…nobody signed up for Obamacare in Louisiana yesterday. At least, nobody signed up for Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Obamacare plan.
Since the marketplaces opened to much fanfare Tuesday (Oct. 1), many of the state’s potential customers have been stalled on the website, unable to move past the portion of HealthCare.gov that instructs them how to set up their profile.
“It’s a situation that we are coping with,” said John Maginnis, vice president of corporate communications for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, one of four companies offering products through the marketplace.
The company spent three years and $60 million preparing for Tuesday’s opening, so the lack of momentum seemed a bit of a letdown. Sales agents were getting plenty of calls from people seeking information, Maginnis said, but the agency is not able to sell a policy to anyone without a functioning HealthCare.gov website.
“It was not as intense as we had anticipated,” he said.
Why will this be Jindal’s fault? Because he refused to set up a state-run exchange and left it to the feds to do.
Naturally, Jindal’s response would be that it didn’t take a genius to recognize what a mess this was going to be and only a fool would put oneself in a position to participate in a train wreck.
But that won’t change much. It’ll be his fault. Just watch.
UPDATE: Spoke to a contact at Blue Cross. A few items…
1. They staffed up, including hiring a bunch of off-duty cops, to handle the long lines of people they expected would show up to sign up for their brand-spanking new Obamacare plan, and in Baton Rouge…not a single Obamacare customer came through the doors. Not one.
2. The software problems with the Healthcare.gov site Blue Cross is supposed to feed off of to get Obamacare customers are so bad that it’s almost inconceivable they’re going to get customers in any numbers any time soon. Only a full remake of the government’s site will fix things.
3. The $60 million that Blue Cross sunk into this plan is now being regarded as a sunk cost. They don’t expect to ever get any of it back.
4. The questions people have to fill out to set up a Healthcare.gov account are an adventure in federal-government data-mining which would turn Dick Cheney into Edward Snowden. It even asks about things like what radio stations prospective customers listen to. The creep-out factor makes it virtually impossible to sell health insurance.
5. There is a significant body of thought which says that it doesn’t matter how much the government subsidizes these Obamacare policies – the only people who are going to buy them are the sick people. The rest? It’s hopeless.
The people who say to let Obamacare come, and to laugh as it crashes, definitely have a point. The problem is that companies like Blue Cross are on the hook for it. They’ve already lost $60 million on this nightmare, and they could lose a lot more – and when this thing crashes, and companies like Blue Cross get blamed for it, the Left is going to make a push to just socialize medicine altogether.