Does This Sound Like Competence To You?

Here’s the state of Obamacare in December, 2013

Some frustrated consumers are sending premium payments to insurers who have never heard of them. Others say they will pass up federal subsidies and pay full price through insurers, while still others have given up altogether on the promise of health insurance by Jan. 1.

Consternation and confusion over applications sent through the federal HealthCare.gov website continue into the last seven days before the Dec. 23 enrollment deadline. Consumers with health issues are particularly nervous about the prospect of not having insurance at the start of the new year. Federal assurances last week about a “special enrollment period” for people whose applications have been hung up on the site are little comfort as neither insurers nor consumers have any idea how this will work and who will qualify.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends people call its help line with questions and concerns about applications on HealthCare.gov. But that suggestion is also proving less than helpful for many.

… “Logic tells you I’m the target population for the law,” said Nelson, a Lombard, Ill., resident and Affordable Care Act supporter. But when people seek help from the call center, “you’re just being shuffled back and forth nobody owns the callers.”

Experts are divided on another possible solution for those hanging in the balance: sending premium payments before bills arrive from insurers.

Sentara Health, which offers the Optima health insurance plans for Virginia on HealthCare,gov, is hanging onto payments it can’t match with new customers yet. But Aetna warns that consumers should wait until they get a bill in the mail before writing any checks.

I’ve said this already, and I’ll say it again today in my speech to the Chamber of Commerce of East Baton Rouge (at Cafe’ Americain at noon), but this is a classic example of how Obamacare is an Industrial Age anachronistic policy in an Information Age society – and as such it will fail completely.

You simply can’t operate a top-down bureaucratic government solution to manage health insurance for 300 million people who have the technological capability and market expectations that they have the ability to order, download and begin reading a book which is out of print – in under 30 seconds. It’s simply not possible anymore. People expect better.

And the architects of this political planet-killing asteroid still seem to believe that they can, through dragooning Hollywood celebrities to the cause and offering up cutesy messaging to 20-somethings via social media, magically make this disaster not be a disaster.

It isn’t going to work. The only question at this point is how much damage to the economy and the health insurance market this Charlie Foxtrot does before it dies.

And following that, the question is how to resuscitate the health insurance market and health care industry. Let’s pray that resuscitation doesn’t actually come from Washington.

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