Wednesday, October 23, 2013

How Long, Kathleen?
How long, Cataline, will you abuse our patience?
Cicero (105-43 B.C.)
With the stumbling start,  Kathlene Sibelius has run into a firestorm over’s malfunctions.   The House oversight committee has asked her to testify about its catastrophic start.   Senator Roberts from her home state of Kansas, among others,  has asked for her resignation..  President Obama called a press conference to explain was only a website, and Obamacare was much more than that.  It was, he proclaimed, a”great product.”  Sibelius  took the sword for the President by saying he was unaware of any website flaws before October 1.  
But Democrats are openly worried that too long a delay in fixing the website threatens the very existence of the health law.   Americans, they fear, are an impatient people and may rebel against a law they already oppose, leading to its eventual repeal.  Adding fuel to the fire  are health plans,  who have just sent out more 700,000 cancellations of existing policies because they do not measure up to ObamaCare standards.
How long does Katheleen  Sibelius and HHS have before they get up and running?    Opinions of analysts vary  The consensus is that if it is not up by November 15 among those 36 states who rely on the  federal government’s website to enroll Obamacare participants, it will be in deep trouble.
According to the October 21  Kaiser Health News,

“The stakes are huge – not just because of public opinion, but practically, in terms of creating the broad insurance pools which are key to the law’s success. The marketplaces are supposed to be one-stop shops where individual consumers could compare policies, find out if they are eligible for subsidies, and enroll in coverage. But without robust participation – and the government is counting on 7 million enrollees the first year -- the program could fall short of attracting the necessary numbers and balance between healthy and unhealthy consumers, potentially resulting in premium hikes in future years.”
“The risk in frustrating consumers is that those who are healthy or on the fence about enrolling may give up, leaving the unhealthy to persevere and enroll, which could drive up premiums in future years, potentially leading to what experts call “a death spiral,” where only the sickest people sign on.”
Given the resources of the government, the fact that it has already pumped $400 million into, that ObamaCare’s survival may depend into the website,  a death spiral seems unlikely.   Still, confidence in the credibility and  belief in the competence of President Obama and Kathleen Sibelius rides on getting fixed. Consumers have until Dec. 15 to enroll for coverage that starts Jan. 1, although the open enrollment period goes to March 31.
Consumers have until Dec. 15 to enroll for coverage that starts Jan. 1, although the open enrollment period goes to March 31.   The government is well behind schedule in its efforts to  sign up 7 million enrollees by March 31.  That would require 40,000 a day to sign on.   HHS may react by extending the enrollment date.   Another option would be delaying the Individual Mandate for a year, but the Obama administration will not do that  because it would indicate lack of preparedness and might  result in November 4,  2014 midterm defeats
Tweet:   KathleenSibelius faces a firestorm because of’s stumbles and must get the  website up and running by Nov.15 to save face.

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