Glorious #Obamacare victory as millions sign up on first day!

October 31, 2013
"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

Wait. Did I say “millions?” What I meant was “six.” As in six people enrolled on the first day.

In the entire nation:

For 31 days now, the Obama administration has been telling us that Americans by the millions are visiting the new health insurance website, despite all its problems.

But no one in the administration has been willing to tell us how many policies have been purchased, and this may be the reason: CBS News has learned enrollments got off to an incredibly slow start.

Early enrollment figures are contained in notes from twice-a-day “war room” meetings convened within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services after the website failed on Oct. 1. They were turned over in response to a document request from the House Oversight Committee.

The website launched on a Tuesday. Publicly, the government said there were 4.7 million unique visits in the first 24 hours. But at a meeting Wednesday morning, the war room notes say “six enrollments have occurred so far.”

They were with BlueCross BlueShield North Carolina (1) and Kansas City, CareSource and Healthcare Service Corporation.

By Wednesday afternoon, enrollments were up to “approximately 100.” By the end of Wednesday, the notes reflect “248 enrollments” nationwide.

The health care exchanges need to average 39,000 enrollees a day to meet the goal of seven million by March 1.

Let’s see. Six enrollments divided by 4.7 million visits equals a success rate of…. 0.000001276595745 percent.

Somehow, I think they’re going to have trouble meeting that goal of 7 million.

Footnote:
(1) We can safely assume none of these were Sister Toldjah. 😉

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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#Obamacare: They lied. Up to 93 million Americans to lose their insurance

October 31, 2013
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

And they knew in 2010, at least.

Recall that, over the last few days as millions of Americans have had their medical insurance canceled due to the Affordable Care Act, apologists have tried to pass it off as regrettable, but ultimately minor. It ranged from presidential spokes-weasel Jay Carney minimizing it as five percent of Americans (that’s still more than 15 million, Jay), to an unbelievably insane performance by New Jersey Democrat Frank Pallone on Megyn Kelley’s show last night. (Really, you have to see it to believe it.)

But, here’s the kicker: both apologists and critics are wrong when they say this is limited to the private, individual policy market. Well, critics are wrong. The apologists are lying suckweasels or pathetic tools, take your pick. Per analysis published in Forbes today by Avik Roy, the stringent Obamacare regulations that are costing individual buyers the plans they like will, by 2015, also affect employer-based insurance.

And the carnage will be immense:

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 theRegister. All in all, more than half of employer-sponsored plans will lose their “grandfather status” and get canceled. 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 get canceled, 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.

Remember that Obama illegally delayed the employer mandate for a year, so the effect of section 1251 has been put off from 2013 to 2014, for insurance coverage beginning 2015. Ed Morrissey notes an intriguing problem that poses for the Democrats:

Employers will face a critical decision point by September 2014 of whether to pay the fine for non-coverage and force their employees into the individual exchanges, or absorb more of the skyrocketing premium costs we’re seeing this month.  They may opt for an in-between solution of private exchanges, but even that will force employees out of their current plans, contra to the Obama promise that Americans can “keep their plans.”

Those decisions and actions will take place just weeks before the midterm elections. Take the headlines and outrage we are seeing now for the impact that ObamaCare has on the individual market and perhaps as many as 12 million Americans, and then multiply it by six as employers make the rational decision to get out of the health-insurance business altogether.

That’s 93 million people, most of them voters, and a very, very large lot of them angry as a wet cat over what the Democrats’ legislation did to them. Just as we enter the final run up to the election.

And I hope those arrogant, lying, progressive oligarchs, so cocksure that they know how to run our lives better than we do, suffer a wipeout for the ages in it.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare site security: worse than we thought?

October 31, 2013
"Obama foreign policy advisers"

“Obamacare implementation team”

I told you there was never “just one roach.” Just two days after learning of at least one easy hack to access private data at healthcare.gov and just one day after HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius swore up and down that site security was her department’s top priority, we have the former head of the Social Security Administration telling us the administration deliberately broke privacy laws to rush the site out by October 1st:

In an interview with NBC News, a former top government official raised his own questions about the site’s security, and about the healthcare.gov’s privacy protections. Michael Astrue, the Bush appointee who served as head of the Social Security Administration from 2007 until early this year, said that the Obama administration exempted the website from many federal privacy protections, potentially making the personal data on healthcare.gov accessible to a range of government and private entities, including the Department of Homeland Security to credit agencies.

“There were shortcuts taken on the information technology,” said Astrue, “and there were shortcuts taken in terms of adherence to the laws that protect our rights.”

According to Astrue, concerns about privacy protections were the subject of debate within the administration before launch. But Astrue said that his warnings that the site’s design should not contravene the Federal Privacy Act were ignored. “I was extremely upset,” said Astrue. “First of all they were violating the statute. Second, there would be real world consequences for Americans.”

Three weeks after healthcare.gov launched, administration officials granted 13 exemptions to the Privacy Act permitting sensitive personal data being entered into healthcare.gov and the state health insurance exchanges to be shared with agency contractors, consultants, the Department of Homeland Security, state and local governments, employers and family members. The exemptions are displayed in fine print on healthcare.gov.

“Don’t worry,” the administration might say. “The people handling this data will only access it at need and would never, ever abuse it. I pinky swear!” Well, after revelations about the IRS leaking confidential tax returns and NSA employees spying on ex-spouses and lovers, let’s just say I don’t have much confidence in this “official promise:”

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services told NBC News, “When consumers fill out their online Marketplace applications, they can trust that the information they’re providing is protected by stringent security standards and that the technology underlying the application process has been tested and is secure.”

But let’s assume for the moment that all these people at all levels, federal, state, and private, are all honorable and would never misuse their privileges. There’s still the very big question of technological security, itself. We know now the prime contractor, CGI Federal, told the government last summer that it was very concerned about the lack of adequate security testing. The government itself was worried about a “high security risk.” And we know that obtaining user information during the system’s first three weeks of operation was frighteningly easy. Just how secure are all these various computer systems at all these myriad levels? And what about the pipes and hubs through which the data has to flow? How about software bugs no one knows of yet, maybe introduced by the very fixes HHS is working on?

And what about the thousands of users, themselves? How many of them, not malicious but still careless, are using easy to crack passwords? Their child’s first name? Their birthdate? Their driver’s licence number? As Congressman Mike Rogers (R-MI) told Sebelius:

“You have exposed millions of Americans because you all, according to your memo, believed it was an acceptable risk,…”

This structure has a million potential holes in it, just waiting for data thieves to strike, and Astrue’s description of the administration’s cavalier attitude toward security turns this from a worry to a disaster in the making.

PS: I don’t know about you, but I’m stunned that it’s NBC reporting this.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare horror story: Whether you want it or not, you *will* be enrolled

October 30, 2013
satire shock surprise

“A hair-raising tale!”

Right on time for Halloween, you have to check out this Storify from Twitter user “Nied’s Dead Horse.” Having decided to create an account at healthcare.gov to browse the available options, Nied took a look around and closed her browser. She did not pick a plan, she did not enroll, and she was assured by an online rep that she could not be enrolled without actively choosing a plan. Reassured, she logged off.

But something nagged at her, so she logged back on to double check. This is what she found:

Makes you wonder where all those high Medicaid enrollment numbers are coming from, doesn’t it? How many more have been signed up and not told?

Back to Nied, she found she could not remove Medicaid from her “My plans” section. Repeated calls to multiple telephone “help” numbers were useless. They couldn’t tell her whether it was a just web site error or whether she was really enrolled —illegally!— in Medicaid. They couldn’t explain to Nied how this happened and instead just muttered something about a –wait for it– “glitch.” One they’ve known about for days!

This is utterly appalling. This bug-laden web site, which HHS and the White House knew wasn’t ready to go, isn’t just crashing. It’s signing people up for Medicaid (and other programs?) whether they qualify or not — or even want it. And then it won’t let them go.

Was this thing designed by Dr. Forbin?

Think of the possibilities: if it’s signing people up erroneously for Medicaid, is it also assigning browsers to other plans? If a user actually chooses a plan, does Obamacare “helpfully” put them in a different one? Or what about the opposite: you think you’ve signed up for the right plan, then the system drops you and you find yourself unknowingly but illegally without insurance in 2014?

Don’t forget the huge security hole that was just revealed. Between that and the system signing up people for Medicaid whether they want it or not, they don’t need to just fix this system, they need to shut it down entirely and destroy the data before something truly tragic happens.

And, by the way, between you and me? There is no way on God’s green earth that I am logging onto that web site. I was mildly curious before and had considered taking a look, but, after this… Picture me running away, very fast.

via Cuffé

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Beyond a glitch: massive security hole found in Obamacare site software

October 29, 2013
"Just a few bugs"

“Just a few bugs”

Yet another reason to feel secure in the knowledge that the government is forcing people into this system under penalty of law:

Until the Department of Health fixed the security hole last week, anyone could easily reset your Healthcare.gov password without your knowledge and potentially hijack your account.

The glitch was discovered last week by Ben Simo, a software tester in Arizona. Simo found that gaining access to people’s accounts was frighteningly simple. You could have:

  • guessed an existing user name, and the website would have confirmed it exists.
  • claimed you forgot your password, and the site would have reset it.
  • viewed the site’s unencrypted source code in any browser to find the password reset code.
  • plugged in the user name and reset code, and the website would have displayed a person’s three security questions (your oldest niece’s first name, name of favorite pet, date of wedding anniversary, etc.).
  • answered the security questions wrong, and the website would have spit out the account owner’s email address — again, unencrypted.

Armed with the account holder’s email address, a person with malicious intent could easily track down their target on social media, where they’d likely discover the answers to those security questions.

It wouldn’t have even taken a skilled hacker. Anyone with bad intentions — and a minimal understanding of how to read a website’s code — could have figured it out. While such an attack might not have yielded your Social Security number or health information, it would have exposed your address and phone number.

But, don’t worry. Rest easy. They’ve fixed that problem… After the site had been operating for three weeks.

Remember, there’s never just one roach.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare object lesson: supporter sees her insurance skyrocket

October 29, 2013
"Another Obamacare supporter learns the truth."

“Another Obamacare supporter learns the truth.”

And the best part of this is? She’s a former congressional staffer who defended this anti-constitutional monstrosity during it’s passage:

For [Sue] Klinkhamer, 60, President Obama’s oft-repeated words ring in her ears: “If you like your health plan, you will keep it.”

Well, possibly not.

When Klinkhamer lost her congressional job (1), she had to buy an individual policy on the open market.

Three years ago, it was $225 a month with a $2,500 deductible. Each year it went up a little to, as of Sept. 1, $291 with a $3,500 deductible. Then, a few weeks ago, she got a letter.

“Blue Cross,” she said, “stated my current coverage would expire on Dec. 31, and here are my options: I can have a plan with similar benefits for $647.12 [or] I can have a plan with similar [but higher] pricing for $322.32 but with a $6,500 deductible.”

She went on, “Blue Cross also tells me that if I don’t pick one of the options, they will just assume I want the one for $647. … Someone please tell me why my premium in January will be $356 more than in December?”

This may surprise some of you, but I genuinely feel a bit sorry for Sue, in the way I’d feel sorry for a naive child who learns that Santa Claus isn’t real. It can be tough for anyone to have to face reality and finally grow up, especially when they’re sixty and not six. Her apparent naive faith in what the Democratic Party and her boss were then telling her is charming. And Sue was a trooper, defending the legislation in the face of angry and undeniably rude constituents. And yet this is the thanks she gets.

Reality check, Sue: This is exactly what you fought for, whether you know it or not. Maybe you and your boss should have read the bill.

via:

Footnote:
(1) When her boss was defeated for reelection in 2010. You know, the election in which the Democrats lost their House majority because of Obamacare.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Obamacare: the question every Democrat dreads. UPDATE: They knew you would lose your insurance

October 28, 2013
"Obamacare has arrived"

“Obamacare has arrived”

A lot more people are receiving notices of cancellation of their insurance policies due to the Affordable Care Act, and they’re starting to have thoughts that have many Democrats rightfully worried:

In California, Kaiser Permanente terminated policies for 160,000 people. In Florida, at least 300,000 people are losing coverage.

That includes 56-year-old Dianne Barrette. Last month, she received a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield informing her as of January 2014, she would lose her current plan. Barrette pays $54 a month. The new plan she’s being offered would run $591 a month — 10 times more than what she currently pays.

Barrette said, “What I have right now is what I am happy with and I just want to know why I can’t keep what I have. Why do I have to be forced into something else?

That’s a darned fine question, Dianne. The answer, if course, is the health-care law with the Orwellian name that was passed solely with Democratic votes, because –by design– it is forcing insurance companies to take away the insurance you like and forcing you to buy something you don’t want for a lot more money. And the Democrats meant to do that.

Remember that on Election Day.

UPDATE: NBC has this bombshell:

President Obama repeatedly assured Americans that after the Affordable Care Act became law, people who liked their health insurance would be able to keep it. But millions of Americans are getting or are about to get cancellation letters for their health insurance under Obamacare, say experts, and the Obama administration has known that for at least three years.

Four sources deeply involved in the Affordable Care Act tell NBC NEWS that 50 to 75 percent of the 14 million consumers who buy their insurance individually can expect to receive a “cancellation” letter or the equivalent over the next year because their existing policies don’t meet the standards mandated by the new health care law. One expert predicts that number could reach as high as 80 percent. And all say that many of those forced to buy pricier new policies will experience “sticker shock.”

None of this should come as a shock to the Obama administration. The law states that policies in effect as of March 23, 2010 will be “grandfathered,” meaning consumers can keep those policies even though they don’t meet requirements of the new health care law. But the Department of Health and Human Services then wrote regulations that narrowed that provision, by saying that if any part of a policy was significantly changed since that date — the deductible, co-pay, or benefits, for example — the policy would not be grandfathered.

They knew and they lied. Deliberately. Over and over again for three years from the day that abominable bill was passed. And the biggest liar was President Barack Obama, himself.

Remember that, Dianne.

PS: I’m perhaps even more surprised -shocked, even- that it was NBC that broke this news.

UPDATE 2: NBC has pulled the story, gone to 404 land. I wonder how many screaming phone calls they got from the White House?

UPDATE 3: And here’s a link to the cached copy at Google. Sorry Obama. Airbrushing the truth only worked for Stalin.

UPDATE 4. Just like that, the story is back. For now.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)