Another unforced error?

Another unforced error?

I didn’t think it was possible for Team Obama to make their problems with the individual insurance market any worse.

I was wrong.

In an interview with Chuck Todd yesterday, President Obama spoke about the 8-10 million Americans whose insurance policies are being canceled:

THE PRESIDENT: So — the majority of folks will end up being better off, of course, because the website’s not workin’ right. They don’t necessarily know it right. But it — even though it’s a small percentage of folks who may be disadvantaged, you know, it means a lot to them. And it’s scary to them. And I am sorry that they — you know, are finding themselves in this situation, based on assurances they got from me. We’ve got to work hard to make sure that — they know — we hear ’em and that we’re gonna do everything we can — to deal with folks who find themselves — in a tough position as a consequence of this.

… But obviously, we didn’t do a good enough job in terms of how we crafted the law. And, you know, that’s somethin’ that I regret. That’s somethin’ that we’re gonna do everything we can to get fixed. In the meantime —

MR. TODD: By the way, that sounds like you’re supportive of this legislation.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, you — you know — Various things that are out there.

We’re — we’re looking at — a range of options.

On Air Force One today, Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest followed up by answering a reporter’s question:

Q    Josh, the President last night mentioned, when he apologized for problems with the cancellations of policies, that he was going to instruct his administration to go back with some sort of a loop.  Can you flesh that out?  What are you guys looking at in terms of canceled policies?

MR. EARNEST:  I’m not in a position to add a whole lot of additional detail to what the President said last night.  The President did acknowledge that there are some gaps in the law that need to be repaired.  He has directed his team to consider some administrative solutions to those problems, some steps that his administration could take unilaterally that would address some of those gaps.

Sounds good, right? There’s a problem, that “a small percentage of folks” (8-10 million people) are facing canceled individual market health insurance plans, and some of them are “disadvantaged” by the new options, or will be once they can see them on a functioning The President has directed his team to consider some administrative solutions to fix the problem, to “address some of those gaps.”

The problem with the President’s public statement is that he has now frozen the individual insurance market in place until he announces his new solutions. If you are one of the 8-10 million Americans with a canceled insurance policy, President Obama just created an enormous incentive for you to hold off on buying a new policy, to wait for the Administration to offer you a new solution.

Had they announced a new solution today, they would not have created this problem. The disincentive to buy a new plan comes from offering hope of a better outcome with no specificity or timeframe.

This new disincentive to buy insurance applies nationwide and is independent of the broken federal exchange website. I expect states running their own exchanges like California and Colorado, Minnesota and Maryland, DC, New York, and Connecticut, will see their new enrollments now drop as those with canceled policies wait for the President’s next move. States participating in the federal exchange won’t see any drop because the broken website is already preventing signups. Still, even in those states the President has created a new reason not to buy insurance on the exchange when it eventually does work, at least until he announces his new policy.

Because the story is so hot, and because the President’s allies in Congress are desperate to offer their angry constituents some hope, we can be assured that the President’s ambiguous offer of future hope, and the purchasing disincentive it creates, will get a lot of attention.

The optimistic interpretation for this new policy signal is that President Obama and his team understood this balance when the President spoke yesterday, that they weighed the cost of further discouraging new signups against the benefit of partially relieving growing pressure to help angry citizens who liked their canceled policies.

The pessimistic interpretation is that this is yet another unforced error, another self-inflicted wound.


46 responses

  1. Once again, maximum effort is made to make the problem seem far worse than it is.

    The FACTS are:

    1. Yes, 8 to 10 million people (our of roughly 306,000,000) are getting non-renewal notices (NOT the same as cancellation notices).

    2. As we have seen once the “horror” stories from the tea party and it’s buzzards at fox are actually investigated, everyone they have run braying and spraying about how horrible their situation will be has turned out to be either an outright lie or in fact the people will indeed be much better off.

    3. The tea party and it’s bats from hell have yet to find one person whose claims of terrible harm have checked out.

    Wonder why?

    4. So, out of 8 to 10 million people with sub-standard policies, most (if not all) will be delighted when they find out the truth.

    Will the tea party ever divulge any of these? Will they ever even start checking things out before they bray their lies to those newscasters who will never think to question them.

    Let us not forget, no matter how much good Obamacare will do for the vast majority of Americans, the tea party has vowed to kill it, however they can, and replace it with… nothing?

    So that first poor woman they brayed and sprayed about, who thought her $50/month health policy was the best, but who then found out it had a $10,000 ded., had a co-pay of 80% of charges, not 20%, and only allowed two Drs. visits per year is going to be stuck.

    Those three Shawn Hannity had on his program, one of who had everything backwards, the other two who had NEVER even checked what Obamacare, but which Hannity hadn’t bothered to check any facts about any of them, are going to end up stuck not WITH Obamacare, but WITHOUT Obamacare.

    • Are you that blindly devoted to this pig in a poke you cannot even bother to read the news? Another 80+ MILLION will also lose their insurance as their company policies fall outside the guidelines….nice (sophomoric) attempt at deflection though…blame the victim seems to be a last-gasp effort by Obama worshippers!

      • “Are your that blindly devoted to this pig in a poke you cannot even bother to read the news?”

        Why, yes, yes he is. Because being a Democrat (or any variety of Leftist) means never being able to say “I thought …”

      • Langjut Sgp minggu/10/11/2013
        Ai ;134679
        As ;23467
        Ck ;3479
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        Thenks Sob Room Nya

    • What kind of imbecile watches a serial LIAR admit that he has been lying all along, then turns around and uses the PROVEN LIAR’s numbers\excuses as proof of something and appears to ACTUALLY believe those numbers?

      Are you insane or have some of learning disability?

      Please do not vote in future elections as America simply can not afford your level of STUPIDITY and gullibility….it is way, way too expensive.

      • Yes, most lefties are insane, they are blind followers of a cargo cult, they scorn debate, they refuse to rely on facts, most of their political views start with “I feel…”

    • Your smug, arrogant and invincible stupidity is truly awesome.
      A better plan as defined by whom? You? If you actually had a passing acquaintance of the difference between insurance and prepaid medical services you might get a clue.

    • Dude… in what world are you living in? Because it isn’t planet earth.

      1. Try telling those 8-10 million (and it’s going to be far more than that) that they’re not being ‘canceled’, just ‘non-renewed’ and see how well that goes over. I’m sure they’ll find it great comfort.

      2. The horror stories are real, and the tea party/fox news warned of this forever. Simple common sense says that you can’t add all these people to the insurance rolls and mandate expansive new coverage mandates without prices rising on EVERYONE.

      As a reminder, We were all promised that a) nobody would lose their coverage, b) the average family would see their expenses drop $2500 a year, and c) that it would somehow reduce the national debt. Baldfaced lies, all of it, said to get the thing passed and get Obama reelected.

      3. You’re living in fantasy world if you believe that. Here’s a few such ‘non-renewal’ notices for you to peruse:

      Tell these people to they’re face that they’re lying and their prices aren’t rising sharply, getting less insurance for their money and see what kind of reaction you get. I’m sure they’ll also be happy to hear that their much higher deductibles are worth the maternity care and mental health policies they don’t need.

      4. Well, call me crazy, but I think the average person is NOT delighted to see they now have to pay sharply more for higher deductibles, coverage they don’t need, and fewer choices in the doctors they see.

      And as for killing it, I would gladly go back to the way things were before this monstrosity of a bill was passed with a single GOP vote and then upheld on a technicality by Judge Roberts. Whatever the problems with health care in this country, Obamacare is just making things far worse. It doesn’t control costs, it balloons the national debt, and doesn’t increase coverage. The only thing it DOES do is increase dependency on government. If you think things are bad now, wait until the employer mandate kicks in next year and tens of millions more lose their coverage or get thrown on the insurance markets against their will. Will you still claim everything is hunky-dory then?

      • You can’t reason with people who follow a cult leader. No amount of rational thought can convince them their chosen Prophet is wrong. Put these folks in the Arctic naked by Obama’s hand. These folks would bray his praises till frozen.
        Its the same syndrome that created a Jim Jones, or David Koresh. Obama is their messiah. He can do no wrong in their eyes no matter how many lies, or out right felonies.
        All who say different are enemies or liars.
        Stalin had his personality cult. So does Obama. When you believe in nothing else, you will believe any thing that gives you a reason to die for. A grand vision, no matter how loony
        Socialists figure where all animals with no intrinsic worth. Humans like this crave a Master to be ordered by.
        Its a pathetic delusion.

    • temblor4 must be the screen name for Debbie Wasserman Schultz. I can’t think of anyone else (with the possible exception of Nancy Pelosi) who is so mind-numbingly in denial of the facts. The sky is green in their world.

    • If 15 million people had their food stamps “non-renewed,” temblor4 and the party of the parasites would be having a fit.

      • I’m guessing this guy wasn’t quite as dismissive of the rights of 10 million gays when DOMA was being reconsidered.

    • I’m one of those. Our policy was $440 per month with a $2,000.00 deductible each, 80% coverage (married couple, mid 50’s no kids).
      Our new policy recommended by BCBS is $432 per month with a $7,500 deductible each, 70% coverage.
      We are waiting to see. We won’t choose a subsidy plan.

      I don’t understand your rant from the perspective that I didn’t ask for nor want help from the government.

      I am fine without Obamacare, but Obamacare is not fine without me.

    • “the other two who had NEVER even checked what Obamacare”

      They probably stalled out at page 700 or something.

      No law should have more pages than the constitution. Period. And every legislator should be able to pass a test on it before being allowed to vote on it.

      For me, Obamacare was a nonstarter because it spectacularly failed both of these smell tests. So does any other complex, convoluted law being hyped by someone. Doesn’t matter if they are Dem or Repub, liberal or conservative. If they’re pushing a giant, unintelligible piece of legislation that is indecipherable by the typical high school graduate (and that’s a low bar indeed these days) you can bank on it being crap that has no place in our legal code.

    • I suppose in the strictly mathematical sense it’s possible for a single human being to be dumber than you, after all there are 7.2 billion people on the planet, but the total “level of cluelessness” you demonstrate is astronomically astounding.

    • On what planet is non renewal different than a cancellation? IN both cases the victim has no insurance. As far as no real example of of someone being hurt, check out the WSJ and Edie Sunby:

      Due to the county wide scope of most plans, it looks like anyone on the border who has doctors in multiple counties will lose at least one of their doctors.

      I can see why tremblor does not use his real name. It would be terribly embarrassing to have his post associated with his name.

      • There are also plenty of outright cancellations. The plans no longer exist, you can’t get more cancelled than that.

    • Wow, you can stop bending over now.

      First of all, as a liberal, its obvious that math is difficult for you. 5% of 306 million is not 8-10. However, even if it were, everyone knows 5% is just the tip of the ice berg. The administration you are trying so hard to protect said themselves back in 2010 in private memos that they expected the numbers to wind up in the 50-60 million range.

      Seriously, non-renewal is not the same as cancellation? Your tortured word parsing is almost as hilarious as Clinton’s parsing of what the word is is…not as funny though and just as pathetic.

      And the rest of your argument is just so tedious I am not going to bother. If you are right, then the dems have nothing to worry about in 2014 and 2016 and the President should just stand pat. I mean, that’s how they are behaving right? Like they don’t have a worry in the world. In fact, Obama should go all out and cancel the delay in the business mandate so that it does occur before the 2014 election since its so wonderful…LOL.

    • Langjut Sgp minggu/10/11/2013
      Ai ;134679
      As ;23467
      Ck ;3479
      ╔╦╦═╦═╗ ╔╦╦╗
      ║║║║║╚╣ ║║║║
      ║║║╔╬╗║ ╠╬╬╣
      ╚═╩╝╚═╝ ╚╩╩╝
      Untuk Angka Jadi 2d 3d 4d hk
      klik webs yg di bawah ini

      Thenks Sob Room Nya

    • Agreed, Libs will never admit any mistakes. POTUS will, & temblor4 will attempt to follow his next presser blaming the extinction of the dinosaurs on lack of Health Care Insurance.

    • So,, if their Health Insurance Policies are none renewable, uhh, hmmm, that’s canceled, right ? You do realize those 8 – 10 Million are potential Republican voters ? I don’t think even ACORN can come up with that many Absentee Ballots.

  2. tim blower – whew, you sho’ know how to tie what seems to be a knot …unfortunately, the obvious product of your efforts is simply twisted thinkin’ .. the product of regressive intelligence .. however,,, i can see you have a very strong digestive system,,, to swallow ‘n keep down the obo crap he’s been spewing…
    sorry pal,,, you’re all wet And all Wrong…

  3. Man, are you drunk on liberal Kool-Aid!

    In what bizarro universe is it justified to disrupt the lives of 10-15 million middle class Americans in such a cavalier fashion? To the liberals, those who lose their coverage are obviously almost insignificant, and certainly less important than the roughly seven million who might, and that’s a big, iffy might, be one day insured. What you and your ilk don’t quite realize is that the ones facing the abyss actually work, create wealth and jobs, pay taxes and have the wisdom to purchase their own insurance.

    Luckily, the Liar-in-Chief is so feckless and hubristic, he may well become the lamest of lame duck presidents. That will allow those with real experience and knowledge in domestic and International issues, the temperament to work with others, and the moral courage to lead, to undue the damage of his vision for “fundamental change” to our nation.

    • TigerGal, loved your post. Being a “word” lover who believes that words do matter, you presented an excellent and insightful reply to the Kool-Aid drinker.

  4. Consider this. Obama is a superb schemer. The disaster with the Website for Obamacare may well be deliberate. As the weeks pass with no reliable Obamacare, folks are looking for some insurance, any insurance. Eventually well over 120 million folks will lose their coverage. And to prove my point, yesterday, Obama added full mental health benefits to all non-medicare and medicaid insurance, making premiums much higher.

    At some point, Obama will invoke the medicare “single payer” option and yes it is in the Obamacare regs. Many millions of folks will opt in for “free insurance” of the single payer, and Obama will have saved the day…And who will ever defeat the democrats once they have single payer for most of the country. This was Obama’s goal all along, and the GOP are too stupid to realize it.

  5. I think Keith mistakes the issue here. He thinks

    1. Obama wishes to address the “problem” of 8-10 million Americans having to spend vastly more for health insurance.
    2. He has crafted some ‘plan’, which will alleviate this problem for people in these circumstances (what could that be BTW – the only possibility would be more subsidies)
    3. He is aware enough of the dynamics of the situation to realize that delaying implementation of the ‘plan’ creates an adverse selection bias as far as incentivising people to sign up for Obamacare.

    I propose that the situation is much simpler than that:

    1. Obama doesn’t really give a damn about these people.
    2. There is no plan.

    (3) Obama has never shown any evidence of the depth of thinking that would support his being aware of any adverse consequences of his actions. He always thinks Plan A will work.

  6. Temblor4,

    Clearly you have no real understanding of the full impact of the Affordable Care Act but are merely repeating talking points put together for you to parrot.

    Currently there are increasing media reports of people with individual (non-group) coverage receiving cancellations. Yes, sir or ma’am, they are cancellations, as the type of policy they have is being discontinued as not compliant with the ACA. And these reports include those from papers like the New York Times and the Washington Post.

    You may want to read this story, if you haven’t already: (You should read the follow-up story, too, so you can get the full picture of what’s happening, and why.). This couple, aged 59 and 60, had been paying premiums of $550 per month, and now they will be charged $1300 per month, for comprehensive Kaiser coverage. Additionally, their deductible and out of pocket amounts will markedly increase.

    Soon we will be hearing from small business owners as their small group policies are being cancelled as well — because they do not comply with the ACA. And in 2015, we will hear from large businesses on how they must change their benefits to comport with the ACA.

    Low-income people will benefit from the ACA, because they will receive either Medicaid or premium subsidies for coverage. Older, sicker people will benefit from lower premiums because of the new rating rules limiting how much an older person can be charged and prohibiting rating based on health conditions. However, anyone in the middle class, young, and/or healthy, will experience premium increases (for some people, huge increases) and marked increases in deductible and out of pocket expenses, and their plans will contain many benefits that are of no use to them. All of the changes in the ACA, along with the many new taxes and fees imposed, in aggregate serve to drive up the cost of insurance in 2014.

    You ignore the fact that, in order to get the law passed and to reassure Americans afterwards, the President lied about people being able to keep their insurance if they wanted, to keep their doctors, and if they changed insurance they would experience better coverage at a cheaper price (at one point he said families would experience a $2500 annual reduction in premium). And the President repeated these lies over, and over (more than 3 dozen times, according to some sources). Now the lies are being spun, as this blog points out. I am reminded of President Clinton’s mendacious statement, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

    It will be interesting to see how this plays out. It appears to me that many Americans are up in arms about having been tricked to support the law, as evidenced by the President’s plummeting approval ratings and the storm of media coverage.

  7. “offering hope of a better outcome with no specificity or time frame” is Obama’s forte.

  8. T4, I can assure, and prove to you, the stories of cancelled policies is absolutely true. I am one of the ones that has been canceled, and I have all the paperwork to back it up. My ‘sub-standard’ plan that cost 550 is now rated as a ‘platinum’ plan and went up to 1285 a month for an equal plan to the one I liked. Since I make in excess 70k a year in net income, I don’t get one nickel of a subsidy. If I quit working and live off of capital gains I could probably get down to 40k a year net and get 550 in subsidies. Even if I do that, my monthly insurance bill will still go up 150+. In other works, I’m completely fvcked by Obamacare.
    Get off your high horse and walk with us peons for a while, a few blisters will do you good.

  9. Wow, tem…you sure put us proles in our place!!!

    I never would have realized that a company I had a renewable contract with could unilaterally refuse to renew said contract and it would not be a ‘cancellation’. Help me out here, I reckon I’m kinda ‘slow’ from your perspective. How, exactly, is a ‘non-renewal’ different from a ‘cancellation’ in reality, much less in effect?

    What “…(P)eople with substandard policies…” and who assigned you and your ilk as arbiters of such things? What are your qualifications for deciding how other people should live THEIR lives and spend THEIR money?

    Surely since you feel qualified to pass judgement on others, others are just as qualified to pass judgement on you. That’s only ‘fair’, right?

    When can I stop by and tell you whats best for you and your family, or if you make too much money, or if the things you own should be redistributed in the holy name of ‘fairness’?

    If you want to be the modern Robespierre and make decisions of what is best for others, you might want to freshen-up on how that story ended.

  10. ObamaCare… if you have insurance, you didn’t get it on your own. Somebody helped you. The government paved the way. Now, pay up…

  11. The slow and painful education of the low information voter:

    Nov 2013 – People get notices of higher premium rates.

    Dec 2013 – People get bills for the higher premium rates.

    Jan 2014 – People cut the check for the higher premium rate (here is where it gets real).

    Jan 1, 2014 – Do people have an ID card for their new plan? The old policy is kaput; do they know their new ID number? Can they get their medication on January 2nd? Chaos / Angst.

    Jan-Oct 2014 – Many people find out their doctor is no longer available even though they have the same insurer as before.

    Jan-Oct 2014 – Many people find out their ACA compliant plan has a high deductible, especially for family contracts.

    Oct 2014 (read just prior to mid-term elections) – All those individuals and small businesses that postponed ACA via the insurer’s early renewal offer get the rate notice for an ACA compliant plan.

    Nov 2014 – Mid-term elections.

  12. A cancellation would be a discontinuation of coverage sometime during the policy term; non-renewal would its unavailability at the annual renewal date.

    • Um, I think if you need an ID for anything now, whether you are a citizen or an illegal, it can be obtained in the state of California.

  13. On just one hand
    You can count who believes this
    With fingers to spare.

    This will have no effect, because you can’t go below zero and because everybody immediately discounts this as another non-operational promise.

  14. Liberals never admit a mistake. In fact, they believe it’s impossible for liberal policies to ever be wrong/bad. Whenever something like this happens their SOP is to double down. They will blame the greedy insurance companies for over charging on policies. They will claim that this is proof that private insurance is untenable. Their next step will be to start the push for a single payer system.

  15. More blather from the Perpetual Campaigner.

    He has no plan. He has not a clue about what to do. He’s just running for office.

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