With just a week to go until the Obama-promised "all clear" healthcare.gov date of November 30, the president is scrambling to boost enrollment in the 11th hour. As reported by Reuters, the administration announced a flurry of fixes to its troubled HealthCare.gov website on Friday that officials said would soon double its current capacity, a crucial step toward getting the system working by a November 30 deadline. It also pushed back a deadline for people to enroll in insurance plans for 2014 under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act in a nod to millions of applicants who have been unable to sign up because of technical glitches for nearly two months. The reason for the push is that consumers need to make decisions on healthcare plans in December if they want insurance in place by January.
The problem as discussed ad nauseam is that with its 500 million lines of code, its accessibility problems and its security concerns, healthcare.gov is simply not a viable option in the long or short-run. And yet Obama keeps insisting on band aid fixes only now the president has decided to boost direct enrollment as a workaround would the latest attempt to fix the site crash and burn again.
Jeffrey Zients, the troubleshooter named by Obama to oversee fixes to HealthCare.gov told reporters on Friday that the website will soon be able to handle 50,000 simultaneous users - twice its current capacity, and up from fewer than 1,000 in the days after its botched launch on Oct 1.
Some of the technical fixes will allow insurance companies to more easily directly enroll consumers in health plans, a senior administration official said.
The administration will run a pilot program for direct enrollment in three states with large numbers of uninsured people - Texas, Florida and Ohio - and use the results to expand the availability of the "direct enrollment" option.
"We do believe that it's substantial. We're looking at hundreds of thousands of people who we believe may well opt to do this," the official told Reuters.
In the meanwhile the first delay to the rollout was announced: it will, however, hardly have a meaningful impact:
People needing health insurance by January 1, 2014 will have eight extra days to sign up, officials said. The original deadline for year-end coverage was December 15, but now will be moved to December 23.
More importantly, the administration has also decided to push back the deadline for the second yearof enrollment, which just happens to fall at a critical time - just after the midterm elections which also means Americans will not know how high premiums surge as a result of Obamacare until after the election.
With the first enrollment period barely off the ground, the Obama administration also has decided to delay enrollment for the second year of the program to give insurance companies more time to calculate rates, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.
The delay will mean consumers will start shopping for insurance for Year Two of Obamacare on November 15, 2014 - more than a week after voters go to the polls for midterm elections, when congressional Democrats are expected to face tough questions about the policy they supported.
"That means that if premiums go through the roof in the first year of Obamacare, no one will know about it until after the election," said Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa. But Carney rejected any assertion that politics was behind the extension.
"The fact is, we're doing it because it make sense for insurers to have as clear a sense of the pool of consumers they gain in the market this year, before setting rates for next year," Carney said.
And as usual, the White House is convinced it can just lie and just keep getting away with it thanks to a press that is infatuated with a president who until recently could, in the eyes of the "independent" media, walk on water but no more.
Elsewhere, in an attempt to artificially boost excitement in a program that has gone from Obama's crowning achievement to his most abysmal failure, the WaPo reports that there has been a surge in enrollment after the abysmal results from the first enrollment month:
After anemic enrollment in the federal health insurance marketplace, several states running their own online exchanges are reporting a rapid increase in the number of people signing up for coverage, a trend officials say is encouraging for President Obama’s health-care law.
By mid-November, the 14 state-based marketplaces reported data showing enrollment has nearly doubled from last month, jumping to about 150,000 from 79,000, according to state and federal statistics. The nonprofit Commonwealth Fund, which has been tracking the data, called the most recent numbers “a November enrollment surge.”
The latest figures from the state-run exchanges, combined with totals on the federal exchange, bring the national number to at least 176,000.
One wonders how much of the "surge" is due to the change in crtieria to just needing to have Obamacare in one's checkout cart. Either way, even if one believes the propaganda, and it is unclear why anyone would after the endless barrage of lies in the past 5 years, "while the pace of enrollments increased this month, sign-ups are still well below early projections."
A far bigger problem beyond simple propaganda is that once again just like with jobs, it is a quality not quantity issue something which central-planning regimes everywhere are unable to grasp - as reported before, if only older, treatment "troubled" individuals sign up and younger Americans skip the healthcare experiment, the outcome would be even worse than if Obamacare had not been unleashed as the Ponzi Scheme (by definition) is critically reliant on younger payors who don't extract more from the system than they put in, at least not early on. Then again, what is central-planning without propaganda:
Some of the state exchanges are seeing the pace of enrollment pick up daily. California has been out in front; the state’s enrollments have grown steadily in November and now account for nearly half of all health law sign-ups. The state has had its strongest two weeks of enrollment this month.
“We’re seeing much larger numbers than we expected,” Covered California Executive Director Peter Lee told reporters this week.
Sure you are. Because since actions still speak louder than propaganda, we can only assume that the resignation of the official charged with launching Hawaii's troubled ObamaCare insurance exchange will resign next month, according to multiple reports. From The Hill:
Coral Andrews, the executive director of Hawaii Health Connector, is the first marketplace director to leave her post since Oct. 1, when the exchanges launched. The Hawaii Health Connector went live on Oct. 15 due to software problems and had only enrolled 257 people in its first month of operation, according to the Honolulu Star Advertiser.
Andrews will reportedly depart on Dec. 6 and be replaced on an interim basis by Tom Matsuda, who headed up ObamaCare's implementation in the state. "I am honored to have been a part of implementing part of the Affordable Care Act for the people of Hawaii,” Andrews said in a statement.
Expect increasingly more resignations as the Obamacare "surge" continues.