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choicelady On November - 19 - 2013
English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Prot...

English: Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So nobody likes Obamacare and nobody’s signing up, huh?

Yes, there were glitches, some serious, in the first couple of weeks regarding healthcare.gov. The site did not handle the enormous volume of traffic at all. Then, when pundits (a couple of whom thought it should be Word Press formatted or “just add another server”) chimed in, people got understandably put off.

The almost immediate corrective of reminding people that they could call, write, or visit with Navigators to get enrolled began to reverse the slow enrollments, but those seemed to provide almost no titillating interest – success is never as sexy as failure and faux scandal, is it?

The figures for October are interesting since they actually exceed the HHS goals of having 500,000 that month. Reports to 10/31 from the Director of HHS Region IX (western states) reveal that 101, 185 individuals selected plans and enrolled; 975,407 were successfully through the program, had accounts and were shopping for plans. Another 396,261 have been determined to be eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that is private insurance partly subsidized, partly covered by the enrollee’s parents.

Overall for just October – one month out of the six available for open enrollment – 1.5 million human beings have been engaged in obtaining health care coverage, some for the first time ever.

The “problem” with these figures lies in who is enrolling. Much of the early enrollment is for Medicaid or CHIP programs (states have different names for their own versions) and was dismissed as irrelevant since the people using them were, you know, poor.

Despite the fact that these are precisely the long-time uninsured, usually the working poor, for whom ACA was a most important transformation, only those seeking private insurance were deemed ‘valuable’.

By the seventh week, the overall figures had increased because, without any notice from our media who still prefer scandal and doom to reality, the website is working very well with very few problems. State sites are and have been going well, and yes, states with Exchanges are mostly doing better than the federal site because they have a lower case load and are not being subjected to hacking as healthcare.gov has been. More about that in a minute. Only Oregon has persistent problems; their enrollments are very low, all still by paper submission, and the web site seems almost unfixable. Other states, however, are doing fine.

By end of the 7th week, combined enrollments of private Exchange plans with Medicaid/CHIP had moved from 499K to over 705K. Anecdotal feedback seems to be that people think the federal site still is not working (thank you, Chuck I-don’t-tell-truth Todds of the media) but enrollments are up nonetheless.

States without their own Exchanges are doing less well than states with Exchanges. In Missouri, where our own Murph the Surf is a certified Navigator, there are over 843,000 uninsured but only 751 private insurance enrollments and 4157 Medicaid enrollments to November 17. Despite Murph and his allies in that state who are working very hard, there is not a shred of help to them from the state or media getting out the word to those in dire need. That, after all, it would be helping ACA to succeed. Can’t have THAT, now can we?

It is rather dispiriting to discover that healthcare.gov has been the focus of no fewer than sixteen – yes – SIXTEEN – cyber attacks. Since the first couple of days when the site was simply overwhelmed, too much of the problem has come from deliberate assaults on the site. Only one mainstream news source – ABC – has bothered to report this appalling fact. Such attacks are not just anti-government, they are anti-people since when successful they have kept people from enrolling. On November 13 ABC made this report – and I’ve not seen it again anywhere other than on Twitter and blogs supportive of ACA. This revelation was made to the House Homeland Security Committee by an assistant secretary of Homeland Security – and fell into the information void almost immediately. The details were not made public, but Deliberate Denial of Service through flooding the site with illegitimate log ons was one tactic used.

Therefore, despite no help from non-Exchange states, deliberate assaults from sources unknown, and a general lack of information to the public, people are still not deterred in their quest to find health care coverage.

As we go along, we will try to keep updates on the stories of people who got help, found insurance or Medicaid for the first time, reduced their payments, and are moving forward to get the help they need from doctors and medical systems. But seven weeks into a 26 week open enrollment period, things are markedly better than we have generally been told. Every person covered is a healthier person for it. THAT is success.

******************************

UPDATE – 11-21-13: Graphics and links to documents and data confirming the info above:

 

HHS Report on MarketPlace Enrollment
http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2013/MarketPlaceEnrollment/rpt_enrollment.pdf

 

FROM BRAINWRAP AT http://acasignups.net
(Click the graphic to see high quality version)
Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) Signups - Small1

 

 

Obamacare Website Targeted About 16 Times by Cyber Attacks
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/obamacare-website-targeted-16-times-cyber-attacks-official/story?id=20878814

Written by choicelady

I am the public policy director for a large, very progressive faith organization. We believe in science, democracy, full equality for all people (NO exceptions), peace, and justice. We respect other people, but it doesn't mean we share their views. Nice to have a world of progressive thought. Rather like finally getting fresh air after a very smoggy day!

45 Responses so far.

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  1. choicelady says:

    I am absolutely rolling on the floor laughing hysterically. Tonight the US secured a LANDMARK agreement with Iran on controlling their nuclear expansion. MAJOR big deal.

    So how did the GOP react?

    John Cornyn tweeted -- Amazing what W H will do to distract attention from O-care.

    I am NOT making this up. He actually SAID that!

    There really are no words…

  2. MurphTheSurf3 says:

    Hello choice…

    Bravo, kudos, plaudits, huzzahs, hurrahs, high fives

    I am planning to use your info here in the next round of battles at HP.

    The points you make are extraordinary in their clarity and the sharpness of the point they make. Love it.

    One small point- I trained to be a Navigator on line BUT I did not take the state exam. Here is the exam.

    “The Missouri Department of Insurance has released testing information for individuals applying for a license as a navigator. The testing is in compliance with Senate Bill 262.

    Individuals applying for a license as a navigator are required to pass an exam before being issued a license. An entity or producer with an active license to sell health insurance products in Missouri will not be required to take the exam.

    The cost for applying for a navigator’s license is $25 for an individual or $50 for an entity. Each license is valid for two years.

    Pearson VUE will administer the test in Columbia, Overland Park, Springfield, St. Louis and Kanas City. Candidates who wish to make an exam reservation should call 866-274-4740. Candidates must pay the $41 examination fee at the time of reservation by credit card, debit card, electronic check or voucher.

    Before making a reservation, candidates should review the Missouri Navigator Licensing Candidate Handbook. It can be downloaded at http://asisvcs.com/publications/pdf/122606.pdf . The handbook is useful in preparing for the examination and it is recommended that the content outline be reviewed prior to taking the exam. It can be downloaded at http://asisvcs.com/publications/pdf/122607.pdf .

    Individuals and entities licensed as navigators can provide fair and impartial information and services to consumers regarding eligibility, enrollment and program specifications about the health insurance marketplace operating in the state.

    =========================

    The thing is that the exam is really a version of the Missouri Insurance Brokers Exam and the prep for it was overkill- all efforts, I think, by the GOP here to kill the helpers program. Check out this article for an overview: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/09/obamacare-navigators_n_3894494.html

    SO Missouri Navigators had to be licensed AND employed by a licensed institution. I had not desire to get a job. I settled on being a volunteer ACA adviser/counselor with not access to the application screen.

    • choicelady says:

      LOL!!! Yes -- same in CA. We call them Certified Enrollment Counselors employed by an Enrollment Entity.

      The paranoia is probably NOT misplaced since anyone can then access confidential personal info, but the exam ought to be specific, NOT general, since the standards are quite exacting for ACA and no longer include private insurance. However, the requirements in CA include a criminal background check AND fingerprinting, both of which have to be paid for by the individual applying and add up to a considerable chunk o’ change.

      So doing this as a volunteer is very cool, Murph. We definitely know MO is in good hands with you. Thank you so much for looking after your community even if they remain, for the moment, ungrateful wretches. You are a prophet in your own country without honor for the moment Laurel wreaths probably won’t ever come your way, but MANY people will thank you in the near future.

      And WE thank you NOW.

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        I think the difference between CA and MO is that the requirements in CA were meant to provide necessary safeguards and to ensure proficiency. In Mo they were put in place to discourage participation.

        After taking the on line training and doing the reading, I looked for someplace to “do” navigating and realized that there was nothing in my county or the two adjacent counties.

        So taking the exam made no sense for me.

        Thanks for your good words in support but it can be lonely in my little blue rowboat on a sea of red with the sharks swimming about.

        • choicelady says:

          I know you made a very sensible decision. And we DO know from all your conversations that it is like swimming in Red molasses.

          That’s why we’re here. We are all cheering you on because you make a HUGE difference even if it goes unsung.

          WE know. WE cheer! WE thank you for all you’re doing!

  3. choicelady says:

    Hi- I hope by now everyone has seen or heard the story of yesterday’s ACA enrollment experience by John Boehner. He declared via a Tweet sent BEFORE he tried, that signing up for health care was a ‘train wreck’.

    Then, he went to the site, called a Certified Enroller, put her on hold for 35 minutes while he fiddled with the healthcare.gov site, and voila -- enrolled his own damned self in 45 minutes. Then I think he hung up on the Enroller, but hey…

    He was fool enough to have witnesses with cameras, so his ‘train wreck’ did occur, but it was his STORY, not healthcare.gov. It worked great as it has been for weeks and got him enrolled in under an hour.

    NOW can the media tell the truth about healthcare.gov? They were witness to its success. Let’s see if the story goes beyond MSNBC, Twitter, and this blog. Don’t hold your breath -- suffocation is NOT a treatable pre-existing condition.

  4. AdLib says:

    Folks, please check out the links and documents added to Choicelady’s fantastic post on the real results of the ACA enrollments. The perfect gift for those trolls and emos who claim it’s not true.

    • choicelady says:

      Thank you SO much for posting those. They are useful, and of course I can’t do that. Lovely having such kind-hearted and forgiving “Tech Support” from you and Kalima!

  5. Kalima says:

    Thank you for this encouraging post choicelady. I try not to read the daily lies, and have become an expert in letting things go in one ear and out of the other. The ACA will work given time, and all of the ridiculous drama surrounding the website, will be history soon enough. In the end the Repubs will lose more than just elections and the trust they so crave, they will lose a battle to a much better man who actually cares about the lives of all Americans. How do you beat that ?

    • agrippa says:

      Kalima:

      100% correct.

    • choicelady says:

      Over at Common Sense Progressive (PCTC) Milt Shook chastised faux progressives by noting that when ACA is implemented, 30 MILLION people will have coverage and therefore care. Public option, single payer -- those are methods, not goals. The GOAL is to give people access to medical care, health, life, and absence of pain. ACA is the current way there. This president DOES care about the lives of all Americans, and that will make ACA a profoundly important part of our nation’s growth as a democracy. You are correct -- you cannot beat that.

      • Kalima says:

        Funny how they conveniently forget about those 30 million others, isn’t it? Obviously they are not one of them, in fact they probably have their healthcare plans and just enjoy complaining about anything and everything to feel complete. Silly buggers.

        • choicelady says:

          I have never recovered from a DOCTOR who is a single payer advocate demanding we kill ACA and wait for HR 676, the federal single payer bill.

          I asked him how he could deny care NOW to those millions, and he just insisted they’d “just have to wait” for single payer.

          I wish there were a way to get him drummed out for that. It was the most unprincipled statement EVER. He violates the key premise of his oath: First, do no harm.

          BAH!

    • agrippa says:

      Kalima, those people who preached gloom and doom will be silent when reality proves that they were wrong. In fact, they will ignore the fact that the ACA works. Those people act as if something is supposed to be dead solid perfect now. Life is not like that.

      The news media, which, in the past, was , at best, mediocre, is probably worse that it was. Now, we what we have.

      • Kalima says:

        Good morning agrippa, what I wouldn’t give to be a fly on the wall when the brown stuff hits the fan and they fail again to minimise the man who has kept his word and brought “change” to America. Privately heads will explode. 😀

  6. SallyT says:

    CL, do these people realize how many time Thomas Jefferson had to “roll out” the Declaration of Independence before it would work? It didn’t cover everything and the poor slaves were left with the masters they had. (I am sure they would have approved of those plans being cancelled.) Oh, “the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions” well, their coverage sucked and still does! Of course, Mr. Jefferson didn’t have a computer, just a quill and ink. He did have the same frustrations, however. And, all those Founding Fathers didn’t sign up right away either. I won’t even go into the Constitution and how long that took…….

    Oregon has had problems but we have one big success to brag about. The state has enrolled 70,000 people in Medicaid, reducing the ranks of the uninsured by more than 10 percent. “The large number of Medicaid enrollments came in large part thanks to a “fast-track” enrollment process approved by the Obama administration. Using income data already on file, the state mailed a simple seven-question Medicaid enrollment form to people in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program who qualify for health coverage under the federal health law’s expansion of Medicaid.” We are mailing out forms and as I have said before, the phone works. My daughter had only a 5 min wait and the person on the other end was very helpful and mailed the forms. I believe I read that over 19,000 of those forms have been returned already. The state has had to put more people on to handle.

    We will get there!!

    • choicelady says:

      Very good analogy, Sally! I once saw a draft copy of the Declaration written in Jefferson’s own hand with lines crossed out -- notably the abolition of slavery. He did NOT get that, nope. And indigenous people? Not even a blip, not even from him.

      He had his own Baggers in the other slave owners who refused to sign unless they preserved that “fine and essential tradition” of owning people to do the work. Gag. They got their way. And upon the suffering of African people we got our nation. Horrible how that gets lost.

      But we did get the nation, we did FINALLY get rid of the peculiar institution. We did finally start realizing the promises for all people. I sure don’t want to have anyone wait almost 200 years for their rights, but we do move faster in this age of electronic info. I hope that will help.

      I do know Oregon has signed up LOTS of people on Medicaid, though NOT apparently through the state Exchange. To which I’d ask -- who cares? Just so it got done! And yes the paper applications are being processed. It’s not the end of the world as we know it, but it must be incredibly frustrating for those designing and trying to promote use of the web site. Feh! The difference is that most Oregonians (probably NOT the person who set the bomb at the DA’s office in Medford last week) understand there are problems and don’t hate Oregon government for them.

      We WILL get there -- federal site, state sites, No. 2 Pencil -- doesn’t really matter how. Just so we do.

      • SallyT says:

        CL, that quote about “the merciless Indians savages” above is Jefferson’s words in the Declaration. The whole text is: “He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.” The Founding Fathers were all white men after all.
        You only have to look at those beautiful Appalachian Mountains, the Hudson Valley, and the beaches of the Carolinas to understand why the Native Indians fought so hard to keep it.
        The Native Americans are very much for the ACA and hope for its success.

        • Hey Sally. Who is “He,” in “He has excited….?” I don’t get that part of the quote.

          • SallyT says:

            Hey KT, in this context “He” is the King of England. Jefferson is addressing the King and accusing him of exciting the natives to attack. Jefferson is also accusing the King of not assisting in fighting the “savages”. The merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”
            At the time, the governors that the King had in place, had agreements with the Native Indians not to venture further into the territories that had been set aside for them. However, the Colonist were doing just that. Our Founding Fathers weren’t always the good guys, KT. I am sure that if we had stayed under the King’s rule, the same would have happened but of course the military would have been more involved. That is Jefferson’s complaint. Jefferson is saying that the King has left them to fend for themselves against the “savages”. The savages who were fighting so hard to keep something for them from these invaders. Later once we have won our independence, President Jackson takes care of these “savages” and gains the land. See the Trail of Tears.

          • choicelady says:

            “He” is the ruthless ‘savage’. Although none of the first settlements could have existed without assistance from indigenous people, by the 18th century, new English arrivals killed and stole from them with impunity -- then marked the ‘violence’ returned by those they so willfully abused.

            “He” therefore, is the villain of the piece through white eyes, deserving of NO help or protections from the society being made independent.

            • SallyT says:

              Cl, these “savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction”, well, that same warfare is used by us to win our independence from the King. The British Army didn’t know how to defend against it. So, Jefferson complaining to “He”, the King, about not helping them defend against the “savages” ends up being the best thing because the King’s army didn’t know how to fight like that but the Colonist had learned the methods.
              Just like using the Native Indians language as code in WWII. We learned much from them but not enough. We never learned to respect our Mother Earth as their religion and spirituality had taught them. What you take from her, you must give back.

        • choicelady says:

          Yes -- I remember that now. While northern colonies were pretty inclusive of ‘free people of color’ they were NOT regarding the people who’d helped them survive those first years.

          So -- no rights for them! We will just find ways to justify taking more land. Hah.

          ACA does have some special provisions for Native people in permitting them to drop existing plans and re-enroll at will. Since some reside very far from hospitals and physicians, more money was directed to local clinic care in those distant areas -- the first some people have really had in a long time. It’s a very good plan for those whose health has been a very low national and human priority since 1492.

  7. kesmarn says:

    c’lady, thank you so much! Especially this evening, I really needed to read this very informative message of hope, encouragement and optimism.

    I just came away from a Facebook conversation with a family member who was just gleeful over what he perceived as the President’s ultimate comeuppance and the final death-throes of Obamacare. It was depressing to say the least. All the usual accusations of my having “drunk the kool-aid,” having fallen for “made up statistics” and my being lacking in critical thinking skills and/or the ability to form my own judgments. Sigh.

    So again, thank you. For being the voice of reason, truth and — most importantly of all — hope.

    • agrippa says:

      That is irritating.
      But, at the end of the day, it is minor aggro.
      That family member is the one who has to live with her/his sour attitude.
      Best to discount the rant and ask about the weather.

      • kesmarn says:

        Sometimes it’s a tough call isn’t it, agrippa? They come to your timeline and post a falsehood of a comment on your post which supports the Prez, and it seems that some sort of response is called for. If only to correct the falsehood.

        Then they’re off and running. At some point you just have to say “enough.”

    • choicelady says:

      I’m happy if it helps, kes. And I’m SO sorry you have family who themselves have bought the rap, hook, line, sinker.

      That’s why we have PPOV. You are stuck with your family. You can CHOOSE your PPOV friends!

      Hang in -- said family member will be mumbling, maybe drooling in a few months. It will have worked. You will be vindicated. They will have nothing to say. Live for that moment!

      “Revenge is a dish best eaten cold.” LOL!!

      • kesmarn says:

        Thanks so much, c’lady,

        There are days when it would be kinda cold and lonely out there without the Planet. Supporting the Prez has become unpopular in some quarters. Or at least saying it aloud has.

        I think we’re in the process of flushing out his fair weather friends here.

        • choicelady says:

          I had a very good ally who said to me SIX MONTHS into his first term, “I am SO over Obama.” I’m still wondering WHY?

          Fair weather friends is the operative term. He has proven time and again how good his leadership is. No excuses have to be made for him. Ever. But people live in worlds of fantasy preferring hype to reality, don’t understand the civic process, and want immediate gratification. They also often take the WRONG road to what they want thereby defeating themselves on outcomes.

          All together ignorance of democratic process + wishful thinking has made people angry rather than reflective about our nation.

          That is why PPOV and a handful of other blogs that do thoughtful analysis are ESSENTIAL to our individual and collective sanity! So glad you’re here!

          • kesmarn says:

            Thanks so much for the kind words, c’lady. And the feeling is entirely mutual.

          • agrippa says:

            Is he now? I doubt it.
            That person had a very unrealistic notion of what was, and was not, possible.
            That person projected a lot onto Obama.

            • choicelady says:

              In this friend’s case, it was his not immediately creating, passing, implementing single payer health care all by himself.

              Sigh.

    • SallyT says:

      Kes, I know the feeling! I am sure my screams can be heard by more than just my dog. I hope there was someone there to support you in your defense. I know for a fact that you are more than capable of critical thinking and forming your own judgments. And, it ain’t kool-aid, Buster!

      I am glad that CL was here for a voice of reason, truth, and hope for you. I am here if you need someone to stick out their tongue with you or give the one finger wave. 😉

  8. AdLib says:

    CL, Wonderful article! Very enlightening and just plain smart.

    There has been a test case on this type of program, Romneycare in Massachussets. I’m sure you know this but others may not, the pattern there was identical. When the roll out of Romneycare began there were few enrollments and those were by the neediest. However, as the deadline neared when people would be fined for not enrolling, there was an avalanche of enrollments.

    That is the model that Obama and his admin are expecting so the smaller volume of signups, even though it was partially caused by the website’s failures, isn’t that big of a deal if one understands precedent and human nature.

    Those who don’t have insurance and don’t want to pay for it will wait till the last minute so I wouldn’t expect enrollment to really get big until late January or February.

    The number of enrollments, account setups and browsing now are actually pretty good as you detail. Those who are most in need of health care are rushing in right now but the majority will be coming in after the end of the year.

    So all of this phony hysteria is based on nothing more than political propaganda by the Repubs. Our media has never been more shameful and your informative article proves why websites like this one are very important in the pursuit of getting truth and reason out there.

    Well done, CL!

    • choicelady says:

      Thank you, AdLib -- and thanks to you and Kalima for generating the tech on this which is beyond me. I do policy. I don’t have a clue when it comes to posting. Sigh…

      The figures are quite impressive. MA had ONLY 123 people by the end of the first month, and I think that should tell us a lot. MORE to the point, Medicare Part D was considered a major disaster for its complexity, failure of that web site, lack of clarity, poor linkages to pharmacies, meds, your needs. Moreover -- there was NO plan to pay for it. ACA has used ALL the precedents to avoid those troubles.

      It is horrifying to me that almost no major media have talked about the sabotage of healthcare.gov. I have used that site since it went up, July 2010. A few of our own folks got their coverage under the High Risk Pool through the site -- it worked fine. Partly it was overwhelmed by sheer demand. Partly it was sabotaged. I for one hope the DOJ hunts those cyberterrorists and brings them to accounting. They are Americans hurting other Americans. What gall!

      So we will keep on keepin’ on. I get updates regularly from the state and federal sources and will keep you all posted now and then on developments.

      Anyone needing care and in a state without an Exchange can now pretty freely use healthcare.gov. All the sites save Oregon are working well. And as Sally noted, in Oregon -- there is the phone and paper applications.

      We WILL get this done!

  9. Nirek says:

    CL, we have to look back at the roll out of Social Security and realize that nothing works as well as we hope. Today Social Security is working extremely well and I believe that the Affordable Care Act will too.

    • choicelady says:

      Hi Nirek -- that is absolutely true as it was with Medicare, then with Part D, many new things. That doesn’t calm the roiled GOP waters. NOTHING ever does. Left or Right American hyper fulminating people demand instant gratification never recalling that America has always worked best when it has worked steadfastly but carefully to craft programs that really do the best work.

      That said -- the GOP won’t ever admit this works. It would be giving credit to “that one”.

      • agrippa says:

        The GOP will never admit that the ACA works; they will blame those who love ‘government handouts’.

        It is quite unrealistic to expect ‘perfection’ immediately. There are not very many products or programs that launched well with no problems.


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