We realize our previous post was on the same subject* but the Affordable Care Act aka ObamaCare has proven to be such a treasure trove of blog fodder and with the 3rd anniversary of the legislation occurring over the weekend, we figured, what the heck..?
With the state run exchanges expected to be up and running and communicating with the Feds by October 1st, what could possibly go wrong?
From the Commonwealth Fund:
Federal officials are developing contingency plans in case the health insurance exchanges are not fully ready to begin enrolling people on Oct. 1, the head of the agency that’s building the massive 50-state marketplace structure said last week.
Gary Cohen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, also said there is “some possibility” that some states now conditionally approved to run their own marketplaces might not be able to launch them on Oct. 1. But he vowed that every state will have an exchange, which could mean the federal government might have to have more of a role than anticipated in states that can’t get to the finish line in time.
His remarks at a national policy meeting of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) marked the first time that Health and Human Services (HHS) leaders have veered even slightly from their insistence that exchanges will be totally functional by Oct. 1.
Cohen’s comments came on the same day that HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius conducted her second closed-door meeting with members of the Senate Finance Committee to discuss the health care law’s implementation.
Making contingency plans for October is necessary, Cohen said. “I think it’s only prudent to not assume everything is going to work perfectly on day one and to make sure that we’ve got plans in place to address things that may happen,” added Cohen, whose division is part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
They say “contingency plans”. We see….
Are we wrong? They’ve had 3 years to get this figured out and they are in actuality, nowhere close. To be fair, getting 50 separate state exchanges or marketplaces that could effectively service the citizens of that state while still communicating with several different federal bureaucracies, including the IRS we might add, is a near-impossible task no matter how long the time frame.
Too bad. They wanted this thing so damn badly for all of us, they are now going to suffer the scorn and derision that comes as a result of their inherent incompetence.
Some more re-assuring words regarding those “contingency plans”:
Cohen appeared on an AHIP panel with Henry Chao, a CMS official who’s overseeing the technology for the exchange launch.
Chao was frank about the stress and tension of the compressed time frame involved in setting up the exchanges. “We are under 200 days from open enrollment, and I’m pretty nervous,’’ he said. “I don’t know about you,” he added, to murmurs from the insurance industry audience. Members peppered Chao and Cohen with many questions about the format for the health care policies they will submit to HHS for approval so the plans can be marketed in the exchanges.
Chao said the main objective is to get the exchanges up and running and signing up the uninsured. “The time for debating about the size of text on the screen or the color or is it a world-class user experience, that’s what we used to talk about two years ago,” he said. “Let’s just make sure it’s not a third-world experience.”
Allow us to translate: A couple-three years back, we talked about how super-duper rad the exchanges were going to be, like Travelocity for health insurance coverage or something. Now… now, it’s shaping up to be a massive craptastic disaster.
Remember, you have been warned and all that we have foretold will come to pass.
*It’s never a good sign if you are a frequent topic at Beers with Demo.