Monday, December 2, 2013

ObamaCare Ground Hog Day - December 2 , 2013 ....." New and improved " ObamaCare website works like " old and dysfunctional " ObamaCare website ( long delays / endless circle of tasks / ultimately leading to an error message ) - Imagine that ? Cover Oregon Executive Director taking leave of absence - not shocking as that State failed to sign anyone up through their website to date ! signs up 100,000 folks in November ( of course since the backend isn't built , none of these folks have made a payment yet ) .... and of course since the November target was 800 ,000 - you can see how far off things are ! Front end still glitchey - well , here's worse news -- the backend still isn't working as per Insurers.....

December 3, 2013....

Obama on ObamaCare: There’s no way we’re repealing this boondoggle while I’m president, America


Is this really the message Democrats wanted him to put out today, when news outlets are filled with stories about rate shock, glitchy enrollments, and catastrophic security lapses? I thought the headline was supposed to be “ObamaCare is wonderful,” not “There’s nothing you can do.” Good lord. This feels like a communique from Two-Face to Gotham city:
The clip shows him engaged in a common lie, that there are no conservative alternatives to ObamaCare, but that’s probably his best play from a weak hand. If you think something should be done about the health-care system, well, ObamaCare qualifies as “something.” Even if it all goes to hell next year, at least he tried, right? Maybe that’ll save a Senate seat or two for Democrats. He also assured his audience today that O-Care will help reduce the number of uninsured in America, which might eventually be true but surely isn’t true at the moment. As Jim Geraghty notes, the number of people forced out of their old plans and onto the exchanges by HHS’s ObamaCare regs greatly exceeds the number of new enrollees right now, and even some substantial segment of the latter is unhappy with the terms of the new coverage they’ve obtained. Even now, after the media’s finally awakened from its coma and begun to clue people in to the fact that ObamaCare is basically a wealth transfer from the healthy and middle class to the sick and lower class, he refuses to sell it that way. He wants a gold star for shifting the former into pricey “comprehensive” plans that they never asked for in the first place. You’re welcome, America.
Never forget, for all his hyperventilating about the junk insurance that Americans were supposedly stuck with before the dawn of this boondoggle, his idea of improving health care for the poor is to expand the junkiest insurance of all.

Insurers: Where are the reconciliation and payment systems?


While the White House returns to “sales mode” on ObamaCare, insurers are more worried about their delivery mode. With less than a month before the individual mandate begins, the back-end systems for still don’t work — or don’t exist at all.  Given the track record at HHS of declaring victory while systems collapse, their partners in the private sector are not sanguine about the immediate future:
Insurance companies are still waiting for key parts of to be built—and still having trouble with the parts that are in place.
Important pieces of the Obamacare site are still glitchy, or missing altogether. And the site’s botched rollout is hardly boosting confidence in the vital components that still need to be built, including the systems for processing payments to insurers and squaring away the details of who has enrolled in which plans.
Both systems are crucial to the insurance industry, which needs to collect premiums so it can pay out claims. And carriers are still waiting for the delayed process of reconciling their enrollment information with the federal government’s data. As the rest of struggles to get off the ground, people in and near the insurance industry are nervous about the delays and about how well those systems will work once they’re in place.
Guess who’s in charge of building those pieces?
Another cause for insurers’ anxiety: CGI Federal—the contractor that has come under fire for its work building the bulk of—is also in charge of building the payment and reconciliation systems.
Yes, the same people who couldn’t turn out a functioning web portal with a year’s head start, and who still can’t make the front end function to meet the expected demand, are in charge of providing the crucial back end to complete enrollments.  So far, insurers aren’t seeing any sign that this will get done, not for reconciliation or for subsidy payments. Instead, HHS is telling customers to do the reconciliation themselves by flooding their insurers with the phone calls that was supposed to avoid.
The payment systems are an even bigger deal.  Insurers will have to start paying providers from the premiums they receive starting on January 1, and those subsidies are a large portion of those premiums.  If they don’t get paid on time, they’ll have to run at a loss until CGI figures out how to create a computer system that transfers funds accurately … a task that every financial institution figured out decades ago.  Heck, your local bank knows how to do that with Automated Bill Pay.  If it takes more than a month to get subsidy payments in place, insurers could be looking at some serious red ink, especially with the flood of demand expected to be created with the ObamaCare structure. Providers will end up getting stiffed, which is going to make them less than enthusiastic about remaining in these networks, too.
With all of these problems, why is Barack Obama trying to push more people into the system with a new sales pitch, Allahpundit asked this morning:
I thought they *didn’t* want to do a new PR push for fear that traffic would overwhelm the site 

Rogers: WH wouldn’t brief us on security gaps – even in closed session


Rep. Mike Rogers provides a cheery thought on personal security as the White House gears up to sell ObamaCare all over again.  Last night, he told Greta van Susteren that data security on didn’t even meet “minimal standards” for the industry. In terms of the “private-sector velocity and efficiency” claimed by the Obama administration over the last couple of days, Rogers says that experts warned him that they would be sued out of business if they rolled out a website with this many security gaps.
It’s so bad, Rogers warns, that the White House refused to brief Congress on the known risks and attacks that have already taken place — even in closed session.  “That’s just unconscionable,” Rogers says, especially when the same people who won’t brief them are cajoling people to put their identity information at risk:
Rogers echoed the concerns of David Kennedy, the former Marine Corps cyberwarfare expert who warned Congress last month to shut down until the security gaps were closed.  I linked it earlier, but here’s Kennedy explaining what Rogers says:
After warning Americans when testifying before Congress on Nov. 19 to stay away from, Kennedy now says the situation is even worse.
“They said they implemented over 400 bug fixes,” he said. “When you recode the application to fix these 400 bugs—they were rushing this out of the door to get the site at least so it can work a little bit—you’re introducing more security flaws as you go along with it because you don’t even check that code.”
“I’m a little bit more skeptical now, and I would still definitely advise individuals to not use the website because it’s definitely something that I don’t believe is secure and neither did the four individuals that testified in front of Congress,” Kennedy said. “I think there’s some major security concerns there around privacy and information, and they haven’t even come close to being addressed, and won’t be in the short term.”
Private-sector velocity and efficiency in this case would see people get canned, and an “Under Construction” graphic in place of the website’s home page.  This is a government operation through and through.

So, you want to know what the government is doing to “fix” the unmitigated disaster that is Sorry. That’s just not something that can be shared with the unwashed masses.
Even CBS’s Sharyl Attkisson, a representative of a major mainstream news organization, can’t have a peek at the actual “fix sites” where all the king’s men are furiously trying to reassemble Humpty Dumpty. Strictly confidential. No outsiders allowed in the magical rainbow factory that’s supposed to give us all health insurance.
Naturally, she’s a little peeved, but she’s extra-peeved that these same sites are being shown to hand-picked groups of tech executives, while the public is locked out.

CBS News has requested to be able to visit the taxpayer-funded  fix sites-- so far the govt. has denied the request..

...although the govt did invitd a half dozen hand-picked private IT corporate execs to see it all a week ago... complete with

As a journalist it's hard to reconcile how the public and media are excluded from public facilties and info...

( Moving from worse to worst  - as bad as it gets ? )

WaPo: One-third of all 834s failed


The White House touted the success of its “fix” yesterday by focusing on the improved customer experience, which turned out to be not all that much improved after all.  The biggest change was that the site now had a formal waiting line, which foreshadows what will happen when ObamaCare floods a limited number of providers with a lot more demand in a price-controlled economic environment.  The administration got very vague when it came to whether the back-end functions had been fixed, and as the Washington Post reports this morning, that was where the fix was needed most.  A third of all enrollments in October and November got lost, thanks to the system failures on a long-established standard:
The enrollment records for a significant portion of the Americans who have chosen health plans through the online federal insurance marketplace contain errors — generated by the computer system — that mean they might not get the coverage they’re expecting next month.
The errors cumulatively have affected roughly one-third of the people who have signed up for health plans since Oct. 1, according to two government and health-care industry officials. The White House disputed the figure but declined to provide its own.
The mistakes include failure to notify insurers about new customers, duplicate enrollments or cancellation notices for the same person, incorrect information about family members, and mistakes involving federal subsidies. The errors have been accumulating since opened two months ago, even as the Obama administration has been working to make it easier for consumers to sign up for coverage, the government and industry officials said.
The 834 issue is crucial to proper enrollment.  What did the White House have to say about it yesterday? Not much:
We don’t know how many inaccurate 834 transmissions went out. Three reporters — one from the Los Angeles Times, one from The Wall Street Journal and I — asked Bataille for information on how many of the 834s sent out so far have had an error. This is a question that I’ve asked on three previous calls, a point made by the Los Angeles Times’s Noam Levey as he asked for his second time.
This is where Monday’s media call started to get more tense than the dozens that have happened in the past, with reporter after reporter asking about the numbers of 834 errors and not getting a response from the administration. As The Wall Street Journal reporter reasoned, if the administration knows that 80 percent of the errors are coming from a certain bug — then simple math should figure out the total number.
Bataille did not provide an answer, beyond the metric of the Social Security bug causing the majority of the errors. “That’s the information I’ve got today,” she told The Wall Street Journal’s Louise Radnofsky, when she was the third reporter to ask about the issue.
If you’ve enrolled through, how do you know you’ve actually enrolled? You have to contact the insurer to verify that you have coverage.  This is a vast improvement over the pre-ObamaCare days, of course, when you just bought your insurance directly from the insurance company or a broker who had to transmit data properly in order to stay in business.  Thank goodness that competitive quality has been sucked out of the system, so that incompetents can stay on the job!
Speaking of which, remember all of those worries that the fix wouldn’t impact the atrocious data security of Not to worry – they may have made it worse:
The eight-page report made no mention of the website’s numerous security flaws, which experts say put Americans’ personal information at risk.
“It doesn’t appear that any security fixes were done at all,” David Kennedy, CEO of the online security firm TrustedSec, told the Washington Free Beacon.
Kennedy said fundamental safeguards missing from that were identified by his company more than a month ago have yet to be put in place.
“There are a number of security concerns already with the website, and that’s without even actually hacking the site, that’s just a purely passive analysis of [it],” he said. “We found a number of critical exposures that were around sensitive information, the ability to hack into the site, things like that. We reported those issues and none of those appear to have been addressed at all.”
After warning Americans when testifying before Congress on Nov. 19 to stay away from, Kennedy now says the situation is even worse.
“They said they implemented over 400 bug fixes,” he said. “When you recode the application to fix these 400 bugs—they were rushing this out of the door to get the site at least so it can work a little bit—you’re introducing more security flaws as you go along with it because you don’t even check that code.”
“I’m a little bit more skeptical now, and I would still definitely advise individuals to not use the website because it’s definitely something that I don’t believe is secure and neither did the four individuals that testified in front of Congress,” Kennedy said. “I think there’s some major security concerns there around privacy and information, and they haven’t even come close to being addressed, and won’t be in the short term.”
But hey, the website has a “dramatically improved” user experience, which means you can now wait in a queue while your private information is exposed to identity thieves in a system that won’t actually enroll some of you for insurance at all. This, apparently, is “private-sector velocity and efficiency,” as seen by the administration that has almost no private-sector experience at all.
It shows.

( 1 billion and not even a fully functional website ? Looks like the Tech Surge happened months before disaster launch of October 1 , 2013 and we know how that worked out....)

Obamacare Website Costs Top $1 Billion

Tyler Durden's picture

Although the GAO has made clear the limitations of its data, its $394 million tally for work through March 31 has been widely cited as the price tag for the entire launch of the "Affordable" Care Act. However, as Bloomberg's Peter Gosselin finds, looking at the full range of ACA-related contracts for just 10 firms, more than $1 billion worth of contract awards. Perhaps even more mind-blowing is that more than one third of the funds going to the top contractors working on the federal exchanges were awarded in the last six months - even as it was clear the project was failing.

In a typical IT project, spending ramps up to a peak, then trails off during the final phase.
This was not the case for the Obamacare websites,
The torrent of late spending — almost $352 million of $1 billion in awards to the top 10 contractors — indicates the magnitude of the work still to be done as opening day approached, and helps explain the information technology problems that have dogged the exchange system since its launch.
So, the government throws more taxpayer money at it...
In aggregate, the 10 firms won a third of their health law-related contract dollars in the six months ended Sept. 30.

Besides showing the rush to issue contract awards in the months leading up to the opening of exchanges, the BGOV analysis also revealed that the implementation of the health law is costing substantially more than generally is portrayed.

Although the GAO made clear that its study focused solely on the costs of implementing the federal exchanges and the data services hub, its $394 million tally for work through March 31 has been widely cited as the price tag for the entire launch of the law. But in looking at the full range of ACA-related contracts for just 10 firms, the BGOV analysis found more than $1 billion worth of contract awards.

And still they admit things are not going well...

While we watch the daily blunder fest , might the whole ball of wax meltdown completely on legal grounds ?

Obamacare’s penalties for not buying insurance, as well as the subsidies that make its plans affordable in the first place, may not be legal in a majority of states, according to Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.
Pruitt is suing the federal government on those grounds.
According to the letter of the law, the government can only reward subsidies and levy penalties in states that have created Obamacare state exchanges, but conservative resistance has stopped state exchanges from being set up in a number of states, including Oklahoma.

“While the president’s health law is vast and extraordinarily complex, it is in one respect very simple,” Pruitt wrote in a Sunday Wall Street Journal op-ed. “Subsidies are only to be made available, and tax penalties for not signing up for health insurance are only to be assessed, in states that create their own health-care exchange.”

The IRS, though, is still trying to levy penalties on citizens of those states. On Oct. 22, a U.S. district judge in Washington, D.C. declined to grant a preliminary injunction against the law, but agreed to hear the merits of the case in February. The Obama administration had attempted to derail the suit by arguing that it was too speculative.
“Only 16 states and the District of Columbia chose to set up the online marketplaces where people without private health insurance can shop for it, forcing the federal government to create them in the remaining states,” Reuters reported in October.
“What that means is that’s almost a trillion dollars of funding for Obamacare that cannot come to be,” D.C. attorney Joe diGenova told WMAL radio Monday morning. “Now, the administration has taken the position that, ‘Oh, I know that’s what the law says — that it has to be a state, but what it really means is the federal exchange too.’ Unfortunately, the law doesn’t say that. One judge has thrown out the lawsuit in Oklahoma; a D.C. judge has allowed the lawsuit to go forward; and motions for summary judgment are pending here in D.C.”
“This could be the single most important piece of litigation in all of this criticism of Obamacare, and it’s gone on almost completely unnoticed,” diGenova continued. “This is amazing.”

But why would the Democrats include this kill switch in the president’s most consequential legislation?
“Congress specified that credits and subsidies are only to be available in states that set up their own health-insurance exchange for a reason: It could not force states to set up exchanges,” Pruitt writes. “Instead, it had to entice them to do so. Oklahoma’s lawsuit is about preserving the state’s authority to make a policy decision granted to states under the Affordable Care Act. Our governor and policy makers in Oklahoma decided it wasn’t in the state’s best interest to create a health-care exchange.”

Read more:

Pro Publica: Why, this new and improved ObamaCare website seems barely improved at all


Just one user’s experience, but he’s a noteworthy user: It’s Charles Ornstein, Pulitzer winner and author of that much-linked piece a few weeks ago about a couple in San Francisco who found their new O-Care coverage worse than their old plan in nearly every way. Greg Sargent claimed this morning that the big “fix” this weekend had bought O some extra time with Democrats on the Hill, but we’ll see. No doubt Ornstein’s piece is making the rounds in the Capitol as I write this, with plenty of sideways glances exchanged.
Tick tock.
After a glowing news conference yesterday citing “night and day” progress on, I decided to log in this morning and take the Web site for a test drive, as I’m sure many others are doing. Early reports had been promising. What I found was hardly encouraging — long delays loading pages, an endless circle of tasks (some already completed) and ultimately an error message.
The load-time issues (sometimes more than a minute) reminded me of the problems users encountered in the very first days of the Web site, which handles health insurance enrollment for residents of 36 states. It also appears to contradict what Health and Human Services officials said had been fixed…
Additionally, once I had completed and submitted my application and verified my identity, the site told me that I was missing information and had to review it again. Nothing was missing. Ultimately, I got an error message telling me to come back later.
Follow the link for screenshots and a transcript of his exchange with a technician, who could only urge him to try logging out, waiting half an hour, and then logging back in. Ornstein wasn’t the only reporter with bad luck today either:
View image on Twitter  "has a lot of visitors right now," offering option for users to leave email, come back later