Obamacare

Obamacare Might Well Be Imploding

The disastrous rollout of the federal insurance exchange could spell doom

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By all accounts, the roll out of Obamacare's insurance exchanges has been a fiasco of epic proportions. But diehard supporters claim that this is a minor roadblock that won't affect the law's long-term future. "Obamacare is here," lectured liberal columnist Eugene Robinson. "Get used to it."

Robinson might be right. Then again when funny man Jon Stewart echoes Tea Party "wackos" to demand a one-year delay of the individual mandate, the lynchpin of the edifice, you know all is not well. And Stewart is hardly alone. CNN anchor Wolfe Blitzer is also recommending a delay.

The reality is that the way President Obama ramrodded this law through Congress has left him very little margin for error. The next couple of months will make or break the program.

Two weeks into the launch and its problems only keep multiplying. Consumers still can't log into the federal exchange website, let alone compare plans, apply for the promised subsidies and buy coverage. The site—whose staggering $634 million construction cost is more than that of LinkedIn and Spotify combined—has already been shut down once for repairs, but the problems persist.

Thing are so bad that the administration won't even reveal basic information about enrollment rates. Nor will it make its IT folks available to explain the technical glitches, insisting that "pent up demand" is overwhelming capacity.

But experts whom Reuters consulted believe that the architecture of the websites is fundamentally flawed and needs to be radically overhauled. For example, when individuals "apply" for coverage, the website automatically opens over 90 separate files and plugins to stream information from the user's computer. The flood of traffic paralyzes the connection.

None of this is unexpected. In fact, insurance companies now say they'd been warning the administration for months that the exchange was not ready for prime time.

But the same reason the administration rushed to launch is also why it can't afford any extended delays now.

The law requires every American to have coverage by sometime early next year, although the administration keeps changing its mind about the precise date. But failure to have coverage by whatever date it eventually decides would result in a $96 fine for individuals and $285 for families. But extracting fines without giving people viable purchase options will generate even more outrage against a law that a majority of Americans already dislike.

However, postponing the individual mandate is not an option either, even though that would be the right thing to do given that the administration has delayed the employer mandate. That's because insurance companies need young and healthy people in the pool to offset the costs for the older and sicker patients that they are now required to cover at affordable rates. Suspending the mandate will mean that their most lucrative customers will bow out, making it impossible for them to honor the premiums that they are offering without going under. This could jeopardize patients far beyond those in the exchange.

But if the law ends up raising prices and/or throwing people out of coverage—the exact opposite of what it promised—Republicans will obtain potent ammunition against Democrats ahead of next year's mid-term elections. And not just Republicans.

The New York Times reported over the weekend: "Even some supporters of the Affordable Care Act worry that the flaws in the system, if not quickly fixed, could threaten the fiscal health of the insurance initiative, which depends on throngs of customers to spread the risk and keep prices low."

(At this rate, Jon Stewart and Ted Cruz might both find themselves marching together to defund Obamacare!)

So long as President Obama is in the Oval Office, Republicans can't repeal the law outright, it is true. But its  implosion will put them in a far stronger position to hold it up pending an overhaul. It could be their great opportunity to convert it into a free market system, as I have noted previously. (Richard Epstein has laid out his own three-part overhaul plan.)

It is never a good idea for a president to drag a country into war without broad-based support. That's because he needs political cover to stick it through when things inevitably go wrong.

What's true of war is even truer of a radical overhaul of one-sixth of the domestic economy. President Obama ignored that and pushed Obamacare without doing the hard work of putting together something that the other party could support. Now he can hope for no cooperation, only full-bore obstructionism.

Obamacare's problems ultimately are not technical but political—and they might be just beginning.

A version of this column originally appeared in the Washington Examiner.

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180 responses to “Obamacare Might Well Be Imploding

  1. OT: http://www.tabletmag.com/jewis…..marx?all=1

    Young, impressionable Marxists are so adorable. They interpret any economic calamity as a sign of the coming Dictatorship of the Proletariat. How sweet.

    1. Wow. If they only had some well documented, real life examples of why Marxism doesn’t work.

      Come to think of it, you’re really not off topic.

      1. I’m more of a Marxist-Roddenberryist than a Marxist-Stalinist.

        1. I’m a Lennonist

          1. So, following the theories of John? Because Vladamir’s last name was Lenin.

    2. Certainly, millennials are famously progressive; a much-discussed 2011 Pew poll found that 49 percent of people between 18 and 29 had a favorable view of socialism, while only 46 percent felt positively about capitalism.

      Jesus Christ.

      1. They are ignorant. The Berlin Wall fell before they were born or shortly afterwards. They have no idea the history of socialism and communism. To them socialism is just a word and a word they have been told is good.

        That 49% has no clue what socialism actually means. Well, thanks to Obama, they are about to find out.

        1. They have no idea the history of socialism and communism. To them socialism is just a word and a word they have been told is good.

          Of course. It does make one reconsider the wisdom of the 26th Amendment — young people without any life experience make for a very poor base of voters.

          We’ll see if they improve as they get mugged by reality.

          1. They are definitely about to be mugged. The question is will they learn anything from it.

            1. when has past failure ever deterred the left?

              1. It won’t the Left. But not everyone is the left.

                1. if your knowledge of socialism is what people who support it have told you, I suspect you can convinced that its failures are due to something else. The ones who already know it’s a failure are not a problem.

                  1. Those are the same people that indebted the millenials in return for worthless degrees – right?

                    1. It’s BOOOOOSHes fault that all those liberal arts factories were outsourced to cheap overseas race, class and gender markets who don’t have the neccessary regulation to protect them like tenure…or something.

                    2. I learnt this lesson too late btw, I am now taking distance courses for something useful. It’s only when I got onto the job market that I realized how supply and demand worked-yeah I was stupid-but hey, at least it made me a libertarian!

                    3. Congrats, at least you learned something from you stupidity. That puts you ahead of (at least) three-quarters of the population.

            2. Well, they’ll learn something from it. Unfortunately, they’ll learn something that isn’t true. They’ll walk away with the lesson that they just didn’t do enough socialism. Just a little more power and money in the hands of the right men will make it all better.

        2. I get that generationalism is frowned up l here, but I notice among people my age (the so-called Millenials) a peculiar form of progressivism, ignorant of the world pre-1989, and quick to assume that the Great Recession was the result of the failures of capitalism.

          1. The ignorance of the world pre-1989 is the scary part.

          2. Not only do they not know the history of the USSR, they don’t know the history of the US. If you are not old enough to remember the 1970s, unless you go out of your way to find out, you have no idea that these policies were mostly tried and always failed once before.

            Part of the problem with this generation of liberals is that they grew up in the shadow of Reagan and with Democratic leaders who could remember the 1970s and thus knew that there were limits to even their own policies. Younger liberals don’t realize that. They have never seen their policies really implemented and thus have never had admit they were wrong or that their policies might have limits.

            1. I was told by a university professor last week that Pennsylvania government schools don’t teach U.S. history after eighth grade. How nuanced or sophisticated do you think 8th grade history is? He says the text is mostly about Harriet Tubman and Abraham Lincoln when it discusses the Civil War.

              1. Proud step parent of 3 millenials, all of whom did very well in high school. None of them know who Stalin is, they only know Hitler in passing but no details. They can’t place the Revolutionary war within 30 years and on and on and on….It’s depressing. Ah, and they are big fans of President Stompyfoot.

          3. I have noticed the same among your generation. It is not that the previous generations were that great or anything — it’s that this generation is just abysmally bad. No pushback on almost anything societal, lots of mindless parroting of what rationalized authority figures (esp in education) have told them, insanely statist — not good signs.

            1. Have you been at work with a millennial come January? They anxiously await their employer sending out last year’s W-2 so they can get their ‘refund’- I’ve overheard some claim enough to buy a new computer – once a person proudly claimed over $1000 refund. I calmly tried to explain they were giving the Gov’t an interest free loan- it fell on deaf ears.
              It got me wondering, if they use H&R, Turbotax, blindly punching in numbers awaiting their gov’t check- do they even realize they pay *any* income taxes? In their muddled thinking do they believe they are luck to have a job and *they* get gov’t money, why shouldn’t some unlucky jobless person also?

              1. It’s a Schumpeterian problem, the more successful capitalism is, the more it can afford to subsidize a growing number of people who are disconnected from it and disdainful of it. So some dumbass millenial/gen x can use his smartphone to order anything from around the world and, as if by magic, it shows up at his door-he is unaware of the infinite complexity that went into the whole process as it SEEMS so simple, therefore he is unaware how truly deleterious it is to interfere and meddle in the economy.

              2. True; I’m willing to bet that at least three-fourths of the people you know CAN remember the amount of their tax refund, but CAN’T remember their total tax liability.

                1. This.

                  Last year I got an IRS refund of about $1200, but they kept over $8000, and after adding in state, local, school, social security, etc, I had paid over $34k. My coworkers didn’t believe me, so I had to detail it for them.

          4. What you’re describing is the consequence of the death of the humanities. Millenials tend to have pretty solid training in science and technology (not great, but solid). What they are absolutely failures at is any kind of humanities based thinking. Beyond a few vague, muddle-headed, progressive cliches, they really have very little understanding of history, literature, philosophy, civics, etc.

        3. They are ignorant. … That 49% has no clue what socialism actually means.

          More than that many millenials (or whatever) are living the socialist lifestyle by having their parents still supporting them.

          1. If socialism pays off their student loans, it’s going to be very difficult to convince them that Socialism is bad.

            1. seen and unseen

          2. This x1000. My otherwise intelligent college-ages nieces proudly proclaim themselves “socialists”. I love to ask them a few questions:
            1) Where did the money for college come from? (Dad)
            2) Where did your car come from? (Dad)
            3) How did your Dad earn the money for said lifestyle? (His business)

            Oh? He owns his own business, you say? He worked obscene hours and took huge risks to build a business that enabled you to go to a really nice school, drive a really nice car and proclaim yourself a socialist?

            They usually run out of answers right about there. It drives me insane.

          3. They therefore have an “allowance from my rich parents” view of the economy. Wealth just happened to them without a need on their part to generate it; therefore, wealth just happens and does not need to be generated.

            1. It’s magic!

        4. Most of their teachers their whole lives have held the same views.

        5. The most amusing thing is that millenials are about to get millenially fucked by ObamaCare.

        6. In fairness, they haven’t had much experience of capitalism, either. What they’ve mostly seen is the failure of CRONY capitalism, which too many people continue to confuse with the real thing.

          Oh, and that Chicago Machine hack Obama is the biggest promoter of crapitalism around; it’s not like he’d know real socialism or capitalism if either one bit him in the ass.

      2. Millennials do like their free stuff.

        1. Everyone likes free stuff. Millenials assume they are entitled to free stuff.

          1. cuz Chomsky told them so

    3. I could only get about half way through the article as I started to gag on all the smarmy self-congratulatory tone in the piece. At that point, I was so nauseated, I had to stop. Also, these guys are really proud of their 5000 subscribers, as if this is some sort of validation, rather than just being a blip on the radar screen of the current societal – economic climate.

    4. Dictatorship of the proletariat? Yeah, that’s goofy. But I still can’t shake off the belief that the way this abominable law fails is by failing upwards. Democrats have admitted that it’s part of their strategy to get socialized medicine. They are taking the long view. Eventually they’ll get what they want regardless of what voters want.

    5. You should listen to these people.

      They’re like marxists, but instead of wanting a communist party running everything, it’s a giant, economy-managing computer. Why bother addressing the failures of central planning, when you can wish them away like a Star Trek plot device?

      1. Maybe they should call it ‘UniComp’.

      2. Someone needs to tell them its been tried before:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Cybersyn

        1. At least that looked cool. We don’t even get Cap’n Kirk’s command chair with our brain-dead technocracy fantasy.

  2. Those exchange sites sound even worse in terms of memory handling than H&R.

  3. Of course, this failure will be blamed on “Capitalists,” the contractors, lowest bid, etc. BTW, the “lowest bid” turned out to be a pretty juicy chunk of change.

    1. I’m guessing progressive.com didn’t cost $600 MM, and it allows you to compare insurance prices.

      1. See also, eHealthInsurance.com.

        1. Yeah, but neither one of those sites kicked by 80% of their revenue to Obama and OFA.

      2. They named it “Progressive” for the obvious reason too. I wonder if they tried to volunteer to work on this fiasco?

        1. Peter B. is a total lefty.

        2. You ever notice how prevalent leftist memes are in the insurance business?

          Progressive
          State Farm
          All State
          Government Employees Insurance Co

        3. Progressive got its name from the political belief of its founders.

      3. with Obamacare, all companies are ordered to provide the same features so that you can compare prices apples to apples. They brag about this feature. Did they ever consider allowing the customer to select the features they wanted and then request quotes based on those selections?

    2. Ah, but it just came out that there wasn’t a bidding process: they simply gave the contract to one company, which BY PURE COINCIDENCE is run by an Obama campaign contributor.

      1. Most transparent administration EVER.

        Turns out that’s true, just not in the way they meant it. If we had a functioning press, they would be having a field day with this administration.

      2. So it was the lowest bidder, just not the lowest price.

      3. Because Halliburton!!

        /end progressive rant

      4. He also gave to Romney…seriously, WTF is the point of doing that?

        1. Covering your bases.

  4. “Obamacare is here,” lectured liberal columnist Eugene Robinson. “Get used to it.”

    This is not something you say to someone when ensuing experience is expected to be pleasant.

    1. It is also not something someone says when they have a lot of confidence in their position. Even liberals like Robinson know this thing is an epic failure. If there was any plausible way to claim it to be a success, they would say so. Instead they fall back on “well it is too late to change it now”.

      1. Methinks progressives will find themselves surprised by events in the coming years. Americans are not always (indeed, not usually) paying attention, but they are sharp enough to understand the negative effects of government when it is in their direct interests to do so. This is why I’m not worried about shutdown politics obscuring various talking points about ObamaCare’s (mis)implementation — when it comes right down to it, it is less important that people be told that ObamaCare is bad than that they know where their representative stands on it. People won’t need to be told how bad ObamaCare is; they’ll be experiencing it firsthand! They will need to be told — early and often — which party favors it and which representatives are in favor of preserving it, to keep pressure on Congress to repeal it.

        1. We were talking about that yesterday. I agree with you. I think progs are going to be shocked at how angry people are about this and how much it is going to discredit liberalism in general. Others think people will just blame capitalism and embrace more liberalism. Time will tell.

          But regardless, I really think most progs thought Obamacare would work. I don’t buy the they wanted it to fail conspiracy theories. I think most of the Obamabots really believed that this thing was going to work and make life better. When it not only fails but makes their individual lives so much worse, it is going to be interesting to see their reaction. Some will just give up on everything and embrace total communism. But I think a few might wake up and realize that maybe liberalism isn’t the way.

          1. But I think a few might wake up and realize that maybe liberalism isn’t the way.

            HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

            Seriously, I’ll be cruising through Arizona on a spiky motorcycle and robbing gas trucks before that happens.

            1. Thomas Sowell was once a Marxist. He spent his entire 20s as a devoted Marxist. People do learn. People do change. Part of the problem this country has is that liberals have been totally insulated from the consequences of their policies. Well, Obamacare ended that.

              1. Then call me a pessimist, but I don’t see the Free Shit Carousel stopping without a LOT of gunfire.

                1. No, what happens is the free shit people don’t get the free shit they want and start turning on each other. The middle class liberals are all for giving free insurance to the poor right up until they realize they have to pay for it.

                  1. Best quote of sticker-shock: (Retired 60 year-old school teacher from California- premium increased by $500/month) ” I was for Obamacare. I want to have everyone insured, I just didn’t realize I, personally, would be the one paying for it.”

                    1. That one is a classic. Apparently, “We’re all in this together!” == “We all agree that someone else should pay for this.”

                2. YOu think the millenials will pick up guns?

                  The socialist ones are afeared of even touching one, let alone using it.

                  1. I meant that the unstoppable force of people who will refuse cuts to their free stuff will meet the unmovable object of middle class voters who are unwilling to accept higher taxes.

                    1. They’ll keep on with the charade of “getting the rich to pay for it”, which in practice means buying free shit on credit.

                  2. Socialists are not afraid of guns or bombs. From the Weathermen to The Diggers, they are all into forcing other people to do their version of “good.”

                    They also dispel that “mellow pothead” myth too, but that is a different conversation.

                  3. Let’s just say I’m not real afraid of a millennial with a gun as long as I have a bow and arrow, or a bb gun.

                3. There’s a difference between ending the “free shit carousel” (i.e., social democracy as a whole), and ending specific parts of it. I am not optimistic about the former; I think there are plenty of opportunities for the latter. Depending on how things shake out, it will be possible to get rid of ObamaCare, public unions as a strong force in society, and large parts of the regulatory state. It is also likely that entitlements will be reformed sometime down the line.

                  The state as it stands simply isn’t sustainable, and will force people to make hard choices. Popular as entitlements and some other parts of government are in their current state, I don’t think most people will choose to substantially raise broad-based middle class taxes on themselves Germany-style to pay for them.

                  1. The problem with having a free shit coalition is that there is never enough free shit to go around. The only thing keeping the Dem coalition together now is the cultish devotion to Obama and the fear of being called a racist. Once that is gone, the whole thing is going to fall apart. The middle class liberals who provide the bulk of the funds and votes are not going to see their standard of living go down to take care of poor people. Forget it. The pubic employees and unions are not going to give up their good healthcare and benefits to help out anyone. But they can’t pay for the free shit to give to the poor and minorities without screwing those people.

                    The Dems are going to implode in a orgy recriminations and greed. You watch.

              2. millenials are not smart like sowell though. He is an outlier.

                1. I think this is a good point. Anecdotally, you’ll always run into people who learn and figure things out. Even if they’re 10% of the population, that’s still millions of people. And remember, Sowell wasn’t just a progressive. He was an out-and-out Marxist. Although you might think that a Marxist might be less likely to abandon leftism, I’d argue the opposite. As evil as their ideology is, they’re the ones who tend to have at least given a little thought to their beliefs. They’re the ones who take their beliefs beyond bumper-sticker sloganeering. Those are the ones more likely to wake up to the evil they’re supporting. The more dangerous is the mass of unthinking acceptors who never really give much thought or consideration to matters beyond faith in the tribe, the ones who you can show the tremendous fallacy of their argument and still won’t bend because “some really smart people agree with them”.

          2. I think most will fail to realize that its has made things worse. They’ll just assume that things would have been even worse had obamacare not come along.

            1. No. They know the cause of the problem. You guys don’t’ remember the 70s either. And things got really bad. But people did realize eventually that things like price control and government regulation of entire sectors of the economy didn’t work.

              1. I hope you’re right. Things have changed since the ’70s, in both good and bad ways. Many have forgotten the failures of communism, the failures of ’50s-’60s liberalism, and the awful Carter years. The major media and the schools have entrenched the view that anyone not at least a moderate liberal is a racist-fascist-homophobe.

                On the other hand, the internet and the non-leftist media, from Fox on down, have empowered non-leftists in many ways.

                A huge part of the problem is that the Republicans can’t get their messaging together. A big reason they took over the House in ’94 was the Contract With America: a set of simple, easy to understand, focus-group tested points that most people found quite sensible. They didn’t just gripe and complain about failed Democratic policies, they offered clear, sensible, moderate-sounding alternatives. If the GOP could do that with health care, they’ll win in 2014 and 2016.

                1. The GOP needs to repeat ad nauseam the 19% mantra-one gov spending passes 19% of GDP you hit diminishing returns. We are fluctuating between 24 and 26%, might be 30% by the time The One (PBUH) leaves office. just repeat that shit over and over again, make it the “war on women” meme of the repubs.

              2. Really? And therefore we don’t have price controls or regulation of entire sectors of the economy?

                I’ve love to believe that there will be a huge tide against OCare, but I seriously doubt it. There are dozens of examples of public policies that have horribly bad consequences, yet enjoy broad support or at least aren’t opposed by many. E.g. Medicare, medicaid, food stamps, public housing, etc. When OCare increases insurance premiums and causes employers to drop insurance, the Dems will blame those effects on insurance companies, greed, fraud, capitalism, deregulation and whatever else. And their base will believe that, and most of the rest of the country will not bother to care much.

                1. Really? And therefore we don’t have price controls or regulation of entire sectors of the economy?

                  Yes. The government used to totally control the trucking industry, the natural gas industry, the airline industry. And we had real no shit overall price controls in this country. Things actually got better in the late 1970s because people realized that shit didn’t work. They have just forgotten it these days. But they will learn.

                  I will tell you Adam the same thing I told sarcasmic. If you really believe people are so stupid that they will continue to support policies that obviously fail no matter how bad things get, then you believe most people are children or have a child like level of intelligence. And if you think that, maybe top men ought to be in charge.

                  I am sorry, but I don’t believe people are that stupid. And I think the people on here who claim they are are just feeling sorry for themselves and also just being smug about how only we really get it. We are not that bright. We like to think we are. We are not. If we can figure it out, other people will to. They just have to have a reason to care. And Obamcare is going to give them one.

                  1. I don’t think most people are stupid. I think that most people don’t pay attention to this stuff because they’re busy living their lives. They know that whatever they think about the issues is irrelevant to what the government does, so they don’t bother thinking about them. If they bother to vote, which many of them do not, they do so without a whole lot of thought about government programs and their economic consequences.

                    There is also a small set of people who love team politics and will believe whatever their team tells them, no matter how ridiculous.

                    1. That is right. Most people don’t pay attention. But they start paying attention when it affects their lives directly. The liberals have effectively shielded the costs of their policies from the vast majority of people who are paying for them. Obamacare ended that. For the first time since the 1970s we have a program that the suckers actually know they are being robbed. It is not going to end well for liberals. You watch.

                    2. I hope you are right and I’m wrong.

                    3. This is why Obamacare may fail. Normally, the redistribution is hidden in an arcane tax structure. Obamacare is different in that you will seeit more directly….so when your rates go up, you know its to help some schmuck you don’t know. Already the rates are not good. In Cali, my HSA account is already cheaper and better than the exchange silver plan.

                      Also, when the rates soar next year, then it will collapse.

                    4. We’ll also have a slew of data to work with. The nutball website has only enrolled 35k people, that doesn’t actually give a count of how many get coverage. If we do the math, that makes the broken website total cost a cool 17k per person before anyone gets coverage. If we use the figure that cbo tells us the entire program costs, we’re talking 20 million per policy. Ouch, I sure wouldn’t want to be a lib next year. Give them their second in the sunshine, pretty sure it’s getting real dark real fast.

      2. SIngle-payer press. The government would send people like Eugene Robinson to places like Wichita KS to do their reporting, and set caps on how many readers they could have.

    2. “ObamacareThe Fugitive Slave Law is here,” lectured liberal columnist Eugene Robinson. “Get used to it.”

      Yep, still sounds pretty fucking stupid.

      1. On FB, I got real sick of lefty idiots who I know IRL are lawyers and MBA bankers saying that the law must be upheld and such! As if laws were immutable…”sorry, slavery was passed so it shall be in force for eternity.”

    3. “Lie back and try to enjoy it”

      1. Thinking of England (the NHS)?
        They dehydrate bitter clingers.

  5. Oh, and the law can be changed on a whim. The Administration can delay parts of it at will, even though no one, yet no one has explained to me why an administration can delay a law, duly passed by congress.

    So I don’t see the Administration under any real pressure having little margin of error. Something doesn’t work out, the President shall declare thus and so are now different.

    1. Since the Sepremes declared Obamacare a tax I am curious where the CnC found the authority to give favored groups a waiver from a Federal Tax.

    2. the reasoning they give is the law still mandates businesses to do their required things this year, or be fined, but the admin just won’t bother to collect those fines, they are forgiven. That way they argue they didn’t change the law (they are only derelict in enforcing it)

  6. poor Shikha..
    thinking O-care imploding is a bug.

    1. Unfortunately, I know our modern government all too well. The beatings will continue until morale improves.

    2. At least she isn’t claiming the solution is to let in millions more South American peasants.

    3. Here comes single payer?

      1. I think about that sometimes, but if the government completely screws up the healthcare system, who’s gonna want more government involvement as a solution?

        I think we’re smarter than that.

        1. if the government completely screws up the healthcare system, who’s gonna want more government involvement as a solution?

          ROTFLMAO!

          Yeah, that’d be super weird. It’s not like the government has utterly and thoroughly fucked up entire swaths of society and then been handed more and more problem to correct the problem they caused before…

          1. *more and more power

          2. because they will claim it was someone else’s fault (the private insurance companies, the Republicans, the Koch brothers and George Bush make your life hell) so once they’ve driven all private insurance carriers out of business they can rescue the poor uninsured masses by passing single payer.

  7. “However, postponing the individual mandate is not an option either, even though that would be the right thing to do given that the administration has delayed the employer mandate. That’s because insurance companies need young and healthy people in the pool to offset the costs for the older and sicker patients that they are now required to cover at affordable rates.”

    This is basically what I was trying to say earlier today in this post:

    https://reason.com/blog/2013/10…..nt_4063986

    Hazel pointed out that it’s even worse than I thought.

    The system is set up to fail. You don’t have to pay the Penaltax until April 15, 2015, but if I understand this properly, the insurance companies have to start covering pre-existing conditions January 1, 2014!

    You can’t expect publicly traded insurance companies to suffer six–count ’em–six quarters of losses on pre-existing conditions–and not make that lost revenue up until the penaltax kicks in.

    There are numerous fundamental flaws in Obama’s thinking, and here’s a big one: consumers respond to price signals, not to Obama’s begging and pleading. They’re not going to chip in for insurance they can barely afford and don’t really need just because you beg them to. And that’s what you’re expecting them to do–for six quarters?!

    LOL

    1. And understand. This is not a conspiracy. The people who wrote this thing were really this stupid. They actually thought this would work.

      1. Hmmm. It’s almost as if they have never built anything before…

        1. you didn’t build that

      2. I don’t know if you’re being facetious, but if you’re being serious, I agree!

        See my example below of the California electricity “deregulation”…

        They thought what they were doing was ingenious, and it wasn’t until the utilities went bankrupt that they started catching on. And the whole train wreck happened in slow motion.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C…..ity_crisis

        I remember there was this one electricity company that couldn’t possibly deliver electricity profitably, anymore, and they were going to have to close down. Gray Davis threatened to throw the executives in jail if they stopped operations. They couldn’t meet payroll!

        ObamaCare has all been in Fantasyland up until now. Now we’re talking about the real world. In the real world? Insurance companies can’t spend more than they take in–no matter what the president says about hope and change. In the real world, the stock market punishes you for your quarterly results–no matter what the New York Times has been writing on their editorial page.

        1. Some on here claim that Obamacare was this evil plan designed to usher in single payer. And I think that is not the case. They really thought it would work. It is amazing how stupid and incompetent they are.

          1. I agree.

            Generally, it’s best not to assume a nefarious motive when simple stupidity explains it just as well.

            I guess that’s an Occam’s razor approach.

            They really just have no idea what they’re doing, or, rather, they live their whole lives in a state of imagination about the way the world should be–and have never learned to see the world the way is and figure out how to do what they want in it.

          2. I believe they thought Obamacare would work, by setting private insurers up for failure with regulations and price controls.

        2. The prevailing narrative on the California blackouts is that they were caused by the greedy and fraudulent Enron, isn’t it? The idea that this had anything to do with an utterly flawed law has been swept into the dustbin of history.

          1. Enron was involved in some of the price spikes, but the reason that the California companies were actively collapsing was that they couldn’t charge a profitable price for electricity.

            1. I’m not arguing about what the actual cause was, but what the prevailing public/media perception for the cause was. Take a look at the footnotes on that wiki article- the articles are all about how it was caused by Enron and other companies manipulating the market.

              1. Yeah, that’s definitely the way it was sold, and it’s true that Enron, et. al. were manipulating the market…

                But guess who set up the market like that–and left it that way, even as power was being sold out of state? …even as the utilities were going bankrupt?

                That wasn’t Enron’s decision. They just took advantage of what the State of California did. I mean, shit, that was ECON 101 stuff.

                Gee, capping the price of something creates unnecessary shortages? Who knew?!

                Tell you what we’ll do–let’s blame the rich white guys at Enron and “deregulation”!

          2. The primary causes were that they “deregulated” the electricity market by 1) capping the price utilities could charge consumers and 2) piling regulations on to stop the construction of new power plants.

            “Because the state government had a cap on retail electricity charges, this market manipulation squeezed the industry’s revenue margins, causing the bankruptcy of Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) and near bankruptcy of Southern California Edison in early 2001.”

            Ibid.

            You don’t “deregulate” a market by capping the price. The traders were merely capitalizing on the stupid way they “deregulated” that market. It was as predictable as the sunrise, sometimes you just can’t get ideologues (like those in Sacramento and Washington) to see what’s right in front of their ideologically rigid faces.

            If capping the price you can charge is “deregulation”, then New York City must have the most deregulated apartment rental market in the country.

            (And yet I’ve heard that the rent is too damn high.)

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x4o-TeMHys0

            1. I think this kind of proves my point that, no matter how obvious it is that the cause of a problem is a stupid law, the Democrats are going to blame the problem on markets, capitalists, greed, fraud, etc., the media will repeat the story without question, and most people will believe the prevailing narrative.

              I predict we will see the same pattern with ObamaCare. The provider market will consolidate and drive up health care costs, insurance premiums both on exchange and off will skyrocket, many employers will dump coverage, and insurance companies will stop offering on the exchange or demand subsidies to keep offering on them because pre-existing condition rule will create a death spiral. All of this will be blamed on greedy insurance companies, hospital chains, and employers, and whatever fraud they can find.

              1. “Democrats are going to blame the problem on markets, capitalists, greed, fraud, etc., the media will repeat the story without question, and most people will believe the prevailing narrative.”

                Yeah, we went through all those gyrations with the California Electricity Crisis.

                Gray Davis was recalled anyway.

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gray_Davis#Recall

                He was replaced with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Talk about a Total Recall!

                They’ll blast all the same old bullshit, but if and when the insurance markets implode, all that bluster won’t do them any good.

                I think many of my fellow opponents of Obama are demoralized.

    2. There are numerous fundamental flaws in Obama’s thinking, and here’s a big one: consumers respond to price signals,

      Price signals are racist.

      1. Don’t forget sexist, and probably homophobic and transphobic.

      2. along with down payments when buying a house.

    3. I disagree. If the Insurance companies get to match their premiums for self-insured to the exchange prices, they get a huge revenue bonus. Then when it all collapses, the anchor price will be higher.

      1. I’m not sure if you’re predicting that insurance premiums will have to go up, precipitously, but if that’s what you’re saying, I agree with you.

        But when we’re talking about taking people on with pre-existing conditions, we’re talking about a HUGE cost basis.

        Holy shit, they’re gonna have to cover your heart valve! Their cost basis isn’t going up by some percentage–it’s gonna be some multiple. Especially if so few new people are actually going to be paying into the system to offset those costs.

        And let’s face it…those 20 somethings? They’re not buying into the insurance markets in large numbers until it costs them more not to buy in than it costs them to buy in. I remain skeptical that you’re gonna get them to spend hundreds of dollars a month instead of a $95 penaltax for the first year…

        Not when the X-Box One is about to come out.

        1. They don’t have to buy in until they hit 26.

          1. That’s always seemed like a bit of an oversight to me–the fact is that those 25 and unders still have to have insurance though, right? They may still be on their parents’ insurance, bu they have to have insurance, right?

            The fact is that they’re expecting young healthy people to pay into the system and make up for all the money the insurance companies will lose taking care of people with pre-existing conditions.

            Even the Obama Administration argued–for years–that ObamaCare could not work without the individual mandate. Making healthy people buy health insurance they probably don’t need is the crux of ObamaCare.

            1. Punishing young and/or healthy people for being young and/or healthy is the crux of ObamaCare.

            2. but those 25 and under on their parent’s plans (even if they have their own house, family and job elsewhere) will in many cases pay no premiums. The working parents can select individual, couple, or family…with the family rates being the same whether there are 3 or 10. So as long as there is one or more other children who would have previously qualified enrolled as well as the “young adult”, that young adult gets newly enhanced coverage for NO premium. Let’s see, I can get my own insurance for $500/mo thru my own employer, or stick on Dad’s plan for no extra charge to him…”. People under 30 can apply for high deductible hospitalization (how do they get to tell a 31 year old he isn’t eligible to buy the insurance that may best suit his personal needs?). So most of these “young people” who they expect to foot the bill are going to be over 30.

        2. Is there any advantage to buying insurance vs paying the penalty? I think I’ll just pay the penalty…

          1. Depends on how much tax you pay for the year. The penalty for an individual for the first year is a percentage of his tax or $95 – whichever is greater. If you pay much of anything in taxes, the penalty could be a good deal more. The $95 is just the bare minimum you must pay for being alive in Lord Obama’s plantation the country.

    4. A couple weeks ago there was an article about the 17,000 plus entries to the Federal Registry for March of this year- even with sequester- we were obliged to find the most obscure governmental program- I caught this: Health Insurance Providers Fee
      Why it’s only $8 Billion for FY2014, ever increasing there after- and note the provision it can be either passed on (hidden) in premiums or (more honestly) added as a ‘user fee’.

      1. https://federalregister.gov/a/2013-04836

        — must have screwed up my a href tag. it’s parsing my anchor end tag into the URL odd —

  8. Just reset my password. Whew. Coming around here was painful ever since Barr lost. Someone get me up to speed.

    1. Someone get me up to speed.

      Been pretty quiet…..

  9. Shikha Dalmia is right! (…and so was I earlier today). It isn’t the individual mandate that needs to be delayed for ObamaCare to survive–they’re going to have to push back the date when insurers can no longer deny coverage for pre-existing conditions.

    And if I understand correctly, they’ve only go six weeks to push it back!

    Getting rid of pre-existing conditions is the last thing Obama wants to do, but if he doesn’t want to end up like Gray Davis after the California Electricity Crisis, that’s what he’s going to have to do.

    Come to think of it, Gray Davis, IMHO, was a lot smarter about economic policy than Obama is, and Gray Davis didn’t figure it out until it was too late. Pacific Gas & Electric went bankrupt and Southern California Edison was circling the drain.

    1. Why can’t Obama just delay that too?

      1. Two reasons:

        1) Political suicide before the midterms.

        While the individual mandate is the most unpopular part of ObamaCare, the prohibition against refusing coverage to those with pre-existing conditions is the most popular part of ObamaCare. If you delay the popular part, there’s gonna be major political fallout in the midterms.

        All you’ve done is champion the unpopular part at that point.

        2) Obama is an idiot.

        His regulation of Wall Street probably set the recovery back by a a year, year and a half or more. He really believes the stupid shit he says when he’s off script. He doesn’t want to delay that, because as clear as you or I can see a sword dangling over his head, he thinks it’s a pinata, and everybody that doesn’t want what he wants is a hate-filled, capitalist, greedy, poopy-head.

        1. He’s on record saying his only problem is: ” I believe my own bullshit.”

    2. Here is the thing about pre existing conditions. Everyone is all for helping out those with pre-existing conditions as long as someone else is paying for it. When people realize that they are paying to insuring pre-existing conditions, that little sympathy group is going to go under the bus. You watch.

      1. Yep, soon they’ll be evil for not buying Obama’s fantastic insurance and will need to be punished.

      2. A sensible compromise might be to set up a non-profit Pre-Existing Conditions Fund with a little tax money and encourage donations, and have people who need it apply for assistance. The worst way is to decree that all policies must cover them, which just raises everyone’s premiums.

        1. That was Harry Reid’s appeal to emotion at the Health Care Summit. Some Reno entrepreneur insured his half a dozen or so employees but when his son was born with a cleft palate the evil insurance company denied the claim as pre-existing. (IIRC) Sen. Reid claimed the bill was over $17,000. That same day I noticed an ad in the Las Vegas Review Journal for some charity – Smiles without Borders or some such — for a $250 donation doctors (fly to and) repair cleft palates of children in Central/South America.

        2. Or just pay out of taxes…dialysis is done that way. I bet it would still be cheaper overall.

      3. I don’t know about that. Several prominent local GOP leaders and financiers gush about the need to cover pre-existing conditions. I think a poll would show most Americans back it.
        And it is predictable that it will be the requirement to cover pre-existing conditions that will drive premiums through the roof and spell the doom of private insurance.

        1. They don’t call them the stupid party for nothing. They are operating under the assumption that people will never realize they are paying for it and that their views will never change. And I don’t think that is the case. People only care about other people when they think someone else is paying to help them.

  10. Brain-dead cheerleader gets is wrong:

    “Despite the glitches, more than 500,000 Californians have visited Covered California in its first couple of days, and hundreds of thousands more across the country, in red states and blue – far more than expected – signed on with the new health insurance marketplaces, a core element of Obamacare.
    Which would appear to make notions of “defunding,” “delaying” or otherwise ripping out the heart of the 3 1/2-year-old Affordable Care Act quaintly absurd.”

    He left out the fact that, as of that time, not one had been able to buy insurance.
    http://www.sfgate.com/default/…..867015.php

  11. Pre-existing conditions.

    Starting in January 2014, all zombies will receive both free medical care and free legal advise. The justice department will launch a massive campaign to sue any and all banks that deny mortgages to zombies, and landlords will be thrown in jail for refusing to rent to them.

    However, the administration will take no official position and will remain silent on all matters regarding marriage between the living and the undead.

    1. Well, you know, marriage equality…

      1. Social conservatives proclaim there can be no redemption for gay zombies.

        1. Only if you aim for the head, I’m told.

  12. It’s working EXACTLY how they intended, that is it’s NOT working. The plan of course is for it to be such a huge failure they can ramrod thorough single payer which was what they wanted all along.

    1. Maybe the economy is so complex that Top Men cannot predict what will happen when they start to monkey with it.

      1. RACIST!!!!

    2. they can ramrod thorough single payer

      How exactly are they going to do that, with the GOP in control of the house?

      1. How exactly are they going to do that, with the GOP in control of the house?

        Wait a couple years until Hillary Clinton is president and the house is back under Nancy Pelosi’s gavel.

  13. I’ll bet my next Healthcare premium that CGI got the only request to bid for the software. By the way, where are all the “millions” of people who are benefiting from the ACA? We are seeing hundreds of confirmed cases of dropped coverage and enormous premium increases. How about some confirmed cases where premiums went down from people who will share their real names and show copies of their bills? Not going to happen. Sure they get “help” paying their premiums but did any of them realize they had a $5000 annual out of pocket?

    1. I was told, at HuffPo, by the commentors over there on the first day of the exchange opening, that everyone, read EVERYONE, every single person in the country that signed up would save from 50 – 90% on health insurance compared to what they have right now, and that people who don’t have coverage would be in sheer ectasy when they saw how cheap, almost free, their new health insurance would be.

      BTW, where are the happy, newly insured people at? Does someone have them locked up in a dungeon somewhere? Because, I have yet to hear a peep out of even one of them.

      1. Well there was that one guy, too bad he ended up being full of shit.

      2. Yeah Hyperion, come on. Don’t make Tony come over here and lie about signing up for obamacare.

      3. not low cost – heavily subsidized (someone else paying their bill)

  14. I’ll bet my next Healthcare premium that CGI got the only request to bid for the software. By the way, where are all the “millions” of people who are benefiting from the ACA? We are seeing hundreds of confirmed cases of dropped coverage and enormous premium increases. How about some confirmed cases where premiums went down from people who will share their real names and show copies of their bills? Not going to happen. Sure they get “help” paying their premiums but did any of them realize they had a $5000 annual out of pocket?

  15. You have to keep in mind that the true goal of Obamacare is to force the US into a single-payer system. So the law as defined will be a failure and the end result will be a few large healthcare providers, with government bailouts in hand operating under strict government regulation and price fixing, still in existence.

    1. “You have to keep in mind that the true goal of Obamacare is to force the US into a single-payer system.”

      If that’s the goal, they’re doing a terrible job of it.

      The way to turn us into single-payer is to make ObamaCare work so well that voters want more of the same.

      1. or just parts of it…people understand websites. When you cannot make a website work, then they start worrying about your skill making the doctoring part work.

  16. “The site?whose staggering $634 million construction cost is more than that of LinkedIn and Spotify combined … ”

    This number has been debunked … it reflects the total government contracts for the last seven years for that company, not just the cost of ACA … the ACA web cost is $94M — a lot of money, but not $634M — still not worth it if the website doesn’t work … which mostly, as of now, it doesn’t.

    As always, I expect correct data to be reflected at Reason … the article needs updating to reflect accurate cost information.

    1. “It reflects the total government contracts for the last seven years for that company, not just the cost of ACA”

      What else have they been doing that cost us $540 million?

      1. Stimulating Canada’s economy.

    2. Still, if you raised $94 million from investors for a product that failed to perform as promised on delivery day, how many nanoseconds would it take before Team Obama would be calling press conferences to announce a securities fraud prosecution against you? Together with sanctimonious crap about you stealing the life savings of widows and orphans? And Oliver Stone producing a movie about your greed?

      But when the government does it, it’s merely a glitch.

    3. OK, $94 million.

      I’d like to know how that compares to Kayak, which Sebellius referred to.

  17. Cede an almost-clean CR to temporarily fund the government…minus the 654 million dollars they spent on a website to nowhere.

  18. There is something else, besides covering for preexisting conditions, that will sink the insurance companies. Obamacare removes all lifetime caps on health care payouts. This is unlimited (or at least very high) liability for the insurance companies. These 2 factors will drive insurance costs through the stratosphere.

  19. Yeah, because if there’s one that always happens to multi-trillion dollar entitlement programs, they are either done away with or privatized…

  20. Devil’s advocate. Maybe someone can shed light on this. Whenever I hear the ‘took over one-sixth of the economy’ line, all I hear is a liberal retorting auto insurance (since it’s forced too) is the same thing.

    Is it?

    1. That is a state-level thing, not federal. The federal government has no such requirement for auto insurance. Additionally, the states have police powers that the federal government does not, and it is not unconstitutional for a state government to make insurance a requirement for driving. Not that they should…it’s just that it’s not unconstitutional for them to do it.

      Another difference is, if you don’t want to buy insurance, don’t. No one is making you. Just don’t get caught driving without it. If you don’t want to buy health insurance, then…? There’s nothing you can *not* do to avoid the requirement. That’s the difference between regulating activity (driving) and regulating non-activity (not buying a product).

      1. At feast in Pa, the only auto insurance I am required to purchase is to provide “fiscal responsibility” to others. I am required to be responsible for the damage to someone else’s car, but not to my own – unless I still have a car loan, in which case it’s not really my car, it belongs to the bank.

        So there is no requirement at all for a person to insurance themselves, and thus no comparison to health insurance.

  21. If ACA crashes, which seems likely, there will be as much pressure for Medicare for All as there is for free-market reforms of the kind envisioned in Goodman’s Priceless or Christensen’s Innovator’s Prescription, both essential reads for understanding just how much better our system could become.

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