Chris Matthews, December 2nd:
Chris Matthews' Hardball guest host, December 4th:
I’m in health care purgatory. Since sunrise on the day of the launch, Oct. 1, I’ve attempted to shop for health insurance at healthcare.gov. Almost eight weeks later, I still haven’t been successful in accessing quotes online for insurance. My experience has been a Kafkaesque nightmare of Internet denial and telephone roadblocks. And this is not some journalistic folly. I’m in the market for health insurance and have been optimistic about my ability to get a competitive rate as a result of the Affordable Care Act. What’s most frustrating is to think there are nine different plans for me to consider. If only I could see them. Especially because mental health is covered, and about now, I’m in need of some.
That frustrated column was published four days after the administration claimed to have met its self-imposed do-over deadline to repair Healthcare.gov. I guess Smerconish is floating somewhere in that unlucky 20 percent "zone," or whatever. Plus, you already know that the back end of the site is in far worse shape, with insurers sweating through their suits, and Obama administration officials doggedly refusing to answer reporters' questions about error rates. One of the other X factors that remains shrouded in mystery is the demographic mix of those who have "enrolled" -- however that term may be defined. These stats are more important than the sheer volume of new applicants (which isn't to say that those stepped-up numbers are anywhere near where they need to be). Yesterday I linked to a handful of indicators on how the risk pools are shaping up. Though the data from the federal -- and some state -- exchanges hasn't been released, some states have made some information available to the public. American Action Forum culled through the figures from several of these jurisdictions, which confirm that the percentage of young adults signing up for Obamacare has been disproportionately low so far:
How many of these (relatively few) participating young people's aren't also healthy -- the other key side of the 'young invincible' equation? We don't know, but the entire insurance system will find out soon enough. Hugh Hewitt had the deputy director of Obamacare's California exchange on his radio program just before Thanksgiving, and his guest didn't know very much about some very important metrics. This is almost unbelievable, until you recall surreal stories like this, this and this. Competence:
I interviewed the deputy director of California’s Obamacare exchange on Friday, Dana Howard. The audio is below and the transcript is here. There is much to marvel at and be alarmed by in the conversation, but the most worrisome admission from Mr. Howard is that CoveredCA.com has no projected model of success - it simply doesn’t know what demographic mix must be reached in order for the insurance policies being offered to be sustainable...You should also be alarmed by Mr. Howard’s inability to quickly respond to questions about the burn rate of the $190 million dollar marketing budget. There is no “cost per lead” just as there is no metric of necessary success when it comes to the demographics of overall enrollment. The parts of my conversation having to do with the background checks of the 1,400 “navigators” and the 1,500 CoveredCA.com employees are disquieting to say the least. As is the imprecision with regards to the availability of benefits to the undocumented population who are dependents of documented.
The interview also revealed that California is dishing out $58-per-enrollee finders fee-style bounties to "counselors," all courtesy of the taxpayer. Speaking of whom, I'll leave you with one of the winning entries to HHS' Obamacare propaganda video contest. This young woman won three grand of your money for performing this little diddy -- an ode to the "Affordable" Care Act that literally includes the lyric, "don't worry about the price tag." Yes, really: