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Broken Switch

- October 14, 2013

Since Flipping The Switch On ObamaCare Two Weeks Ago, Americans Are Still Unable To Sign-Up

Health And Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, In July: "So We Are On Track To Flip The Switch On October First And Say To People Come On And Sign Up." SEBELIUS: "No, I think we're on target. The data hub has been built and is ready to go. We are testing information flows back and forth. We have got the call center up and running. We have relaunched the website, were having outreach meetings, so we are on track to flip the switch on October 1st and say to people come on and sign up and as you said it is a six-month open enrollment period, so between October 1st and the 31st of March we hope to reach about 7 million people across the country and have them begin to engage and enroll in affordable health care, some for the first time ever." (WFAA's " Daybreak Sunday," 7/28/13)

  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, In June: "Secretary Sebelius Is A Great Secretary. Her Implementation Of This Is Fabulous." PELOSI: "Secretary Sebelius is a great secretary. Her implementation of this is fabulous. She was the governor of Kansas. She was the insurance commissioner. She knows of what she speaks. She knows it in detail. More important than that, she has a vision for America that has health care as a right for every person, not just a privilege for the few." (Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Press Conference Celebrating Health Independence Of America's Families , Washington, D.C., 6/26/13)

In July, Centers For Medicare And Medicaid Services Administrator Marily B. Tavenner And The Federal Official In Charge Of The ObamaCare Exchanges, Gary Cohen Insisted That The ObamaCare Exchanges Were "Not In Trouble" And People Could Sign Up On October 1. "Marilyn B. Tavenner, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, both insisted in July that the project was not in trouble. Last month, Gary M. Cohen, the federal official in charge of health insurance exchanges, promised federal legislators that on Oct. 1, 'consumers will be able to go online, they'll be able to get a determination of what tax subsidies they are eligible for, they'll be able to see the premium net of subsidy,' and they will be able to sign up." (Robert Pear, Sharon Lafraniere, and Ian Austen, "From The Start, Signs Of Trouble At Health Portal," The New York Times, 10/13/13)

  • "Neither Ms. Tavenner Nor Other Agency Officials Would Answer Questions About The Exchange Or Its Performance Last Week." (Robert Pear, Sharon Lafraniere, and Ian Austen, "From The Start, Signs Of Trouble At Health Portal," The New York Times, 10/13/13)

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION REPEATEDLY IGNORED CONCERNS THAT OBAMACARE SHOULD BE DELAYED

The Obama White House Refused To Even Consider Delaying ObamaCare's Exchanges. "But Mr. Chao's superiors at the Department of Health and Human Services told him, in effect, that failure was not an option, according to people who have spoken with him. Nor was rolling out the system in stages or on a smaller scale, as companies like Google typically do so that problems can more easily and quietly be fixed. Former government officials say the White House, which was calling the shots, feared that any backtracking would further embolden Republican critics who were trying to repeal the health care law." (Robert Pear, Sharon Lafraniere, and Ian Austen, "From The Start, Signs Of Trouble At Health Portal," The New York Times, 10/13/13)

The Obama Administration Ignored Outside Concerns And Proceeded With The October 1 Launch Date Of The ObamaCare Exchanges. " Major insurers, state health-care officials and Democratic allies repeatedly warned the Obama administration in recent months that the new federal health-insurance exchange had significant problems, according to people familiar with the conversations. Despite those warnings and intense criticism from Republicans, the White House proceeded with an Oct. 1 launch." (Juliet Eilperin, Amy Goldstein, and Sandhya Somashekar, "Many Remain Locked Out Of Federal Health-Care Web Site," The Washington Post 10/9/13)

  • "Democratic Allies Repeatedly Warned The Obama Administration In Recent Months That The New Federal Health-Insurance Exchange Had Significant Problems."  (Juliet Eilperin, Amy Goldstein, and Sandhya Somashekar, "Many Remain Locked Out Of Federal Health-Care Web Site," The Washington Post 10/9/13)
     
  • "Senior Officials Expressed Doubts That The Computer Systems For The Federal Exchange Would Be Ready On Time." "Confidential progress reports from the Health and Human Services Department show that senior officials repeatedly expressed doubts that the computer systems for the federal exchange would be ready on time, blaming delayed regulations, a lack of resources and other factors." (Robert Pear, Sharon Lafraniere, and Ian Austen, "From The Start, Signs Of Trouble At Health Portal," The New York Times, 10/13/13)

Earlier This Year, Industry And Government Officials Foresaw "A Train Wreck." "By early this year, people inside and outside the federal bureaucracy were raising red flags. 'We foresee a train wreck,' an insurance executive working on information technology said in a February interview. 'We don't have the I.T. specifications. The level of angst in health plans is growing by leaps and bounds. The political people in the administration do not understand how far behind they are.'" (Robert Pear, Sharon Lafraniere, and Ian Austen, "From The Start, Signs Of Trouble At Health Portal," The New York Times, 10/13/13)

  • ObamaCare Architect And Democrat Senator Max Baucus (D-MT): "I Just See A Huge Train Wreck Coming Down." MAX BAUCUS: "I just see a huge train wreck coming down, you and I have discussed this many times, and I don't see any results yet." (Committee On Finance, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 4/17/13)

After Spending More Than $400 Million To Create The ObamaCare Website, Americans Continue To Endure A "Third-World Experience"

Obama's "Chief Digital Architect" Shared Concerns About The Exchanges Last March - Hoping That The Exchanges Weren't "A Third-World Experience." "In March, Henry Chao, the chief digital architect for the Obama administration's new online insurance marketplace, told industry executives that he was deeply worried about the Web site's debut. 'Let's just make sure it's not a third-world experience,' he told them." (Robert Pear, Sharon Lafraniere, and Ian Austen, "From The Start, Signs Of Trouble At Health Portal," The New York Times, 10/13/13)

The Obama Administration Spent More Than $400 Million On The ObamaCare Exchange." "For the past 12 days, a system costing more than $400 million and billed as a one-stop click-and-go hub for citizens seeking health insurance has thwarted the efforts of millions to simply log in." (Robert Pear, Sharon Lafraniere, and Ian Austen, "From The Start, Signs Of Trouble At Health Portal," The New York Times, 10/13/13)

  • Consumers Continue To Have Trouble Accessing The ObamaCare Exchange. "A week after the federal Web site opened, technical problems continued to plague the system, and on Tuesday people were locked out until 10 a.m., although some applicants were able to sign up as the day went on. Officials said they were working 24 hours a day to improve the system and that they were confident it would soon be able to meet the demand. They added that there was ample time to correct the site to allow consumers to get insured by Jan. 1." (Juliet Eilperin, Amy Goldstein, and Sandhya Somashekar, "Many Remain Locked Out Of Federal Health-Care Web Site," The Washington Post 10/9/13)

"Financial, Technical And Managerial" Issues Led To The ObamaCare Exchange Problems. "Interviews with two dozen contractors, current and former government officials, insurance executives and consumer advocates, as well as an examination of confidential administration documents, point to a series of missteps - financial, technical and managerial - that led to the troubles." (Robert Pear, Sharon Lafraniere, and Ian Austen, "From The Start, Signs Of Trouble At Health Portal," The New York Times, 10/13/13)

  • Fixes Are Creating Even More Problems. "One person familiar with the system's development said that the project was now roughly 70 percent of the way toward operating properly, but that predictions varied on when the remaining 30 percent would be done. 'I've heard as little as two weeks or as much as a couple of months,' that person said. Others warned that the fixes themselves were creating new problems, and said that the full extent of the problems might not be known because so many consumers had been stymied at the first step in the application process." (Robert Pear, Sharon Lafraniere, and Ian Austen, "From The Start, Signs Of Trouble At Health Portal," The New York Times, 10/13/13)

The ObamaCare Launch Has Become An Embarrassment For The Obama Administration As Many Worry About The Long-Term Political Ramifications

The ObamaCare Exchange "Has Deeply Embarrassed The White House." "The growing national outcry has deeply embarrassed the White House, which has refused to say how many people have enrolled through the federal exchange." (Robert Pear, Sharon Lafraniere, and Ian Austen, "From The Start, Signs Of Trouble At Health Portal," The New York Times, 10/13/13)

ObamaCare Allies Are Worried About Long-Term Effects From The Flawed ObamaCare Exchanges. "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." (Robert Pear, Sharon Lafraniere, and Ian Austen, "From The Start, Signs Of Trouble At Health Portal," The New York Times, 10/13/13)

ObamaCare Implementation Will Mark The Stakes Of Obama's Domestic Legacy. "The stakes for the president are high. The ultimate success of the law, and in turn his domestic legacy, depends on how well the insurance marketplaces operate, and whether enough young Americans enroll for coverage." (Jackie Calmes, "New Worries For Democrats On Health Law," The New York Times , 5/6/13)

  • The "Political Consequences Are Significant" If ObamaCare Increases Premiums And Implementation Is Bungled. "And there are clear signs that if premiums go up, businesses are forced to change how they insure their employees, and implementation of the law is uneven, the potential for political consequences are significant." (Josh Kraushaar, "Obama's Legacy: "A Health Care Law That Hurts His Party," National Journal , 5/2/13)

AS OBAMACARE FALLS FLAT, AMERICANS FACE A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN HEALTH COSTS

Many Americans Will Pay Higher Premiums Under ObamaCare Next Year. "Many Illinoisans buying health coverage on their own next year will face a similar dilemma spurred by the health care overhaul: pay higher monthly insurance premiums or run the risk of having to shell out thousands more in deductibles for health care if they get sick." (Peter Frost, "ObamaCare Deductibles A Dose Of Sticker Shock," Chicago Tribune, 10/13/13)

A Chicago Tribune Analysis Found That Those In Illinois Will Pay More For Health Care Than Promised By The Obama Administration. "To promote the Oct. 1 debut of the exchanges, the online marketplaces where consumers can shop and buy insurance, Obama administration and Illinois officials touted the lower-than-expected monthly premiums that would make insurance more affordable for millions of Americans. But a Tribune analysis shows that 21 of the 22 lowest-priced plans offered on the Illinois health insurance exchange for Cook County have annual deductibles of more than $4,000 for an individual and $8,000 for family coverage." (Peter Frost, "ObamaCare Deductibles A Dose Of Sticker Shock," Chicago Tribune, 10/13/13)

  • Due To ObamaCare, An Illinois Nurse Practitioner's Premiums Will Double. "Adam Weldzius, a nurse practitioner, considers himself better informed than most when it comes to the inner workings of health insurance. But even he wasn't prepared for the pocketbook hit he'll face next year under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. If the 33-year-old single father wants the same level of coverage next year as what he has now with the same insurer and the same network of doctors and hospitals, his monthly premium of $233 will more than double. If he wants to keep his monthly payments in check, the Carpentersville resident is looking at an annual deductible for himself and his 7-year-old daughter of $12,700, a more than threefold increase from $3,500 today." (Peter Frost, "ObamaCare Deductibles A Dose Of Sticker Shock," Chicago Tribune, 10/13/13)

Many In Michigan Will Either Pay Higher Costs Or Lose Their Health Care Plan

Michiganders Face Thousand In Extra Health Care Costs Under ObamaCare. "At least 146,000 Michiganders - and possibly thousands more - with health coverage purchased directly from insurers now are learning their polices will end Dec. 31 because they don't meet the minimum requirements of the federal health care act." (Robin Erb, "146,000 Michiganders - At Least - Face Loss Of Cheap Policies Under New Health Care Reform Rules," Detroit Free Press, 10/13/13)

  • A Michigander With A Cheap Health Care Policy Will Lose His Plan And Pay More For Health Care Due To ObamaCare. "The policies that are ending were often less expensive on the individual market because they provided limited benefits and were sold to healthier consumers. And that was fine with consumers such as Josh Mulder. Mulder had landed a plan several years ago that cost his Wixom family of four just $291 a month. That policy will end Dec. 31, according to a letter from his insurer. The policy didn't cover things such as maternity care or prescription drugs, but, Mulder said, his family is generally healthy and he was willing to take the risk. 'I had a great rate,' he said." (Robin Erb, "146,000 Michiganders - At Least - Face Loss Of Cheap Policies Under New Health Care Reform Rules," Detroit Free Press, 10/13/13)

The Hike In Costs Are From New ObamaCare Mandates. "Insurers say the price and cost hikes result from new benefit mandates, additional taxes levied as part of the law and a requirement that they can no longer deny coverage to people with pre-existing medical conditions." (Peter Frost, "ObamaCare Deductibles A Dose Of Sticker Shock," Chicago Tribune, 10/13/13)

  • The Higher Costs Will Be Passed Along To Health Plan Members. "Costs associated with those mandates are passed along to all members of a health plan." (Peter Frost, "ObamaCare Deductibles A Dose Of Sticker Shock," Chicago Tribune, 10/13/13)

Insurers Are Ending The Affordable Health Care Policies That They Once Offered Before ObamaCare. "Another insurer on the Michigan exchange, Kentucky-based Humana, indicated that it, too, will end some policies, but it declined to offer specifics. Letters to members are being finalized, according to the insurer." (Robin Erb, "146,000 Michiganders - At Least - Face Loss Of Cheap Policies Under New Health Care Reform Rules," Detroit Free Press, 10/13/13)


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