The Campaign Spot

Happy Obamacare Deadline Day! The News Is Still Bad.

From the last Morning Jolt until December 27:

Happy Obamacare Deadline Day! The News Is Still Bad.

Happy Obamacare Deadline Day! You’ve got to pick a plan by the end of today (and send in that payment!) to make sure you have health insurance coverage that starts on January 1.

Say, AP, how’s that going?

As a key enrollment deadline hits today, many people without health insurance have been sizing up policies on the new government health care marketplace and making what seems like a logical choice: They’re picking the cheapest one.

Increasingly, experts in health insurance are becoming concerned that many of these first-time buyers will be in for a shock when they get medical care next year and discover they’re on the hook for most of the initial cost.

The prospect of sticker shock after Jan. 1, when those who sign up for policies now can begin getting coverage, is seen as a looming problem for a new national system that has been plagued by trouble since the new marketplaces went online in the states in October . . . 

Hospitals are worried that those who rack up uncovered medical bills next year won’t be able to pay them, perpetuating one of the problems the new health care system is supposed to solve.

The Affordable Care Act doesn’t actually make care affordable.

To celebrate, SenatorJoe Manchin’s calling it a “meltdown”:

President Barack Obama’s healthcare law could have a “meltdown” and make it difficult for his Democratic Party to keep control of the U.S. Senate next year if ongoing problems with the program are not resolved, a Democratic senator said on Sunday.

Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who has urged delaying a penalty for people who do not enroll for health insurance in 2014 under the law, told CNN that a transitional year was needed for the complex healthcare program, commonly known as Obamacare, to work.

“If it’s so much more expensive than what we anticipated and if the coverage is not as good as what we had, you’ve got a complete meltdown at that time,” Manchin told CNN’s “State of the Union” program.

“It falls of its own weight, if basically the cost becomes more than we can absorb, absolutely.”

And look at the poll result that Obama gets to unwrap this week!

Support for the country’s new health care law has dropped to a record low, according to a new national poll.

And a CNN/ORC International survey released Monday also indicates that most Americans predict that the Affordable Care Act will actually result in higher prices for their own medical care.


Only 35% of those questioned in the poll say they support the health care law, a 5-point drop in less than a month. Sixty-two percent say they oppose the law, up four points from November.

The uninsured remain persistently difficult to reach — almost as if they don’t care nearly as much about obtaining insurance as they say to pollsters:

Despite White House and state efforts to promote the Affordable Care Act, some people still don’t have health insurance or any idea how to sign up for it.

Take Corryn Young, a 32-year-old dental hygienist in Fort Collins, Colorado. She knows she needs to get health insurance but is a little vague on the details.

“What my income would qualify me for, when I need to be signed up, what type of deductibles they have to offer — that kind of stuff overwhelms me,” she says.

There are people available to help Young with all those questions. The White House has set aside more than a quarter of a billion dollars nationally to pay navigators to give people face-to-face help buying coverage and applying for new subsidies to make it more affordable.

But all the effort had netted about 23,000 customers for private insurance in the state’s marketplace as of Dec. 14 — only about 17 percent of the way to the state’s goal of enrolling 136,000 people by the end of March.

In Maryland, they’re having a blue-vs.-blue Christmas:

Maryland gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler is incensed over the botched rollout of Affordable Care Act. He’s aghast at chronic problems with Maryland’s online enrollment platform and stunned that a state with “literally the smartest people in the country” would have hired a company from North Dakota, of all places, to help put its exchange in place. The whole spectacle, Gansler fumes, “is almost like a Saturday Night Live skit.”

The punch line: Gansler, Maryland’s current attorney general, is a Democrat.

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