Obamacare’s Unintended Consequences: It’s Not Just A Technology Problem

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by F.F. Wiley of Cyniconomics

Obamacare’s Unintended Consequences: It’s Not Just A Technology Problem

Ron Suskind’s Pulitzer Prize-winning account of Barack Obama’s first two years in office, Confidence Men, tells the inside story of the wheeling and dealing that culminated in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). According to Suskind:

By the time it passed, almost no one could feel great about it. The process had been so ugly – and the end product so convoluted – that even its fiercest apologists would acknowledge that it was a bill that was only a start.

We’re now getting a good look at exactly what Suskind’s “start means, most recently with the launch of the insurance exchanges. Based on the latest reports, it appears to mean:

  • Crony capitalism – see this report from the Sunlight Foundation (h/t Arnold Kling).
  • Government secrecy – see this Wall Street Journal editorial.
  • Prioritization of election politics over policies – see this report in the National Review.
  • Inefficiencies and incompetence – see this article by Megan McArdle.
  • Alternative realities – see Jon Stewart’s interview with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on The Daily Show (more on this below).

Unfortunately, these aren’t the worst of our problems. The HHS’s amateur hour created quite a stir, but it will eventually pass. Whether in three months or three years, programmers will iron out the new system’s “glitches.” We’ll then be left with more threatening and far-reaching challenges, such as hiring disincentives and fiscal risks.

If you agree with this perspective, you may also agree that two of last week’s most relevant blog posts weren’t related to break-downs in the insurance exchanges. These are:

  • Tyler Durden parsed the Fed’s October 16th Beige Book release and found no less than eight references to the ACA’s effects on business activity. Here’s a typical observation reported by the Fed: “Many contacts also commented on reluctance to expand due to uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act; some employers cut hours or employees.”
  • Durden also shared a table reported by J.P. Morgan’s Michael Cembalest comparing estimated and actual costs for five Medicare programs, one Medicaid program and the Massachusetts state health reform of 2006. The data shows actual costs exceeding estimates by 107%, 129%, 150%, 644%, 817%, 1600% and 20%, respectively. And yet, we’re expected to believe the administration’s highly politicized projections that the ACA will be deficit neutral.

We recommend checking out both posts. They suggest the most important question we should be asking is not the one that Stewart repeated several times while grilling Sebelius: “Businesses were given a delay of a year, but individuals were not given that option, why is that?”

The bigger question is: “If the administration messed up so badly on the seemingly mundane task of building a website, how much will Obamacare damage the broader economy and the nation’s long-term fiscal health?”

The Stewart-Sebelius interview drew attention to the second question only briefly, when Stewart mentioned that employers were converting full-time workers to part-time due to the ACA. But he failed to challenge Sebelius’ weak response that “economists – not the anecdotal folks – but economists say there’s absolutely no evidence that part-time work is going up.”

This is exactly where an informed and unbiased interviewer would have dug further to expose the truth.

Contrary to the administration narrative that Sebelius was parroting, we showed in “’Anecdote This,’ Dr. Furman” that the evidence of an ACA part-time worker effect is conclusive. Not only are reports from so-called “anecdotal folks” too pervasive to be credibly dismissed, but the claim that part-time work hasn’t “gone up” is just plain wrong. Even though most employers are unlikely to finalize policy changes this far ahead of the ACA’s postponed employer mandate, government data shows that part-time jobs jumped sharply in the quarter before the postponement, while full-time jobs stagnated.

Getting back to Suskind’s observation that the ACA was only a “start,” it appears to be a rocky start based on the exchanges fiasco. We should be even more concerned about the part-time worker effect, broader effects shown in the Beige Book, and the history of health program costs. These are a few of the many reasons to expect an even rockier road ahead.

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ParkAveFlasher's picture

Stewart is but a small deflector panel on the Great TBTF SHTF Event that is Obamacare.  Of course his questions are glancing.

Manthong's picture

I don’t buy the unintended part.

Not one bit.

This is an intentional CF designed to foist 30+ million low enders on the producers and the young and create chaos.

"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." 

This is their mind-set.

GetZeeGold's picture



Won't you please give to Ted Cruz today?

I know it's only one guy but maybe he can bring a Posse from Texas when he returns.

hedgeless_horseman's picture




This is exactly where an informed and unbiased interviewer would have dug further to expose the truth.

Not on television. 

Take the hedgeless_horseman challenge.

  • Give away your television(s) and replace with artwork.

Unlike the Federal Reserve Bank, The Federal Communications Commission, is a actually a government entity.  This interview would never be allowed to happen with an informed and unbiased interviewer.

Characteristics of Fascism


#6 Controlled Mass Media - Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.



PS:  These people are so out of touch to think that small businesses are not going to take such obvious steps to cut costs. We have been telling them that is this exactly what we are doing since it was first passed.


 hedgeless_horseman                                                                      Fri, 06/29/2012 - 14:21



We used to pay for health insurance for all of our employees.  When the taxes increased with ObamaCare, we decided we did not need to pay twice, so we eliminated healthcare benefits and limited our companies (fired people) to below 50 employees.  Now, all those employees will have gone from getting free healthcare from their employer to paying a fine tax, and not having any healthcare benefits, because the fine will be less than the premiums.

smlbizman's picture

this will be the final straw that breaks the remaining middle class back and make us all criminals....when ur household is facing an additional 1000.00 per month extraction due to these cocksuckers something will give....

knukles's picture

Why, I ask, does any politician attempting to be taken seriously even consider appearances with Stewart?

Do they not understand, do they really wish to confirm their distance from reality?
Like never inhaling......

whstlblwr's picture

It’s easier to bug out or complain on blogs.

"The man who loves his country on its own account, and not merely for its trappings of interest or power, can never be divorced from it, can never refuse to come forward when he finds that she is engaged in dangers which he has the means of warding off."
--Thomas Jefferson to Elbridge Gerry, 1797. ME 9:407

"Lethargy [is] the forerunner of death to the public liberty." --Thomas Jefferson to William Stephens Smith, 1787.

"Very many and very meritorious were the worthy patriots who assisted in bringing back our government to its republican tack. To preserve it in that will require unremitting vigilance." --Thomas Jefferson to William T. Barry, 1822. ME 15:388


derek_vineyard's picture

1.   obamacare is just a stepping stone to single payer---thats why its doa to consumer


2.  politicans are that fucking stupid to draft this absurd legislation


1 or 2?   or both?

imapopulistnow's picture

Its both.  Those who believe in government are not able to comprehend the complexities and unintended consequences of the programs that they enact.

Dr. Sandi's picture

Why would our peerless leaders understand these programs? They were passed out under the table while a lobbyist wrote the whole damned thing.

Better to ask the lobbyists what the 'unintended' consequences will be.

jwoop66's picture

by this time next year, those same people who think obamacare is a good idea, will forget all that happened this year.  When brian williams and al sharpton tell them that the republicans screwed up obamacare and it cannot be fixed because the damn racists screwed it up permanently, they will just as easily buy in to national socialist (single payer) health care.


has been the plan from the beginning.

Jumbotron's picture

"It’s easier to bug out or complain on blogs.

"The man who loves his country on its own account, and not merely for its trappings of interest or power, can never be divorced from it, can never refuse to come forward when he finds that she is engaged in dangers which he has the means of warding off."
--Thomas Jefferson to Elbridge Gerry, 1797. ME 9:407"

Thomas Jefferson was a slave holder.  He was a rapist.  He didn't believe in a savior so he believed in a piece of paper and the good will and better angels of man's nature.

He was a fool and a hypocrite.

Man himself has proven him wrong over the course of time.  He proved himself the hypocrite when he stated that all men are created equal.....when he held other men and women in bondage.

Don't you dare bring up that son of a bitch unless it's in the context of his crusade against National Banks and his feud with Hamilton.

Then we can have a conversation about that narrow subject.

Otherwise....Thomas Jefferson and his ideas are meaningless.

Bay of Pigs's picture

Try to keep some context in regard to world history and human events. Whats with the hachet job. Your ignorance of the facts on Jefferson and his entire body of work and life are staggering to say the least.

Jumbotron's picture

My first book report was on Thomas Jefferson in the 1st grade in 1969 in my citizenship class.  That's right.  A wholly seperate class apart from history in my school back in the day.  I have read just about EVERY book directly about Jefferson and indirectly about him.....including his possible involvment with the murder of Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark fame.

Jefferson's only contribution was to state the obvious "We Hold These Truths To Be Self Evident"

Everything else was a rehash and a mishmash of various political/philisophical/quasi-religious ideas and sentinments.

None of which have stood the test of time.....neither is bastardization of them.

Own it.

Bay of Pigs's picture

Yes, of course, how could I forget....Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and Jumbrotron.

whstlblwr's picture

So let me guess, Jumbrotron. Who's your constitutional hero? Marx? Stalin?

And whatever you do don't get involved, there's nothing you can do, stay home and watch TV, and don't seek inspiration from the founding fathers of the country.

Jumbotron's picture

"So let me guess, Jumbrotron. Who's your constitutional hero? Marx? Stalin?

And whatever you do don't get involved, there's nothing you can do, stay home and watch TV, and don't seek inspiration from the founding fathers of the country."

None of them.  Fuck them all.  Everyone....Marx, Stalin, Jefferson, Aristotle, Plato.....every single one a clueless utopian who have led 10's of BILLIONS of people down the primrose path through out time with the BIG LIE.

The lie that we are free and / or could ever be free.

Fuck America and fuck every other country as well.  Every one built upon the Big Lie. 

And don't even DARE bring up history with me bubba.  If you are too stupid to learn from history that history is LITTERED with the bones of people who believed in the BIG LIE and got involved only to see their Utopia crumble to the ground in their life time or their ancestors afterward then there is not much left for me to say to you. 

I believe in nothing but the truth....no matter how hard that is....no matter how hopeless that is.  And the truth is.....there is no freedom only limited permission for a limited time.  EVERY good idea will fall from grace and die in ruins.  America is lost and is never coming back.

And I am for one GRATEFUL that it is failing before the eyes of the SHEEPLE like you and the world.  Pretty soon we MAY....just MAY run out of ideas or permutations of ideas on how to build a utopia and just realize what miserable fucking creatures we are.

Then when we ALL realize we are EQUALLY miserable and EQUALLY shitty and EQUALLY worthless.....then real progress might be made.

Until then.....ASSHOLES like you will send their sons and daughters to the slaughter house of shitholes like Viet Nam and Cambodia and Iraq and Afghanistan to die for absolutely nothing but the whim of a fucking Utopia inspired by that fucking piece of shit Jefferson.

Jumbotron's picture

Oh...and if you are going to go around and spout off about Thomas Jefferson......then you patriotic fucks need to grow some balls and go water the Tree of Liberty with some Tyrant Blood.

Your man Jefferson thought that Revolution would need to happen every 20 years or so....because even HE knew the absolute shittiness of man's corrupt nature and not even the idea of AMERICA could combat that.

But you fucks will not do a thing but bitch on this site and suck Ted Cruz's dick

Fuck you all......cowardly hypocrites.  Why don't you go vote or something......that should REALLY do the trick.  LOL !!!!

Bay of Pigs's picture

Cowardly hypocrites? LOL, let me file you away into the "tough talking internet group".

Moar importantly, what the fuck are YOU doing you asshole?

Jumbotron's picture

I am doing nothing...just like you.  More importantly I am doing nothing WORTHLESS which is more than can be said about you.  Voting , caring, LOL !   At least when I masterbate I have something to show for it.

whstlblwr's picture

The truth is subjective. Your truth is different from mine.

I'm not miserable, I'm not shitty or worthless. I work for a positive change in our community and it can happen without a bloody revolution. The BIG TRUTH is how little we have to do to have a positive impact. But it won't happen if everyone is satisfied to stay ranting in the comments section of blogs.

scraping_by's picture

Oh, just go back and look at his 'interview' with Condi Rice.

They had such a jolly time laughing together about killing Muslims. Great visual when you want to be seen as condial and happy.

Health insurance industry's just not got enough of the right people benefitting.

Dr. Sandi's picture

While I know there's not really any demarcation between news and entertainment anymore, I would like to have everybody remember that Jon Stewart is a COMEDIAN, not a journalist.

But despite that, his interviews generally contain less spoon feeding of the day's dominant paradigm than those of most of the 'news' outlets.

Clashfan's picture

Stewart is a horrific 911 truth denier who outrageously mocked the 911 truth activists who were trying to reach him, and his brother is, well, Larry Leibowitz, COO of the NYSE. Uh-huh. With a resume that you'd expect from such a ....


ejmoosa's picture

The middle class must be destoyed.  It cannot be us versus them in society with a big happy, middle class sitting out of the conflict.  

So bust the middle class and force them to become a member of the only side that they can afford.

TeamDepends's picture

It's the commie way or the highway.

scraping_by's picture

Actually, neofeudalism.

A small privileged group owning everything, including those outside the group.

TeamDepends's picture

Actually, we are both right.  You can call it communism, neofeudalism, fascism, etc. but there are only two forms of government:  1)  People on top, government on bottom or 2)  Government on top, people on bottom.


Rusty Shorts's picture

Good stuff, check tis one out...on youtube.


John Taylor Gatto - The Scientific Management of Children



...may have to rewind to beginning

walküre's picture

Government never fails to get in the way of some good ole' American entrepreneurship. HH, there's only one way to do business in the US. The clues are in the final years of the dying Soviet Empire and how Russian entrepreneurs beat the system and came out ahead after the collapse.

Dr. Sandi's picture

From my perspective, most of the 'Russian engrepreneurs' were simply well connected thieves who made off with government assets under their stewardship when the government went away.

How does this differ from the modern Amerika?

Jumbotron's picture

Won't you please give to Ted Cruz today?

I know it's only one guy but maybe he can bring a Posse from Texas when he returns.


Ted Cruz is a charlatan like all the rest of them.  He saw a crisis.....and HE didn't let it go to waste by his grandstanding knowing FULL WELL he would suffer NO political consequences back home AND that it would drive campaign donations to his coffers which allows him to keep his job.

Congratulations.....you fell for it.  And for God's sake can we please stop the whole Texas worship thing already.  Texas isn't going to do shit but continue to give us the likes of George W. Bush, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Ann Richards, Tom Delay, Rick Perry <LOL> .....plus the greatest export of them all......a bunch of rootin' tootin' talk meaning nothing.   In other words.......BULL shit !

GetZeeGold's picture




Dude.....we have to go with someone.....and Saul Alinsky is dead.


You have someone better in mind....lets hear it. I'm not expecting it cause the second you name a name you know you'll be screwed.

I'm sticking with Ted.....he's got a cool dad. I'd rather have Ted's dad....but I don't think he's running for anything.

Keyser's picture

I was in the Cruz camp too, until I found out his wife is a director at GS. No shit. 


knukles's picture

Just think of all the material nonpublic insider information put to good use in Ted's account, all without sin... well, without penalties.

Ah, the dispensation of indulgences
a fascinating concept to be clearly understood within the context of Martin Luther's theses as may truly be applied to our modern condition

knukles's picture

Number one example of (should be) guilt by association.
About as far down that rabbit hole as she can get, no?
Well, at least that of which we are aware.
Got New World Order?

....think about the lore surrounding the coming of the anti-Christ, heralded as a savior of the people....

Bay of Pigs's picture

Cruz cut his teeth with Bush, Cheney and Boehner. We dont even need to talk about his insider trading crime syndicate wife.

ISEEIT's picture

You are (I firmly believe) on to something Sir.

gwar5's picture

Gotta go with who is already out there or name somebody yourself. Haven't seen anything to deter me from Cruz yet. Dig up some 'dirt' on some other senator's families and ties --start with Corzine, Clinton, Feinstein, Kerry, Schumer. Don't ever stop. 



Dr. Sandi's picture

Let's all pretend it doesn't matter which syncophant the voters choose from the Owners' sausage machine. Then we can vote for Mickey Mouse with a clear conscience, just like in the good old days.

JR's picture

Cruz took a chance and that’s how he does everything. I’ve seen him since he first got elected to the Senate. Carville’s analysis of him is accurate, he’s fearless. He’s not afraid of losing his job, or of mockery or of people yelling at him. So far he’s helped us tremendously. At this point I don’t care what his wife does; he single handedly created this spotlight on Obamacare. Single handedly he nailed it on the Democrats. It’s as if the Dems were a door and he walked up and nailed Obamacare on it.

And that’s an accomplishment.

Bay of Pigs's picture

JR, I respect your views on lots of things, but you are wrong on the GOP. It is 100% controlled opposition.

JR's picture

No quarrel from me on that, Bay, except on the 100%. It’s time to crack it wide open. I saw what that controlled opposition did to Ron Paul – twice – and forced Romney and McCain on us.

Bay of Pigs's picture

Fair enough. You find someone worthy of support besides Cruz, let me know.

After what I saw what they did to RP, I cut the GOP loose. I just dont see how you can reform something so rotten and corrupt.


gwar5's picture

Nah, not 100% at all.

There's real GOP infighting going on with a lot of nasty things being exchanged behind the scenes.  McCain hates CRuz and vice versa. Old GOP is dead. A new GOP will hopefully emerge to stop the one party system before it is killed in the crib.

WillyGroper's picture

With "Green Egss  &  Ham"? Instead of the Constitution?

Why, even Henry eats ham. 


gwar5's picture

I'm still way good with Cruz.

The real assholes hate Cruz so much we can all see how they have mobilized the entire propaganda machine against him. The assholes are telling you who the good guys are and who they fear the most. Cruz graduate top of his law class at Harvard and was the debate champion. Plus, he is fearless and Hispanic. TPTB are very afraid of him.


Fedaykinx's picture

i tend to agree, although the really close GS connection does worry me quite a bit.

Jumbotron's picture

"You have someone better in mind....lets hear it. I'm not expecting it cause the second you name a name you know you'll be screwed."

There IS NOTHING better, my friend.  And I ALREADY KNOW  I'm screwed.  It happened the day I was born.  We are all born on a Prison Planet.  It's due to inate, irrevocable human corruption......some would call that sin.

YOU are the one who is delusional and because of such you are MORE screwed than the rest......all huffin' and puffin' about this right or that.....this fella or that.

You have NO RIGHTS......let me repeat......NO......RIGHTS.  You only have LIMITED PERMISSIONS from your OWNERS.  You only have rights if you are a OWNER too.....(and no....I don't me the owner of a little piece of hard scrabble land or a business.  You pay property tax on that land and/or home and tax on your business.....so even then you don't really own anything....you rent from the government)

No....a REAL OWNER ......a MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE.  You're not.....therefore you are a slave like the rest of us. 

But hey.....relish this notion.  You are free in this sense. You are free to be self deluded.  I guess that's why they call ignorance bliss.

So go ahead.....follow your bliss to Texas and Ted Cruz.  Good luck keeping that bliss.