Friday, December 6, 2013

Positive Thinking and A Prayer for a  Deadline Deluge

Accentuate The Positive, Eliminate The Negative

World War Two Song

Nothing concentrates the mind more than the prospective of a hanging in the morning.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

A new national Gallup poll indicates the health law is in dire straits.  After two months of glitches with the new federal healthcare website and attempts to fix it, a Gallup poll this week shows fifty-two percent favor scaling back (20%) or repealing (32%) the law.

Two Part Strategy 

The White House has a two part strategy for re-selling the law.

1. Each day accentuate the positive aspects of the law – free preventive tests (immunizations,  mammograms, and oral contraceptives);  coverage for pre-existing illnesses and young adults under their parents policies;  prescription protection for seniors to prevent falls in the donut hole;  insurance to cover unexpected catastrophic events with ensuing medical bankruptcies;  replacing  inadequate  substandard “bad apple” health plans with comprehensive standardized federal plans;  extending and replacing cancelled policies over the next year;  and, of course,  extensive federal guaranteed insurance, supplemented by subsidies, for the uninsured and the underinsured making less than 4 times the poverty level.   What’s not to like?  It’s manna from Obama.   It’s soul food.  It’s protection against the evils and inequities of the present exploitive system. 

2.  Depend on the human psychological impulse to wait until the deadline to act ( in this case, December 23), the last minute before signing up, putting your money on the line, or buying new products.   To put it another way, the metaphorical night before the hanging is December 6 to December 22 before the morning of of the hanging on December 23.  The new products  are federal exchange plans (36 states) or state exchange plans (14 states) - bronze, silver, gold, platinum- sold online with the promise of creating a federal-approved “competitive marketplace” that guarantees plans will meet those heralded  federal standards.   That these plans may cost more,  may cause you to lose access to your current doctor, and coerce you to pay a penalty for not choosing a government approved plan are not mentioned or are not considered irrelevant by the Obama administration, even though potential customers may think otherwise.

These strategies might work.   The first is untested but sounds promising. There are signs the second part of this strategy may work too:   29,000 enrolled in the first two days of December compared to 3000 who signed up for the entire month of October and 100,000 in November.

Elusive Goals

Whether ObamaCare will reach its goals of enrolling 800,000 by its deadline of December 23 to have a plan starting January 1 (which would require 37,000 enrollees per day), or 7 million signups by March 31, 2014 enrollment deadline to avoid a financial penalty for not having a plan (which would take a sign-up rate of roughly 60,000 each day), or 2.7 million young adults (about 23,000 needed daily), remains unknown, but it’s worth a positive shot even if the polls at the moment are negative.

Tweet: Democrats have begun their campaign to resell ObamaCare by stressing its positive aspects and relying a last minute rush to enroll.

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