The problem with over-focusing on the crappy ObamaCare web site is that one day they will fix the ObamaCare web site (although not by the end of the month!), and then the crappy and oppressive ObamaCare law will be portrayed as a success. The Los Angeles Times is already doing this with a story about Washington state, and the scariest detail merits only an aside in one sentence. (I’ll highlight it for you so you can’t miss it.) Listen to how glorious the success is:
Mindy Mansfield had health insurance when she worked at a factory that made air flow vents in Cle Elum, a small town in central Washington state. It covered the pills she took for her Type 2 diabetes and the ones she needed to ease her arthritis.
But as she edged toward retirement age after nearly two decades as a machine operator, Mansfield was laid off. She moved in with her older sister in Kent, lost her medical coverage and jettisoned her arthritis medication because “it was just too expensive.”
Two years of worry about whether she could stay healthy without a safety net were erased in just 20 minutes Saturday — the time it took the 62-year-old to navigate Washington’s online insurance exchange with a little help from “in-person assister” Pearl Rodriguez.
Mansfield was one of 100 uninsured women and men who flocked to an aging community center here on a drizzly afternoon and signed up for insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, as Obamacare is formally known. They were part of the Washington Healthplanfinder’s “mobile enrollment tour.”
More than 55,000 people in Washington state enrolled in health coverage in October — most in Medicaid — and about 40,000 more applied for coverage, making the Evergreen State one of the brightest success stories in the rocky national rollout of the federal health law. Here in the home of online shopping giant Amazon.com, officials credit the exchange’s success in part to the Pacific Northwest’s high-tech bent.
Did you see what they did there? The phrase “most in Medicaid” is almost whispered, isn’t it? Amid the state’s basking in the glow of being one of the “brightest success stories” in the nation, there’s just one teeny problem: almost no healthy people are signing up to be a part of the system and contribute.
How bad are the numbers? The L.A. Times won’t tell you, so I will. From the Washington Post:
During the first two weeks of October, Oregon cut its uninsured rate by 10 percent — without signing up a single person for private health insurance.
Instead, a surge of 56,000 Oregonians flocked to the health law’s expansion of Medicaid.
At the same time, technological issues with the state marketplace, called Cover Oregon, prevented the private plans selling there from signing up any Oregonians in October.
In Washington state, officials have reported 42,605 enrollments in the state Medicaid program and 6,390 sign-ups for private insurance.
This glorious success is simply people flocking to a new entitlement that we can’t afford. Hooray.
Well, at least their web site is working. How did they do that? A deck headline credits that crazy Pacific Northwest tech know-how: “Officials credit the exchange’s success in part to the Northwest’s high-tech bent.” But the fact is, they simply decided not to hide the prices the way the feds did:
Another important decision Washington insurance exchange officials made early on was to allow insurance seekers to shop for plans without having to go through the lengthy application process first. Not all state exchanges initially had the same anonymous browsing capability.
HealthCare.gov, the federal exchange used by more than half of the country, lets people see what plans are available, but “to find out the actual costs for your personal situation,” the site says, “you need to apply.”
That was a conscious decision on the part of the feds to decrease transparency. The tech wizards in Washington decided not to go that route, and lo and behold, the site works. Kind of.
For all its success, the Washington exchange has not been without glitches. On its first day of operation, the website was shut down for five hours and then again overnight for maintenance. Pages were slow to load, or screens would freeze, said spokesman Michael Marchand.
“We had a choice,” he said. “Keeping the site up and troubleshooting with everyone in it, or going into maintenance mode and taking the site off-line to find out what the issues were…. We did that in the first 48 hours. We’ve been stable since then.”
In addition, an estimated 8,000 early applicants were notified that the price they were expecting to pay for their coverage was incorrect, because the site miscalculated the size of the tax credit they were due. The exchange has fixed the error.
The bottom line: even with occasional glitches and incorrect information, with a working web site and feel-good stories to tell, Big Media is rushing to portray the state’s experience as SUCCESS!!! The cost of a new entitlement with nothing to counteract the cost? Uninimportant. The fact that entitlements are killing our children’s futures, and here we are adding a new one? Not worth a mention.
If it’s happening in Washington State, it will happen in the country as a whole. ObamaCare will be portrayed as a giant success the very second they get half a chance to make it appear that way. Count on it.
So, sure. Document the incompetence of the rollout. It is staggering. But don’t put all your chips on that one bet.
DEM SPIN UPDATE: Matthew Yglesias says it’s good that you can’t keep your plan.