Lowballed

SCENE:  At the Mississippi Market co-op in Saint Paul.  Mitch BERG is shopping for steel-cut oatmeal.  He notices Avery LIBRELLE turning into his aisle, looking for free-range humane tofu.  He tries to turn and leave, but it’s already too late. 

LIBRELLE:  Hey, Merg!  The Free Market is collapsing!

BERG:  Er, OK – how do you figure?

LIBRELLE:  Preferred One left the MNSure network!

BERG: Um, that’s not a failure of the free market.

LIBRELLE: Sure it is!  They came into the plan with a low-ball proposal.  It didn’t work, so it’s a failure of the free market! 

BERG: Well, no.  It’s not.  The plans they’re pulling from MNSure are basically the same thing they’ve been selling to employers for decades, although more expensive, to cover all the extra Obamacare requirements, and a little extra to cover the fact that they’d only get paid after the money filtered through the MNSure system, which just isn’t working.  It’s the kind of plan they can sell by themselves just fine, and keep themselves in business. 

LIBRELLE:  Well, businesses shouldn’t profit from healthcare!

BERG:  Preferred One is a non-profit under Minnesota law.   And even so, they couldn’t financially justify the overhead that the MNSure system brought into the equation. 

LIBRELLE:  They should have come to the market with a plan that asked for more money!  Government subsidies would cover it anyway!

BERG:  And you have just explained why government subsidies promote inflation. 

LIBRELLE:  No I didn’t.

BERG:  Yes you did.  Businesses should raise their prices to smooth out dealing with the government’s incompetent bureaucracy, because another part of government is going to subsidize the transaction – which prices the business’s service out of reach of the unsubsidized.  It’s done for health insurance exactly what it’s done for higher education. 

LIBRELLE:  That just means we need single payer healthcare.

BERG:  Right.  So the same government that can’t produce a health care exchange on time and on budget, and get payments to providers efficiently enough to make the service worth providing, will now be directly in charge of every facet of your healthcare. 

LIBRELLE:  Well, at least it’ll promote transparency. 

BERG:  How so? 

LIBRELLE:  See the social justice that the IRS brought to political campaigning by denying teabagger groups their tax-exempt status?  Imagine the transparency we’ll get when The People can start denying them healthcare!

(LIBRELLE turns, starts walking away, but walks into shelf full of jars of organic peanut butter.  LIBRELLE falls as shelves of jars fall to the floor)

(And SCENE)

Apparently Preferred One Are Also “Tea Partiers” Who Are “Wrong For Minnesota”

Preferred One – the company chosen by about three of five people that were able to actually enroll in MNSure in the past year – is bailing out of Minnesota’s troubled health insurance exchange.

At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, [MNSure CEO Scott] Leitz said he is disappointed with the decision but Minnesotans will still have other options for health insurance through MNsure.

“We level the playing field for consumers. We provide options so Minnesotans can make wise choices,” he said. “We anticipated some bumps along the way, and we’re still seeing some of those bumps.”

He’s half right.  MNSure – like Obamacare – removes actual choice.

But the bumps?  Those are real.

This is a huge hit for MNSure (emphasis added):

As of Aug. 6, Preferred One had 59 percent of the individual market MNsure enrollees. Blue Cross Blue Shield was a distant second at 23 percent, with HealthPartners, Medica and UCare much further back.

Preferred One got such a large share, because they had the lowest rates of the five insurance companies in the program.

And I’m going to hazard a guess that the bulk of Preferred One’s customers were the ones who were getting the lowest subsidies – i.e. the ones that MNSure was counting on to pay the bills for the subsidized, high-risk customers.

It’s possible this could signal big rate increases to be unveiled in early October, and that could have a significant impact on the elections.

“One of the big land mines looking out over the campaign will be when MNsure announces its new rates for health insurance premiums,” University of Minnesota political expert Larry Jacobs said. “If those go up by 10 percent, some have even suggested 15 percent, then that could really shake up this election.”

So let’s get this straight:  because of Democrat/DFL medding in healthcare, you can’t keep your doctor, but your rates will skyrocket. 

Just wanna make sure we’re clear on this. 

Of course, since there are DFLers involved, “clarity” will be hard to come by:

State Rep. Joe Atkins, DFL-Minn., also commented in a statement saying in part, “MNsure is a marketplace where consumers can compare and shop for quality health insurance. It is no different than Target or Cub Foods in that some products will come and go. Preferred One may be leaving, but MNsure still has great products.”

Of course, that’s lunacy.  MNSure would be like “Target or Cub” if the state made it illegal to shop at Aldi, and taxed you extra for shopping at Kowalski’s.

Oh, yeah – and if the state paid low-income people to shop there, maybe:

Anyone who has PreferredOne through MNsure can still directly renew through the company, but they won’t get the government subsidy. To get the subsidy, they will have to choose a different insurance plan starting Nov. 15.

This is what the DFL hath wrought.

RELATED: Big Left squirts tears, blames capitalism, pimps single-payer.

When The ObamaCare Story Is Finally Written…

…then:

  1. It will no doubt be written by someone from outside the American mainstream media (but that’s a no-brainer)
  2. Somebody will no doubt note and write about the deep, intense web of influence UnitedHealth group, based in Minnetonka, has spun for itself with this administration.

Naturally, it won’t happen until Obama leaves office. But I’m just saying.

Heck, it’s something to look forward to.

Surprise!

Minnesotans:  The Minnesota DFL is so proud of MNSure – their signature accomplishment of the past two years – that you’re going to have to sign up for it before you can see what it costs!

Representatives Tara Mack and Joe Hoppe got an op-ed in the Strib over the weekend.

This year Minnesotans won’t know the price of plans until MNsure’s next enrollment period begins on Nov. 15. They’ll have just four weeks to find a plan and complete enrollment.

State health and insurance officials agreed last year that a preview period was a positive step. Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman said releasing rates early “increases transparency and allows individuals, families and small businesses more time to consider the options that will be available on MNsure.” MNsure Chairman Brian Beutner said: “The sooner that you can get concrete information … out is going to allow people to actually make some decisions — as opposed to generalized information.”

So why aren’t the Dayton administration and MNsure pushing for an early rate release again this year?

November 15?

As in, after the election?

But…why?  

It’s possible that those who built MNsure are afraid voters will see how much their insurance costs are going up before the election.

Yes.  Yes, I think it is just possible.

The media has been eating up the narrative that “MNSure is getting people insured!”.  But it’s costing an astounding amount of money and labor to do it, and most of them have no idea that the biggest costs of Obamacare/MNSure haven’t even set in yet.

And the DFL is going to keep it that way until after as many as possible of them have been duped into voting for Governor Messinger Dayton again.

Results

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Study finds British national health care best in the world, US worst.
Wow, really?  Worse than Somalia?  Well, no, worst of the 11 modern Western countries we studied but that makes a crappy headline.
So what makes the US worst?  Poor people lack health insurance.  What makes Britain best?  Everybody has health insurance.
How about actual result – lives being saved, for example?
“The only serious black mark against the NHS was its poor record on keeping people alive. On a composite “healthy lives” score, which includes deaths among infants and patients who would have survived had they received timely and effective healthcare, the UK came 10th.”

Click to view full size

Here’s the PowerPoint – UK is number 1 in everything except saving lives, which is the actual point of a health care system.  So what they’re really saying is Britain has the best health care bureaucracy in the world.   I’m not impressed.  Looks like the best place to get sick is Switzerland, which does not astonish me.

 

Again the Narrative remains consistent:  Liberal policies are measured for success based on the amount of caring, money and alleged effort invested, never on the results achieved.  Trophies are awarded for showing up, not for coming in best or first.  Ribbons all around!

It’s about “sending messages”.

PRSure

I work in the software business. 

And among people who work in the business, the word was going around well over a year ago; “MNSure” was going to be a Bulgarian Goat Rodeo.  At the very least.

The word was more than right; in fact, according to Deloitte Consulting, it sailed past Bulgarian Goat Rodeo, and is more of a Hungarian Cluster Cuddle

This is the point of the blog post where I’d find one or more excerpts from the report that summed up what a complete FUBAR the whole project has been. 

But there is just too much in the report.   If I quoted everything damning in Deloitte’s report, I’d be driving a tank over the “Fair Use” laws. 

So I urge you to read it. 

(Remembring, of course, that Deloitte was one of the firms that was beaten out by “Maximus”, the firm that actually “built” MNSure.  Now, a smart state government IT operation would have engaged Deloitte as a disinterested third party to serve as a reviewer on the condition that they not bid for re-development work, to avoid conflict of interest.  I don’t actually know if the state was that smart.  Any bets?)

But in any case, read it.  And then take a look at the Strib’s piece on the subject, which carries nothing but the Messinger Dayton administration’s spin on the top-level issues.

“Free”

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Dental care in Australia is free.  So everybody wants it.  So you have to wait your turn.  Might take a bit.

 “Springborg said before the NPA, patients were waiting up to 10 years for dental work.”

 And what is this NPA?  The government tossed 200 Million Australian Dollars into the fund to allow patients to go outside the system to private dentists, a one-time shot to reduce the wait which now is under a year.  The government can’t afford to repeat the subsidy, so wait times will rise again.  It’s only a toothache, right?  What’s a few months wait when it’s FREEEEEE!

 Joe Doakes

The defining trait of liberals is that they all seem to assume that if you wish hard enough for a miracle – free dental care, universal healthcare without raising taxes or the deficit or degrading healthcare, raising minimum wages without unintended consequences to employment and prices – that a unicorn will descend from the skies with the means to make it happen.

Other Peoples’ Dog Food

MNSure, the state’s catastrophically badly-executed health insurance portal, has hired Deloitte Consulting to try to fix the state’s ailing website.

Pity Deloitte:

Deloitte was a top contender in 2012 for the contract to build the online health exchange, whose rollout was marred by ongoing technical problems. It has built successful state-based insurance exchanges in Connecticut, Kentucky, Rhode Island and Washington.

Yeah, good luck with that.  It’s much easier to build something right the first time (kudos, Deloitte) than to tear apart and rebuild someone else’s botched job.

Like Waiting For “One Direction” Tickets In A Blizzard

(SCENE:  Mitch BERG is walking his dog down Grand Avenue in Saint Paul.   He’s walking past an organic car repair shop when Avery LIBRELLE walks out, almost bumping into BERG).

LIBRELLE:  Merg!  Hah! I woke up this morning thinking “Merg must be feeling sad today! Obamacare is a huge success!”

BERG:  Well, it’s not really…

LIBRELLE:  Which bums you out more, Merg – that more people weren’t insured, or that less weren’t?

BERG:  Well, I’m just trying to figure out what all the happiness is about.

LIBRELLE:   Seven million subscribers!

BERG:  Let’s assume the Administration is giving real numbers.  That’s seven milion people who’ve signed up.  Not seven million paid, issued policies.  But if you put it up against the five million people wholosttheir coverage over the past year, that means we’re up a net two million – assuming they all actually pay their premiums, which all of them will not.

LIBRELLE:  You’re just jealous that no Republican healthcare plan gets people lining up for it!

BERG:  Wait – you say that’s a good thing!

LIBRELLE:  When people line up to buy something, that means it’s popular.    Like an iPhone!

BERG:  If that analogy held up – if Obamacare is extremely popular – then they’d have been waiting in line last October, when the plans first hit the market.  This is like people waiting in line to buy iPhone 3s before they go out of production.

LIBRELLE:  That’s stupid!  Nobody would do that!

BERG:  Unless it was your only shot at getting a phone, and you were going to wind up without a phone if you waited another day.  The “lines” had less in common with these…:

HyPsTrZ at the sacrament of unveiling.

…and much more in common with these…:

Waiting for bread in Moscow, 1980s

…or these:

Minnesota clinic, 2018. Just kidding – it’s a DMV line.

People trying to get something before an onerous deadline makes it impossible.

LIBRELLE:  Wow.  You’re a real debbie downer.

BERG:  As always, I’m a realist.  The Administration is trying to put lipstick on a dead pig in time to save the Democrats in time for the mid-terms.

LIBRELLE:  Hey – you used the word Democrat!  You hate women and their children!

(And SCENE)

Our Loathsome Elites

Julie Boonstra, in the middle of being treated for Leukemia, had to go chasing after alternative health insurance.

Because of Obamacare.

The WaPo’s “fact check” column, “Politifact”, leaped into action and did what it’s paid to do; uphold the Democrat narrative:

Media organizations investigating the ad’s claims note that Boonstra was able to find comparable new insurance under the law.

Which I’m sure was big comfort, what with being in the middle of being treated for Leukemia and all.

But that whole “finding alternate care” bit?  Ummm…


Obama Repeatedly Promising You Can Keep Your… by ShockDoctrin

Even if I didn’t love my doctor, I’d suspect that right in the middle of freaking Leukemia treatment would be a time when having the Presidentnot lie to memight be a good thing.

But today’s Democrat party?  They know what matters.

The messengers; they must be lined up and shot:

And the campaign of Rep. Gary Peters is also going after television stations airing ads in which her story is featured, threatening their licenses.

The reason our country is so polarized is that half of the population supports rank evil.

File Under “Things Everyone In The Twin Cities IT Community Knew A Year Ago”

MNSure’s development process was, and remains, a shambles:

An Optum report released Wednesday cites major problems with MNsure.

According to the report, “Program management structure and process is nonexistent.” Optum says MNsure’s management decision making was “occurring via crisis mode.”

Thing is, the warning signs were there.  

Why, if only our society had an institution – perhaps one with printing presses and transmitters and a legion of workers who consider themselves an order of aescetic info-monks, dedicated to bringing the truth to the unwashed masses…

…that don’t get financially tied to the institutions they’re supposed to be covering.

Something Is Rotten In Reykjavik

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

A buddy forwarded this message to me:

Cops had to shoot the guy because he’s mentally ill and wasn’t getting proper care.

Icelandic website Visir later named the man as Sigrid Oscar Jónasdóttur and his sister Sigridur Jónasdóttir blamed poor health care for the mentally ill for the man’s death. “There are no resources for these people,” she told the site. 

That story doesn’t ring true.  Iceland has nationalized health care.

Healthcare in Iceland is universal. The healthcare system is largely paid for by taxes (85%) and to some extent by service fees (15%) and is administrated by the Ministry of Welfare. A considerable portion of government spending is assigned to healthcare. There is almost no private health insurance in Iceland and no private hospitals.[

Since it’s national health care, it MUST be the best possible system.  We know thatfrom endless assurances by Democrats that nationalized, universal care is the key to the best health for all.  So this shooting shows obviously some other plot afoot.

Obama blames Phil Robertson.

Look Back In Anger

Do you remember the puddles of smug joy that the clacque of jabbering Ivy League frat-boy buffoons and sorority-sister buffoonettes that run our governent squirted when they signed Obamacare?

Byron York sure does – and he documents the descent from the End-Zone Happy Dance of March 2010 to the paranoid catatonia in the West Wing today:

[The] Democrats who gathered in the East Room of the White House for the signing ceremony could barely contain their joy. They cheered, they laughed, they shouted, they pumped their fists, they wouldn’t sit down. They chanted “Fired up — ready to go!” as they had at Obama campaign rallies. When the president recognized Nancy Pelosi, then speaker of the House, the chant turned to “Nancy! Nancy! Nancy!”

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Pelosi, of course, would be swept out of the speakership in the Republican landslide a few months later — a result that was based, in part, on the voters’ unhappiness with Obamacare. And today, some of the other Democrats in the East Room are now afraid for their jobs — because of the voters’ unhappiness with Obamacare.

After an effusive introduction from Vice President Biden, Obama turned almost immediately to the task ahead. “It will take four years to implement fully many of these reforms,” he said, “because we need to implement them responsibly. We need to get this right.”

At the time, no one had any idea just how ill-prepared Obama and his administration were to actually do the job they set for themselves. Three years later, approaching an Oct. 1, 2013, deadline for the establishment of the Obamacare exchanges, the administration was still scrambling to finish even the most basic tasks. What followed was disaster.

Read the whole thing.

Show it to your friends who are losing their coverage.

Let them get angry.

Blood Money

Joe Doakes from Como Park emails:

Obama-care has more holes than Swiss cheese, the latest one being something called “risk corridors” that give DHS the power to pay extra to insurers who lost money on Obama-care policies.

No, those extra payments weren’t figured into the original cost, but it’s okay – the taxpayers can make up the difference.

In other words, corporate kickbacks will cover the unexpected costs of underwriting Democrat campaigns as the public catches on to the massive fraud the President played on them last election.  Donations from insurers to Democrats will be refunded via risk corridors, sort of like the incest that goes on between NPR and the DFL with Minnesota tax dollars.

Joe Doakes

The whole thing is diabolically ingenious.  Like Al Capone’s financial network.

Even More Sisyphean

Hundreds of peoples’ battles with Healthcare.gov; in this case, getting switched to  higher-cost, higher-deductible plans, with no further questions asked:

If you have an insurance plan that isn’t compatible with the Affordable Care Act, your insurance company might be automatically rolling you into the plan “most similar” to your own.

For one Washington state resident interviewed by The Daily Caller, his new “Bronze” plan is 80 percent more expensive for him and his wife. His wife is paying $220 more and he’s paying $150 more with higher deductibles.

The insurers are sending letters to subscribers when their existing plans juuuuust didn’t provide all the goodies they didn’t want to pay for in the first place, telling them that it was the insurance company’s best guess, and to check in if they want to downgrade. 

“It’s a confusing thing for people. Most of the plans didn’t contain all the provisions that were under the law. We had no choice,” [Rachelle Cunningham strategic communications manager for insurance company RegenceBlueShield ] said. “We’re trying to make it clear for them.”

Fearless prediction:  not a few Obamacare defenders among the pundosphere will chalk this up to stupid customers.

The Left Hand Doesn’t Know What The Farther-Left Hand Is Doing

It was one of the stories that got no play last session, in spite of the fact because it highlights the bizarre schizophrenia of using politics to allocate human capital, but while on the one hand AFSCME was working to unionize home-child-care providers – who are independent contractors and don’t have “management” – it was instituting full-day kindergarten, reducing the number of kids who’d be in daycare at all.

Which wasn’t entirely incongruous, if you think about it; to the DFL, racket money from daycare providers and union dues from a doubling of Kindergarten teachers are both just revenue streams.

But this?

The final rule, for the most part, confirmed a proposed rule, issued in July, which will cut the Medicare home health benefit by $22 billion over the next four years.

“Congress asked [Center for Medicaid Services],” Halamandaris said, “to do a comprehensive evaluation of the home health benefit, to isolate what works and what needs improvement, how to increase access and efficiency, and how to reduce costs while improving the quality of care. CMS did none of this. Instead, all they did was look to impose the largest possible cut —3.5 percent a year — on the Medicare home health benefit. This adds up to 14 percent over the next four years, or a total of $22 billion.”

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice has produced studies showing that the Medicare home health benefit has already endured more than its fair share of cuts. The benefit has been cut a disproportionate $78 billion since 2009. Add in the newly imposed cut and $100 billion in cuts will have been taken from the most popular and most-needed Medicare program. And as a result of these cuts by the end of 2017, 75 percent of Medicare-certified agencies will be forced under water with profit margins of zero or less.

“The clear conclusion is that saving money is more important to CMS than serving those who are so sick they cannot leave home without assistance,” Halamandaris pointed out. “It is obvious that they turned a deaf ear to our pleas on behalf of aged, infirm, disabled, and dying Americans.”

In other words, while the SEIU was working calling in markers with the DFL to unionize home-care workers, President Obama was working to shut the industry down completely.

Good job, guys.

Who Told You This?

Obamacare will have “death panels”, just like Sarah Palin said.

This according to Ted Nugent:

“It’s built into the plan. It’s not like a guess or like a judgment. That’s going to be part of how costs are controlled,” Halperin told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV. 

Oh, they’re not called “Death Panels” – but, as we discussed in the past, HMOs are built around the idea of “Case Management”, which means “make sure the cost of the care is commensurate with the benefit received”.  Don’t don’t transplant the liver of a 21 year old into a 70 year old alcoholic diabetic who’s already past their life expectancy if there’s  a 30 year old who’d benefit more, for an extreme example.

And no, it wasn’t Ted Nugent.  It was that noted conservative tool Mark Halperin.

Two Americas

John Edwards was right – there are Two Americas.

In one of them, people of means can get healthcare whenever and whereever they need to.

And in the other?  All the poor mopes who are jammed into Obamacare like Tokyo subway straphangers h take whatever they can and say “please, sir, may I have more?”:

As of this week, not one of the plans for sale on New York’s health benefit exchange would cover treatment at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, one of the world’s largest and most respected cancer hospitals.

That could mean that the 615,000 individuals and 450,000 small business employees expected to eventually get their insurance through the exchange would have to go someplace else for treatment, or pay the bill out of their own pockets.

Other premier city hospitals are in the networks of just a few of the new plans.

Now, if you voted for Obama, you should be Happy To Die Pointlessly For A More Level Healthcare Playing Field, and not bitch about it.  This was what you wanted.

For everyone else?  I’d rather keep my “substandard” plan, which doesn’t provide me prenatal care, but does, y’know, cover diseases I could conceivably get, if that’s OK.

And I’m sure it’s not.