Obamacare in the States – Not The Success Story You May Think It Is

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Obamacare in the States – Not The Success Story You May Think It Is

At the beginning of the month, in a desperate attempt to deflect criticism over the national healthcare.gov site, Washington state insurance commissioner Mike Kriedler testified in front of Congress about how well the state exchanges were working.  (Conveniently, no one from Oregon testified.)  There was just one itsy-bitsy teeny tiny problem with Kriedler’s testimony.

The Washington state exchange website was down while he was testifying.  And it continued to be down.  For almost two weeks now, the state’s website has been down for off-and-on maintenance, and with the December 23rd deadline approaching, it is causing some big problems.

And it’s not as if Washington state has just been some shining stellar example of how to run a health plan exchange website.  Let’s just list off some of the problems that we’ve heard of in my home state.

1) The website incorrectly calculated insurance rates for at least 8,000 people, often giving them a better federal subsidy than they actually qualified for.  Oops.

2) Jessica Sanford, who emailed the White House to share with them how happy she was about her new health insurance, and who had her story told by the president himself during a speech, ended up being one of those 8,000 who had gotten a wrong rate quote.  She ended up not getting a subsidy, and not being able to afford the insurance.  Oops.

3) The state exchange website started taking their automatic payments from people’s accounts, even though those people had scheduled their automatic payments to begin later.  Now people are overdrawn, and of course, they can’t get a hold of anyone through the website… because the website is down.  Again.  Oops.

4) The Seattle Times just uncovered yet another “pass it to find out what it in it” detail of Obamacare, which it profiled in its Sunday edition.  Washington state law allows Medicaid to recoup health expenses from people’s estates after they have died.  Now, with the newly-expanded “Apple Health” Medicaid program, everyone over age 55 who receives insurance via Apple Health is going to be part of this estate recovery once they die.  Washington state is now frantically looking to exempt these new Medicaid plans by limiting the estate recovery to only long-term care, but this is yet another “unforeseen” problem that has state rules in conflict with Obamacare rules.  And it’s not just Washington state – even the Daily Kos has recognized that this problem affects several states with their own exchanges and rules.  Oops again.

I guess Washington state’s HealthPlanFinder website’s new motto is “Hey, at least we’re not Cover Oregon!”

As the December 23rd deadline approaches, I expect to hear about even more problems, especially on the national level, as people are having to contact their insurance providers directly to even pay for the plans (after all, that part of Healthcare.gov hasn’t been built yet!), and the administration is basically begging insurers to just extend a good-faith credit to people who are trying to register.

This is not going to end well.  And frankly, this is a slow bleed with no end in sight.

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  • GWB says:

    This is not going to end well.

    It was never designed to end well. At least, “well” as freedom-loving patriots might define it. Chaos brings more government involvement, leading to total governmental control.

    Do not rescue, do not resuscitate. Let. It. Burn.

  • wfjag says:

    And, why shouldn’t the state Medicaid program recoup from the estates of people who received free med ins coverage? If their kids (or, whoever else the folks named in their wills) want to inherit the Ole Home Place, they had the option of taking care of Mumsie and Poppy while their folks were alive, and making them dependents, including providing them with health ins. Why should the taxpayers be left fully on the hook so the kids (or other heirs) who didn’t provide while the folks were alive now get to take once the folks are dead? Kids used to take care of their parents, or is that another thing that’s become the gumamit’s job?

  • Melly the Pirate says:

    The problem with recouping the costs on Medicaid is that, at this time, this point, people won’t realize they have a bill with the state until their estate gets hit with possibly a whopper possibly including interest. I have talked to the Oregon Health Authority and they have no answers. It would be nice if they had a game plan so people could prepare themselves. If they told people up front they were going to charge them after they got a better job, would that be a deterrant from those people seeking to better themselves? Either way the Medicaid thing is an ugly mess.

  • Jen says:

    Medicaid is paid for by their fellow citizens. It is not something that the recipient has paid into, bought an insurance policy for, etc. So if they go on Medicaid, then eventually when they no longer need it, they SHOULD pay back their fellow citizens, or at least pay into the Medicaid system themselves to help fund it for others.. If the state wants to wait until they die, then fine, but not wanting to get a better job because one would have to go off of Medicaid is EXACTLY why we have the entitlement state and decreasing productivity of today.

  • Robin H says:

    The biggest problem with the Medicaid gotcha is that many people have been dropped from their insurance coverage and are now being forced onto Medicaid. If it were up to them, they would pay for their own insurance, but since the “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan” lie they are now, through no fault of their own, being gouged. Do we know at what rate the reimbursement will be? Is there some kind of rate schedule? When the time comes 10 years later who will be able to fight it if the state just says to hand over everything?

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