Tag Archives: Health care reform

Did we take a giant step forward, and then two . . . (you know the rest)

The whole story of the ACA roll out is yet to be reported in depth, but this morning in his Wonkbook email, Ezra Klein provides a credible – and disturbing – overview of what led up to the massive failure of the web portal. There’s a lot more at his Wonkblog at the Washington Post.

The best news for Obamacare is that almost everyone — including the Obama administration — realizes the crucial online portal is currently a disaster. . . Actually, that’s been the problem: President Obama didn’t know that. Nor did White House chief of staff Denis McDonough. Nor did Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who will be testifying to that fact next week.

It would be one thing if Obamacare’s problems had been unknowable. But they weren’t. Staff at HHS and CMS saw this coming for months. Insurance companies began predicting a mess long ago. But the bad news was shaded and spun as it made its way up the chain of command. The alarming failures seen in the (inadequate) load tests were written off as bugs that would soon be fixed.

As Lena Sun and Scott Wilson reported, “Days before the launch of President Obama’s online health insurance marketplace, government officials and contractors tested a key part of the Web site to see whether it could handle tens of thousands of consumers at the same time. It crashed after a simulation in which just a few hundred people tried to log on simultaneously.”But staff was terrified to speak on the record, or even on background. Some of the concerns slipped out, like in this Wall Street Journal story. . . . As Jonathan Cohn writes, “the management failures here were real and took place on multiple levels.”

Obamacare has a chance because those management failures are over. The White House now has a brutal clarity about the depth and extent of the system’s problems.

. . . Managers up and down the chain realize their careers are in jeopardy if they deliver sunny reports that prove false.. .For all that, no one actually knows whether the system will be fixed in the next few weeks — the crucial window, experts think, before the problems begin to degrade the risk pool and raise premiums.

So far, there’s been huge improvements in the number of Americans able to get into the site and create accounts, but insurers aren’t reporting much improvement . . .

The White House is optimistic that the problems will be solved in time. . .  If there’s a reason to believe them, it’s that they’ve learned how dangerous unfounded optimism is.

Did Obama really hand this off and assume it would be okay? Or did he ride HHS for progress updates but never insist on hearing the downside reports? Did Sebelius do the same thing?

Will the very same Administration that succeeded in taking took us a step closer to the century long  battle for universal health care also be the Administration responsible for its failure?

I think it’s a fair question.

Big Pharma is our friend. The insurance dudes too.

A little something by artist Michael dal Cerro via A Paralell Universe. Says it all.  (from this post, “The Gilded Age on Steroids”)

The best reason ever for unconstitutionality of health care reform. Ever.

Rep. Steve King (R-IA), frequently makes himself the story by being controversial. For instance, he’s said that Obama using his middle name when taking the oath of office was “bizarre”. (Where King is concerned, perhaps we can be thankful that – as far as I know –  he’s only ever served on sub-committees, although that may have changed in this new Congress.

TPM brings our attention to an argument King made this very day – about why the new Health Care bill is unconstitutional and doesn’t come under the commerce clause.

“After Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) said that health insurance counts as interstate commerce . . . . King argued that there are people who never even use health care . . . “There have always been and likely will always be, babies that were born, lived and died within the jurisdictions of the individual states,” he said, “who never cross a state line, access no health care and therefore do not impact interstate commerce. “

He offered up babies as an example. When challenged on that, he found some compelling proof; King shot back at Polis with this: “I hate to tell you but they show up in garbage cans around this country, sir.”

Okay.

We have the best health care system in the world dammit

Cute.

Blue Shield of California seeks rate hikes of as much as 59% for individuals

“Another big California health insurer has stunned individual policyholders with huge rate increases — this time it’s Blue Shield of California seeking cumulative hikes of as much as 59% for tens of thousands of customers March 1. Blue Shield’s action comes less than a year after Anthem Blue Cross tried and failed to raise rates as much as 39% for about 700,000 California customers.

San Francisco-based Blue Shield said the increases were the result of fast-rising healthcare costs and other expenses resulting from new healthcare laws.

. . . Nearly 1 in 4 of the affected customers will see cumulative increases of more than 50% over five months. . . Michael Fraser, a Blue Shield policyholder from San Diego, learned recently that his monthly bill would climb 59%, to $431 from $271. “When I tell people, their jaws drop and their eyes bug out,” said Fraser “

We don’t need no stinkin’ reform

From the Washington Post today:

Anthem Blue Cross withdraws big CA rate hike

The Associated Press  Friday, April 30, 2010; 2:17 AM

 LOS ANGELES — Insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross, the company criticized by President Barack Obama when it proposed raising rates for Californians by as much as 39 percent, withdrew plans for the proposed hike Thursday.

Los Angeles-based Anthem made the decision after an independent audit determined the company’s justification for raising premiums was based on flawed data, state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner said.

The decision also came one day after Anthem’s parent, Wellpoint, Inc. of Indianapolis, announced its first-quarter profit soared by 51 percent.

And it’s because libs WANT them to suffer the little children

Good lord.  Micro management at its worst. Those devious Dems constructed this entire thing, just so they could keep sex offenders in Viagra. Yup.

A trillion trillion dollar piece of legislation and this is worth a Senator’s time.