A withering editorial from President Obama's hometown paper -- which, incidentally, endorsed him in both 2008 and 2012:
As of Sunday, there's one month to go before the grand opening of the Obamacare online health insurance exchanges. Americans will be required to buy insurance or pay a penalty as of Jan. 1. What will insurance cost in Illinois? What companies will offer coverage? With what benefits That's part of the Obamacare guessing game here. If you live in Utah, Ohio, Indiana or a dozen other states, you've seen your proposed rates. But if you're in Illinois, you're clueless. State officials still haven't released proposed rates....Illinois officials have submitted proposed insurance plans and rates to the federal government but won't tell the public what they are. Illinois folks say they are waiting on federal officials for final approval, but the feds keep pushing back the deadlines. This didn't get much attention last week, but Reuters reported that the feds have slipped in another delay on finalizing agreements with insurers about the plans that will be sold through the exchanges. Those approvals won't come until mid-September. So we have to keep guessing. Federal officials didn't explain the latest delay. But such deadline busters aren't a surprise. The feds have already missed more than half the deadlines in the rollout to Obamacare...Oh, and by the way, federal officials dumped another 300 pages of Obamacare rules on states and insurers just last week.
No wonder some major insurers don't want to touch the exchanges with a ten-foot pole. The standards keep shifting, elements of the law are unilaterally delayed without warning, and pages of new regulations pile higher and higher by the day. The Tribune editors upbraid Illinois' unresponsive and non-transparent state government for spending big bucks to sell a product that remains a confounding mystery to most consumers:
With a month to go, Illinois is scrambling to ready its online marketplace. The state is hiring 800 temporary workers to help people navigate the confusing maze of Obamacare coverage options and subsidies through still-to-be-tested, likely-to-be-glitchy computer systems. What could go wrong? Ahem. More than 4 in 10 Americans still don't have a clue that Obamacare is coming and that coverage is mandatory, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released in August. Illinois is gearing up to launch a massive marketing and information campaign to explain Obamacare, to be orchestrated through a $35 million contract with FleishmanHillard. The company has a huge job to do. Our suggestion is simple: If you want to persuade people to buy something, tell them how much it will cost and what they will get. In Illinois, that's still anyone's guess.
Elsewhere in Obamacare news: (1) Employers are looking to avoid being saddled with massively increased costs, but are concerned that temporary evasion schemes may come back to bite them. (2) Workers are on track to be "blindsided" by Obamacare's open enrollment process, even if it goes off without a hitch -- which is essentially impossible. (3) As Katie noted yesterday, Big Labor is furious with the law they supported, and thousands of members are jumping ship. (4) The Heritage Foundation enumerates lingering concerns in advance of next month's Obamacare roll-out deadline. Tick tock. I'll leave you with an ad the NRSC is running against Louisiana Democrat, Sen. Mary Landrieu:
UPDATE - Illinois may be hiding the ball on Obamacare's new premium estimates, but Wisconsin isn't. Say hello to double- and triple-digit hikes, Badger State residents: