I’ve been out of the office for a few days, so I have some of the latest news on Obamacare and the debate taking shape in the Congressional race back here in Montana. I’ve also got some other interesting tidbits over the last few days that you may or may not have seen yet.
Dems have another candidate to face off against career Baucus staffer John Lewis in the US House race. Republican candidate Corey Stapleton says the president “cannot fix an unfixable law.” And- not even one. No that’s not the latest anti-meth campaign, that’s the latest news from the Oregon state-based exchange where not even one enrollment has taken place. That and more is below.
— MT Republican Party (@MontanaGOP) November 14, 2013
Corey Stapleton Prepared Statement on Obamacare (from campaign mailer): President cannot ‘fix’ an unfixable law
Admitting you have a problem is the first step towards finding a solution. President Obama finally admitted Obamacare has failed the American people. Millions of Americans have already been made to pay higher premiums and lose their jobs, wages, and health care plans.
The White House is now trying to fix an unfixable law by allowing insurance companies to restore cancelled plans for one year, and forcing private insurance companies to advertise for Obamacare. That is not a solution.
The real problem is that the government cannot manage our healthcare system better than the free market. Healthcare premiums have increased. People who liked their coverage–no longer have it.
— Sanjay Talwani (@Sanjay_Talwani) November 18, 2013
Not even one- Oregon’s state-based Obamacare exchange website can’t even account for one enrollment, as the AP reports:
With all the problems facing the rollout of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, nowhere is the situation worse or more surprising than in Oregon, a progressive state that has enthusiastically embraced the federal law but has so far failed to enroll a single person in coverage through the state’s insurance exchange.
Despite grand ambitions, an early start, millions of dollars from the federal government and a tech-savvy population, Oregon’s online enrollment system still isn’t ready more than a month after it was supposed to go live. The state has resorted to hiring or reassigning 400 people to process insurance applications by hand.
Wyoming Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) on CNN:
As reporters in Montana have been struggling to get actual numbers from all of the insurance companies and the federal government, the Blue Cross Blue Shield President in North Dakota says his company has “known for several months” about the recent Obamacare cancellations, according to SayAnythingBlog.com:
Last night on Chris Berg’s Valley News Live program, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota President Paul Von Ebers shared a remarkable piece of information.
“When did you know that 31,600 people were going to lose their insurance?” Berg asked him during his interview along side state Senator Spencer Berry (R-Fargo).
“We’ve known for several months what the size of the issue was going to be,” he responded. “One thing I should say is that a significant percentage of those people would have a comparable product available. Some would not. But many of those customers would have a comparable product available under the new products required under the law. But some wouldn’t. And would have to buy higher benefits, and in some cases that would be at a higher cost.”
And what about the marriage penalty under Obamacare? The Weekly Standard has this:
A married couple can get Obamacare subsidies if their income is less than 400 percent above the poverty line. But because the federal poverty level for married couples is less than double the level for individuals, a couple that lives together without getting married can make more money than a married couple, yet still get Obamacare subsidies.
The Atlantic reports that in practice, this means that a married couple in New York making more than a combined $62,040 gets no subsidies from Obamacare. But two people who live together without getting married? They can make up to a combined $91,920 and still get subsidies from the government.
And back here in Montana: Obamacare announcement ‘causing a lot of confusion,’ insurance commissioner says
The Obama administration’s attempt Thursday to allow people to keep old health-insurance plans slated for cancellation is creating more confusion in an already tumultuous market, Montana’s insurance commissioner said.
“This really does kind of turn everything on its head, in terms of how we’ve been operating for the past three-and-a-half years,” said Monica Lindeen, a Democrat. “This is causing a lot of confusion for all of the (health insurance) markets across Montana.”
Here’s the headline The Billings Gazette put on Mike Dennison’s column: Is Obamacare in a death spiral? Too early to say — but it doesn’t look good
Yes, the ACA helps the poor and the unhealthy get insurance coverage (although even that’s somewhat in question, with the messy rollout of the marketplace and the lack of Medicaid expansion in many states) and has some protections for insurance consumers.
But, for most of us, we’re still paying dearly for medical care and health coverage, still dealing with a maddeningly complex and expensive system, and paying, indirectly or not, for the costs of Obamacare.
If the president and ACA supporters can’t convince us — or, more importantly, show us — that the law is somehow benefiting a majority of Americans, then public support will continue to flag. Without public support, the ACA is doomed, and could take years to unravel.
Conflict of interest? From WeaselZippers blog:
Q: Isn’t it a conflict of interest for State Senator Christine
Kaufmann to also act as a Navigator?