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

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MurphTheSurf3
Editor

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.

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AdLib
Admin

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.

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Kalima
Admin

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 ?

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agrippa
Member
agrippa

Kalima:

100% correct.

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agrippa
Member
agrippa

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.

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Kalima
Admin

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. 😀

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SallyT
Member

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!!

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kesmarn
Admin

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.

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agrippa
Member
agrippa

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.

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kesmarn
Admin

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.”

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SallyT
Member

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. 😉

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kesmarn
Admin

As a matter of fact, Sally, I did get “back up,” then. And said family member turned his defense over to wifey and went to bed! 😆

A real profile in courage there.

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SallyT
Member

Good! Just know I am here, if you need someone out of the immediate family.

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kesmarn
Admin

I might just have to whistle for backup one of these days, Sally!

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AdLib
Admin

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!

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Nirek
Member

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.

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