The Campaign Spot

Insurers, Doctors, Enter 2014 ‘Bracing for Chaos’

From the last Morning Jolt of 2013:

Insurers, Doctors, Enter 2014 ‘Bracing for Chaos’

Nancy Pelosi to Democrats: “Embrace the suck.” Obamacare to America: “Brace for chaos.”

CBS News says tomorrow, January 1, is “a day of reckoning: Consumers will begin finding out if they’re actually enrolled in the plans they signed up for. . . . Consumers who enrolled in an Obamacare plan before December 24 should have insurance starting January 1 — it remains to be seen if all of them will.”

Some are running to the doctors and hospitals before the ball drops:

As the year comes to an end, doctor’s offices are filling up quickly with people scrambling for appointments before the changes of the Affordable Care Act kick in. Many simply have questions about the landmark health care law, filling up clinics across the Coachella Valley.

“There’s a lot of confusion,” said Kimberly Yang, executive director of Desert Family Medical Center, which has locations in Cathedral City and Palm Springs.

Some are being priced out of insurance because the price of their plan has risen, Yang said. Others are losing their benefits through work or are no longer going to be able to pay for it. So they are lining up to have coughs and colds taken care of now.

Remember the doctor shortage and wait times we talked about yesterday?

Christiane Mitchell, director of federal affairs for the AAMC, predicted that many of the estimated 36 million Americans expected to gain coverage under Obamacare will endure long waits to see medical providers in their communities or have to travel far from home for appointments elsewhere.

During the debate over the ACA, Mitchell said the AAMC pushed for the federal government to fund additional slots for the training of doctors, but that provision was trimmed to keep the ACA from costing more than a trillion dollars over 10 years.

CNN Money: “Insurers and health care providers are bracing for some chaos at the start of 2014 when the newly insured begin to use their Obamacare health coverage.

Because of the repeated, last-minute deadline extensions, some applicants’ enrollments may be incomplete in insurers’ systems on Jan. 1.”

Politico assesses the president’s management style:

To listen to Obama discuss the rollout through the fall, he was still figuring out some of the finer points, too. If he had known wasn’t going to work by its launch date, he said in mid-November, “I wouldn’t be going out saying, boy, this is going to be great.”

“In management circles, that’s an indictment,” said the longtime consultant. “How could you not know? And if no one told you, you’re still culpable for that too.”

Today’s Jolt also features a quick summary of the Three Martini Lunch end-of-the-year awards, which closes with this conclusion:

What the past months have shown us is that the world works the way we think it does: Big, complicated pieces of legislation often have lots of snags and unforeseen consequences. Government bureaucracies are slow-moving, often not responsive, and sometimes incompetent. We knew, even if the president didn’t, that buying insurance is complicated. History is full of examples of centralized planning failing because it cannot account for all of the infinite variables of human behavior. Just recently we saw almost 60 percent of the uninsured haven’t even looked at the exchanges. You can lead an uninsured to the exchange, but you can’t make them buy.

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