Free Markets, Free People


ObamaCare’s technical failure only masks its worse failures

As a designed program it is a disaster. Why? Because it does few if any of the things it was supposed to do (remember: “if you like your insurance and want to keep it?”). Now the New York Times – a rah, rah supporter of the law – has found another “design flaw”:

As technical failures bedevil the rollout of President Obama’s health care law, evidence is emerging that one of the program’s loftiest goals — to encourage competition among insurers in an effort to keep costs low — is falling short for many rural Americans.

While competition is intense in many populous regions, rural areas and small towns have far fewer carriers offering plans in the law’s online exchanges. Those places, many of them poor, are being asked to choose from some of the highest-priced plans in the 34 states where the federal government is running the health insurance marketplaces, a review by The New York Times has found.

You have to chuckle a bit at the abject ignorance the Times often displays as evidenced by the fact that they don’t seem to understand that price controls/setting isn’t going to foster much competition among anyone. And, when government decides what each policy must contain, they’re not going to be cheap. Oh they may seem relatively cheap, but then there are those damnable deductibles, aren’t there?

Of the roughly 2,500 counties served by the federal exchanges, more than half, or 58 percent, have plans offered by just one or two insurance carriers, according to an analysis by The Times of county-level data provided by the Department of Health and Human Services. In about 530 counties, only a single insurer is participating.

The analysis suggests that the ambitions of the Affordable Care Act to increase competition have unfolded unevenly, at least in the early going, and have not addressed many of the factors that contribute to high prices. Insurance companies are reluctant to enter challenging new markets, experts say, because medical costs are high, dominant insurers are difficult to unseat, and powerful hospital systems resist efforts to lower rates.

“There’s nothing in the structure of the Affordable Care Act which really deals with that problem,” said John Holahan, a fellow at the Urban Institute, who noted that many factors determine costs in a given market. “I think that all else being equal, premiums will clearly be higher when there’s not that competition.”

The Obama administration has said 95 percent of Americans live in areas where there are at least two insurers in the exchanges. But many experts say two might not be enough to create competition that would help lower prices.

What was that word again? Oh yeah, “incentive”. What “incentive” is there for an insurer to enter a market simply to lower prices so no one can survive? Yeah, probably not much. And in rural areas where population is thin in comparison to urban areas, the cost of doing business may preclude the entrance of a third carrier because there’s no positive incentive to do so. I.e. they don’t see profit being higher than the cost of doing business. Imagine that?

But hey, it’s the law and law is magic, you know. It declares something will be so and it must be so. Right?

Well, that’s the “thinking” behind this law, such that it is … the law of the underwear gnomes come to life.

~McQ

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56 Responses to ObamaCare’s technical failure only masks its worse failures

  • One of the strangest features (not bugs) of ObamaDoggle is the perverse incentives with which it is rife.

    These bear on health-care providers, insurance companies, and individual people.  The full spectrum.

    It’s almost like the people who wrote this crap sandwich have no understanding of reality.  OR they DO, and are just working Cloward-Pivens like an Ozark banjo.

    Huh…

    • “working Cloward-Pivens like an Ozark banjo.”

      Kinda troubles me.
      I have this scary image of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi talking about pigs squealing, while Barack plays a banjo in the background.

    • Frankly, I prefer to call these folks involved with healthcare.gov MIS (Management Information Systems) specialists, headed by a MIS-manager.

    • ALMOST?

  • Profit!   Profit sir!   They will do as the master commands!  And like it sir!  and like it!
    We are not interested in profits!  There will be no shilly shally excuse of not making profit!

    And if they do not do that which we wish, we shall make them!  by God we shall sir!
    They will be made to understand who is to be master and who is to be servant!
    And right quick if they want to be able to keep any of their holdings at all!

  • Underwear gnomes?  The ones that give you a wedgie?  Related to the unicorns and fairy dust of which this administration is so fond?  Alas, I claim complete ignorance of such things…

    • The “underpants gnomes” are characters from The South Park cartoon series. Their unique business model (known for missing an important component) is frequently compared with the left’s plans for businesses and the economy. The cartoon characters and the left share a limited understanding of business reality.
      For a full explanation of the underpants gnomes metaphor and a link to the original cartoon episode, see the following page:
      http://www.bermanpost.com/2009/05/obama-underpants-gnome.html

  • In my area, there are exactly two carriers in the exchange, a big blue and some fly-by-night I wouldn’t trust with my information, let alone my money. All the rates are four times what I was paying before, and the deductible is higher.
    “Progress!”

  • Norm Ornstein throws Obama under the bus …
    If Sebelius, the president, the leaders at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and other White House officials were unaware before that [April 2013] hearing about the implementation problems, they could not be unaware afterward. And, as we are now hearing, the stark internal warnings from tech experts of deep-seated problems in the programs came months ago and went unheeded.
    http://www.nationaljournal.com/washington-inside-out/buck-stops-with-obama-on-rocky-rollout-of-health-care-plan-20131023

  • Norn Ornstein, who has been around DC forever, has this wonderful snipet …

    Go back, first, to Max Baucus’s famous and widely distorted and misused “train wreck” comment in a hearing to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in April 2013. Contrary to Ted Cruz and countless other Republicans, Baucus did not call Obamacare a train wreck—he was referring directly to its implementation through the website. He said, “I understand you’ve hired a contractor. I’m just worried that that’s going to be money down the drain because contractors like to make money more than they like to do anything else. That’s their job. They’ve got to worry about their shareholders and whatnot.

    They knew back in April that the web site was going to be a “train wreck.”

    If Sebelius, the president, the leaders at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and other White House officials were unaware before that hearing about the implementation problems, they could not be unaware afterward. And, as we are now hearing, the stark internal warnings from tech experts of deep-seated problems in the programs came months ago and went unheeded.

    HHS secretary Sebelius has been lying her ass off since the healthcare.gov rollout claiming the the “Sargent Schultz defense” for her hapless incompetent boss.

    • If they knew it was screwed up in April, does anybody really think it will be fixed by the end of the year (let alone any earlier date) ?
      After the shutdown and the Democrat failure to negotiate, if Obama doesn’t go back to Congress to delay ObamaCare’s start, the House should impeach his ass.
      Forget party lines, what Democrat wants it set down in a recorded vote that failure to follow the law as agreed by the Congress and signed by the President should be excusable ?  if so, what will they do when a Republican is POTUS ?

      • I knew this would be a ‘corporation’s fault’.  The kicker in this whole situation is this fiasco is the reason the republicans shut the government down and the media won’t for a second connect the dots.

    • It bears repeating the the Sec of HHS is either lying or incompetent. The same is true of her boss. There are no other options.

      With respect to Obama, this is true on a wide number of issues besides Obamacare. Bengazi. Fast and Furious. The IRS scandal. Really, almost everything the Administration is involved in.

    • The rollout is the “train wreck”; the next couple years will see the meteor strike that brings back the dinosaurs.

  • Dam those Democrat arsonists!  Terrorist!   Jihadis!   They want to stop Obamacare!

  • So do any of you folks think the feint by the Republicans, putting Democrats on record for a failed healthcare system, will payoff by November 2014 ?
    Republicans went to the mat for the “little guy” who can no longer have his old insurance plan and must now pay more because HHS “Christmas-treed” the minimum plan to include too much. (I’m seeing stories of increased prices with a worse deductible)

    • Thanks to a FEW very brave and honest Conservatives, the marker has been laid down.
      They are hated and reviled for it…now.
      Now just back away and let the Collectivists eat this.
      Then, come 2014 and 2016, the nation has a clear choice to make.

      • Which they will, yet again, fail to make because…
        ‘The Republicans caused Obamacare to fail”
        and Barack was unable to stop it,
        and we didn’t give them enough time,
        or money
        and it was delayed by the shutdown
        and the sequester
        And the Koch brothers paid the companies doing it to fail
        and gun control,
        and birth control,
        and religious fundamentalists telling you how to live and controlling your vagina!
        Oh, and racists

      • Back away?  When has that ever paid off for the Republicans?
        Most voters have the attention span of a child, are very ignorant, and make decisions based upon whims.  If the Democrats blaming Republicans for the failure of the Unaffordable Care Act isn’t working, according to their polling research, they’ll just manufacture some other conflict/crisis like immigration, reproductive rights, etc. to distract and drive the moron voters back home.

        • Two things…
          1. the individual impact of this FAILberg is different
          2. you seem to think people cannot govern themselves
          I disagree.  People can learn.  It is there right to govern, as our Founders recognized.

          • #1: Different than what?  Perhaps you’re correct about that in that many people will see the result immediately, rather than a more abstract problem like government debt.  I still have confidence in the Republicans to completely miss the opportunity to produce a coherent message relating the burden on the individuals who lose out to Obama and the Democrats.  If they did, they won’t keep on message consistently and convincingly to stop the victims of the UCA from running back home to mama once the media and the Democrats press their counter-propaganda.
            My prediction: Those who do manage to reflect reality most accurately will be dismissed as “tea party” “jihadists” who want to kill sick children and brutalize women.  The RINOs like McCain will stand with the Democrats and throw rocks at the “wacko birds”, and then the media will squash the message as “fringe”.
            #2: That’s an inversion of reality.  The US government and the exercise in democracy is a direct affront to the ability to people to govern themselves.  Instead, ignorant voters driven by emotions rush to give their imprimatur to the elites to rule everyone, replacing the judgment and values of each individual–which is how one governs one’s own actions ethically–with the judgment and values of the elites, with all the malignant and perverse incentives that such great power invites.
            As for the bromide about people learning, I’ll just cite the dismal failure of government schools, the decline of the value of an education, the obsession with entertainment to the exclusion of substantive knowledge or awareness of current events, etc..  The average keeps getting worse.  And, the incentives for the dependent classes are to continue to vote for those who continue to make them more dependent.
            I am not cynical, either.  The data supports me.

          • Ah, yes.  That ol’ absolutist urge just keepsa bubbling to the surface, dunnit?

          • “absolutist urge”?  Propaganda bullspit.  There isn’t an “urge”, like some childish emotional whim.
            That’s the same as the attacks on opponents of the individual mandate.  You know it’s wrong to force people to buy something they don’t want to, but the Democrats will accuse you of wanting kids to die of cancer, women to be brutalized (war on women!), and the US to be some hillbilly backwoods while all the cool countries have nationalized health care.  Or, you’re racist.
            The reality is that you look at the principles and made a rational judgment that individuals have the right not to buy insurance, or to buy “Cadillac plans” if they choose.  It’s not a whim.  I’t snot an “urge”.  It’s reasoned thought.
            Don’t use the phrase “govern themselves” and expect me to not notice how democracy in the US does not qualify, no matter what your teacher taught you in school.  We’re dealing in facts, not urges.  You might not want to challenge that deep-seated dogma, but that’s more about your emotional state than your reason.

          • And you make the simple…rather stupid…mistake of confusing “self-control” with “self-government”.

            We all have the responsibility to control our own actions.  And…really…nobody takes that away.  Not from a slave, not from anyone.  One can be forced to do bad things, or they can abdicate their responsibility, but those are not exceptions, are they?

            The Founders gave us the opportunity to be actors in our own governance.  Because they considered that a natural right of man.
             

          • And you make the simple…rather stupid…mistake of confusing ‘self-control’ with ‘self-government’.

            Confusing?  Tell me something: explain the word “self” in the phrase “self-government”, and then show that this is distinct from the concept of “self-control”.

            The Founders gave us the opportunity to be actors in our own governance.  Because they considered that a natural right of man.

            How much of an actor are you in opposing TARP, 2009 Stimulus, ObamaCare, etc.?  How much power do you have to see to it that those responsible for Fast and Furious, Benghazi, IRS-gate, and all the other scandals are held to account?
            No, what you have is the illusion of having a role in these power plays.  Nothing you do has made any difference, though, has it?

          • Emphatically YES!

            Do you think good people do good things to no avail?  If you don’t stop all the murders and child abuse, are you ineffectual when you oppose murder and child abuse?  Are you propagandized and a dupe to live well and extend your good values into the politics of the nation?

            Weak, dude…

          • Emphatically YES!Do you think good people do good things to no avail?

            Limit your response to political influence.  A cornerstone of agorism is that people acting outside of the confines of political processes like elections can solve problems and accomplish good things.
            Specifically: voting and attempting to influence elections through campaigning, protesting, etc..

            If you don’t stop all the murders and child abuse, are you ineffectual when you oppose murder and child abuse?

            That depends how you oppose them.

            Are you propagandized and a dupe to live well and extend your good values into the politics of the nation?

            Euphemism: “extend your good values”.  Yeah, lots of morons voted last election to “extend” the value of government redistribution and not holding those in power accountable.  How is all that “extending” working out for us?

          • How did your NOT voting work out for “us”.

            That was remarkably stupid.

          • How did your NOT voting work out for ‘us’.

            I got the same result you did and I didn’t have to sacrifice my values.  If I had voted, nothing would have changed, except I would have been complicit in something I find to be repugnant.

            That was remarkably stupid.

            So I’m stupid to reject the illusion of choice? Stupid to understand what a vote represents?
            Regardless of whether you vote for the winner or not, your vote is a permission slip for the candidate who gets the most votes to continue to engage in all the abuse of power, corruption, cronyism, and disastrous scuttling of the private sector that you decry, day in and day out.
            You agreed to this result, just as Scott agreed to the Republican agenda on the condition that Romney got more votes.  I didn’t agree to any of it.

          • As I said.

            Stupid.  AND culpable.

          • As I said.

            Said, not demonstrated.
            I explained why you were wrong.  You ignored that and played Pee-Wee Herman.
            You’re not only wrong, but you’ve got things 180° backwards, a complete inversion of reality.
            How do you derive culpability from not participating in a system which creates such horrible results?

          • As I said…

            STUPID
            and
            CULPABLE.
            Exactly what I expect from an absolutist.
            You either kick in, or you are part of the result.

          • As I said…

            Exactly, you said something.  I disputed it.  Instead of backing up your point, you repeat it like some petulant child.  You used ALL CAPS, like a child raising his voice in lieu of an argument.

            Exactly what I expect from an absolutist.

            You have no idea what that word means.  It shows.

            You either kick in, or you are part of the result.

            I have to toss some in the cannibal pot or I get to be part of the menu.  Collectivist rot.
            You lack the style of Puff Daddy.  (NSFW)

  • So do any of you folks think the feint by the Republicans, putting Democrats on record for a failed healthcare system, will payoff by November 2014 ?
    Republicans went to the mat for the “little guy” who can no longer have his old insurance plan and must now pay more because HHS “Christmas-treed” the minimum plan to include too much. (I’m seeing stories of increased prices with a worse deductible)

    >>>>> Absolutely not. This will be hung around the GOPs neck by the media. It’s already started and the GOP is too stupid to fight it

    • After Senate Democrats send letter asking for a delay, the White House announces that healthcare.gov will be running smoothly by the end of November.

      Does anybody think it will be less than 6 months before your average ACORN employee will be able to navigate it ?

    • It is hard to fight back when the other side owns the media. On top of that, you have the division between the beltway types like McCain and the Repubs who lean Tea Party.

      It is easy to attack McCain, but I can see how someone marionated in the beltway political culture would be swayed by the MSM. We are social animals, and we try to fit in. The best answer in McCain’s case is retirement (or “You are fired”), but it isn’t hard to see why McCain has ended up as he has.

      • it isn’t hard to see why McCain has ended up as he has.

        Granted.

        But NO excuse.

        • Yeah, it is inherently disfunctional to keep sending these people to DC.

          McCain began marionating in the beltway at a time when the MSM at least attempted to appear unbiased and where Democrats would usually at least attempt to appear reasonable. Now, McCain is either a punching bag (in ’08, when he was a threat) or a hero (now, when he is a counter to the Tea Party). He’s like the guy at the frat party who’s a big joke and the butt of the jokes, but he keeps trying to fit in and be liked, so he puts up with it. At some level he has to know . . .

          • To me, the nail-in-the-coffin argument for term limits.
            The Founders never intended that there should be career politicians at the Federal level.
            Help them.  Turn them out by law.

      • He’s an ass hat.
        Stop forgiving him.

        The only good thing I can say about him is he’s not Obama.

        • I agree.  Even then, his stance on Syria makes me wonder if he could possibly have been worse than Obama.  I know, it’s hard to imagine, but if any Republican could do it, he could.

      • If Republicans weren’t stupid and short-sighted, they would settle their differences behind closed doors, as much as possible, and then fire every advisor who cringes and tells them to run the other way at the first wisp of the media portraying them negatively.  Take the media being anti-Republican as a given.  Grow some testicles.  Pound on the message and make it about the impact on individuals.
        The fact that they will not follow such a basic strategy means they will continue to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

  • http://hotair.com/archives/2013/10/25/hhs-now-refusing-to-answer-reporters-questions-on-when-sebelius-knew-website-launch-would-fail/
    So, really, ANY question who these people think they work for?
    The idea of a “public servant” is just BS that an idiot like Joe Biden slings when schmoozing the rank and file of Federal “workers”.
    Nobody…and I mean NO BODY…gives that any credence after the gangster government show of contempt for the American people.
    Subpoena her ass.

     

    • Unfortunately to be enforced by Eric Holder’s Justice department?

      Gawd this makes me ill.

    • Quit complaining Rags. Afterall, as she eloquently put it, she “doesn’t work for us”
      But in a just world, as soon as she made that pronouncement, she’d have been pelted right in the kisser with an overripe tomato.

    • They “serve” the people like a bull is used by a breeder to serve a cow.

  • First Lady Michelle Obama’s Princeton classmate is a top executive at the company that earned the contract to build the failed Obamacare website.
    Toni Townes-Whitley, Princeton class of ’85, is senior vice president at CGI Federal, which earned the no-bid contract to build the $678 million Obamacare enrollment website at Healthcare.gov. CGI Federal is the U.S. arm of a Canadian company.
    Townes-Whitley and her Princeton classmate Michelle Obama are both members of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni.

    Also, apparently Valerie Jarrett’s son in law is a CGI exec

    • …both members of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni

      If Black people could be racists…

      But, of course, Mooochelle IS a racist, and a real deep-in-the-bone hater, too.

  • CGI Inc. Welcome to the final confirmation we live in the Republic of San Obamadorivia.

    Yeah, we have bananas, tons of them.

  •  

    Dem. Senator: ‘Nobody Should Be Forced to Buy a Policy that Costs More than What They Had and Is Inferior’
    9:48 AM, Oct 27, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER

    Democratic senator Joe Manchin said that, under Obamacare, “nobody should be forced to buy a policy that cost more than what they had and is inferior to what they had”:
    “Senator manchin, you get the last word,” said the ABC host this morning. “Are you seeing any indication from anyone in the administration that they are willing to go along with some sort of a delay?”
    “I’m not sure,” said Manchin. “I haven’t spoken in detail with them. But I can tell you: if we have a bipartisan group, which we’ve had before … George, nobody should be forced to buy a policy that costs more than what they had and is inferior to what they had. Those things have to be worked out.”

    If you have a plan you like…you are SOOOOOOoooooo screwed…!!!

     

    • “George, nobody should be forced to buy a policy that costs more than what they had and is inferior to what they had. Those things have to be worked out.”

      Huh? That’s an integral part of the Obamacare design plan — healthy people pay more for coverage they don’t need and sick people pay less. It’s a zero-sum game. Only now, three years later, they’re discovering how it all works?