The “New and Improved” Obamacare May Be New, But It Is Hardly Improved

 

Someday, when it comes to the rollout of Obamacare, I will assume that things cannot possibly get worse, and blessedly, I will be right.

Today, however, is not that day:

Raising concerns about consumer privacy, California’s health exchange has given insurance agents the names and contact information for tens of thousands of people who went online to check out coverage but didn’t ask to be contacted.

The Covered California exchange said it started handing out this consumer information this week as part of a pilot program to help people enroll ahead of a Dec. 23 deadline to have health insurance in place by Jan. 1.

State officials said they are only trying to help potential customers find insurance and sign up in time. But some insurance brokers and consumers who were contacted said they were astonished by the state’s move.

“I’m shocked and dumbfounded,” said Sam Smith, an Encino insurance broker and president of the California Assn. of Health Underwriters, an industry group.

Smith said he was under the impression from the exchange that these consumers had requested assistance. He received the names of two consumers this week but has not yet contacted them.

“These people would have a legitimate complaint,” Smith said.

The names provided include people who started an insurance application on the Covered California website since enrollment launched Oct. 1, but for whatever reason never picked a health plan or completed the sign-up process.

The state said it provided information on tens of thousands of people who logged into the state’s website, but it didn’t know the exact number.

The exchange said agents were given names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses if available.

Recall from yesterday’s post that Paul Krugman believes California shows us how Obamacare can be successfully implemented. I wonder what it takes to raise fears of an unsuccessful implementation. Riots in the streets? Dogs and cats living together, with a side order of mass hysteria?

Recall as well from yesterday’s post that people like Ezra Klein are trying to rewrite history when it comes to the president’s Obamacare-related promises. Klein is not alone in this dishonest endeavor:

If you want to keep your doctor, you might have to pay more for it, Obamacare architect Zeke Emanuel said today on Fox News Sunday:

The host, Chris Wallace, said: “President Obama famously promised, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Doesn’t that turn out to be just as false, just as misleading, as his promise about if you like your plan, you can keep your plan? Isn’t it a fact, sir, that a number, most, in fact, of the Obamacare health plans that are being offered on the exchanges exclude a number of doctors and hospitals to lower costs?”

“The president never said you were going to have unlimited choice of any doctor in the country you want to go to,” said the Obamacare architect.

“No. He asked a question. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Did he not say that, sir?”

“He didn’t say you could have unlimited choice.”

“It’s a simple yes or no question. Did he say if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor?”

“Yes. But look, if you want to pay more for an insurance company that covers your doctor, you can do that. This is a matter of choice. We know in all sorts of places you pay more for certain — for a wider range of choices or wider range of benefits.The issue isn’t the selective networks. People keep saying, Oh, the problem is you’re going to have a selective network–”

Just to be clear on this issue, the president told us that if we wanted to keep our doctors or continue relationships with our hospitals, we could, “period.” He didn’t say “you can, but your premiums will go up.” He also didn’t say “you can, but you will have to pay more out of pocket,” or “you can, but you may be sans money,” or “you can, but forget about that new car.” He said “you can, period.” As with the case of Ezra Klein, I wonder whom Ezekiel Emanuel thinks he is fooling in this instance. Again, we have Google. We also have working long-term memories. We know what the president said and we can look it up in order to prove it. Attempts to brainwash the country by presenting some kind of alternative history are doomed to fail, and these particular attempts to brainwash the country by presenting some kind of alternative history aren’t even remotely convincing to begin with.

Remind me again how we are supposed to celebrate “improvements” in the implementation of Obamacare. Because somehow, I don’t feel like partying ’til the break of dawn over this issue.

There are 12 comments.

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  1. Profile Photo Member
    @

    So according to Emanuel, if you are rich, you can select your own doctor.  Otherwise, you are out of luck.  Astonishing.  I tremble at the prospect that they will get away with this.  

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Inactive
    @MorituriTe

    When my very large employer gutted its “Cadillac” health plans after the passage of Obamacare, I was thrown onto a network that didn’t include my family’s primary care physician. Now I pay for all my GP visits out of pocket, 100%. (My new, “improved” coverage has a $6000 out of network deductible.)So hey, I got to keep my doctor! I mean, strictly speaking Obama didn’t say my insurance company would keep paying him.By the way, I’ve estimated how much Obamacare is costing me each year. It’s about five grand, between the FSA cap, my employer zeroing out its contributions to my HRA based plan, and the loss of my GP. Pejman wasn’t kidding about foregoing that new car.

    • #2
  3. Profile Photo Inactive
    @NickStuart

    Just astonishing.

    Who Klein and Emmanuel, and Shultz, and Reid, and Pelosi, and of course Obama think they’re fooling is 51% of the people. And it’s likely they’re right.

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Inactive
    @TheMugwump

    I don’t understand the persistent lying either.  But trying to explain it is like a person with a healthy psyche trying to fathom mental illness from a patient’s perspective.  And if mental illness is the diagnosis, count me one who won’t be surprised.

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Inactive
    @TheMugwump
    Nick Stuart: Just astonishing.

    Who Klein and Emmanuel, and Shultz, and Reid, and Pelosi, and of course Obama think they’re fooling is 51% of the people. And it’s likely they’re right. · 7 minutes ago

    Edited 4 minutes ago

    Material considerations have their own dynamic.  Rather like a T-34 rolling down the boulevards of Berlin in 1945. 

    • #5
  6. Profile Photo Thatcher
    @JamesGawron

    Pej,

    Lie #1) You can keep your health insurance.

    Lie #2) You can keep your Doctor.

    Lie #3) You’ll get a subsidy, that’ll make it cheap.

    Lie one and two will infuriate a huge number of people.  Only the low-information hyper-committed type will hang on.  When it becomes clear that there will be no subsidy or worse that they have actually lied and used bait & switch with the subsidy then even the obsessives will lose it.

    It is incredibly instructive to watch Chris Wallace toe to toe with Zeke Emanual.  Emanual is so over the top aggressive, it makes you realize just how far a mindless idealogue can convince himself of total nonsense.  Wallace chops him down.  Like a hunter shooting a charging animal that is bearing right down on him.

    I think Nick is a little too pessimistic about people.  This isn’t going to sell.  Every single person knows how much they paid for insurance 6 months ago without Obamacare.  They know how much more they are going to pay now.  They know Obamacare will take their quality Doctor away and give them the leftovers.

    It won’t sell.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #6
  7. Profile Photo Inactive
    @FuneralGuy

    I can’t find the original source for this quote, but I saw it on The American Thinker blog this morning and just loved it. “Once the employer mandate kicks in they’ll be hunting Democrats with dogs in this country.”

    • #7
  8. Profile Photo Inactive
    @ManWiththeAxe

    I created an account on healthcare.gov sometime in October. I have good insurance through my previous employer (I’m retired), but I wanted to know first hand what was going on inside the exchanges. 

    I created the account after about two weeks of trying. After weeks of trying to log back in with no success, I was finally able to log in last night. (This is after the 400 or so “fixes” the administration announced). I went through a host of screens to verify I am myself, and then entered a lot of info so that I could possibly get an idea of the plans available to me, if I wanted one. Then suddenly, just before it looked like it was going to work, I get a screen telling me:  “Sorry. There’s a problem with our system. Please log out and try again in 30 minutes.”

    So, it isn’t fixed after all.

    • #8
  9. Profile Photo Inactive
    @MikeK
    Funeral Guy: I can’t find the original source for this quote, but I saw it on The American Thinker blog this morning and just loved it. “Once the employer mandate kicks in they’ll be hunting Democrats with dogs in this country.” · 4 minutes ago

    That was Phil Gramm about Hillarycare in 1993. They avoided the consequences because the insurance companies did not buy in and ran ads opposing. This time Obama/Reid paid them off to be inside the tent. Now, of course, Obama will make them the villains but they should have known better that to lie down with dogs.

    • #9
  10. Profile Photo Inactive
    @NickStuart

    @James Gawron. I hope you’re right and that I am overly pessimistic.

    • #10
  11. Profile Photo Inactive
    @PejmanYousefzadeh

    I certainly would like to think that it won’t sell, but government programs don’t have a history of going away.

    James Gawron: . . . I think Nick is a little too pessimistic about people.  This isn’t going to sell.  Every single person knows how much they paid for insurance 6 months ago without Obamacare.  They know how much more they are going to pay now.  They know Obamacare will take their quality Doctor away and give them the leftovers.

    It won’t sell.

    Regards,

    Jim · December 8, 2013 at 4:40pm

    • #11
  12. Profile Photo Inactive
    @PejmanYousefzadeh

    Shocking. I’m just shocked. Did I mention how shocked I am?

    Howellis: I created an account on healthcare.gov sometime in October. I have good insurance through my previous employer (I’m retired), but I wanted to know first hand what was going on inside the exchanges. 

    I created the account after about two weeks of trying. After weeks of trying to log back in with no success, I was finally able to log in last night. (This is after the 400 or so “fixes” the administration announced). I went through a host of screens to verify I am myself, and then entered a lot of info so that I could possibly get an idea of the plans available to me, if I wanted one. Then suddenly, just before it looked like it was going to work, I get a screen telling me:  “Sorry. There’s a problem with our system. Please log out and try again in 30 minutes.”

    So, it isn’t fixed after all. · December 9, 2013 at 8:24am

    • #12

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