Some Good News On HealthCare.gov

A commenter alerted me to the fact that you can now go on HealthCare.gov and actually check out the plans and rates without having to first go through the application process. It worked for me and that feature represents progress. Things are looking up. Here is a screenshot:

healthcare website

Additionally, HuffPo’s health care reporter, Jeffrey Young, has written one of the most informative pieces you will read regarding the issue of canceled polices. With all the propaganda being pumped out by the conservative media complex, aided and abetted by mainstream journalists, Young’s piece is a breath of fresh air.

Some stuff from the piece:

♦ About 11 million people buy health insurance directly, as opposed to getting it at work or via Medicaid or Medicare (not counting the millions who have zero insurance). Of those 11 million, anywhere from “a few hundred thousand to millions” will not be able to buy their current plans next year.

♦ “Not all the insurance plans being canceled are lousy,” but “conservative health care reform proposals would also lead to lots and lots of people losing the plans they have now.

♦ “Plans getting dropped is nothing new. Neither are big rate hikes.”

♦ “According to a 2004 study, only 17 percent of consumers in this market kept the same plan for two years or more (h/t the Washington Post). This is going to happen next year, and the year after that, ad infinitum.”

♦ Why some premiums may go up: “A big part of what’s going on here is that people on the individual market before Obamacare were benefiting from the fact that health insurers could exclude sick people (or charge them sky-high rates) and even dump them when they became ill or injured. This kept companies’ medical expenses low, which meant their healthy customers could pay less. That’s a sweetheart deal — until the inevitable day when you, the healthy person, become a sick person.”

♦ “Another thing your health insurance company probably isn’t telling you is that you may be able to get help paying for your insurance through Obamacare’s tax credits…”

ObamaCare is not the best possible solution to our health care problems, but it is at least an attempt to do something constructive. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, single-payer here we come.

6 Comments

  1. King Beauregard

     /  November 1, 2013

    I just realized that the Republicans rope-a-doped themselves. Prior to October a great concern was that people wouldn’t even be aware of the insurance exchanges or how to find them. But the Republicans have been having so much fun bashing healthcare.gov over and over, everybody knows about the exchanges now and they even know the URL by heart.

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    • Yes, great point. I am sure lots of doubters have even gone to the site to peek in. But the damn website has to be fully in operation fairly soon or it won’t attract the healthier and younger folks the law needs to even have a chance of succeeding.

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  2. Sedate Me

     /  November 4, 2013

    I just heard about this and I don’t understand how private insurance companies dropping certain plans is Obama’s fault. Unless I’m missing something, this just sounds like private insurance companies acting like private insurance companies.

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    • There are two objections being raised here. One is reasonable and one isn’t.

      The reasonable objection being voiced is that the Administration knew in advance that significant numbers of people would lose their policies on the individual market mainly due to the normal year-to-year volatility of the market. Knowing this, the reasonable argument goes, Mr. Obama should not have been so emphatic about saying, “If you like your plan, you can keep it.” Some believe that he should have added some qualifications to that statement, such as: “If you like the sub-standard plan you had before March of 2010, then as long as your insurance company keeps selling it without making big changes, you can keep it. And if your current plan provides the standardized coverage in the law, then you should be able to keep it, so long as your insurance company keeps selling it.” You can see why he took a rhetorical shortcut.

      The completely unreasonable objection is completely fabricated in Obama-hate factories and is in two parts: a) that Obama totally and purposely deceived the American people, and b) that ObamaCare itself is the sole reason that all those policies have been cancelled. As for a), it would have been quite stupid of Obama to tell a lie he knew would soon be exposed, and exposed in a rather loud way. Second, a fair reading of what he said in context of the overall law is true in most cases. I, for instance, and everyone I know, will be keeping the same insurance we had and so will most people. As for b), as many have pointed out, the extreme volatility in the individual insurance market occurs every year, since the contracts are signed on a yearly basis. One study found, if I remember correctly, that only 17% of people had the same policy longer than two years. So, even if there had been no ObamaCare, there would have been changes in folks’ health insurance coverage.

      Thus, you are technically correct that the cancellation of some of the policies in question is due to decisions that profit-minded insurance companies are making for next year, although some of the cancellations are because non-grandfathered policies, offered after March of 2010, don’t meet current standards of coverage.

      Duane

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      • Sedate Me

         /  November 5, 2013

        Thanks for the explanation, Duane. Sadly, it’s more or less what I expected.

        Republicans are blaming the Kenyan Soothsayer for being unable to predict with 100% accuracy what a bunch of private companies were going to do. That’s a bit of a stretch. Yes, a tad more nuance may have been required, but this is American politics in the Internet Era. Anything more complicated than “Fire bad!!!” just bounces off most people’s ears.

        But, Jesus! Americans without Medicare/Medicaid, or job-based insurance, have to renew your health care plans every single year? What a crazy pain in the ass that’s got to be! It also lays the groundwork for coverage plan drops and refusals to renew people.

        ( Getting on my RCMP high-horse) As a Canadian, I was BORN with a health care plan, universal single payer, and I haven’t had to renew it once.

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