Wednesday, November 20, 2013

ObamaCare updates November 20 - 21 , 2013 - Anchor around Obama's neck ? ObamaCare debacle sees poll numbers fall to 37 percent approval ! Obama was made aware of looming problems and warned of possible widespread site failures with earlier this year ( another lie exposed from the President ) .... Security experts say website still not secure enough for consumers to use safely ...... backend of website not completed yet - and won't be completed before mid - January ........

November 21 , 2013......

Trebling down ?

Obama's Flip-Flopping In Shambles As California Rejects Proposed One-Year Plan Extension

Tyler Durden's picture

When Barack Obama, floundering in the endless humiliation from the disastrous rollout of Obamacare, gave the country's insurance  companies the "put option" to reject the one-year "cancellation" extension fix stemming from the whole "if you like your plan, you can keep it, period" fiasco, he committed a cardinal sin - he lost control of the situation, because from that point onward the decision was no longer in his court. Furthermore, due to the syndicate nature of insurance companies and state insurance commissioners implementing Obamacare, suddenly the decision was subject to game theoretical facets including cooperation and defection, or rather just defection since at this point the biggest spoils would go to whoever had the initial leverage or rather, defiance of the president. Sure enough, California just flopped on Obama's most recent flip when the state, moments ago, rejected Obama's proposed fix to allow legacy plans to survive for one additional year.
More from Bloomberg:
California officials implementing President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul rejected a one- year extension of insurance plans that are to be canceled under the law.

The president has urged states to give people with substandard medical plans an additional year to meet the law’s requirements after hundreds of thousands  received cancellation notices and were told new policies to meet minimum rules for coverage would cost more. “That’s making the best of not-great options, but I think it’s the best option and then we can focus in the coming months on the enrollment we need,” Peter V. Lee, the executive director of Covered California, the health exchange, said today at a meeting in Sacramento.

California’s decision is critical to the roll-out of Obamacare nationwide. The most populous U.S. state, which received almost $1 billion in federal grants to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, led the U.S. in signups last month. The law requires all Americans to be covered next year or pay a penalty.

It’s up to state regulators and insurance companies to decide whether to delay the cancellations, which conflicted with Obama’s promise that consumers who liked their existing plans could keep them.

The exchange said 79,891 Californians had selected a health plan through Covered California as of Nov. 19. Enrollment began Oct. 1.
And from AP:
The board overseeing California's health insurance exchange has voted to stick with its current approach of phasing out by year's end health insurance policies that do not meet current benefit requirements. The Covered California Board of Directors voted 5-0 on Thursday to hold steady on its current approach, defying President Barack Obama's recent flip on one crucial aspect of the Affordable Care Act.

The state insurance commissioner had said that 1.1 million Californians are receiving notices that their current individual health insurance policies will be discontinued in 2014 because they do not meet the benefit requirements of the federal health care overhaul.

That has angered some policy holders, many of whom will see their monthly premiums and deductibles rise sharply with the new plans being offered. It also flies in the face of promises Obama made repeatedly when he said people who liked their current health insurance policies could keep them under his health insurance reforms.

The president has since backtracked and has asked states to allow insurance companies to extend those older policies.

But many insurance companies oppose that, saying doing so would undermine the new markets being set up under Obama's law. They also said they did not have enough time to rebuild policies they already had discontinued.
And while Calirofnia's decision certainly makes sense financially for the insolvent state (if not any other more prudent states), it merely adds to Obama's political crucifixion as now it will appear as if he has lost all control over not just the website enrollment process, but also the entire onboarding process and is unable to even keep beneficiary states under control.
Welcome to socialist central planning 101 - where everything that can go wrong, sooner or later does.

Experts Warn So Big And So Riddled With Security Flaws It Should Be Shut Down, Rebuilt From Scratch

Tyler Durden's picture

While the abysmal rollout of Obamacare hardly needs any additional debacles, a recent hearing by technology experts in Congress added yet another, quite major, wrinkle to an already insurmountable problem: is so fraught with security flaws, and so bloated with code, that it may easily expose the personal data of millions (we are being generous here) of users - it collects user names, birth dates, social security numbers, email addresses and much more - to even the least experienced of hackers.
It gets worse: when asked "Do any of you think today that the site is secure?" the answer from the experts, which included two academics and two private sector technical researchers, was a unanimous "no."
And worse when the experts were asked "would you recommend today that this site be shut down until it is?" three of the experts said "yes," while a fourth said he did not have enough information to make the call.
But the worst news of the day the experts said the site needed to be completely rebuilt to run more efficiently, making it easier to protect. They said runs on 500 million lines of code, or 25 times the size of Facebook, one of the world's busiest sites.
Well... "Obama built that"
More from Reuters:
David Kennedy, head of computer security consulting firm TrustedSec LLC and a former U.S. Marine Corps cyber-intelligence analyst, gave lawmakers a 17-page report that highlights the problems with the site and warned that some of them remain live.

The site lets people know invalid user names when logging in, allowing hackers to identify user IDs, according to the report, which also warns of other security bugs.

Avi Rubin, director of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University and an expert on health and medical security, said he needed more data before calling for a shutdown of the site.

"Bringing down the site is a very drastic response," he told Reuters after the hearing.

But he would not use it because he is concerned about security bugs that have been made public,he said.
The White House spin was prepared and ready to go:
"The privacy and security of consumers' personal information are a top priority," White House spokesman Jay Carney said after the hearing.
"When consumers fill out their online marketplace applications they can trust that the information that they are providing is protected by stringent security standards."
Perhaps what he meant is that since the NSA already knows all the private information on every American there is no need to be concerned.
Finally, should Obama finally do the right thing and scrap the three year project and start from scratch, "in written testimony, Kennedy said it would take a minimum of seven to 12 months to fix the problems with the site shut down, given the site's complexity and size."
As a reminder, this is how "big" is:

Perhaps it is not all bad news: it may be time to test the broken website falacy - just think of the GDP boost that would be created if Obama were to hire 1,000,000 inexperienced programmers coding randomly for three years (again).

Progress: ObamaCare website taking slightly longer to crash for users than it did before


It’s still crashing, sure, but it lets you complete more steps in the application process before 404ing on you. Which … I’m not sure constitutes progress, actually. If a site’s more or less unusable, you’re better off hitting the wall early on than spending 30 minutes trying to sign up before the trap door is pulled, no?
Here’s what we’re down to by way of “good news” these days.
Despite weeks of work by a small army of software experts to salvage, navigators in states that depend on the federal insurance exchange say they still cannot get most of their clients through the online enrollment process.
Those navigators said they had seen improvements in the system since its disastrous rollout on Oct. 1, particularly in the initial steps of the application process. But the closer people come to signing up for a plan, the more the system seems to freeze or fail, many navigators said…
Some navigators said it was hard not to feel discouraged, especially when their clients, locked out by the website, went home upset. “We have people who understandably say, ‘Well what the heck am I doing here if you can’t enroll me?’” said Ted Trevorrow, a navigator in Philadelphia who has not been able to enroll a single person yet. “I always want to say, ‘That’s a really good question.’”…
Clients wary of the health care law can be especially intolerant of the website’s problems, Mr. Trevorrow said. “They’re incensed over the fact that the law would, as they see it, intrude on them to this degree and then not even perform,” he said.
That last part is the moral of the story of the entire rollout period. If you’re going to disrupt one-sixth of the economy, you’ve got to be able to show people some sort of palpable improvement somewhere as evidence that it’s worth it. It could be anything — an easy application process, lower premiums, a bigger provider network, gaudy new benefits, anything. Just give the public some reason to think that the endless aggravation is paying off. O’s given them nothing: The application process is a catastrophe, exchange premiums tend to be more expensive than premiums for pre-ObamaCare plans were, and provider networks are shrinking as insurers strain to keep costs down. Benefits are better than they used to be for some people but not for everyone; it depends on whether your old plan truly was “cut-rate” or not and whether you think “comprehensive” benefits (e.g., substance abuse treatment) justify the burden of higher premiums and/or deductibles. Even the subsidies, arguably the law’s most salable point to the public, aren’t an unvarnished good. If you’re already struggling to get by and suddenly required by law to purchase insurance, having half of your new monthly bill footed by Uncle Sam doesn’t change the fact that you’re still on the hook for the other half. The least Obama and his team could have done to make this medicine go down smoothly is make the enrollment process sugary sweet. Instead it’s bitter. He’s left congressional Dems with essentially no talking points with which to defend the law. No wonder they’re bailing on him.
The only bright spot for Democrats is that the state exchanges are working better than But then, that’s complicated too: Read John Sexton and Ace for the demographic breakdown of enrollees in Kentucky and California. To make risk pools in the age of ObamaCare sustainable, the insurance industry needs roughly 40 percent of enrollees to be young and healthy. They’re the suckers who almost never need medical care but who are being coerced into buying insurance anyway by federal law so that insurers have a new revenue stream with which to cover the old and sick. If they don’t hit the 40 percent target by next April, premiums are going up in 2015 and/or HHS will be on the hook for some sort of bailout. As things stand right now, young adults make up only 19 percent of Kentucky’s new enrollees and 23 percent of California’s — and even that may be overstating things. Like Ace says, the data only tells us that some enrollees are young; it doesn’t say whether they’re healthy. It may well be that some disproportionate chunk of young enrollees in both states is clamoring to sign up precisely because they’re rare cases of young adults who do have serious medical issues. Those don’t count for purposes of the 40 percent target, obviously. None of this is a grave danger to O-Care yet since everyone expects the first wave of enrollees to contain a higher percentage of older, sicker people than the final risk pool will contain. Obviously, if you need care, you’re in more of a hurry to sign up than someone who doesn’t. But if the website problems drag on and the frustration over signing up deepens — which is what seems to be happening in the NYT piece excerpted above — then maybe the feds will lose some segment of “young healthies” irretrievably. That’s when they’ve got real political problems.
By the way, the Speaker of the House tried to sign up for a plan on the federal website today.It didn’t go so well.

Obama: Rebranding Obamacare Will Be a Challenge 


Obama was briefed earlier in year on health website problems

WASHINGTON Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:13pm EST
A busy screen is shown on the laptop of a Certified Application Counselor as he attempted to enroll an interested person for Affordable Care Act insurance, known as Obamacare, at the Borinquen Medical Center in Miami, Florida October 2, 2013. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
A busy screen is shown on the laptop of a Certified Application Counselor as he attempted to enroll an interested person for Affordable Care Act insurance, known as Obamacare, at the Borinquen Medical Center in Miami, Florida October 2, 2013.


 - President Barack Obama, who has portrayed himself as surprised by technical problems with the government's new health care website, was briefed earlier this year on a consultant's report that warned of possible widespread site failures, the White House said on Tuesday.
There have been weeks of questions about whether Obama understood the depth of the site's problems and let it open anyway, or simply "did not have enough awareness" of them, as the president stated at a November 14 news conference.
While the government says it is improving the portal's performance every day, security experts told a Republican sponsored congressional hearing Tuesday that in their opinions, it is still not sufficiently secure to be used confidently by consumers.
Even as the administration fended off criticism of the so-called "front end" of the system, officials revealed Tuesday that they had not completed development of the "back end," the financial management component needed to finalize federal subsidies for consumers who buy health plans.
A spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the lead agency for the website, said it would not be completed until mid-January, weeks after the first enrollees are scheduled to begin receiving benefits under the Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010 as Obama's signature domestic policy.
The law, commonly called Obamacare, mandated that Americans have health insuranceand created new online marketplaces to buy and sell policies.
Meanwhile, Obama's approval rating dipped to a low of 37 percent in a Reuters/Ipsos poll.
Bits and pieces have leaked out over the past few weeks about flaws in the site's development process. Monday night, however, Republican lawmakers who oppose Obamacare released a report and recommendations prepared by McKinsey & Co at the government's request in March 2013.
It cited, among other things, a rushed process that left insufficient time for testing and a focus by officials on getting people enrolled versus making the system work right.
The consequence, it said, could be system failures that could make enrollment slow or at times impossible for consumers, which is exactly what happened.
Questioned about the McKinsey study, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president had been briefed on it in the spring.
But he said the president's familiarity with the report and recommendations did not contradict previous statements from the White House that described Obama as surprised by the scope of flaws in
Obama was told that the problems identified by McKinsey were being addressed, Carney said. And Obama had never claimed to be unaware of "red flags" about the site, only of their seriousness.
But since the disastrous rollout of Obamacare, the question has persisted whether the president has been "less than competent or less than candid," said John Pitney, professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California. "This tips the scales in favor of less than candid."
Release of the report by the Republican chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee was part of a broad effort by Republicans to discredit the health care program and to portray the administration as incompetent in implementing the health care law.
Democrats are increasingly joining the chorus of criticism. Representative Elijah Cummings, a senior Democrat and ally of Obama, called on Tuesday for a White House shakeup over the handling of the rollout.
The botched rollout has hurt the popularity of the initiative, but the decline has been fairly modest, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Monday.
Forty-one percent of Americans expressed support for Obamacare in a survey conducted from Thursday to Monday. That was down 3 percentage points from a Reuters/Ipsos poll taken from September 27 to October 1.
Opposition to the healthcare law stood at 59 percent in the latest poll, versus 56 percent in the earlier survey.

CMS tech officer: Roughly 30-40% of the ObamaCare exchange system still needs to be built — including the payment system


Skip to 3:15 for the key bit. We’re 50 days removed from launch and Chao’s spent hours upon hours testifying about the website before Congress over the last few weeks. And somehow only now are we hearing about this.
Am I awake?
It's just mind-boggling. If the payment system isn't even built, how in the world did HHS or the WH think this thing could go live on Oct 1?

It begins: White House edging away from “keep your doctor” promise


Allahpundit called it during the last press conference:
The “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor” press conference in January will be amazing