middle class liberals abuse their low co-pays, but six of one, half a dozen of the other . . .

  • John||

    The working people won't abuse it. But the nonworking poor will. The nonworking poor have an incredible sense of entitlement.

  • sasob||

    Working people can't afford to take off work half a day or more to run to the doctor if they don't just have to.

  • Marshall Gill||

    I don't know very many people, however, who feel that other people owe them medical care.

    If you offer them free medical care, however, they are not going to refuse.

    So they are intellectually dishonest or simply ignorant? They really don't know that "free" means "paid for by other people"?

  • John||

    Marshall,

    Your insurance company paying for it is not "free". You do pay for that insurance you know. It is like calling using the warranty on your car to have something fixed, getting it for free. Ah no. You paid extra for that warranty even if they didn't tell you how much.

  • SusanM||

    The insurance industry is more the culprit for high prices that the medical establishment. The customer is charged what the market will bear, nothing more. No businessperson would be so dumb as to charge so much that no one will buy his product. An insurer, with millions on hand in reserves as mandated by law, can bear higher prices than a given individual can. There is thus less incentive to control prices. Add to that the fact that the insured individual has no idea exactly what the costs he's incurring are and thus no reason to limit his use of medical services (see the last sentence in the first paragraph I wrote). Now, add to *that* the additional costs incurred on tests that would be "unnecessary" if the health care provider weren't scared of being sued for malpractice - and the cost of malpractice insurance which is mandated in some states. Now, add the costs of compliance with a welter of often conflicting local, state and federal regulations, including the phalanx of lawyers the medical establishment needs to keep retained to fully understand and comply with the regulations. Starting to look a bit less like simple greed yet?

  • PapayaSF||

    And, of course, this is another variation of the scam worked many times before: let in tens of millions of poor illegal aliens, and then complain about how many don't have health insurance, live in poverty, the increasing gap between rich and poor, etc.

  • Root Boy||

    And complain about min wage when all the illegals do is push down the wages of unskilled people (and construction trades).

    We've been importing poverty to this country for the last 40-50 years, but you probably know that.

  • PapayaSF||

    I know it, but the open borders types refuse to admit it.

  • R C Dean||

    The thing is, the "you can keep your current insurance if you like it" was a blatant, obvious lie from the instant it was uttered.

    Because OCare freaking OUTLAWED a lot of those current insurance plans. So this is in no way an "unintended" consequence. It was hardwired in from day one, intentiionally and in the light of day.

    The fact that nobody called him on it publicly (including, as far as I can tell, the idiot Republicans) is all the proof anyone should need that our current system of governance, from divided powers right down through democratic accountability at the polls, is broken.

  • SweatingGin||

    Now the line is that it was a good lie to tell.

  • John||

    In fairness I remember a fair number of Republicans calling bullshit on that. But the media pretty much in unison dismissed any suggestion that wasn't true. All the media talked about was the uninsured and how if people couldn't get insurance the country was going to go bankrupt.

  • Larry E||

    It WAS a blatant, obvious lie. Nobody with any sense at all believed it, even while Obama was saying it.

    So the rot and the sickness is really deep.

  • casey5990||

    Google is paying 80$ per hour! Just work for few hours & spend more time with friends and family. Yesterday I bought a top of the range Lancia after having made $9458 this month. Its the most-financialy rewarding I've had. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it out www.Pow6.com

  • alittlesense||

    I worked a few hours and was able to buy a used Yugo! Then I paid my ACA health care premium! My cousin Hepzibah just bought a double-wide only working 93 hours a week!

  • sasob||

    Yes, but when the crappy garden hose plumbing in it fails the sawdust and glue flooring will fall right out of it. DAMHIKT

  • Loki||

    *pops some popcorn, sits down to enjoy the show*

    This is just getting more and more entertaining as time goes on.

    when Bataille was first asked about Sebelius, she responded to a different portion of the question.


    When pressed further on Seblelius, call moderator and HHS spokesman Richard Olague stepped in and said, “Next question, please.”

    When asked about Sebelius one more time, Bataille said, “I don’t think any of us were able to fully predict the consumer demand that we would have seen on Oct. 1.”

    Unfortunately I suspect that this just means they're leading up to eventually throwing Sebellius under the bus. I say unfortunate because, once that happens, the prog-tards will just insist that "Those responsible for the credits exhanges have been sacked," and move on as if there's no longer any problems. Anyone still bringing up the fucked up exchange or the fact that the website still doesn't work after that point will be a Teabagger sympathizer and a racist. "Nothing more to see here, move along."

  • John||

    That is what they will claim. But firing Sibelius won't get the website working or make anyone get their insurance back or make the shit options available on the website any better.

    No doubt "that God damned Sebelius and those evil contractors betrayed us" is one of the myths progs will tell themselves. But I don't think it will do them much good beyond making them feel better.

  • SweatingGin||

    Sebelius is a Teabagger saboteur, and is an enemy of the state!

  • John||

    She was governor of Kansas. What more proof do you need?

  • R C Dean||

    The NSA is probably crafting the "evidence" to support this, and will be inserting it into the appropriate email and websites, as we type.

  • Loki||

    No doubt "that God damned Sebelius and those evil contractors betrayed us" is one of the myths progs will tell themselves.

    "...and this just 'proves' that we need Single Payer! Get the EVUL profit seeking private sector out of the picture entirely, and make sure we have better TOP. MEN. in charge and it will be puppy dogs and rainbows!" - Prog-derp

  • alittlesense||

    Sounds funny but I've seen a lot of OMG it's Republican sabotage! in comments on the MSM sites.

  • Square||

    It's true - committed partisans don't need evidence to find a shadowy conspiracy on the other side undermining all of their plans.

  • Aresen||

    Unfortunately I suspect that this just means they're leading up to eventually throwing Sebellius under the bus.

    Can I drive the bus?

  • Ken Shultz||

    Another thing I've been thinking about...in one way, the failure of the exchanges may actually protect ObamaCare.

    Right now, if participation is low, they can blame it on the non-functioning exchanges.

    But what if the exchanges had been up and running all along--and ObamaCare still failed to attract enough young, healthy people to make up for all the people with preexisting conditions, et. al.?

    That would mean there was something fundamentally wrong with the whole concept of ObamaCare.

    So, in that one way, if the failure of the exchanges is masking a more fundamental flaw in ObamaCare, then the failure of the exchanges may actually be working in ObamaCare's favor.

  • John||

    That just means they are screwed either way. Even if they pull a miracle and get the websites up and working, that will only get them a few days of good press. Once the websites are up and working, then people are going to realize how expensive and crappy the options are and most likely not buy insurance. Remember too, that tons of people in the individual market are losing their insurance. Right now they can lie to them and tell them "good coverage is on the way, we just have to get the website up." Once the website is fixes, people will quickly realized they were lied to once again.

    The website failure doesn't save Obamacare in the same way my shooting you in the head saves you from the train that was about to run over you.

  • Loki||

    Once the websites are up and working, then people are going to realize how expensive and crappy the options are and most likely not buy insurance.

    Then they just won't ever publicize the numbers of how many are actually signing up (or not) for insurance through the exchange.

  • John||

    For sure. See my comment above about how they are suddenly going to forget that the uninsured are a problem and how suddenly that number won't even be knowable.

    But not reporting on it, won't stop the individual market from going into a death spiral. It won't give the people who are getting screwed insurance. At best it will maybe keep them from realizing they are not alone. But with the internet, I doubt even that will be possible.

  • PapayaSF||

    I think they'll have to admit the numbers at some point. Even the MSM bootlickers won't give them a pass on that one.

  • Juice||

    ObamaCare still failed to attract enough young, healthy people

    If by "attract" you mean force...

  • ReasonableS||

    This discussion is very frustrating. There is a lot of noise and little signal, too many people labeling and making unsupported claims. I wish we could restrict the discussion to a few topics.

    1. The website is an integral part of the Affordable Care Act. Why can't/won't the Obama Administration tell us what is wrong with the website and how it will be fixed? Why did they let the websites go live with all the problems that are clearly not due to volume?

    2. If the website isn't fixed in time to allow citizens to sign up in a reasonable amount of time before the deadline, will the fines be waived? Will enrollment be prolonged?

    3. What are the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) the Administration have identified to determine the success of the website and enrollment in the Exchange and can they be published on a regular basis so the public isn't at the mercy of the Administrations political needs to control information about the law?

    We need accountability not all this political gamesmanship.

  • John||

    In answer to your questions.

    1. They won't tell us because they are incompetent, have no idea how to fix this thing and can do nothing except campaign.

    2. If the fines are waived, then the mandate is waived and the insurance rate death spiral probably begins. Hard to see how they waive the fines. But then again, hard to see how they don't.

    3. See the answer to question number 1.

    The whole thing is a giant shit sandwich. And for once, the assholes who inflicted it on the country are having to take a bite too.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    1. Why indeed? These are excellent rhetorical questions.

    2. Probably, but how does that get people their canceled policies back? How does that stop insurance companies from dropping out due to open enrollment and no penalties? Answer: It doesn't.

    3. They kind of like the public being at their mercy, you know?

  • ReasonableS||

    I don't believe that the Obama Administration like the public being at their mercy. That's too cynical. I do believe that they are not above concealing information that makes them look bad though and we can't let them get away with it. There is too much riding on this for us to just trust them to get it right.

    You are correct though, they've painted themselves into a corner. It is do or die for them right now. They have to get the website up and running right away or the implementation will fail.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "We need accountability not all this political gamesmanship."

    ObamaCare itself was an exercise in political gamesmanship. I remember when it was supposed to make health insurance affordable for the working poor. Somehow it morphed into a way to sic the IRS on working poor people who would rather not buy insurance...

    When ObamaCare was being crafted, somewhere along the way, Obama and his people realized that the only thing they could get was something that didn't work. And they made a strategic decision--for political reasons--to pass it anyway because they calculated that failing to pass anything would hurt Obama's reelection chances.

    In other words, the political gamesmanship you're decrying is central to the legislation itself. Separating the political gamesmanship from ObamaCare is like trying to separate wetness from water. The lack of accountability you're decrying is likewise tied to political gamesmanship.

    The Obama Administration has managed to avoid accountability through political gamesmanship. Until we break Obama politically, there is no hope for any accountability.

  • Juice||

    break Obama politically

    I'm guessing you mean the same way that Dubya was broken toward the end (and continues to be).

    I hope that is the new pattern. By the time any president leaves office they must go into a sort of hiding out in shame phase. At some point The People will start to clue in.

  • Brian||

    The fact that question 3 is coming up only at this point in time, should tell you a lot.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Obama Administration Continues to Dodge Questions About Obamacare

    And why shouldn't it? The media will continue to provide adequate cover for the government's failures until the computer system works just well enough, then it will be swept under the rug, while the program itself it hailed as the single most important piece of policy ever devised to help the poor.

  • John||

    And all of those Democrats who get voted out of office will have been so because America is racist and couldn't handle a black President. People didn't turn on the Democrats because Obamacare was a failure. In fact, it was a popular program and a huge success. But no program in history was ever subjected to just a relentless unfair attack by the corporate media. People loved Obamacare, but they were too racist to handle 8 years of a black President and took it out on the party that gave them one.

    Yeah, that will be the spin.

  • RG||

    If you want to see the spin, its here.

    Obamacare's Excellent Prognosis.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/.....nosis.html

  • John||

    Get this

    he law’s opponents have predicted “rate shock” by using a false comparison: between the cost of individual policies from the days when insurers could discriminate based on people’s health and what they cost on the exchanges now that nobody can be denied.

    What matters is whether insurers are able to offer policies on the exchanges at prices people are willing to pay, after accounting for federal subsidies.

    Fuck you America. Your insurance rates are not going up, even though you think they are that is just you making a false comparison between what you used to pay and what you pay now. And even if they are going up, all that matters is that you pay up.

    If this is the spin, things are worse than even I thought.

  • RG||

    I'm telling you John, I really think they will just toss massive subsidies at it. No one cares about the deficit.

    People have already forgotten the promises that this would reduce the deficit and increase health outcomes, mainly life expectancy.

    Politicians will do what they do best, buy off the voters.

  • John||

    That is certainly one option. I am not sure that would fix it. An oddly enough, I am not sure the Dems will go for it. This plan really is about sticking it to the middle class. I don't think it was designed to bring on single payer. But I think it was totally the result of the hard left Pelosi/Obama wing of the party finally getting their chance to go after the middle class and take their wealth and give it to the poor. The thing about massive subsidies is that it would be helping the middle class and a lot of people Obama doesn't like and who don't always support him.

    Maybe they will do it. But it will the fist time Pelosi or Obama were willing to do anything they thought might benefit anyone besides their supporters. Rationally I can totally see how you might try to paper this thing over with money. But these people are both not very bright and really not all that rational. And they are really hate filled and mean spirited to boot. I am not convinced the Dem left would sign on to a bunch of subsidies to the middle class, even if that was the only way to save this thing.

  • RG||

    This plan was about power and buying votes. Votes from the liberals you and Epi talked about yesterday. They won't pay for it. The rich will, corporations will, and if that fails, the printing press and/or debt will.

    It certainly doesn't take brains to paper over this mess with printed money to save your own arse.

  • John||

    It certainly doesn't take brains to paper over this mess with printed money to save your own arse.

    True. But it may not take brains, but it takes a sense of being practical. These people are anything but that. And yes, the people Epi are talking about will not pay for it. But Obama and the hard left don't give a shit. They want that money. It was about more than buying votes. It was about punishing people and transforming America. Pelosi and Obama hate those soft libs that Episiarch and I were talking about yesterday. They want them cut down to size and their wealth spread around to make America a more fair and better country.

    I don't think they will do it. I think they will tell those soft libs to go fuck themselves, even if that means their political doom. These people are fanatics.

  • John||

    Read the Bloomberg article RG. The spin isn't "oh my God the insurance rates are going up". It is "you are just stupid and think your rates are going up and besides, fuck you pay me". Some of the Red State dems would sign up for subsidies. But the people who wrote that Bloomberg article and those like them are just going to pretend this isn't happening or if it is happening it is a good thing. They are idiotic fanatics. Sometimes there are advantages to your opponents being insane. This may be one of those times.

  • RG||

    They're not as stupid as you think, nor are they insane. They are, however, evil narcissists. Which means they are adaptable and good at message control, especially considering that most of their target audience are low information. There's a reason incumbents hold onto their seats for so long.

    They will spin the blame and hand out more borrowed or printed money, so as to hide the true costs of this debacle from the majority of the citizens.

    They are not out to transform America, they are out to expand government and hold onto power at all costs.

  • John||

    Being a deep evil narcissist has its drawbacks RG. One of those drawbacks is you start to think people will believe anything you say. This is especially true when you have had some success in manipulating and lying to people, which these people clearly have.

    The fact that they are such narcissists and adept liars makes it even less likely they will go for subsidies. They have other things they would like to spend that money on. They have no interests in spending that money on some new middle class entitlement when their whole goal is to rob the middle class. So what they are going to do is figure they can lie their way through it like they always have and they will tell the middle class to go get bent. Why pay them off when you can lie to them? That has always worked in the past hasn't it?

    Your idea of papering over the whole thing with subsidies makes some sense. But you totally don't understand how these people think. They gave a trillion dollars to wall street and still tell the country with a straight face they are the party of the little guy. Why on earth would they think they can't tell the middle class that their health insurance rates really are not going up? All these people know how to do is lie and campaign. They are not going to stop doing that now and come up with a practical solution like buying off their enemies.

  • RG||

    People believed the world would end if we didn't hand a boatload of cash over to the banks.

    People believed the economy would crash if the gov't remained shut down or if the debt ceiling wasn't raised.

    People will believe that the rise in premiums is because the insurers are greedy, evil capitalists. They certainly won't see the problem with subsidizing the revenues of said greedy insurers.

    Thats why they believe that the people will swallow any lie. The citizens have proven them right time and time again.

    Just look at the campaign to convince the public that the debt doesn't matter.

  • John||

    People will believe that the rise in premiums is because the insurers are greedy, evil capitalists. They certainly won't see the problem with subsidizing the revenues of said greedy insurers.

    Sure they could maybe tell that lie, except that they won't do that. Why would they? They are not going to give money to the middle class. They hate the middle class. They do have goals. And yeah power is one of them. But they like using that power too. And they use that power to take from their enemies and give to their supporters. You are assuming that they think like you would. They are not you. You think their goal is to just give free shit away. Well, that is part of it. But there is another side of it. The other side of it is that they want stomp a lot of people in the ground.

    Forget it dude. They are not giving a subsidy for the middle class. I don't how smart it is. You would if you were them just means we are fortunate in our enemies. They are going to tell the middle class to go fuck themselves and bet on being able to lie and pretend this thing is a success. Time will tell if that works. But I can guarantee you there will be no subsidies and no help coming to the middle class people getting screwed by this. No way no how. Never going to happen. That is not what these people do and that not why they wanted to get elected. You totally misunderstand them and underestimate them if you think they are just there to give away enough free shit to stay in power.

  • RG||

    I hope you are right, John, but I'm a lot more cynical.

    They are smart enough not to take their enemies head on, thats why they use inflation and the slow creep of government. Its much more subtle and harder to detect.

    I they hated the middle class, they would have let those tax cuts expire. He didn't and then took credit for the cuts. They are perfectly aware that they need the middle class to win elections.

    They also know how close they are to their goals, with the young Occupy generation coming, who are already showing a distrust and resentment of capitalism and individualism. They aren't going to mess this up over something as simple as upping subsidies.

  • John||

    Yes

    RG they have always been very adept at hiding the costs of what they were doing. Being liberal always seemed like a cost free way to show you care. Obamacare is the first time they have gone after the middle class in a real and obvious way. That is why this is different.

    The thing is that the examples you give are of them hiding what they are doing. Giving subsidies is doing the opposite of what they want to do. They won't do it. They won't back down. They will lie because they have lied for so long they can't imagine a lie not working. They will just pretend this thing is a success. You watch. And hell, it might work. I don't know.

  • RG||

    To put it another way, they've successfully dodged how they've inflated the housing and education markets, by offering subsidies to people. They were even effective in pushing the blame on others.

    They will do the same here.

  • John||

    They will do the same here.

  • John||

    Maybe they will get away with it RG. But they get away with it by giving subsidies to the middle class. That will never happen ever. They will lie to the middle class and tell them that they are better off without insurance and by paying more and that it is their duty to support this. I don't think that will work. We will see. But that is what they will do.

  • Brian||

    What matters is whether insurers are able to offer policies on the exchanges at prices people are willing to pay, after accounting for federal subsidies.

    That is so stupid. They might as well say, "The criteria we really should care about is whether or not people like free shit."

    Talk about framing the question to get the answer you want...

  • RG||

    And Zients just gave a fix date of 11/30. So any more scrunity over the website can now be glossed over as the admin points to that date.

    After that, any bad news will be swallowed up by the holiday news cycle.

    Remember, the individual market is a small portion of the overall market. There may be outrage over some of the prices, but it will be relatively small.

  • John||

    But this thing affects a lot more than the indivudual market. A ton of people are seeing their health care benefits get deeply cut because their employers want to avoid the "Cadillac benefit tax". A ton of other people are seeing their policies rewritten to make them comply with the new regs.

    This is a big deal. But it is only the tip of the iceberg. If anything, they are covering this to avoid covering the other worse things that are happening.

    And the problem with the 11/30 date is that if they miss it, they get to relive this news cycle all over. From everything I have read about the fundamental problems with the website, it is very unlikely they meet that deadline. When they don't, what then? Set another deadline? That really will make them into a punchline. The best they can hope for is that everyone just normalizes that they are totally incompetent and the websites are a joke and stops paying attention.

  • PapayaSF||

    Yeah, this is a train wreck that will last way past the end of November. For example, I'm sure there are plenty of people without insurance who don't realize they are going to get fined by the IRS next year.

  • RG||

    The thing with the penaltax is that it isn't really enforceable. They withhold it from tax returns, so you're either smart enough to dodge it or don't normally receive one.

    This was done for a reason.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/.....40030.html

  • R C Dean||

    And when the penaltax is the first thing that your tax payments are applied to, where's your "can't be enforced" then?

  • John||

    They can't do that under current law. Doubtful such a change would ever be made given how unpopular the mandate is.

  • RG||

    You'll get a slightly lower return. That's all. And unless you are paying complete attention to it, you may not ever realize why the return is slightly lower.

    Not to mention that they are already floating the idea of delaying the penalty.

    The important thing to remember that they don't give a rat's arse if this blows out the budget. Debt and gov't spending don't matter, so subsidies and a lack of revenue from the penaltax won't either.

  • John||

    The reason is they are stupid. But don't forget how lazy and uninterested many people are. There will be tons of people who have paid no attention and are going to be shocked when the penalty is withheld from their returns. And people love getting tax returns. No way will they give up on doing that, even though it is dumb, to avoid this tax. They are just going to be shocked and pissed off when they have to pay the tax.

  • RG||

    But how many is a ton? Really, how many people will truly opt out? A few million? Compared to how many people will be getting subsidized insurance, it'll be a fairly low amount. Certainly not enough to swing elections. And the media will say tough luck and call them deadbeats for not buying insurance.

  • John||

    Compared to how many people will be getting subsidized insurance,

    You have the numbers backwards. Not that many people are eligible for the subsidy. And even when you are, it is graduated and really isn't that much money.

    It is funny. Both sides seem to have believed the lie that this is one big free insurance government welfare program. It is not. That is not how it works. It doesn't work by sending millions and millions of people, rich, middle class and poor alike, checks the way medicare and social security work. It works by regulating the insurance industry such that people who already had insurance pay more and get less so that people didn't have insurance can get insurance. There is some subsidies for poor people. But that is just a very small part of what is going on.

    Even the Right doesn't understand how this bill works. They think that there are going to be so many people getting subsidies that it will become wildly popular like medicare and social security. And that is just not true. The vast majority of people will not get any subsidies.

  • John||

    The bottom line RG is that the whole plan is nuts. It is not even a proper welfare program. To the extent anyone is benefiting from this, it is people who couldn't afford insurance before who are now getting subsidies to buy insurance. But a lot of those people don't want insurance at any price. It is like me putting you into a program to subsidize you buying a car. it is great I guess if you want a car and you are okay with buying a car at the price you pay after I pay the subsidy. But it is hardly the same thing as just sending you a check like they do in a normal welfare program.

  • RG||

    It certainly is. And I hope people wake up to it by the mid terms. If not, it will not go away.

    I could be convinced that it will fall apart due to the cruddiness of the plans. But I disagree that they won't subisidze the heck out of the premiums.

    "The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 48% of Americans who buy individual insurance today would be eligible for subsidies. They would receive an average of $5,548, which would cover 66% of the price."

    http://money.cnn.com/2013/08/2.....index.html

  • John||

    RG,

    It is not a welfare program. Welfare programs send you money. They don't force you to buy things you don't want. How many of that 48% even want insurance? If you are poor, you don't need insurance. Just show up at the ER and they will treat you. You paying them a subsidy will not be popular unless it covers 100%. Anything other than that and you are just forcing them buy something they don't need.

  • RG||

    Thats why the mandate is so weak. And the population who opt out of insurance is very low to begin with. They can easily be ignored. Especially since they won't actually pay the penalty because they are too poor to get a refund. It will literally be status quo for them, no insurance, and not paying the penalty.

    For the few that complain, the media will call them deadbeats, and that will be the end of it. The majority of people won't sympathize with them.

  • RG||

    Re read the quote I posted. It refers to people already buying insurance today, not those who opt out. They will now receive subsidies that will cover most if not all of the price increase.

    That has been my point all along. There is not a large group of people who opt out.

  • Juice||

    I wouldn't call people lazy for not keeping up with everything people in the government fight over.

  • John||

    And plenty of other people who think Obamacare means free insurance. This is one time where their lying and overselling to low information voters is going to come back and bite them.

  • Will Nonya||

    But they all have access now, it's not like most of them could have gone to an insurance company and bought it before...now that it's affordable and all.

  • Will Nonya||

    "Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.” President Barack Obama, January 31, 2009

  • Response||

    I find it so frustrating (and yet maddeningly amusing) that the gov is declaring the website wasn't given enough time to be fully developed - 2+years, $200+million. It's classic government failure. Rather than hire (or buy) a company that has already done it (eHealthInsurance for example) to gain immediate expertise, they decide to produce the software on their own with the publishing intelligence of a 2 year old child and just throw money at the problem. They truly believe that they are experts at everything - or that they can learn to be experts within a few months. They cannot conceptualize to the contrary.

  • Response||

    For all those who think insurance rates have been going up - you simply misunderstand. The value of insurance is staying the same. It's just that the value of the dollar is dropping comparatively. The Obama administration was simply using the Chinese Yuan for determining insurance rates over the last 3 years.

  • Anvil||

    In a convoluted way, that may be very accurate

  • johnl||

    It seems impossible to design a system so that everybody loses. Insurance companies losing money. People paying higher premiums. Fewer people insured. The Treasury shelling out subsidies. BHO hit for the cycle.

  • Anvil||

    The most "transparent" administration is "opaque" at best.

  • Nixonfan||

    This is like the period after the liberation of Baghdad, when Rummy said "stuff happens".

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  • Larry E||

    Jay "barker" Carney, in the middle of a question about the Obamacare roll-out, folded his tents like an Arab and silently stole away.

    And Sibelius, when she was asked to comment, repeatedly gave the stock Obama-administration reply: "Shut up, peasants!" Then she rushed off, since she had an appointment to have her face sharpened.

    This gang of clowns and miscreants is a disgrace.

  • thorax232||

    Has any administration ever been open with anything?

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