The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Reality is Starting to Set In

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


Now that Washington has a temporary reprieve on budget and debt ceiling issues, perhaps the media will focus more on the continuing Obamacare slow-motion train wreck.  It has been largely ignored by the main stream media but the news about the disastrous roll-out is trickling out.

We all know the on-line system to shop and sign up for a healthcare policy has been an unmitigated disaster.  The Washington Post reported on October 15 that the number of visitors to the Healthcare.gov website has plummeted by 88 percent since October 1, opening day.  According to the Post, “Of the 9.4 million unique visitors to the site during the launch's first week, according to the analysis, roughly a third attempted to register, and a third of that number — 1.01 million — completed registration. Ultimately, roughly 36,000 Americans signed up for an insurance plan online.”  That amounts to a measly 0.4 percent of the visitors to the site.

The computer system and website, which cost taxpayers $395 million to create, is still having problems two weeks in and remains broken, even though technicians have been working 24/7 to fix it.  Politico notes the administration is not “blaming 'glitches' and 'traffic' anymore. In fact, they haven’t said much at all in the past few days, while a string of leaked emails, memos and reports describe deeper hardware and software malfunctions. Today, again, featured a 'No comment' from the administration.”

A CBS News report notes Robert Gibbs, former White House press secretary stated: “The website's launch was excruciatingly embarrassing for the White House and for the Department of Health and Human Services… I hope they're working day and night to get this done, and when they get it fixed, I hope they fire some people that were in charge of making sure this thing was supposed to work."

Here is a recent blog by Avik Troy of Forbe’s Magazine on why the Obamacare computers malfunctioned so badly.  Troy says:

A growing consensus of IT experts, outside and inside the government, have figured out a principal reason why the website for Obamacare’s federally-sponsored insurance exchange is crashing. Healthcare.gov forces you to create an account and enter detailed personal information before you can start shopping. This, in turn, creates a massive traffic bottleneck, as the government verifies your information and decides whether or not you’re eligible for subsidies. HHS bureaucrats knew this would make the website run more slowly. But they were more afraid that letting people see the underlying cost of Obamacare’s insurance plans would scare people away."

Troy succinctly notes:

This political objective—masking the true underlying cost of Obamacare’s insurance plans—far outweighed the operational objective of making the federal website work properly. Think about it the other way around. If the 'Affordable Care Act' truly did make health insurance more affordable, there would be no need to hide these prices from the public."

But in addition to the computer problems, those that are “lucky” enough to sign in are finding out Obamacare is not so affordable and sticker shock is setting in.  Perhaps this is why so few have agreed to sign onto a policy.

In addition to people finding out what their prices are in the healthcare exchanges, others with health insurance are beginning to find out what Obamacare regulations are doing to their plans and what their costs will be in 2014.

First - my own story. I was at my doctor’s today and the receptionist spent most of her time talking about the number of patients that have come into the office complaining how much health insurance was going to cost them next year.  According to her, many of their patients pay for their healthcare in cash.  One patient said that he will be forced to pay for a plan that will cost more than $500 a month and have a $6,000 deductable.  He is thinking of paying the $95.00 fine until he can figure out what to do.  The receptionist declared “how can they call this healthcare law affordable when clearly it is not!”

I have attempted to compile several stories to give you a good representative sample of what seems to be occurring across the nation.

Here’s a key paragraph from an article from the San Jose Mercury News in liberal, blue-state California:

Cindy Vinson and Tom Waschura are big believers in the Affordable Care Act. They vote independent and are proud to say they helped elect and re-elect President Barack Obama.

Yet, like many other Bay Area residents who pay for their own medical insurance, they were floored last week when they opened their bills: Their policies were being replaced with pricier plans that conform to all the requirements of the new health care law.

Vinson, of San Jose, will pay $1,800 more a year for an individual policy, while Waschura, of Portola Valley, will cough up almost $10,000 more for insurance for his family of four."

This report comes from the leftist Daily Kos in which Tirge Caps, a regular contributor wrote [please note, Daily Kos allows four-letter words on their blog, we do not]:

My wife and I just got our updates from Kaiser telling us what our 2014 rates will be. Her monthly has been $168 this year, mine $150. We have a high deductible. We are generally healthy people who don't go to the doctor often. I barely ever go. The insurance is in case of a major catastrophe.

Well, now, because of Obamacare, my wife's rate is gong to $302 per month and mine is jumping to $284.

I am canceling insurance for us and I am not paying any [f*****g] penalty. What the hell kind of reform is this?

Oh, ok, if we qualify, we can get some government assistance. Great. So now I have to jump through another hoop to just chisel some of this off. And we don't qualify, anyway, so what's the point?

I never felt too good about how this was passed and what it entailed, but I figured if it saved Americans money, I could go along with it.

I don't know what to think now. This appears, in my experience, to not be a reform for the people."

And then these excerpts from a report from the Chicago Tribune:

Adam Weldzius, a nurse practitioner, considers himself better informed than most when it comes to the inner workings of health insurance. But even he wasn't prepared for the pocketbook hit he'll face next year under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

If the 33-year-old single father wants the same level of coverage next year as what he has now with the same insurer and the same network of doctors and hospitals, his monthly premium of $233 will more than double… For someone who's always had insurance, who's always taken care of myself, now I have to change my plan?"

Many Illinoisans buying health coverage on their own next year will face a similar dilemma spurred by the health care overhaul: pay higher monthly insurance premiums or run the risk of having to shell out thousands more in deductibles for health care if they get sick."

And here is a story from the Charlotte Observer in North Carolina:

Across North Carolina, thousands of people have been shocked in recent weeks to find out their health insurance plans will be canceled at the end of the year – and premiums for comparable coverage could increase sharply.

One of them is George Schwab of Charlotte, who pays $228 a month for his family’s $10,000 deductible plan from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.

In a Sept. 23 letter, Blue Cross notified him that his current plan doesn’t meet benefit requirements outlined in the Affordable Care Act and suggested a comparable plan for $1,208 a month – $980 more than he now pays.

“I’m 62 and retired,” Schwab said. “This creates a tremendous financial burden for our family.

“The President told the American people numerous times that… ‘If you like your coverage, you can keep it,’” Schwab said. “How can we keep it if it has been eliminated? How can we keep it if the premium has been increased 430 percent in one year?

Last week, I happened to listen to the John Batchelor radio show.  I've linked to one interesting conversation concerning Kansas, the home state of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.  You can “Tune In” by scrolling to 11minutes and 20 seconds into the interview (let it stream for a few seconds until you see the button then move it forward. It programmed 10/9/2013, 3rd hour.)

The stories I listed above cannot be isolated incidents.  As people learn from their employer or self-insured individuals hear from their insurance companies what the cost of their 2014 plans will be, no doubt more articles will surface.

If you see stories in your newspaper and wish to share, send them along to me at webmaster@cagw.org with my name in the subject line - Silence Dogood.

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