Building the airplane during takeoff.


UPDATE: The Wall Street Journal on how to fix the Obamacare crisis.

What can be done is Congress creating a new option in the form of a national health insurance charter under which insurers could design new low-cost policies free of mandated benefits imposed by ObamaCare and the 50 states that many of those losing their individual policies today surely would find attractive.

What’s the first thing the new nationally chartered insurers would do? Rush out cheap, high-deductible policies, allaying some of the resentment that the ObamaCare mandate provokes among the young, healthy and footloose affluent.

These folks could buy the minimalist coverage that (for various reasons) makes sense for them. They wouldn’t be forced to buy excessive coverage they don’t need to subsidize the old and sick.

Who knows ? Maybe Jenkins reads this blog. It’s so obvious that the solution should be apparent even to Democrats.

We are now learning that a large share of the Obamacare structure is still unbuilt. This is not the website but the guts of the system.

The revelation came out of questioning of Mr. Chao by Rep. Cory Gardner (R., Colo.). Gardner was trying to figure out how much of the IT infrastructure around the federal insurance exchange had been completed. “Well, how much do we have to build today, still? What do we need to build? 50 percent? 40 percent? 30 percent?” Chao replied, “I think it’s just an approximation—we’re probably sitting between 60 and 70 percent because we still have to build…”

Gardner replied, incredulously, “Wait, 60 or 70 percent that needs to be built, still?” Chao did not contradict Gardner, adding, “because we still have to build the payment systems to make payments to insurers in January.”

This is the guy who is the chief IT guy for CMS.

If the ability to pay the insurance companies is not yet written, how can anybody sign up ?

Gardner, a fourth time: “But the entire system is 60 to 70 percent away from being complete.” Chao: “There’s the back office systems, the accounting systems, the payment systems…they still need to be done.”

Gardner asked a fifth time: “Of those 60 to 70 percent of systems that are still being built, how are they going to be tested?”

The answer was the same way the rest was tested.

We are halfway down the runway and the engineers are still bolting on the engines.

Of course, the unions will resist any payment for “risk corridors”

Risk Corridors are plans to bail out insurance companies that are put at risk by Obama’s “fix” by stopping the mandate penalties.

If they decide to un-cancel some plans and end up taking a beating financially from the adverse selection that results, Uncle Sam will be there to make everything right. I must have read three dozen blog posts yesterday wondering how O would be able to keep insurers on his side, working together with the White House to implement and the rest of the law, now that he’s gone and made them scapegoats for the cancellation mess. Turns out the answer’s simple. He’s going to buy them off.

Part of this is the “reinsurance” plan. The unions want nothing to do with this.

A provision in Obamacare would collect a fee from health insurance companies and third-party administrators (TPAs) of administrative services only (ASO a.k.a. self-insured) group health plans, to fund a reinsurance program to help “stabilize” premiums available through the exchanges. A significant number of unions are self-insured. Unions were pissed they had to pay this fee of between $60 and $80 per insured (now said to start at $63 and reduce in following years), and as recently as last week were demanding President Obama change the law. Obama caved.

The unions are not stupid. They want no taxes on their plans.

The tax, known as the reinsurance fee, requires self-insured organizations, such as unions and some large companies, to pay $63 for each covered member and an additional $63 for each additional family member on a health plan.

Curiouser and curiouser. Some of these guys have read the small print.

Now, it’s even worse. Obama is trapped.

8 thoughts on “Building the airplane during takeoff.”

  1. Leftists have always had this fascination with building models, which they then mistake for the real world. (Bacon would have called them “Idols of the Theatre.”) Not being engineers—or, despite their occasional claims, pragmatists—they never prove their models against reality. For example, global warming models, population growth models, economics models are never falsified by being wrong.

    IIRC, Irving Fischer, when a student, built a hydraulic model of Keynesian economics. It should have immediately disproved Keynesian economics as it was too simple a representation of an economy.

    I knew Obamacare wouldn’t work when only three years were given to tie together massive, obsolete computer systems in bureaucracies, hospitals, financial systems…. Failure is the only mode. For all their alleged and proclaimed respect (and this why they are not pragmatists), Leftists don’t respect evolution. They don’t like solutions produced by struggle, competition, history, and tradition. They look at a sheep (or their subjects) and believe they can design a better sheep. They never look at a sheep to learn how a lack of control produced such a marvel.

    * * *

    As an aside, every single person who I met in academia who proclaimed their love for evolution thought she (usually) or he (less often) could do it better, if only she were in charge, a claim which refutes any belief in evolution. The economic equivalent of evolution is laissez-faire.

  2. The real issue for healthcare after Obamacare runs its course is the complete destruction of confidence in any level of government as a healthcare provider.

    Single payer healtjh insurance requires a faith in government, and particularly the Federal government, that the collapse of Obamacare will have destroyed.

    The death of Obamacarwe will not clear the way for single payer in the Canadian style.

    It will make it impossible as a policy option for 25(+) years.

    Those advocating Federal government single-payer healthcare will be like those Republicans trying to replace Social Security with market based savings plans in the 1980’s — they will be stomping on the “Third Rail” of American politics.

  3. As an old programmer I find this incredulous. You design the system as best you can, test it as hard as you can and then release it – and hope for the best. And surely someone could have designed a means of simulating the heavy traffic.

    The problem is when you get a “committee” involved – the committee in this case probably comprised of 1000s of members.

    But their idea of a good health care system isn’t any better than their concept of the market…

  4. The web site design, construction, testing, and modifications is not the real problem. The real problem is that if it had worked perfectly from day one, the PPACA wasn’t going to be sustainable. Young healthy weren’t going to buy, expanded Medicaid was going to drown that system, all the individual and employer plans were going to get cancelled, the number of uninsured would increase (cancelations plus high exchange costs) and the bail out of the insurance companies would far exceed anyones estimates. Beyond that rationing by waiting time, providers opting out and substandard treatment would be increasing.

    What the web site fiasco did was accelerate the wide spread realization of some of these effects by several months. It can not get better with an improved web site or the issues with some of the cancelation fixes being rolled out.


  5. Obama has supported partial birth abortion as a Senator in Illinois. Not to get overly graphic but to use the language of the left, Obamacare is in need of a partial birth abortion. The monster is brain dead, and compassion dictates that we put it out of it’s misery.

  6. Washington State as one of the few working web sites. This lady got a doubling of her health insurance premium so she went to the web site for alternatives. What she found was one choice, Medicaid.

    She suggested clicking on “Apply for Coverage,” thinking that other options might appear.

    Instead, almost mockingly, her “Eligibility Results” came back: “Congratulations, we received and reviewed your application and determined [you] will receive the health care coverage listed below: Washington Apple Health. You will receive a letter telling you which managed care plan you are enrolled with.” Washington Apple Health is the mawkish rebranding of Medicaid in Washington state.

    The page lacked a cancel button or any way to opt out of Medicaid. It was done; she was enrolled, and there was nothing to do but click “Next” and then to sign out.

    Congratulations !

  7. It is and has been “time to take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them.” Only total abolition of most of the government will solve the current crises. We can hope that if the Republic is restored*, republicans (not Republicans) will appear to reside in it.

    * Repeal the 16th, 17th, and 23rd amendments; new amendments forcing Congress to live within its own laws; restrict the power of the judiciary; terminate all cabinet departments established after 1800; end the American apartheid of anti-discrimination, affirmative action, etc. & etc.

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