Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Monday, October 28, 2013 7:33 pm

Why Healthcare.gov problems shouldn’t be a surprise


Clay Johnson of the Sunlight Foundation and co-founder of Blue State Digital, the firm that built and managed Obama’s online 2008 campaign, on the rollout:

Well, government doesn’t have a lot of people to choose from when they’re looking for contractors to build this stuff. And I think part of the problem is that the same people that are building drones are building websites. When government is building a website like this, they have to use a system called procurement, which is about 1,800 pages’ worth of regulation that all but ensures that the people who are building this stuff are the people with the best lawyers, not the people with the best programmers. And so, you know, you have this sort of fundamental lack of talent amongst the contractor ecosystem that’s building this stuff, that it’s bound to be bad work—that, combined with the fact that in 1996 Congress lobotomized itself by getting rid of its technology think tank, called the Technology Assessment Office. So when they’re writing bills, they don’t understand the technology that they’re requiring in their laws. This is what you get when you have a Congress that is basically brainless on technology, and government who can only pick from a few old, stodgy contractors. You’re bound to have this result. And, in fact, the standings group came out earlier this week and pointed out that over—for all procurements over $10 million, 94 percent of them fail.

We can thank the Republicans for getting rid of the Technology Assessment Office, inasmuch as they controlled both houses of Congress at the time and facts are just so darned inconvenient.

Meanwhile, adding to the site’s problems, a data center built and run by Verizon went down Sunday, halting enrollment in all 50 states. I eagerly await Darrell Issa’s subpoena of Verizon’s CEO, and/or Issa’s call for the CEO to be fired.

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1 Comment »

  1. First of all I don’t want to appear as if I am piling on but just want to correct any misleading information on these pages

    We now know with certainty that the rollout problems were no surprise to the administration. That is history in stone.

    But there were bigger shockers in store for the American public. They missed page 34,552 0f the Federal Register

    Obama Officials In 2010: 93 Million Americans Will Be Unable To Keep Their Health Plans Under Obamacare

    ” Section 1251 of the Affordable Care Act contains what’s called a ‘grandfather’ provision that, in theory, allows people to keep their existing plans if they like them. But subsequent regulations from the Obama administration interpreted that provision so narrowly as to prevent most plans from gaining this protection.

    ‘The Departments’ mid-range estimate is that 66 percent of small employer plans and 45 percent of large employer plans will relinquish their grandfather status by the end of 2013,’ wrote the administration on page 34,552 of the Register. All in all, more than half of employer-sponsored plans will lose their ‘grandfather status’ and become illegal. According to the Congressional Budget Office, 156 million Americans—more than half the population—was covered by employer-sponsored insurance in 2013.

    Another 25 million people, according to the CBO, have ‘nongroup and other’ forms of insurance; that is to say, they participate in the market for individually-purchased insurance. In this market, the administration projected that ’40 to 67 percent’ of individually-purchased plans would lose their Obamacare-sanctioned “grandfather status” and become illegal, solely due to the fact that there is a high turnover of participants and insurance arrangements in this market. (Plans purchased after March 23, 2010 do not benefit from the ‘grandfather’ clause.) The real turnover rate would be higher, because plans can lose their grandfather status for a number of other reasons.

    How many people are exposed to these problems? 60 percent of Americans have private-sector health insurance—precisely the number that Jay Carney dismissed. As to the number of people facing cancellations, 51 percent of the employer-based market plus 53.5 percent of the non-group market (the middle of the administration’s range) amounts to 93 million Americans.

    Will these canceled plans be replaced with better coverage?

    President Obama’s famous promise that “you could keep your plan” was not some naïve error or accident. He, and his allies, knew that previous Democratic attempts at health reform had failed because Americans were happy with the coverage they had, and opposed efforts to change the existing system.

    Now, supporters of the law are offering a different argument. “We didn’t really mean it when we said you could keep your plan,” they say, “but it doesn’t matter, because the coverage you’re going to get under Obamacare will be better than the coverage you had before.”

    But that’s not true. Obamacare forces insurers to offer services that most Americans don’t need, don’t want, and won’t use, for a higher price. Bob Laszewski, in a revealing blog post, wrote about the cancellation of his own health coverage. ‘Right now,’ he wrote, ‘I have ‘Cadillac’ health insurance. I can access every provider in the national Blue Cross network—about every doc and hospital in America—without a referral and without higher deductibles and co-pays.’

    But his plan is being canceled. His new, Obamacare-compatible plan has a $500 higher deductible, and a narrower physician and hospital network that restricts out-of-town providers. And yet it costs 66 percent more than his current plan. ‘Mr. President,’ he writes, ‘I really like my health plan and I would like to keep it. Can you help me out here?’ ”

    RTWT

    Comment by Fred Gregory — Friday, November 1, 2013 12:29 pm @ 12:29 pm | Reply


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