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ObamaCare Clusterfuck: In which lambert apologizes for being prematurely correct

We're only a week into the loud thud "soft launch" anyhow, so it's way too soon for a victory lap. In fact, victory means replacing ObamaCare with a truly universal system that treats health care as a right instead of an opportunity for rental extraction, so it's a ways off. I have to go on to write real posts on ObamaCare, so I'm not going to give linky goodness or quotes, or dance on anybody's grave [sigh], but links to back up claims on request.

That said, if you've been reading Corrente, you've seen the following claims, all of which have turned out to be true (and none, not one of which have been covered by the career "progressive" blogs or mentioned by Obama apologists, let alone Democratic loyalists)*:

1. The software development process for the Exchanges was borked: It was rushed, and subject to last minute changes from "management" (the White House);

2. There would be significant systems integration problems on the back end;

3. Credit reporting agency data is bad data, and that will cause problems for eligibility determination;

4. Access to health care through the policies on the Exchanges is a crapshoot; it's arbitrary and capricious, instead of being a right guaranteed universally to all.

If you've been reading Corrente since the single payer battle in 2009-2010, you'll remember Hipparchia's serial brutal takedowns of the Dartmouth study, which demolished the intellectual foundations for ObamaCare's claim to "bend the cost curve." And recently we've been seeing other Correntians joining in the fun, with Teresa showing how hospitals are gaming the in- and out-of-network coverage, and Alexa and others reporting on their own experiences. More like this please!

ObamaCare's "soft launch" Clusterfuck --- just as we had to pass the bill to find out what was in it, we had to launch the site to see whether it worked -- seems to have rocked the White House spinmeisters back on their heels, amazingly enough (or else it's the shutdown/default crisis), and we will never get a better opportunity to get people to cast a skeptical eye on this program and demand better.

So I urge everybody, when faced with ObamaCare marketing spin, to use the information and talking points developed here, in years of work, to correct the record and push for the better alternative.* I especially urge you to write letters to the editor, since they're read by Congress critters, and really get noticed by your peers in a way that online stuff does not (and in a good way). I'm going off to write one now...

NOTE * OK, there are random posts here and there. Show me another blog in the political economy-sphere with coverage like this or a back catalog like this.

NOTE * I run with a technical crowd, and I've found that this line: "Anybody with international experience knows what good health care can be." Then we talk about Canada, France, or Switzerland.

Average: 5 (2 votes)


miasmo's picture
Submitted by miasmo on

Single payer would obviously be better than private for-profit insurance, but I think the best solution would be a combination of single payer and single provider. People could get treated at government clinics for free, which may entail lines and waiting lists for certain things, but they could also use the single payer insurance to offset the cost of private doctors. As long as we are talking about ideal solutions, I thought I'd throw that out there. Bernie Sanders managed to get a big pile of money for public clinics added to the ACA bill in exchange for his vote. That is at least on aspect of the law that does move us in the right direction.

Submitted by hipparchia on

several correnteans would prefer to have a national health service and consider single payer to be the moderate, centrist, compromise, pick-the-adjective-of-your-choice position.

Submitted by lambert on

World-wide, single payer is definitely the centrist position. OTOH, if we could get to where the Canadians are.... I'm not sure there's any point getting to where the Brits are (leaving aside the efforts of the assholes over there, helped by our assholes over there, to gut the NHS).

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

away" during one of the previous phony debt crises.

Here's an excerpt from an article entitled "Health officials say nation's debt, economy threatens health care centers," The Press Democrat, 08/08/11.

. . . . “This is a concern...that in these tough economic times, some of that funding might be targeted,” Mary Maddux-Gonzalez said following a press conference held in Santa Rosa Monday to announce the concerns.

Maddux-Gonzalez, who is now chief medical officer for the Redwood Community Health Coalition, said that earlier this year Congress reduced funding to health centers by $600 million. . . .

Herb Schultz, , , , said the cuts made by Congress were from a different pot of money. He said Obama would continue to work to support the country’s community health centers. . . .

Whether or not the cut came from Sanders' "pot" or a different one--600 million is a fairly sizable "chunk" of money.

I worry that more of the Community Health Centers' funds may be siphoned off during this crisis.

For that matter, since chc's are most often (in the past) associated with low income Americans, I fear that they will come under scrutiny every time there is a so-called budget crisis.

PBO's speech and Press Conference today left me feeling very unsettled, to say the least.

Sounded to me like he was ready to "give away the store." ;-)

Also, I am a bit concerned about this expansion, anyway. A bit too pressed to expound at this time, but bottom line--I'm concerned that their existence/expansion may provide the rationale and/or "cover" for slashing other safety net programs--such as the TennCare program a number of years ago (in TN). Dunno. Maybe not.

I am grateful that Senator Senators required something in return for his vote for this bill. But infuriated to think that the hard-fought-for money can simply be "bargained away." [or another pot of it--whatever.]

I've seen another more specific piece about this cut, but the bookmark is on our other laptop at home. Will try to locate it and re-post it, when we get back.

We need Medicare-For-All with annual out-of-pockets cost capped at only several thousand dollars!! ;-)

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

And this worries me, too. As just a "supplemental" vehicle for health care, it would be fine.

[Article Name: Target Clinics Open in Minnesota and Maryland.]

More and more, some Dems and Repubs have been stressing the need to provide "basic" care thorough public health programs--with more extensive care to be the responsibility of each individual.

Heck, one state is considering supplementing its Medicaid program with "charity health care"--just what we need, right?

How on earth are Americans supposed "to be okay" with relying on the charity of "retired doctors," if their life is on the line?

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

While waiting for an appointment yesterday, I saw a Kaiser piece that stated that it will be November before the Federal Health Exchange computers can "hook up with" the State Medicaid Systems.

Kaiser Health News

Short Takes On News & Events

Federal Insurance Marketplace Can’t Yet ‘Talk’ To State Medicaid Agencies


The health law’s online insurance exchanges were supposed to be a one-stop shop where consumers browsing for coverage could enroll in a private health plan or in Medicaid if they qualified.

But that won’t happen with the federal exchange being relied upon by consumers in 36 states, at least not initially. The federal website won’t be able to communicate with state Medicaid agencies until at least Nov. 1 due to technical issues, federal officials said.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

Sorry, Lambert. Didn't see the comment when I posted it (until I reread this piece a minute ago, in comtemplation of doing a "Quick Hit" on this topic.)

It is very striking how many things "go wrong" that affect lower income Americans--lack of the Medicaid Expansion, and now the delay in processing Medicaid apps--always the aspects of the ACA that pertain to the individuals who most needed relief.

Anyway, you clearly already knew this material, so I"ll move on to another aspect.

I may poke around a bit on the topic of coverage for "skilled nursing care" and "hospice."

Since no one's mentioned it--the coverage must be adequate, or not included in the Exchange policies at all.

We're amazed that Mr A's company hasn't deleted these two items "yet," since they both tend to be very costly.