Morning Action: Young People Are Least Familiar with Obamacare
YOUNG PEOPLE. According to a new poll, young people are the group least familiar with Obamacare:
Young Americans under the age of 30 remain the least familiar age group when asked about the Affordable Care Act, according to a new poll released Monday.
The Gallup poll shows that 37 percent of Americans under 30 say they are unfamiliar with the law, more than two months after the insurance exchanges created by the law went live. For comparison, only 26 percent of Americans ages 30 to 49 and 22 percent of those between ages 50 and 64 say they are not familiar with the law.
The new poll numbers might raise concerns among supporters of the ACA, as the success of the law depends largely on high enrollment figures among young, healthy consumers.
This poll should concern Obamacare supporters. Forbes explains why millennials are not very attracted to Obamacare:
Even if one takes into account that Millennials in the long run eventually will become old themselves and benefit from these subsidies, Obamacare still is an extraordinarily bad deal that effectively would force today’s 18-year olds to pay 18 percent more for their medical care over a lifetime than if each generation paid its own way. Such an age-related tax is unconscionable. Imagine if sales taxes or income taxes included a surcharge for everyone who happened to be a twenty-something. If this idea sounds preposterous, welcome to Obamacare.
Moreover, if fully implemented, this law will strip the economy of more than 1 million jobs and relegate another 10 million full-time workers to part-time status. In both cases it will be young, inexperienced workers who bear the brunt of these adverse effects on work effort. Equally appalling, the law will discourage young people from getting married even though all the empirical evidence shows that marriage is one of the most potent anti-poverty programs in any society’s arsenal. Worse, if honestly scored, the law will add $2 trillion to the federal deficit in its first 20 years, an amount that largely will be borne by today’s youth and their progeny, if indeed they can afford to procreate. And perhaps most sickening of all, RAND Corporation scientists estimate that as a result of the law at least 3.8 million Americans who already have coverage they like will not only lose that coverage, but will end up remaining uninsured.
BUDGET DEAL. Rep. Ryan and Sen. Murray are reportedly closer to a budget deal:
House and Senate negotiators are pushing to finalize a small-scale deal to set spending levels and replace sequester cuts for the next two years, a potential respite in the bitter budget wars consuming Congress.
The two congressional budget leaders — Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) — are considering a plan that would give relief to some of the domestic and defense programs most burdened by the sequester through 2015 by replacing those cuts with budgetary savings in other areas, according to sources familiar with the negotiations. New revenue through fee increases — not tax hikes — is likely.
The emerging plan also would attempt to find a middle ground between overall federal spending levels sought by Ryan and Murray in their respective budget plans. Under one proposal still under consideration, overall discretionary spending levels would be set in the $1 trillion range for 2014, sources say. That’s an uptick from the $967 billion spending level under the Budget Control Act but lower than the $1.058 trillion level initially sought by Senate Democrats.
DROPPED COVERAGE. Amid all the problems with HealthCare.gov, the media has paid less attention to the millions of people losing their coverage because of Obamacare:
Along with the problems with the website, the dropped coverage is one of the main storylines driving the narrative that Obamacare is shaping up to be a disaster.
Nor did the media probe deeply into what affordability really meant for all people, including those who would not get subsidies and saw insurance becoming increasingly unaffordable. That failure now haunts the Affordable Care Act, even though a few thoughtful journalists presented warning signals. Julie Appleby of Kaiser Health News revealed that the way subsidies would be indexed would result in families paying more for their coverage over time.
OBAMA. President Obama wants to move attention away from Obamacare website problems and instead put the focus on Obamacare “success stories”:
Seeking to move past its website woes, the Obama administration is launching a two-pronged health care strategy this month aimed at avoiding enrollment snafus come January while also trying to refocus the public’s attention on broader benefits of the sweeping law.
President Barack Obama will focus on those benefits at a White House event Tuesday. Flanked by Americans who the White House says have benefited from the overhaul, the president will try to remind Americans that his health law is preventing insurance discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions and is allowing young people to stay on their parents’ coverage until age 26. He’ll also take aim at Republicans, arguing that the GOP is trying to strip away those benefits without presenting an alternative.
Behind the scenes, the administration is furiously trying to rectify an unresolved issue with enrollment data that could become a significant headache after the first of the year. Insurers say much of the enrollment data they’re receiving is practically useless, meaning some consumers might not be able to get access to benefits on Jan. 1, the date their coverage is scheduled to take effect.
The reality, however, is that everyone will ultimately be adversely affected by Obamacare, whether it be through increased costs, less access to the doctors of our choice, or lower quality of care.
ENROLLMENT? Some Obamacare “success stories” are imaginary; the records of as many as 126,000 individuals who believe they have successfully signed up for a plan have been lost:
Bob Shlora of Alpharetta, Ga., was supposed to be a belated Obamacare success story. After weeks of trying, the 61-year-old told ABC News he fully enrolled in a new health insurance plan through the federal marketplace over the weekend, and received a Humana policy ID number to prove it.
But two days later, his insurer has no record of the transaction, Shlora said, even though his account on the government website indicates that he has a plan.
“I feel like this: My application was taken … by a bureaucrat, it was put on a conveyor belt and it’s still going around, and it’s never going to leave the building,” he said. “I’ve lost hope. If it happens, great.”
Obama administration officials acknowledged today that some of the roughly 126,000 Americans who completed the torturous online enrollment process in October and November might not be officially signed up with their selected issuer, even if the website has told them they are.
WARNING SIGNS IGNORED. Though warning signs emerged earlier in the year that HealthCare.gov was going to have tremendous problems, the bureaucrats running HealthCare.gov kept the information under wraps:
When warning signs emerged earlier this year, the agency running the HealthCare.gov website mostly kept the problems to itself—a decision that now looms large in explaining how the project went so badly astray.
Over the weekend, the White House official leading the repair effort, Jeffrey Zients, described a series of improvements that took just six weeks to carry out under a new general contractor, underscoring how an earlier alert might have led to problems being addressed more urgently before the site’s Oct. 1 launch.
The agency in charge of creating the federal health-insurance website, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, originally served as its own general contractor. It had several warnings between March and July that the project was going off-track, but didn’t seek deep White House involvement or change the leadership structure, according to officials, congressional aides and emails from the period.
PLAGUED BY BUGS. The HealthCare.gov website remains plagued by bugs, despite the White House’s recent assertions that the website is a success:
The enrollment records for a significant portion of the Americans who have chosen health plans through the online federal insurance marketplace contain errors — generated by the computer system — that mean they might not get the coverage they’re expecting next month.
The errors cumulatively have affected roughly one-third of the people who have signed up for health plans since Oct. 1, according to two government and health-care industry officials. The White House disputed the figure but declined to provide its own.
The mistakes include failure to notify insurers about new customers, duplicate enrollments or cancellation notices for the same person, incorrect information about family members, and mistakes involving federal subsidies. The errors have been accumulating since HealthCare.gov opened two months ago, even as the Obama administration has been working to make it easier for consumers to sign up for coverage, the government and industry officials said.
The errors, if not corrected, mean that tens of thousands of consumers are at risk of not having coverage when the insurance goes into effect Jan. 1, because the health plans they picked do not yet have accurate information needed to send them a bill. Under the 2010 law designed to reshape the health-care system, consumers are not considered to have coverage unless they have paid at least the first monthly insurance premium.