Patterico's Pontifications

10/8/2013

GOVERNMENT SLOWDOWN, DAY EIGHT

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:23 pm

Almost forgot it was still happening. How can this be??

Obama Faces Zero Questions on Glaring Issues at Presser

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:54 pm

So armed park rangers are threatening senior citizens with arrest if they “recreate” in a national park. And the rollout of ObamaCare is a joke, with perhaps a few thousand people (if that) having enrolled in the entire country, and a Web site that experts say is clunky and unprofessional.

Obama does a press conference and is asked about neither.

Really?

Even I, a hardened cynic about Big Media, am mildly surprised.

Extrapolating the ObamaCare Enrollment Numbers: Fewer Than 20,000 Enrollees Nationwide???

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:52 am

Jay Carney won’t tell you what the ObamaCare enrollment has been. It’s not because the numbers are embarrassingly low. Oh, goodness no! It’s because we release statistics monthly, and that’s what we do.

And by the way, here are the non-monthly statistics for visitors to the site: 8.6 million visitors in 72 hours! At least those aren’t embarrassing, huh?

“I’m glad you asked that question!” Ha!

So no, the White House won’t release the number of enrollees. But Maryland has, and they have had a stunning 326 enrollees.

The state of Maryland says it has thousands of people interested in buying health insurance on its new state-run exchange, but only 326 so far have actually enrolled in new coverage.

Golf clap.

Is it fair to extrapolate Maryland’s numbers to the country as a whole? After all, Maryland’s site (it runs its own exchange) has been plagued with technical problems. But so has the federal site. Maybe it is fair!

Let’s look at the numbers and see. Census.gov is down due to the government slowdown (of course), but Google tells us that Maryland has a population of 5,885,000. The U.S. population is 314 million, so Maryland has 1.87% of the U.S. population.

Maryland has seen 170,000 visitors to the site:

Those problems are reflected in the Maryland numbers released Monday, the first of what the state said would be regular data releases. The state said 13,532 accounts with verified identity were created as of Sunday evening, and it has seen 170,000 unique visitors to the website. But only 326 people were actually enrolled in new health-insurance plans.

Extapolating 170,000 to the country as a whole, that would mean the country as a whole would have seen about 9,000,000 visitors to various web sites. Turns out Carney’s numbers (the ones he is willing to release) say that there have been 8.6 million to healthcare.gov, it seems the extrapolation may be pretty close. Now, the feds are not running exchanges for all the states, by a longshot, so we could easily be off 50-100% here, but it’s good enough for government work!

So . . .

By my math (I majored in English and music, so beware!), if Maryland has 326 enrollees, that’s about the same as 17,394 in the country as whole.

In other words, based on the best numbers we have available, there have likely been fewer than 20,000 enrollees in ObamaCare so far — in the entire country.

Starting to get the idea why they don’t want to release the numbers?

Sebelius on ObamaCare

Filed under: General — JD @ 5:15 am

[guest post by JD]

Words fail me. I guess she settled on the “big lie” strategy.

When the Health Insurance Marketplace opened last week, demand was so high, it exceeded even optimists’ expectations. On the first day alone, HealthCare.gov had nearly eight times more concurrent users than Medicare’s site (one of the federal government’s most highly trafficked) during open enrollment peak levels.

OUR VIEW: Inexcusable mess

Many of our neighbors have been waiting years for affordable health insurance. Some have waited their entire lives. After enrolling in coverage last week, Daniel McNaughton of Florida declared: “I found a health insurance plan better than I have ever had for a price I can afford. … The (new law) was worth the wait.” Andrew Stryker of California told The Washington Post he would have “waited all day” to sign up for coverage that will save him more than $6,000.

Of course, nobody wants Americans to have to wait to sign up. Engineers are working day and night to make upgrades. We’re adding more servers to enable the system to handle larger loads. And we’re upgrading our software as well to make the system more efficient and enable it to handle higher volumes.

This work is delivering results. Wait times on HealthCare.gov are now 50% shorter, and more people are enrolling in affordable coverage.

At the same time, we have been upgrading the capacity at our 24/7 call center (800-318-2596). And consumers are finding that their calls are being answered quickly.

To those who are interested in signing up, you have until Dec. 15 to enroll to get coverage the first day it takes effect on Jan. 1. If you are willing to wait a little longer for your benefits, you have until the end of March to sign up.

Virtually anyone who has tried to purchase insurance in the individual market will attest that it was complicated and time consuming. People were denied and priced out, and they had few if any real choices.

This is why the Marketplace matters. It is simple and user-friendly, and the coverage is affordable.

Jan. 1 will be a new day for millions of Americans who have waited a very long time to obtain affordable health insurance.

We will continue making upgrades and improvements to the consumer experience so more of our neighbors are able to realize this dream when the new coverage takes effect.

Kathleen Sebelius is secretary of Health and Human Services.


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