Saturday, October 12, 2013
ObamaCare’s Ides of March
Beware the ides of March.
Shakespeare (1564-1616), Julius Caesar (1599)
Within the GOP, there are two schools of thought about what to do about ObamaCare, defund it or let it die on his own.
The latter runs the risk it might succeed or it might be impossible to turn back once it takes hold.
The Obama administration’s criteria for early success is signing up 7 million people by late March. Or else, a death spiral will occur as premiums for the rest of us soar.
Signs of early chances for success are mixed. In the first 10 rollout days. Obama supporters say 10 million have visited healthcare.gov and state websites. Republicans counter by saying only 50,000 or so have signed up. That leaves 6.95 million to go to reach 7.0 million.
Between now and the end of March, lie these consumer chokepoints and bottle necks on healthcare.gov and 15 state sign-up sites.
· Computer error messages, delays, crashes, and stuck accounts.
· Consumer hassles of filling out applications, checking on subsidies and deductibles , selecting a health plan which includes registering, personal data submission, identification verification, tax credit eligibility , plan selection, determining if your doctor or hospital is in plan, and enrolling in plan.
· Fixing the glitches in the federal computer “hub” that must be traversed and integrated across five huge federal agencies – Homeland Security, Social Security, Health and Human Services, Treasury Department, and the Department of Justice and 15 state health exchange computer sites.
· Recruiting and training “navigators” to find hard to reach people, particularly the young and healthy, and persuading them that hikes in their premiums for comprehensive “health benefits,” which many will feel they do not need, coupled with high deductibles, is worth the cost, or whether paying a miniscule $95 penalty is the way to go.
· Overcoming the skepticism and resistance created by critics that the whole thing is going to be a disastrous “train wreck.”
Now it may well be that the Obama administration, with its formidable team of programming fixers, the $684 million devoted to its marketing effort, and its monumental email and contact lists assembled during its presidential campaigns, can overcome these compute choke points and bottle necks and political obstacles. The next 5 and 3/4 months will tell if it is possible to hurdle this complex set of technological, people, and political barriers.
Tweet: To reach its 7 million goal for health exchanges by March 31, the Obama administration must sign up 42,000 a day between now and then.