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Can it get worse? The HealthCare.Gov nightmare continues

by | Dec 16, 2013


By Dave Andrusko

Pro-abortion President Barack Obama

Pro-abortion President Barack Obama

If you didn’t know better, reading the Associated Press explain its own AP/GfK poll, you’d think that ObamaCare is getting a bum rap from those Americans who already have health insurance who “are blaming President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul for their rising premiums and deductibles.” Perhaps Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Jennifer Agiesta might give the American people more credit for understanding the disasters that are happening or impending.

“Rightly or wrongly, people with private insurance looking at next year are really worried about what is going to happen,” Robert Blendon, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, who tracks public opinion on health care issues, told the AP. “The website is not the whole story.”

Precisely; we will double back to talk about the’s sad state of affairs in a moment.

What did the AP/GfK poll of 1,367 adults find? In summary, “The poll found a striking level of unease about the law among people who have health insurance and aren’t looking for any more government help.” In other words, people are scared to death about what they are about to lose and a colossal increase in out of pocket costs and/or premiums. Alonso-Zaldivar and Agiesta write

“In the survey, nearly half of those with job-based or other private coverage say their policies will be changing next year — mostly for the worse.” Almost 4 in 5 blame ObamaCare.

“Sixty-nine percent say their premiums will be going up, while 59 percent say annual deductibles or copayments are increasing.

“Only 21 percent of those with private coverage said their plan is expanding to cover more types of medical care. …

“Fourteen percent said coverage for spouses is being restricted or eliminated, and 11 percent said their plan is being discontinued.”

There a number of “however” weaved into the results, intended to suggest that things won’t be as bad as people fear. But near the end of the account there is this absurd statement:

“It is unclear whether everyone who wants and needs coverage by Jan. 1 will be able to get it through the new online insurance markets. Some people who have to switch plans because their policies were canceled may find that their new insurance covers different drugs, or that they have to look for other doctors.”

It’s not “unclear” at all, and “some people” are millions, with many more millions to be affected in 2014.

Now, back to the website and HHS’s ongoing attempt to minimize the level of the massive difficulties. Alonso-Zaldivar and Agiesta also write

“In the poll, taken just after the revamped federal website was unveiled, 11 percent of Americans said they or someone in their household had tried to sign up for health insurance in the new marketplaces.

“Sixty-two percent of those said they or the person in their household ran into problems. About one-fourth of all who tried managed to enroll. Half said they were not able to buy insurance, and the remaining quarter said they weren’t sure.”

And as we have talked about repeatedly, the only question is how many of the “one-fourth” actually did manage to enroll and/or their data accurately passed along.

That nightmare scenario is a big part of a blog written today by Ed Morrissey for He noted that “HHS finally admitted in a Saturday-morning document dump that 15,000 signups never got to the insurers in the first ten weeks of the program”—but it is likely far worse because it’s not just the signups didn’t get to the insurers.

As we wrote about last week, as many as a third of the records of the 365,000 who had supposed enrolled at contain errors, not 15,000.

The problem has to do with “834 EDI transmission,” 834 for short. “It’s the form that tells the insurer’s system who you are and what you need,” according to the Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff. “And it might be the new health-care law’s biggest problem.”

What makes the likelihood of the number being far larger than the 15,000 figure HHS gave out over the weekend is that “if HHS is only now releasing the number of 834s it failed to create, it means we still don’t know how many went out with bad information, and how many are still going out with bad information,” according to Morrissey. “Their Saturday news dump proclaiming that ‘Missing 834s are declining’ to 0.38% appears to ignore the issue of existing but corrupted 834s that may still be going out to insurers.”

Morrissey concludes his post by including an important update from Kliff who basically confirmed what he wrote: “The missing enrollment files are one of three problems with the 834 transmissions that the federal government has identified. The other two are enrollment transmissions being sent in duplicate and those that are sent with inaccurate, or missing, data.”

Categories: ObamaCare