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)


#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)