Like many around the nation I have been watching the rollout of the Affordable Care Act with the kind of interest reserved for the ending scenes of a Mexican bullfight; will the bull catch a horn on that pompous matador, or will the cavalier swordsman drive one home for the kill?
It’s too early to tell, but the following collection of thoughts may lend themselves to the water cooler considerations sweeping the country.
Today the Health and Human Services Department announced their stats for the first month of launch; a paltry 106,185 people “selected a Marketplace plan” on the ailing exchanges. It was not lost on some that this number is somewhat misleading because many people were forced to sign up by paper, and a significant chunk of those who “selected a plan” didn’t actually buy one. Many have already canceled their plans.
Am I the only one that assumes most of those 100k were the reporters who have been scrambling to see what is on the inside so they could file their reports? -This factor alone could account for more than half, easy.
It’s tough to say exactly how many there really are. The Administration certainly has a reason to use the largest number they can justify, and with tricky language in the report it is easy to see they have done a little inflating.
What we do know, per the Administration’s own reporting, is that the greatest number we can assume is 106,185. Here are my thoughts to share on the matter:
1. Apple sold more iPad Airs in their first hour of launch, at over $400 apiece. This is not an endorsement of Apple, but an interesting comparison of cost vs value. It would be difficult to say that Apple had more awareness at the time of launch; practically everyone in the country was watching the rollout of Obamacare. With an estimated 30 million people waiting for their chance at affordable healthcare, you would think that more than a handful would have jumped at the chance in the first 30 days.
2. Currently we are at a running deficit for people who have been canceled vs people who have signup up for new programs. According to news reports, California alone will see over a million people lose their current insurance plan. This despite so many promises from our president that he was starting to employ inflection tricks to he didn’t sound like a broken record. There is certainly time to recover, but we have hurt many more than we have helped by a factor of more than 30. Ouch.
3. High ranking Democrats including Feinstein and Landrieu are expressing frustration after receiving tens of thousands of calls from their constituents complaining about increased costs. Things could go bad in a hurry when you have leading supporters showing worse for wear. Feinstein and Landrieu in particular have joined forces on a bill proposing there be a provision to allow anyone who wants to keep their insurance to do so, as promised. The problem here is that millions have already been spend on cancellations, the opportunity for mass confusion is growing by the second, and it’s going to take more than goodwill to stop this runaway train; Harry Reid has already made it clear he won’t consider any new changes to the law.
4. Finally, in the “how much more can this thing take” category, the apparent deception and plain ole lying is really starting to take its toll. Things got off to a rocky start way back when the Republicans and Tea Partiers were accusing the Administration of everything from experimentation to death panels. President Obama hit the trail hard declaring to everyone like Paul Revere that they could keep their plan and keep their doctors, period. Oops; this turned out to be a big one, and our President put his foot in a little further when he tried to clarify his remarks by adding some caveats. Detractors were quick to point out that he was rather emphatic the first time.
Not to be left behind, Nancy Pilosi, who famously said that we needed to pass this bill in order to find out what is in it, tweeted adoption numbers last week that would make Apple proud. She could hardly have been less accurate, leaving us to wonder whether she just plain doesn’t have a clue, or if she really is lying through her teeth.