The Campaign Spot

With 25 Percent of Enrollment Period Passed, Obamacare Hits 2 Percent of Enrollment Goal

From the Tuesday edition of the Morning Jolt:

Romney Wins! . . . A Year Later.

Unbelievable. A new poll from ABC News this morning:

Registered voters divide numerically in Mitt Romney’s favor, 49-45 percent, if they had a mulligan for the 2012 presidential election. While the difference between the two is within the poll’s error margin, Obama’s support is 6 points below his actual showing a year ago.

Now they tell us.

Dear America: this is what we warning about, but you wouldn’t listen.

The New Rallying Cry: Obamacare Is ‘Kind-Of Working’ Already

There are a bunch of liberal commentators who are looking at the Obamacare mess worsening all around them and who simply can’t deal with it. (Sort of like that president they admire so much, who doesn’t want to hear bad news.) In the coming weeks and months . . . and perhaps years . . . you’ll be seeing a lot of “it’s not as bad as it looks, I swear!” commentary.

Yesterday I dissected Jamielle Bouie’s laughable claim that Obamacare would be in much better shape if not for Republican obstructionism. Now over at New York magazine, Jonathan Chait offers the “you’re all overreacting” spin. In fact, we’re hyperventilating!

He declares, “More likely, things will round back into normalcy.” (What is “normalcy” in the post-Obamacare era?)

He begins, “One of the most important changes in the law is a huge collection of bureaucratic nudges designed to incentivize the health-care system toward delivering higher value rather than churning out higher cost. That experiment, while still extremely early, is going far better at this stage than even the most optimistic advocates hoped.”

So think about all that higher value the next time you’re reading about an expensive website that doesn’t work; unexpected cancellation notices after presidential assurances; sticker shock from high premiums, deductibles, and co-pays under the new plans; a more limited selection of doctors and hospitals under the new plans; confusing, rapidly changing rules for “grandfathering” the old plans; the possibility of the “death spiral” for insurance companies; and of course, identity thieves and cyber-security worries.

He also asserts . . .

The website is kind of working already. Lost in the Keep Your Plan imbroglio, it appears that healthcare.gov has already reached a point of functionality. It can currently handle 20–25,000 simultaneous users. That may or may not qualify as a full Hanukkah Miracle fixed website by the end of the month, but it’s probably enough, at the very least, to let the law muddle through.

We’ll come back to that “enough” threshold in a moment.

As mentioned in yesterday’s Jolt, the easiest way to ensure that the site works for “the vast majority” of users is to drastically reduce what you mean by “the vast majority.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney confirmed Monday that one in five Americans will not be able to sign up for insurance through HealthCare.gov even if the administration meets its Nov. 30 deadline for fixing the& online enrollment system.

“I think the way to look at that figure is that of, say, 10 who go on the system, roughly two won’t get through the system,” Carney said.

Oh, and here’s an update on that Hanukkah miracle:

At the moment people can go straight to an insurer to buy coverage that meets the same standards as policies sold on health-insurance exchanges such as HealthCare.gov. But if customers are eligible for subsidies toward the cost of their premiums, they can get those subsidies only by purchasing their coverage on the exchanges, where plans can be compared side by side.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Monday that the administration is “working to set up direct enrollment through insurance companies so that Americans could choose to enroll directly through the insurance company.”

If the administration really thought the site would be working for the “vast majority” of people in two weeks, they wouldn’t be setting up the work-around.

Notice when giving progress reports, the administration continues to withhold the figures that might not look so good:

CMS has been sending “try us again” emails to 275,000 users who ran into problems when HealthCare.gov was launched Oct. 1.

It’s comforting to hear that 90 percent of these users who gave HealthCare.gov another chance are having success the second time around, at least in creating accounts. But CMS didn’t disclose how many of the 275,000 frustrated users actually came back to the site.

We don’t know how the November enrollment numbers will look. We know they’ll probably be better than October’s abysmal 106,000, but that’s not saying much. What are the odds they hit 250,000 this month? 500,000? Remember, they’re aiming for 7 million during this six month period. They’re at 2 percent of their goal, with 25 percent of the enrollment period passed.

There are 134 days until the enrollment deadline. They need more than 51,000 completed purchases per day every day from now until March 31 to reach the 7 million mark, and they’re telling us it’s a good sign that the site only craps out when traffic hits 25,000 simultaneous users.

Today’s Jolt also examines the runaway costs of the exchange websites and the amazing persistence of Palin Derangement Syndrome.

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