The essence of Obamacare is working fine.
As of today, more than half a million people have signed up for Obamacare. However, many more people may have enrolled, but they were unable to because of glitches on the healthcare website. On Sunday afternoon, HHS officials posted a blog saying, “Unfortunately, the experience on HealthCare.gov has been frustrating for many Americans.” And on NBC's “Meet the Press”, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said, “I think that there's no one more frustrated than the president at the difficulty in the Web site.”
So, President Obama announced that the administration has enlisted the help of some computer experts to help fix the glitches, and improve the online marketplaces. Although the White House has not disclosed exactly who will be working on the site, or how many glitches need repair, they described the new team of experts as “the best and the brightest.” It may take several weeks for coders to find and correct the various problems, from people having difficulty signing up, to computers communicating with each other among at least 50 different databases. And, the corrections should be in place for people to sign up long before the March 31st enrollment deadline.
A project this massive is bound to have at least a few technical issues, but this is too important to give up after just a few glitches. In a speech this morning, the President said that the Affordable Care Act is not just a website, and the essence of the law is working just fine. He added, “It's time for folks to stop rooting for its failure, because hard-working middle class families are rooting for its success.”
Thom, off topic reply but there's an interesting article about Heritage and the effects of the NSA scandal. At the bottom of the article John Feehery says he's afraid that Heritage is going to change their stance on many of their traditional stances including on free trade. You've always said that the party who changes position on free trade is going to win a lot of elections and it seems the far right is headed in that direction.
Check it out at: http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2013/10/16/now_the_nsa_scandal_is_roiling_the_heritage_foundation?wp_login_redirect=0
Is anyone hearing about attempts to intentionally block or sabotage the on line registration process? These idealogues who were willing to trash the entire US economy certainly would have no qualms about sabotaging the ACA registration process. I over hear groups of people,that support killing Obama Care, tell their friends to go on line to the ACA internet site even if they are not looking for health care. Clog up the works is their message. I would put no despicable act out of the realm of possibility with these right wing Cruz fanatics.
I think Thom should repeat what he said on the air on Friday, Oct 18, 2013. A key contributor to the problems with the software is that ACA software was designed as a portal to the states software. With 26 states not signing up the federal software had to become much more than a portal.
Finally someone notices this. The right wing has spend millions, if not billions of dollars over the pass year, bragged, almost jumping up and down like little childern about going to do whatever it takes to bring down the ACA, shut down the goverment, signed packs, lied and mislead countless millions about what they refer to as a trainwreck. Is it so hard to believe they might be behind the program's problems. Here's a "little problem" I've had with signing up (I've tried to post this before and don't know if it worked, not very good at this stuff) anyway I've tried three times to sign up, I site works fine, I enter my information then it tells me to wait for a phone call to help with quotes, a few minutes later I recieve a phone call, but because they are so busy I will need to hold for a few minutes, I listen to the music for a few moments, then "click click" I'm disconnected and have just recieved an e-mail telling me NOT to sign up with ACA! You do the math.
gwiech ~ Your link takes one to a registration page. Surely such a big story is covered on public access sites. Do you have any free links to the story?
Apropos to #7 ~ I've just done a websearch on the Heritage foundation and Free Trade. All I've found is complete support for Free Trade. With all due respect to gwiech, I would suggest no one register in the link he/she provided until he/she can verify this claim.
As Jon Stewart pointed out recently ... the people who are complaining are probably the same people who will wait patiently in line overnight for the latest phone. It's unfortunate that the software had to be tested live, but it will eventually be debugged. The loudest naysayers only fear that the ACA will be successful. If it weren't for these same misanthropes, we might actually have had a single-payer system.
They should consult with the people that set up the system at Kaiser. I've been a Kaiser patient for 30 years and they have set up a great computer system. You can do everything, almost, via computer and no glitches. Doctors have computers in consult rooms and write down what orders they prescribe and print it out for you. Getting prescriptions, making appointments, asking your doctor via email are all a part of a pretty darn good system.
I wonder how people are trying actively to bring down the Kaiser system? What makes you think they did not consult with the Kaiser people?
All of these problems and this who is who is going to be looking after your health care. Run Forest run.
calgal69 ~ With all due respect, I don't think Kaiser's computer specialists could have helped in this situation. It is not a programming issue--it is a shear volume of communication issue. It is bandwidth; not software. If that makes any sense? It's at best a minor inconvenience in states that have set up their own exchanges due to the shear unexpected numbers of applicants. In states that have refused to set up exchanges and accept the medicaid funding it is a disaster because the original portal software wasn't written to be more than a portal. The Fed has to scramble and setup the local state exchanges themselves; and, that is causing the major delays. Blame the Governors of those states not the software. Nevertheless, it is just a delay, nothing else. They will be up and on line in no time. Once the initial surge of applicants subsides the system should function quite smoothly.
I wish I could offer a personal opinion of the new exchanges myself; however, I already have health insurance and I don't want to clog up the works for others who need it. I believe that is the responsible thing to do if one does not urgently need it. I've decided to wait till January before I try logging on, registering, and dipping a toe in the water.
Trust me kend, they will run. Why would a young healthy 24 year old working a part time job in the Obama economy get on line and sign up for insurance that is twice as expensive as it was before Obamacare and subsidize the risk pool? The overwhelming number of sign ups so far are for the medecaid additions. The Libs are in denial and this act of government tyranny is going to cost a fortune if it does not collapse under its own weight First. Watch for the blame for the lack of participation to focus on Reagan, Bush, racism, ted cruz, or the tea party because they would never expect their utopian dream of total benevolent government control to be a self induced brain fart.
Blame Reagan. He hasn't been in office for 25 years. I am living the dream of government health care.. My co workers wife needs surgery for her sinus. She was told she will have to wait three years. My son a few years ago had to wait 10 months to see a stomach specialist. It is a utopian dream all right.
Can we start calling obamACAre "The Insurance Industry Windfall Act" ? Is that not the case?
And, as far as that goes, how about "The Wall Street Windfall Act" in that top for-profit health insurers invest BILLIONS of dollars in, well, Cigarette Manufaturers and Fast "food" industries alone...not to mention Big Oil, Fracking, Coal, Nukes, GMOs, Pesticides etc etc and even military weapons. Some "health care industry", eh?
Check it out yourself. It's all PUBLIC info at the SEC EDGAR Database...plus Physicians for a National Health Program exposed the angles about Cigarette and Fast "food" insurer investment stuff years ago. Easy search...or I'l do it for you if you wish. J
I want to see how this all pans out before sticking my foot in my mouth. So far, all I've heard are very, very happy participants--at least in the participating blue states. They say Vermont may actually be the first state to lead the nation launching a Single-Payer system. Whoo-Hooo!!!
Now that's what I'm talking about!
Thom, daily listener via internet WCPT (live in Red State with 11 Fox and Limbaugh stations)
I am a retired Insurance Agent. I might be retired but I try to stay current about health insurance as I sold that product along with Mutual Funds, Annuities, Life Insurance, Long Term Care, and Disability Insurance. Did well and I always tried to help people who could not speak for themselves.
I want to share with you the experience of ACA and my observations.
First of all, the Kaiser Family Foundation Subsidy website is the only way to estimate how much the ACA subsidy will be. As I talk to people, who will qualify for ACA, the Fox, Limbaugh, Insurance Agents and Republican Politicians are bad mouthing ACA. So, I went to the Kaiser Subsidy Calculator and discovered that a single person making $11,500 is considered 100% of Poverty and eligible for ACA. Non-smoker, male, age 25, will be able to obtain a Silver Health Policy for $19 a month. I then met with a small business owner, age 40, spouse age 36, four kids, and has an AGI income of $50,000 and his premium of $200 a month. He is presently paying $500. He said if this is true, he would be buying a truck with the $300 a month. He is considered 168% of poverty. ACA only goes up to 400 per cent of Poverty which will vary depending on income and family size. There are lots of mis-information from Republicans, Employers, Local Talk and Local Payers with articles from Insurance agents badmouthing ACA. However, Kaiser is the only way to get an estimate for the ACA subsidy.
The ACA, healthcare dot gov linking to the state does not allow you to browse insurance offering unless you enter information like Social Security and other personal information. I cannot help my grandkids or kids, unliess I enter personal information that I don't have. I think that is a weak link. People would like to browse offerings, like the information entered in the Kaiser Family Foundation Subsidy website that gives an idea of how much the monthly premium will be for the silver plan, like the 100% poverty $11,500 a year single non-smoker only $19 a month.
An article in our local newspaper written by an Insurance agent was filled with mis-information mixed with some fact. As an Insurance Agent, I had to main duties, writing new business and Protecting my old line of business. What I am finding out, local Insurance agents are spreading false information to "conserve their existing higher priced Health Care Policies". The higher the Premium, the higher the commission and residuals. Most Insurance agents, if not all, want people to Not go to ACA and are giving their clients all kinds of reasons to stay away. Even though their clients will save a lot of money, like the small business owner $300 a month.
I want to share with you the Insurance Companies crying that ACA does not give them good information to enroll people in ACA policies available. The Insurance Companies are most likely repeating the same strategy they have done for 30 plus years, making it difficult to process applications they do not want or in the case of Health Care Providers to get Paid. What they did to eliminate independent Billing by doctors who had their own billing department, the Insurance Companies consistently rejected the billing of independent doctors, using excuses like wrong codes, not filled out correctly, that prevented the health care provider from getting paid from the insurance companies. The Insurance Company created "Billing Services Companies" that would contact the health care providers to "solve the getting paid from the insurance companies". The doctor could eliminate their BIlling staff and funnel all their services through the "Billing Services" sub companies owned by the Insurance Companies, hence, eliminating any competitive independent billing from health care provider. The doctor would use codes that would be used to bill for services via the "Billing Company" Once all independent health care Billing was consumed, the insurance Companies had eliminated any competiton and could, from that point, like the last 15 years, create a nationwide computer network of like computer systems, that contained an internal program like "Charge Master" to raise costs of all health care services and products 7% annually, doulbling the cost of healthcare every 8 to 9 years, It appears the elimination of health care billing by independent doctors, in order for the insurance Companies to fix prices was complete 20 years ago.
Today, the Insurance Companies are repeating the same strategy, it appears, making it difficult to get enrolled in the Government mandate ACA. I am not surprised as it had worked before. Hopfully, the Government will have agents that are computer literate, like me, to pay a visit to these insurance Companies who are having trouble. I bet, they find fraud. Hopefully these insurance companies will get more than a fine, with an executive or two going to jail.
I called our State ACA processing center, got right in, and told him that not having the ability to look at offerings of health insurance that my grandkids can get without SS and other presonal information was a real disadvantage. Income, Age, smoker, non-smoker, and family size should be the only criteria and that does not be required just to shop before buying. They need to fix that. I could help all my family if I did not need their personal information. I left them feedback. I also told them that the Media, Insurance Agents, and Republican Governor are doing everything possible to make ACA not attractive. The Republican Governor elected not to Expand Medicaid for ACA. The People making less than $11,499 annually, single person, non-smoker. There are over 200,000 peopel that are eligible for expanded Medicaid under ACA but will fall through the cracks.
I thought of a side benefit of ACA. In our state, we have the lowest income level of any state, the biggest drop of income over the last decade about $11,000 annually with three out of four jobs being created as minimum wage. Since we are an agraian state, empplyers pay Under the table. Cash avoiding paying taxes. The ACA cut off is $11,500 to qualify for ACA at the highest subsidy. I think the employers will be receiving a lot of pressure to start paying above the table, so enough income will be reported for tax purposes to get ACA health insurance. Their employees will probably put pressure on their Under the table employers in order to have enough income to at least make 100% of Poverty. Could be more tax dollars to help our underfunded schools.
I support the ACA, lest us not forget that 750,000 families declare bankruptcy every year, one and half million families lose their homes every year for medical bills. I visited Australia, with single payer Universal health Care and there are Zero, none, no bankruptcies or people losing their homes for medical bills. The Health Care Monoply own a lot of homes, mansions they took from the outrageous charges for getting sick in a city of 500,000.
Thanks Thom but please review the Kaiser Family Foundatin Subsidy Calculator estimate website as people who are calling in, saying their insurance went up, might be the insurance agents wanting to conserve his high commission issued policy. Of course, the Kaiser calculator is a ball park but I will share that ACA has eliminated Junk health Insurance My sister declared bankruptcy and lost her house at age 62 having health insurance that was capped at $250,000. The bills kept rising, they cashed in their savings, their IRA's, Stock, used Credit cards maxed out, and their home equity to get followup appointments for treatment until it was all consumed, the bill was over One mIllion dollars. My sister never told the family why she no longer lived in her home. Until, we had lunch with the family and I share the eyeopening 750,000 families that have bankruptcy for medical bills and the 1.5 million home foreclosures every year for medical bills. She cried.
The Insurance Companies are Not a friend of ACA and will do what they did before, make it as difficult as possible to enroll. It worked before, hopefully, the ACA police will visit the Insurance Companies that seem to have difficulty enrolling people in the ACA policies.
Thanks Thom, I listen every day. You maintain our sanity.
The debate as framed by the corporate media needs to be changed. Instead of scrapping it versus fixing it, the debate should be whether or not Medicare for All is the solution. The ACA has some good provisions but it is convoluted, complex and complicated and is a giveaway to the insurance companies like Medicare Part D is a giveaway to the pharmaceutical companies.
The application process can be fixed but there may also be other problems with it. We should be talking about HR 676 as an alternative or even adding a Medicare buy-in to the exchanges.
Yes, I agree with the opinion ideologues are doing everything in their power to sabotage obamacare.. They proved with the shutdown they have no interest in right or wrong, honor or ethics, or especially what the people want.
Conservatives Apparently feel strongly that the money should be used for tax cuts for the rich, and for war, and that even though the people vited fir healthcare, Democrats should cut Social Security Medicare and healthcare to pay for what republicans want.. How's this for democracy?
Mikeguru -- Thanks for all the insight.
To j.jonik -- It is not a pure windfall for the ins industry. Read Mikeguru below. Some windfalling had to happen to get this bill through congress. This is similar to the windfall given to doctors for passing medicare. The main windfall that happened for medicare is the "fee for service" provision. A much cheaper and better approach would have been a managed care system like the Mayo Clinic uses.
Mikeguru ~ Thank you so much for that insight. You have helped your family and many others. I personally have had professional dealings with these so called billing companies. Till now I didn't know what exactly what their roll was in the whole insurance game. Now I know. I always suspected as much because what I do know of them fits exactly with what you just said.
Thanks again, my friend! And, the best of luck to you and your family; and, everyone else.
Pointofgrille, having just read your post, I agree; these idealogues are mean-spirited enough to intentionally sabotage the ACA registration process. But they will not prevail in the long run. We will get healthcare to people who need it, whether those toadies like it or not. The glitches and barriers are only temporary. - AIW
Mikeguru, thanks for your valuable input. Health insurance is nothing but a sleazy racket. The sooner it goes bye-bye, the better off we all will be! Living on the edge, one illness or accident away from total destitution, is hard on my sanity. It amazes me how complacent we are as a society, putting up with this. It is a form of terrorism. It is also government-sanctioned extortion. And it is abusive. We need to get rid of these thieving bastards before they destroy us all. - AIW
More via Der Spiegel:
Post #37: Look no further. The system has operated for 280 years until Obama was elected, need I say more? - "Luling"
My reply: Look no further, see no further. Reagan stuck us with more deficit than all previous presidents COMBINED; his policies set us up for much of the malaise this country suffers today thanks to de-regulation, privatization, etc. Baby Bush furthered the damage by starting wars that have yet to be paid for. Both those presidents, and Clinton, destroyed our system of tariffs and through bad "trade" policies and so forth, all but destroyed manufacturing in a country that was once the manufacturing leader of the world. Yet Post #37 claims everything was fine and dandy before Obama took office. Where've ya been these past several decades; napping? Time to wake up!
Post #38: Respectfully THANK YOU for exposing both the flaws of the U.S. system as well as the sinister & seditious acts of a small minority, including the trolls who express the same opinions here; saying that the editorial was heavy handed w/ partisan name calling was the most absurd thing I have read in a while on Spiegel commentary & I felt compelled to say that the majority of Americans who love their country absolutely disagree with danm who clearly has his own agenda- there were no "left talking points" in the editorial, simply a description of the current problem with the U.S. system-- so thank you for an excellent overview. - "bopalog1"
My reply: Thank you for piping in with a voice of sanity here. Your input helps show that there is intelligent life residing on U.S. soil, despite all that Teabagger nonsense. Yes, and some Americans still do believe in democracy. The ACA falls way short of what we need. But with luck, it will open the floodgates for single-payer, universal healthcare in our country. I think perhaps this is why the neo-con fascists and their little trolls are so violently opposed to it. I'm talking about a country where each year, a million families lose their homes, driven into bankruptcy & destitution by our current system; where lack of access to healthcare kills nearly fifty thousand of us each year. What is conspicuously missing from these discussions is any mention of the human consequences of such a murderously cruel and abusive system. What is it going to take to get these parasites - these Welfare Queen Billionaires - off our backs?!
Still sluggin' it out across the Atlantic! - Aliceinwonderland
Aliceinwonderland ~ An excellent exchange! However, I fail to see what poster #37 meant by a "system that has operated for 280 years" till Obama was elected. Obama was elected in 2008. 2008-280=1728. I'm trying to envision what system started in 1728 that lasted till 2008. It couldn't be our heath care system? In 1728 they treated pneumonia with leeches and used whiskey for anesthesia. The same guy that cut your hair pulled your teeth. Health care insurance didn't exist. Didn't cost that much. How much are you going to pay for such a service when the bartender is you anesthesiologist?
They also allowed people to own each other till 1865. Another very flawed system. Surely, he can't be talking about the slavery system because that ended way before Obama.
Even our system of government didn't last that long. What system is he talking about?
Am I correct in assuming that Der Speigal, like Thom Harmann, though being the very cerebral sources of information that they are, still attract a fair share of retarded nitwits to the comment section of their blogs? If so, which side of the Atlantic is this particular nitwit from? (Please say the other side.)
I hope I'm not being to judgmental. Did I miss something?
Kend- I get so tired of you Canadians whining about your healthcare system, a system that doesn't bankrupt anyone or leave anyone to die from neglect. My understanding of how the Canadian system works is that those with life-threatening illnesses and injuries take first priority while others must wait. Boo-hoo-hoo, you're breakin' mah heart! Please; instead of whining, how about describing the kind of healthcare delivery system that would make you happy? I'm all ears. - Alice I.W.
Marc, I think the author of Post #37 was making some vague assertion that the USA was hunki-dory for 280 years, before that "Evil Black Man/UnAmerican Muslim" took office. His numbers are off, however. As I recall, our bicentennial celebration was in 1976, less than forty years ago. So the guy doesn't sound all that bright. Maybe I wasted my time answering him. But it really rankles me whenever anyone suggests this country was doing fine until Obama came along. I'm no fan of Obama's- his foreign policy sucks; he caves in to the oligarchs too often and has dropped the ball more times than I can keep track of. But Obama didn't exactly walk into a rose garden when he took office! Anyway Marc, I think anyone who'd make such a comment is a goddam fool. Frankly, I doubt whether even he could tell us specifically what he meant. Whether he's referring to the history of our healthcare system or of the country as a whole, his numbers are off and he's full of crap. Those Europeans must be gettin' lots of comic relief, reading such silly posts. Your assumption is spot-on. And while I've no proof, I'd bet $$ he's American. - AIW
Global, you entire post is a brain fart.
Aliceinwonderland ~ Thanks for clarifying that. It just seemed too senseless and stupid of a comment to be true; or, a complete thought in context. My brain refused to process it without further information. However, I somehow conjectured it was the ramblings of a nincompoop. I can now rest easy that my suspicions were correct. What is wrong with this tea party/conservative crowd's general brain activity--or lack there of? Could it be sign of the beginning of the Zombie apocalypse? Or, is greed simply making them stupid? Or, is it something in their water? Transfats or flouride, maybe? I so want to believe it is curable. I too must confess that I'd also bet $$ he's an American. Just a terrible gut feeling. You know, like the one you have right before you throw up. For some reason, I just can't picture a European with those words rolling out of their mouth. At least, none of the ones I've met.
I hear ya, Mark! That brand of stoopid has "Made In America" stamped all over it! We can blame transfats, flouride, high fructose corn syrup and corporatized infotainment for such low wattage.
One of the key tools that Reagan used to destroy the US economy is hardly ever mentioned. It might be one of the worse. I am referring to the 1987 act that allowed pensions to taken as part of bankruptcy pjroceedings against a company. The reason it is not often mentioned is because it has a couple of layers deception from its effect. The main separation is that no one mentions how that act enables private equity companies to get loans from banks to perform their leveraged buyouts. During the dubya years 50,000 factories were closed in the US. I would venture a guess that half of those closings were precipitated by private equity firms.
"The Insurance Industry Windfall Act" -- perfect.
The huge increase in deductibles and premiums is catching so many people by surprise -- but not the insurance companies who wrote the act, evidently.
Maybe they can no longer refuse a policy to a person with a pre-existing condition. But if someone cannot afford a $5,000 deductible -- the result will probably be they self-ration their medical care.
And I still have the same gripe I had BEFORE the ACA was finalized: I prefer alternative healthcare approaches, and have been able to use my money for getting alternative treatments. When I am forced to purchase a plan that only covers Western allopathic medical care, that means I'll have less or no money for alternatives I prefer. My preferred preventive and healing alternatives have nothing to do with The For-Profit Medical Establishment pushing their dangerous and over-priced synthetic pharmaceuticals.
The medical industry is tired of uninsured sick and injured receiving free treatment. That is the true nature of obamacare, not to take care of the poor. The herbal supplements and over the counter medications are being reduced to prevent the populace from treating themselves. clinton worked hard on this as well. obama wants everybody to pay the doctor and get prescriptions that will give you cancer later for even more profit. The last thing the medical industry needs is a healthy population. Everyone who makes a living in the medical industry would have to work at Wal-Mart or McDonalds. The medical industry spent a lot of money putting these guys into office. They expect them to do something to earn it! The UK will tell you that medical socialism is failure in Europe. The health insurance guys are going to rape everyone because of mandatory insurance, and people will have to choose between eating or paying hundreds of dollars they cannot afford.
Hey Thom, I just wanted to respond to David Selig, but am unable to call in at my job. I just wanted to say that I'm 24, married, and cannot understand how the ACA is bad for us young people. The choice is between paying a fine, and potentially going completely broke/bankrupt, or, paying a decent rate and staying healthy and not broke. It is not a tough choice for me at all.