President Obama, moments ago, said that by January, “500,000 people” will have insurance because of Obamacare.
We know millions of Americans have already received cancellation notices, and that an analysis from the Department of Health and Human Services dating back to July 2010 estimated that “40 to 67 percent of the 14 million consumers in the individual marketplace” would have their plans canceled. That’s 5.6 million to 9.3 million consumers.
So the president is bragging about 500,000 gaining insurance, shortly after apologizing for millions of people losing their insurance. He must realize that he’s asking Americans to applaud the fact that the number of uninsured is increasing instead of decreasing.
Speaking at the White House this afternoon, President Obama also said, “Today the website is working well for the vast majority of users. . . . The bottom line is this law is working and will work into the future.”
Undoubtedly, it will shock you to learn that what the president said was not accurate.
First, “key parts of Healthcare.gov” aren’t built, two months after its launch. From Nextgov.com, a site covering the federal government’s use of technology:
Insurance companies are still waiting for key parts of HealthCare.gov to be built — and still having trouble with the parts that are in place.
Important pieces of the Obamacare site are still glitchy, or missing altogether. And the site’s botched rollout is hardly boosting confidence in the vital components that still need to be built, including the systems for processing payments to insurers and squaring away the details of who has enrolled in which plans.
As the rest of HealthCare.gov struggles to get off the ground, people in and near the insurance industry are nervous about the delays and about how well those systems will work once they’re in place.
“They don’t have a very good track record of building and testing systems, given what we’ve seen so far, so that is cause for concern,” an industry official said.
Another cause for insurers’ anxiety: CGI Federal — the contractor that has come under fire for its work building the bulk of HealthCare.gov — is also in charge of building the payment and reconciliation systems.
David Kennedy, CEO of TrustedSec, wrote in response to those endorsing the website this week, “Regardless of beliefs, political views, or stances, the website continues to incorporate poor security practices and should be addressed as soon as possible.”
Thirdly, the administration either doesn’t know, or refuses to say, what the “834 error rate” is — how often the site sends incorrect or garbled data to insurers.
Still no 834 error rate. This was a question that came up a few times Monday, and again today when CNBC’s Dan Magnan brought it up.
“We know there are different types of errors,” Bataille said. “We have information on the specific bugs. The statistic I don’t have [is] in terms of overall error rate. We’re making a lot of progress to punch out the issues we have diagnosed working with issuers.”
If these results represent the site “working well,” what does “not working well” look like? Spontaneous combustion?