Happy Election Day. The middle section of today’s Morning Jolt . . .
Obama ‘Misspoke’ (Lied) on Lots More than Keeping Your Plan
Just for fun, let’s turn the wayback machine to September 26, 2013, and take a look at how President Obama was touting the imminent debut of Healthcare.gov.
Now, five days from now — five days from now — on October 1st, millions of Americans who don’t have health insurance because they’ve been priced out of the market or because they’ve been denied access because of a preexisting condition, they will finally be able to buy quality, affordable health insurance. (Applause.) In five days.
Eh, not so much: “The survey, conducted by nonprofit research foundation The Commonwealth Fund, found that 21 percent of adults who visited the health insurance marketplaces said they enrolled. Of those who visited but did not enroll, 48 percent said they weren’t sure they could afford a plan, 46 said they were still deciding on a plan, and 37 said they had technical difficulties with the website.”
Back to Obama:
About 85 percent of Americans already have health insurance — either through their job, or through Medicare, or through the individual market. So if you’re one of these folks, it’s reasonable that you might worry whether health care reform is going to create changes that are a problem for you — especially when you’re bombarded with all sorts of fear-mongering.
So the first thing you need to know is this: If you already have health care, you don’t have to do anything . . .
The so-called fear-mongers were right: “At least 3.5 million Americans have been issued cancellations, but the exact number is unclear. Associated Press checks find that data is unavailable in a half the states.”
Starting on Tuesday, every American can visit HealthCare.gov to find out what’s called the insurance marketplace for your state. Here in Maryland, I actually think it’s called MarylandHealthConnection.gov. (Applause.) MarylandHealthConnection.gov. But if you go to HealthCare.gov, you can look and they’ll tell you where to go. They’ll link to your state.
An update from Maryland, October 29: “On the same day that a top Obama administration official apologized for the troubled federal health care website, the head of Maryland’s system said some state residents are still unable to complete their enrollments online.”
Now, this is real simple. It’s a website where you can compare and purchase affordable health insurance plans, side-by-side, the same way you shop for a plane ticket on Kayak — (laughter) — same way you shop for a TV on Amazon. You just go on and you start looking, and here are all the options.
Er . . . no. “Both Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., said on CBS’ ‘Face the Nation that the HealthCare.gov website should go offline until it is fully functional.”
So you enter in some basic information about yourself, what level of coverage you’re looking for. After that, you’ll be presented with a list of quality, affordable plans that are available in your area. It will say clearly what each plan covers, what each plan costs. The price will be right there. It will be fully transparent.
Before this law, only a handful of states required insurance companies to offer you instant price quotes, but because of this law, insurers in all 50 states will have to offer you instant price quotes. And so if you’ve ever tried to buy insurance on your own, I promise you this is a lot easier. It’s like booking a hotel or a plane ticket . . .
Er . . . no: “Andrew Slavitt of Optum, whose company stands to make up to $85 million for its work . . . blamed a decision by CMS within two weeks of the launch to require users to fully register in order to browse for health insurance products, instead of being able to get information anonymously, as originally planned.”
Premiums are going to be different in different parts of the country, depending on how much coverage you buy. But 95 percent of uninsured Americans will see their premiums cost less than was expected . . .
Er . . . no: “Today, the Manhattan Institute released the most comprehensive analysis yet conducted of premiums under Obamacare for people who shop for coverage on their own. Here’s what we learned. In the average state, Obamacare will increase underlying premiums by 41 percent.”
The insurance companies are saying these marketplaces, this law, will work. They’re putting money on the line because they think it will work. Competition, choice, transparency — all these things are keeping costs down.
Knowing you can offer your family the security of health care — that’s priceless. Now you can do it for the cost of your cable bill. Probably less than your cellphone bill. (Laughter and applause.) Think about that. Good health insurance for the price of your cellphone bill, or less.
Eh . . . a lot of the uninsured are not interested yet: “About 17 percent of people who don’t have health insurance actually tried to buy some on the new marketplaces in October, a new survey published Monday indicates. . . . Health officials have made clear the frustrations will not be completely over for anyone, even by the end of the month. The troubled website crashed again Monday, its third complete outage in just over a week. But this time, technicians were able to get it up and running again after 90 minutes.”