Breaking: Obama to Rename Health Care Reform "Sebeliuscare"


Well, actually, he's going to call the ongoing screw-ups at Healthcare.gov "unacceptable":

President Barack Obama will declare the glitches in a new healthcare website "unacceptable" on Monday and outline ways for consumers to sign up for insurance while his team scrambles to fix problems that have tainted the rollout of his signature healthcare law.

More at Reason 24/7.

As Reason's Peter Suderman has pointed out, the administration has really blown its credibility with the "disastrous" rollout of Obamacare. And the problems are not simply all at Healthcare.gov:

The problems aren't confined to the federal exchanges either. Maryland's system, which President Obama praised a week before the exchanges opened, is still broken. Hawaii's system, built by the same contractor that built the federal exchange, was shut down on October 1 after crashing, and did not reopen until October 15, at which point it briefly went down again. Oregon delayed online enrollment even before opening, and was still stymied by technical glitches at the beginning of the week

Over at The Daily Beast last week, I wrote that "you've got a better chance of turning up a gerbil escapee scurrying down Richard Gere's leg than finding a couple dozen satisfied customers of healthcare.gov." The administration has recently said that about half a million people have taken steps to "enroll" in Obamacare, but as Politico stresses, that figure "still leaves a lot unknown or unsaid":

To get covered, people have to create the application, shop and compare health plans, find out if they qualify for a federal subsidy and how much in total they would have to pay, and then actually select and enroll in a specific health plan. Millions of people have smashed into cyber-brick walls as they try to get through the flawed computer system which must process the information supplied by the applicant and check a massive "data hub" drawing on information from several massive federal agencies.

And even when people do manage to choose a plan, insurers and industry consultants say that the federal government is having trouble transmitting accurate and consistent data about who is signing up for which health plan. That indicates the online system has problems at the back end, not just at the consumer entry point.

The feds are running exchanges in 36 states and, according to Politico, about half of the "enrollees" are in state-operated exchanges. Among state-operated exchanges, those in Kentucky and Washington are reported to be running pretty well. Yet enrolling does not equal getting insurance. In fact, it doesn't even necessarily mean picking a plan, much less paying for coverage. I may well be counted as an enrollee: After several attempts over two days, I succeeded in creating an account for the Ohio exchange (which is run by the feds) but have not been able to get back into the system since. Or even have the system recognize my username and password (the reset password function does not work, either).

The Advisory Board, a business group that tracks health industry developments, tallied up the state figures available as of Friday and found that about 192,000 people had applied, and roughly 55,000 had selected a health plan (although not all of them had paid in advance for the plan, so technically enrollment wasn't completed).

Read more here.

Obama addresses the nation around 11.30am ET today, to discuss screwups. Or maybe to re-brand Obamacare as Sebeliuscare. In any case, should be an interesting chat.