Insurance agents feeling left out of 'Obamacare'

Some are calling on Obama administration to allow them to bypass healthcare.gov and enroll consumers directly
Associated Press
Dec 9, 2013

 

When insurance agent Kelly Fristoe recently spent 30 minutes helping a client pick a mid-level health plan and the federal marketplace website froze, he called the government's hotline and tried to finish the application. But the operator refused to credit Fristoe as an agent on the application, meaning he wouldn't get the commission or be listed as the follow-up contact if his client needed help again later.

The Wichita Falls, Texas, insurance agent is one of many brokers around the country finding frustration as they try to help customers navigate the Affordable Care Act's marketplaces while earning the commissions they've long built their businesses around. Some insurers and insurance agents are calling on President Barack Obama's administration to allow them to bypass healthcare.gov and enroll consumers directly amid growing complaints about problems with enrollment information generated from the website.

The so-called 'back-end' problems could mean that consumers who think they've successfully signed up for a health plan, may find themselves unable to access their coverage come January. The problems include enrollment information that's rendered practically useless by errors, duplication or garbles. Efforts to fix the issues are underway.

Nearly 70,000 agents and brokers have been certified nationwide to sell health insurance on the federal exchange. Many say they could be the troubled health law's best ambassadors with the potential to boost lackluster enrollment figures — only about 27,000 had enrolled via the federal website nationwide in the first month. But instead, many agents said they're continually met by obstacles.

"You look at this dismal number they have of how many people have enrolled on healthcare.gov," said Fristoe. "If they would just relax and loosen up, because me and all of my associates across this nation want to help these consumers get enrolled into the market."

Federal health officials announced on Nov. 22 that they'd fixed some portions of the website to allow more insurers and insurance agents to enroll consumers directly. The feds are asking roughly 16 insurers, agents and brokers in Florida, Texas and Ohio to test it out and give detailed feedback about the fixes, hoping to expand it to other states in the coming weeks. Health officials have been vague about the scope of the botched applications insurers are receiving and what steps they're taking to fix the problems. One bug related to Social Security numbers, which federal health officials said accounted for more than 80 percent of insurers' problems, was fixed last weekend.

But the problems have persisted, prompting the head of the National Association of Health Underwriters to write the president Tuesday, urging him to make additional fixes a priority, saying agents have a significant backlog of clients with incomplete applications.

"We want to make it clear that a number of back-end technical obstacles still exist for health insurance agents and brokers trying to actively support the federal marketplace," said CEO Janet Trautwein.

Insurance industry executives also met with Obama last month and encouraged him to let them take a more active role in enrolling consumers in the 36 states relying on the federal website. Brokers' frustrations with the website are amplified by the pressure they face to add customers to offset reductions in their commissions under the law.

Among the complaints, agents say the website isn't always crediting brokers when they help enroll consumers — meaning they're losing out on commissions. Once an application is started, consumers can't go back in and add a broker's name if they help midway through the process. Federal health officials said there are 975,000 customers who have started an application but not selected a plan.

Agents say they're also still waiting on the federal government to add a promised feature on the website that would easily connect consumers with local insurance brokers.

Insurers and insurance agents are allowed to sign consumers up for health plans through a "direct enrollment" process. Even though the process may start on the insurer's website, at some point it's redirected to the technology-plagued healthcare.gov website to determine if customers are eligible for subsidies, and then ideally transferred back to the insurer's site. But various points in the process have been mired in glitches. Federal health officials said they've fixed some of the problems, but skeptics fear the improvements still won't allow for a smooth shopping experience and are pushing for a way to bypass the website.

Brokers face similar problems in some of the states that are running their own exchanges, such as Oregon. It's easy for insurers to enroll customers who want a health plan and don't qualify for a subsidy. The trouble comes when insurers and agents need to sync to federal data hubs to verify income, citizenship and other personal information. Democratic Florida state Rep. Richard Stark, who is also an insurance agent, said many of his clients have received inaccurate subsidy estimates from the federal government for clients. For example, a client with twin children was told one is eligible for a subsidy, but not the other.

Like others stymied by website malfunctions, Ken Statz and other agents at his firm in Brecksville, Ohio, filled out paper applications and mailed them, but it was taking time to hear back from the federal government about whether clients are eligible for a subsidy. Then they tried to get creative, planning to fill out the applications with clients during the day and hire someone to input the information into healthcare.gov during off-hours after 11 p.m. But that didn't work either because the site asks personal identification questions that only the user would know.

"We don't have a clear pathway to get them enrolled into the plan. (The federal government) hasn't given us the ability to do that. They're kind of missing the mark on this. They need to realize that we are the best pathway," he said.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, recently sent a letter to federal health officials urging them to fix the barriers hampering brokers and possibly create a way to bypass the healthcare.gov site. She suggested a dedicated call-center line or mailing locations for paper applications.

Stark has noticed a chilly reception toward his industry when he's attended local outreach organizations on the health overhaul.

"They basically didn't want to work with insurance agents because they felt agents were going to steer a customer toward (a plan) where they think they will make the most money," said Stark. "If I steer someone incorrectly to a plan that doesn't meet their needs, there's a lot of hell to pay as an agent."

Navigators will likely be gone when enrollment ends in March. That's why Statz said it's important for federal health officials to empower agents to "help people now, but help them make decisions on their accounts moving forward."

 

Comments

SamAdams

Surprise, surprise. Still MORE jobs at risk thanks to Obamacare. And planned that way, too. You don't need insurance agents when you go to single payer, you know...

swiss cheese kat

:)

looking around

Good morning Contango, it's time for you to get to work! I'd stay and debate you, but I have a boat chartered for the day out of Islamorada for a day of fishing :)

SamAdams

I'm not Contango, though your confusion is understandable. After all, there's only a couple or three of us who oppose Obamacare! Or well over half of the rest of the country...

xbreawq33

Google is paying 75$/hour! Just work for few hours & have more time with friends and family. On Sunday I bought themselves a Alfa Romeo from having made $5637 this month. I never thought I'd be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try this http://7.ly/c8Rr

Contango

Re: "I have a boat chartered (snip)"

Shouldn't a 'good' compassionate progressive have forgone this frivolity and donated the money spent to a charitable cause instead?

coasterfan

Leave it to Contango, for expressing contempt for anyone who would show empathy. As if being compassionate is a character flaw... You certainly are a classic conservative aren't you?

Contango

Re: "anyone who would show empathy."

Chartering a fishing boat is somehow "compassion" in the bizarro progressive universe?

goofus

So sad a liberal has to rent a boat,myself and all my conservative friends own our boats. P.S. ask the captain if he supplies healthcare to his employees.

Contango

This article reminded me of an incident that occurred during the "Hillarycare" fiasco.

"When a health insurance agent asked the perfectly reasonable question of what would happen to his job under her plan, Hillary answered, 'I’m assuming anyone as obviously brilliant as you could find something else to market.'"

Then she added, just for fun, 'I can’t go out and save every undercapitalized entrepreneur in America.'"

http://sweetness-light.com/archi...

Gotta love the 'caring' attitude of those well compensated, bureaucratic, bleeding heart liberals toward workin' Americans.

Darwin's choice

I oppose it also!

Biggest failure of the Obama Administration yet, but he still has time to go even lower....

All the obamabots will be here to tell us these agents aren't needed anyway....

Good luck fishing Looking...!

Huron_1969

Yep... Destruction on an internation scale is still on his to-do list. We will never recover from this administration

coasterfan

The scary thing about America is that many people actually believe that. Of course, 37% don't believe in Evolution, and more than 50% don't believe in Climate Change, both backed by exhaustive scientific research. Interestingly, the majority of those folks seems to vote Republican.

You have nothing to worry about. If we survived Bush, we can and will survive anything. On Obama's worst day, he is a better president for Americans and for America than Bush was on his best day.

coasterfan

Of course the agents are needed. The entire system is supposed to be an exchange, where people can shop for the best rates. For some odd reason, many states led by REpublican governors didn't allow that to happen. I guess they preferred their constituents to use the problem-plagued federal website. To be sure, the states that have set up their own website have had a far better result.

Contango

Also in the previously referenced article regarding "Hillarycare."

"It filled more than 1,300 pages. It proposed to expand Medicare and absorb Medicaid in a new system of universal coverage."

"The centerpiece of the plan was a system of bureaucratic regional alliances from which consumers would have to choose their insurance plans.

The alliances would, in the words of the Congressional Budget Office, serve as purchasing agents, contract negotiators, welfare agencies, financial intermediaries, collectors of premiums, developers and managers of information systems, and coordinators of the flow of information and money."

Reads kinda like a bastardized version of Obam☭are doesn't it?

This bureaucratic monstrosity was "sittin' in a drawer," waiting for the right moment to inflict it on the country.

deertracker

Booh hoo! Just go find another job. They are out there, right?

BabyMomma

Only for Republicans. They need to support the Democrats.

BabyMomma

Someone's gotta work for Deertrackers checks.

deertracker

Someone already does! Deertracker!

BabyMomma

I know I know. Do you guys still have the McRib?

deertracker

Is your baby daddy still on lockdown? Don't worry he'll come back to you just like when he left. Freshly fu**ed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

coasterfan

Actually, the state with the largest number of people receiving federal assistance is Texas. Texas actually RECEIVES more federal assistance than it pays out, and last time I checked, it was the reddest of red states. Right behind them are several of the states in the Deep South, which also vote Republican, despite having a much higher % of welfare recipients than, say, Ohio.

mikesee

Paying for the illegals. You know one legal in a household supporting countless illegals.

John Harville

illegals in North Dakota?

mikesee

John, it may be hard for you to find someone to read the initial post to you so you can comprehend it but coasterfan says TEXAS not North Dakota. Texas is located south of North Dakota..just an fyi.

Contango

Re: "Ohio."

Ya might wanna check some other 'interesting' stats:

"11 States That Have More People On Welfare Than Working"

http://www.marklucasinfo.com/?p=...

mikesee

Good read for you wackos who like the Obummercare program.

"No, You Can't Keep Your Drugs Either Under Obamacare"

http://www.forbes.com/sites/scot...

coasterfan

LOL. The only wackos are the ones who don't realize that the previous system was unworkable. At least the Democrats are attempting a solution.
I suppose you'd rather continue paying for the 30 million uninsured through higher medical costs and higher insurance premiums? You didn't actually think hospitals were giving away those services for free, did you?

mikesee

Did you happen to see that Mercy Hosital in Tiffin is closing their cancer treatment center? One of the reasons cited is the projected decreased funding due to Obamacare. Apparently they need to upgarde some equipment and they have to justify spending $millions$. Why don't you tell those people how lucky they are as they will have to drive to either Findlay or Sandusky for treatment. (closet locations) That should work really well for those who have limited access to vehicles.

BTW did you even read the article? If not shut your yap and take a few minutes to read it and see how it could cost $$thousands$$ in out of pocket cost that does not even count towards deductibles.

Contango

Re: "the previous system was unworkable"

So why'd the Incompetent-in-Chief need to LIE and say: "If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor?"

And this cluster (bleep) is your idea of "attempting a solution"?

So far it's like the amputation of a limb in an "attempt" to cure a case of the flu.

John Harville

Do research. People are not 'losing' their doctors, the doctors are 'eliminating' the patients. Successful Medicare fraud cases are winnowing out doctors who don't want to obey the rules - remembering Medicare was a Republican-backed program.

mikesee

I did. Ask local doctors. My doc is starting to "ween" his practice as he knows that he will make less on future medicare, medicaid and obummercare patients. It is a fact.

Contango

Re: "People are not 'losing' their doctors, the doctors are 'eliminating' the patients."

So if a ship sinks, it's just "eliminating" it's passengers?

Absurdist progressive CYA babble.

mikesee

For you Johnny boy:

"Top Tier Hospitals Excluded from Obamacare"

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/to...

Still think it won't happen???

Contango

Oops!

70% of CA doctors may boycott Obam☭are.

“We need some recognition that we’re doing a service to the community. But we can’t do it for free. And we can’t do it at a loss. No other business would do that,”

- Dr. Richard Thorp, president of the California Medical Association

"California offers one of the lowest government reimbursement rates in the country -- 30 percent lower than federal Medicare payments. And reimbursement rates for some procedures are even lower."

So much for Pres. Obama's better heathcare plan for lower premiums nonsense huh?

http://washingtonexaminer.com/ar...

John Harville

It must be true!! It was in The Washington Examiner. My California family are praising Obamacare...

Nemesis

How many of them are physicians?

goofus

Truly John Harville and deertracker should be opinion writers for a left wing blog for out of their mouths comes no facts just left wing jibberish.

Contango

Re: "My California family are praising Obamacare..."

Anecdotal from the "Land of Fruit and Nuts."

Just don't get cancer and expect to go to Cedar-Sinai.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/994951...

So the news source changes the veracity of a quote?

mikesee

Tell them to get jobs and get off of gov't assistance.

Darkhorse

I don't understand why the government didn't pattern the sign up for insurance after the Medicare program. The sign ups are done through an insurance broker where your private information is protected. Not involving the insurance to get involved with the sign ups is making things more difficult then they have to be.

coasterfan

Actually, that is exactly what Democrats/Obama wanted to do in the first place. Republicans, of course, wouldn't go for it. The current Obamacare package is the result of compromises made, in order to get enough Republican congressmen to vote for it.

It was designed to be a health exchange run BY THE STATES. The Obama administration mistakenly thought that each state would set up their own exchanges, since that would have given them control over the process. Amazingly, many right-leaning states chose to NOT set up their own exchange, and funneled everything through the Federal level.

SamAdams

Re: "in order to get enough Republican congressmen to vote for it."

Okay. Fair statement. So. How many Republican congressmen voted for it again?

Contango

Re: "The Obama administration mistakenly thought,"

For a 'supposedly' bright bunch, they sure do "mistakenly" think a lot don't they?

coasterfan

Meh...not any more often than any other president I've seen. And certainly Obama's few gaffes pale in comparison to the monumental gaffes of his predecessor.

Dr. Information

Typical coaster. Cannot link facts nor collaborate an intelligent response. Insult, deflect, wash, rinse, repeat.

John Harville

WHAT!!! I didn't sign up for Medicare through an insurance agent. I dealt directly with medicare until I found a Medicare Advantage program that handles it.

Contango

Pres. Obama speaking with Chris Matthews last Thurs. regarding the botched healthcare rollout:

"We have these big agencies, some of which are outdated, some of which are not designed properly. . . . The White House is just a tiny part of what is a huge, widespread organization with increasingly complex tasks in a complex world."

So the problem with big govt. IS big govt. ?

And we're turning over 1/7th of the U.S. economy to these progressive boobs?

http://online.wsj.com/news/artic...

John Harville

Wal Mart had a large website program for all those people who showed up for One=Hour Sale and guarantee the product would be there. It wasn't. So we were given certificates to visit a website and arrange for purchase. But the website had crashed by 5 p.m. and said, come back after Midnight. After hours and hours and hours, we finally got an email telling us to 'check your email every day for the next week". point? Wal Mart is just one example of such screw-ups by businesess with long experience on website development and sales. So the government can't screw up? Just one more way to h8 huh?

Contango

Re: "Wal Mart had a large website program,"

A straw man argument.

How much taxpayer money went into developing Walmart's site?

mikesee

Exactly! The fed gov't has already spent $1+ billion of taxpayer money on it's crappy website.

Dr. Information

John Harville is a diehard left swinging mouth. Its apparent he knows nothing about Medicaid reimbursements and cannot differentiate between a private website vs government tax payer funded website.

The left will continue to try and make logical comparisons and fail each and every single time.

coasterfan

Yeah, we did. It all happened as a result of the worst economic disaster America experienced in 90 years, courtesy of the Republican Party. We held an election in 2008, and a majority of people decided we definitely needed a change. Then we held another election in 2012, and again, a majority of people decided that the Democratic party was the better option.

We Dems think it's funny when Republicans try to lecture us on the economy. It's kind of like Chris Christie thinking he can give us advice on diet and exercise...

wasthere

Never met a lib yet that didn't know what was better for everyone else. I'm an independent. I don't have to belong to an organization to be able to make a decision on what is best for me. Being a party follower is like feeling the need to join a union or the KKK.

coasterfan

Hmm. If you equate unions to the KKK, I'm thinking that you're not really an Independent.

I'm a Democrat, but I do make decisions on my own, and just as you do: make the decisions that are best for me. The Democratic Party mostly does things the way I like, so I tend to vote Democrat. I find most of the Republican Party candidates and platforms to be reprehensible and unethical, so it would be a huge surprise if I ever found a Republican candidate who has more to offer than a Democrat running for the same office.

Most of the people who post on this site are extremely right-wing, and only represent about 5-10% of Ohioans. I take their points of view with a grain of salt, and remind myself that they, like Fox News, give a very biased viewpoint on everything.

Contango

Re: "Hmm. If you equate unions to the KKK,"

That was a knock on the Repubs. Are you dense or what?

Unions are more like criminal syndicates.

----------------

"like Fox News, give a very biased viewpoint on everything."

Yea, Bill Maher is a better info source. :)

John Harville

Bill Maher doesn't claim to be an info source. He's an opinion source - much like you. But unless he has facts before him, he doesn't present his 'info' as inspired wisdom.

coasterfan

The difference between Maher and Fox is twofold:

1. Unlike Fox, Maher lambastes both parties. He is a Libertarian, and finds both the Democratic Party and Republican Party to be inept. He nails Republicans more often, because they give him more material to work with, however, he regularly skewers Obama, both in jest and otherwise.

2. Maher is a comedian. I take what he says with a grain of salt, and disagree with him on many issues, although I do think he gets it right about 80% of the time. I've yet to meet a regular Fox viewer who doesn't automatically believe 100% of everything they hear on Fox, as if it's a holy nugget from the Almighty. Fox is the Poster Child for biased reporting, and the line between opinion and fact have been permanently blurred on that network.

Contango

Re: "He (Maher) is a Libertarian,"

He's a member of the Libertarian Party?

He's a BIG GOVT. guy. Try turning on the volume when watching.

Darwin's choice

Coasterfan,democrat cheerleader and head storytelling liar...

Defer, Deflect, Deny.....democrat mantra..!

This is reality tonight, Mon. 12/09/2013....

Losing your insurance, thank a Democrat & Obama
Losing your Doctor, thank a Democrat & Obama
Paying higher insurance premiums, thank a Democrat & Obama
Forced to buy coverage you don't need, thank a Democrat & Obama
Paying higher deductibles, thank a Democrat & Obama
Losing access to your hospital, thank a Democrat & Obama
Paying higher co-pays, thank a Democrat & Obama
Receiving a lower standard of care, thank a Democrat & Obama
Paying higher taxes, thank a Democrat & Obama
Losing hours at work, thank a Democrat & Obama
Totally losing your job, thank a Democrat & Obama
and on and on and on, all lead by The Liar in Chief, Obama.

Yes,you democrats have really got it going on!

I'm glad you admit to them "doing things the way I like", when this completely collapses the economy, I'll be looking for you to remind you of your responsibility. Remember the brown shirts?

Oh, one more democrat item for you to be proud of coasterfan...Detroit.
40+ years of democrat corruption for your viewing pleasure!

John Harville

47 straight months of economic growth. Thank Obama and the Democrats.

Unemployment at 7%, lowest in five years. Thank Obama and the Democrats.

Deficit half that inherited from Shrub and the Republicans. Thank Obama and Democrats.

200,000 more private sector jobs created. Thank Obama and Democrats.

Paying lower deductibles. Thank Obama and the Democrats.

Forced to buy coverage you don't need. Thank Social Security and Medicare.

Forced to spew misinformation through that exit used as an entrance. Thank the Tea Party and Republicans.

grumpy

I have done this before. Obama tripled Bush's last deficit and now has halved it leaving it 50% higher than Bush left it. 2014 projections show it to go up.

http://www.usgovernmentspending....

The 2009 budget wasn't signed until March 11 2009. Signed by Obama. Obama signed it, it is Obama;s budget if he didn't like it he could have vetoed it. He signs it it is his budget. Ay the time he had a supermajority in the Senate, and a majority in the House. He could have had them redo it however he wanted. He didn't need a single repube vote for it to pass. Bush had a dim controlled Congress starting in 07. It was up to the dims to get a budget for 2009 passed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/200...
The final spending bills for the budget were not signed into law until March 11, 2009 by President Barack Obama, nearly five and a half months after the fiscal year began.

Contango

Re: "47 straight months of economic growth. Thank Obama and the Democrats."

Thank the Federal Resv.

coasterfan

Defer, deflect, deny. Really? That has been the GOP mantra for 5 years now, hasn't it? You guys still get your knickers in a bunch every time we bring up Bush - which of course, we will continue to do, every time you blame Obama for problems Bush caused.

For the best example of collapsing the economy, check out 2006-2008. Apparently, you were off the planet during the worst economic disaster America has seen since the early 1930's.

You can diss the Affordable Care Act all you wish, at this early juncture. I think we all know it's silly to call anything a "train wreck" when it's only barely left the station. Call me back in a year or two, when it gets humming. Jeez, you Republicans are a grumpy bunch. I kinda feel sorry for you, actually.... We Dems tend to be an optimistic bunch here in 2013, having lived through 2008, you know?

Contango

Re: "2006,"

"2006"? Economy 'still' humming along.

The Dems took control of Congress in 2007 and THEN the SHTF.

As previously noted, numbers and history ain't your strong suits are they?

Repeatedly asked: What the h*ll did you 'supposedly' teach?

Finger painting, basket weaving?

anthras

coasterfan Re."the worst economic disaster America has seen since the early 1930's"

Were you sleeping during the Carter years you know "double digit Jimmy"

He left us with double digit unemployment higher than what Bush left us with, double digit inflation and double digit interest rates making a rebound that much harder for persons to buy homes autos and other items. My brother had a SBA loan for his business the interest rate was 3 points above prime. When the prime rate hit above 20% needless to say he lost his business. With the interest rates what they are now I cannot figure how the current administration can keep the economy so dismal.

Darwin's choice

Spin obamabot spin!!

What do you call a president who

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Signs laws passed by congress, and then keeps changing them until they do not represent the law that was passed by congress?

Obama/fail

Contango

Re: "we held another election in 2012,"

Why'd ya skip over the mid-term elections of 2010 where the Dems, after on a totally partisan vote, shoved Obama☭are down the throats of the American people & lost the House of Reps.?

The Dems purposefully didn't craft a budget deal because the bloodbath would have been even worse!

coasterfan

Angry? Why not stop whining about Obama and find a candidate that the American people might find worth electing? I'm not impressed by a party whose only talent is to complain and vote NO, and one that has no new/good ideas of its own. We're still waiting for the Republican alternative to Obamacare, aren't we? Take a Prozac, dude...

deertracker

REALLY and chase with a gallon of your favorite spirit. Careful now, don't swallow the paint brushes!

Contango

Re: "find a candidate that the American people might find worth electing?"

You mean like if only the Repubs could find a candidate who would promise billions MORE in borrowing, taxing, printing and spending than the Dems in order to buy votes?

coasterfan

More sour grapes. As if Republicans don't buy votes by pandering to dozens of special interest groups. It just doesn't work for your party, because your candidates say and do so many gosh awful things to/about minorities, women, gays, the poor and middle class. So, when it comes to election time, the above folks don't believe that your candidates will help them.

And they would be right. As usual, you Repubicans do a good job of pointing out perceived weaknesses in your opponents, but are blissfully unaware of your own party's Achilles heels, and offer ZERO solutions for fixing any of the problems you see. Obamacare, as we all know, happened in 2009 because the GOP did nothing to solve an untenable health care issue during 2000-2008.

Contango

Re: "Obamacare, as we all know, happened in 2009"

Maybe YOU "know," 2009, but I "know" 2010.

GOP? HSAs.

Dr. Information

Did you read that post. coaster said he makes decisions on his own. Hardly the case. Here is the result of one working for a union for years where they are brainwashed that if there is a problem in the work field, just throw more taxpayer money at it, that will fix it.

How's America's education system coasterfan after decades of throwing more money at the schools all the way from the federal level down to the local level? If you haven't read lately, it ain't working.

SamAdams

Interesting. You seem to suggest that minorities, women, gays, and the poor are too stupid, too incompetent, too lazy, or too SOMEthing to possibly manage without help from a benevolent Uncle Sam.

And you call REPUBLICANS discriminatory!

John Harville

MIDTERM 2010.... JOBS! JOBS! JOBS! the failed Republican mantra.

The House will turn in 2014.

goofus

What good is the house turning in 2014, which I highly doubt, when the senate will turn in 2014

coasterfan

Jeez, I hope so. You are right about them being job killers. Millions of jobs lost, thanks to Bush, and their economic policies have continued to slow job growth during the Obama term in office. Not my opinion; just repeating what I've read from Nobel Prize-winning economist, Paul Krugman, over the past year.

Contango

Re: "The House will turn in 2014."

Good luck with that fantasy.

People tend to vote their pocketbook and the employer mandates will be kicking in around the 2014 election and employers will be laying off employees and dumping health plans.

Prediction:

The Repubs retain the House and take control of the Senate (20 Dems are up for re-election) and Pres. Obama becomes a TRUE lame duck for the remainder of his term.

Dr. Information

Odds are Contango is right. After years of poor leadership from the left in Ohio and JOBs JOBS JOBS leaving OH, Kasich is doing a good job retaining what we have. Remember Kasich was elected in 2011. By the left's own standards, he hasn't been given enough time to fix things. Can't have it both ways lefties.

White Owl

Who is supposed to pay for the added services of Insurance Agents and Brokers? Part of the problem with the existing medical insurance industry is the multiple plans offered by profit seeking insurance companies and their agents. In fact many insurance companies get paid more to process certain claims than the medical professionals who provide the actual services.

The only truly fair system is a one payor system with standard benefits available to all Americans whether public or privately employed funded by employers similar to the Medicare system. That basic coverage should provide the safety net and wellness coverage and if you want luxury coverage above and beyond it you pay for it out of pocket or by increased premiums.

It's ridiculous how plans pay for unnecessary luxuries like male sexual performance drugs but the working poor can not receive decent coverage.

Fromthe419

Be careful what you wish for, I believe the ACA was planned to fail, so that those in DC can push us toward a single payor system. If it is such a great system, why do Canadians come to the US to have surgery?

White Owl

This is an intellectually dishonest argument. Canadians come to the US to have elective surgery, the kinds of surgery that are highly profitable. We as a country need to get past the idea that everyone is entitled to top of the line health care and stop spending over 50% of all health care dollars in the last 6 months of a person's life.

Everyone should have access to basic health care including wellness care, and beyond that a person pays for the extras. By going to one payor system, there will be enormous economies gained as medical providers will be able to streamline billing and spend time with patients rather than paperwork.

Another poster raised the issue of fraud and waste in Medicare. You don't think there's massive fraud and waste in private insurance programs and that these for profit companies aren't also making a lot of money on provision of services.

There are certain services that should not be profit making industries manipulated by insurance companies and the financial markets. Health care like religion is one of them.

Contango

Re: "massive fraud and waste in private insurance programs and that these for profit companies,"

Night and day.

Medicare and Medicaid practice what's called: Pay and chase.

Private cos. practice health care mgmt. They confirm and THEN pay.

A private co. would soon go bankrupt with the govt's losses and the officers would have been fired long before.

White Owl

Your comment is not based in reality. How many defense contractors have gone bankrupt? Private insurance companies need to make a profit to keep their shareholders happy, that profit margin (gained by overbilling their customers in premiums due to their exemption from antitrust which allows them to price fix while forcing low rates on providers) is much greater than any fraud in the system.

How about eliminating the insurance companies exemption from antitrust and allowing providers as a group to negotiate their reimbursements rates? No? Not a believer in free market forces for health care and believe massive insurance companies need that monopoly?

Again by moving to a one payor system with basic services including wellness coverage, you eliminate the billing nightmare for most providers, set reliable reimbursement rates and build a database that will readily expose fraud in the system.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

The system you suggest is itself a monopoly and unless I am misunderstanding you, in the same post you rail against similar (though not truly monopolistic) policies with private insurance companies. How is it not a billing nightmare when I as a patient or doctor have to argue against (not before) the government for money, service, recognition, or service? Reliable reimbursement does not equal fair nor standard reimbursement nor, I suspect, will it allow for what companies do with profit: research, philanthropy, employment, and investment.

As for the fraud? Why haven't the already-managed government health systems purged or exposed more of it? How, if they can't even handle what minor part of the population they already control, can they be expected to somehow expose more (as a percentage) fraud when over three hundred and ten million people are being tracked in this central database?

Also you should know that not all insurance companies are for profit. And if some do make a profit, what do they do with it? What you suggest (and your posts have been, in my opinion, intelligently presented and I mean that as a compliment) isn't a magic bullet for premium prices and certainly nothing in the ACA has helped except in small circumstances that seem to be a cut the nose to spit the face scenarios.

I will happily consider a government-run single payer system when other aspects of our government are run to how you rightfully hope they will be with your post. Not just ours, but other countries' who already have a central authority dictating what their citizens are allowed to have. Your trust in distant, unelected, unknowable entities who will only look at and consider you as nothing more than statistics on a padded report is admirable but misplaced in my opinion.

If you want to help lower insurance premiums there are many other ways to do so including tort reform. Has that been implemented? What if more people were aware at how relatively easy it is (was due to ACA?) to buy group policies through various associations? Many of these basic services you speak of are offered for free or very inexpensively through county and other health services including charities. Some (if not many) private medical practices will themselves offer free or reduced rate procedures or can help patients with special billing or charity outreach.

Until we have tried other methods, until the same efficiencies you hope for are reached with what government already manages, I don't see how giving up that much power over our very lives, to be rationed and seen as a statistic on a report, is a better option. Despite my protests, you have my appreciation for presenting your arguments better than many others on here.

coasterfan

Excellent post, Owl. A single-payer, Medicare-like system is what Dems wanted in the first place. It works in other developed countries, and it would work here. Republicans, of course, would rather us stick with the previous system, in which 30 million were uninsured and the rest of us subsidized their ER visits for common cold symptoms, via higher premiums. You DO know that the uninsured cost each of us many hundreds of extra $$$ each year out of pocket, right?

See, that's the OTHER half of the story that Fox never mentions. They are really good at what they do, but it absolutely is NOT unbiased reporting. If their story is all you ever hear, it's very convincing...

grumpy

Here is a comparrison of news between MSNBC CNN and Fox.

http://stateofthemedia.org/2013/...

It depends on what programs you watch on any of the cable channels. If you watch the talking heads and not the news shows...

You need to look at a variety of news sources, fox, cnn, and msnbc included. You notice how some folks only vilify one network... The one who leans the "other" way from how they do, while not mentioning the one who leans far more than the one they complain about. Take that into consideration when you read their complaints about one network. Notice that some people actually back up their views with studies, while others are just stating their opinions... with no backup information.

coasterfan

Here is the news continuum:
Extreme Left: MSNBC
Middle: CNN
Extreme Right: Fox

If you don't see it that way, it's because you are so far to one end of the spectrum that you have lost all frame of reference. If you've ever called anyone a RINO, you just proved my point (when you think mainstream Republicans are "too far" left, guess what: it's not they who changed their ideology, it's you).

grumpy

RE: "If you don't see it that way,"

It means that they don't agree with your opinion. I have yet to see you criticize MSNBC, CNN, NPR or any other network. I guess that means you are fair and balanced, right? I guess that means you get your news from the Daily show, on the comic/cartoon channel? Many of your "facts" that you never seem to link for backup, seem to point that way.

It has been decades since I was republican or thought that "mainstream: republicans were correct, and decades since I voted for a republican for president, as I have stated numerous times. I don't expect you to remember that, after all we have seen your ability to process information.

Contango

Re: "subsidized their ER visits for common cold symptoms, via higher premiums."

An estimated 60% of Obama☭are recipients will receive subsidies.

Where's that money coming from?

http://www.ihealthcareupdates.co...

Contango

Re: "It (single payer) works in other developed countries, and it would work here."

Name one country with an equivalent population of the U.S' 315 million where this single payer system functions efficiently.

Get off the progressive brand hopium, before it does even more brain damage.

Contango

Re: "one payor system,"

Yea, Medicare and Medicaid lose an estimated $60-$100 billion annually in waste, fraud and abuse.

With a single payer, care to try for $1 trillion in annual loses through bureaucratic inefficiency and corruption?

mikesee

Insurance companies will have a greater profit than before with the implementation of Obummercare. Oooopppss! Didn't plan on that!

BabyMomma

This article is getting a lot of traffic so I will ask here too. Anyone else see the large jet fly over the bay right past the coal docks? It was only about 75 ft off the water and completely silent.

BabyMomma

O yea.....this was last Thursday

John Harville

While all you naysayers complain about Obamacare, 10s of thousands of Americans - actually 100s of thousands - are signing up with few problems and praising the program

In fact, no one is reporting on the thousands of us who contacted insurance agents to shop for insurance plans.

And now half the states have signed on for the Medicaid plans, thus helping their constituents even more.

By the time of the first primaries in February and the General in November, Americans are going to be so happy with their healthcare plans that it won't even be an issue.

Darwin's choice

Please link how ANY of these gleeful people, including your own releatives, are making any kind of payment, you know, to lock in their coverage, cause every insurance carrier on planet earth requires it.

The website has NOT been setup to secure any form of payment yet, and actually it's only "around" 60%" complete.....

Darwin's choice

And, again I'm saying your full of crap! MILLIONS more despise this "law" and its failure. WalMart is a great example for you.

http://moneymorning.com/ob-artic...

Seems more people are against this........

Darwin's choice

Here's another for Harville.....

South Carolina voting on bill to end Obamacare in state

11:54 AM 12/09/2013

A bill set for fast-track passage in the South Carolina Senate in January aims to eliminate Obamacare in the state. The law could become a model for other states fed up with the federal health-care law.
House Bill 3101, titled the “South Carolina Freedom of Health Care Protection Act,” passed the state House of Representatives last April by a 65-34 vote. The bill now heads to the GOP-controlled Senate with special-order priority, setting up the likelihood that South Carolina will become the first state to exempt citizens and businesses from all participation in the Affordable Care Act.

State Sen. Tom Davis, the bill’s sponsor who recently wrapped up study committee hearings for H3101 in Columbia, Charleston and other cities, says that the proposed legislation renders the Affordable Care Act void or inoperable through a handful of provisions.
“It will essentially have five components to it, all of which in my judgment are legal, effective, and within the state’s power to do,” Davis, a Republican from Beaufort, said in an interview.

The bill’s main component prohibits agencies, officers and employees of the state of South Carolina from implementing any provisions of the Affordable Care Act, leaving implementation of the national health-care law entirely in the hands of a federal government that lacks the resources or personnel to carry out the programs it mandates.
This provision, according to Davis, comes from the anti-commandeering doctrine established in case law that says feds can’t compel states to enforce federal laws.
“What the Supreme Court said in Printz v. United States is that states are not merely political subdivisions of the federal government to carry out what the federal government does; they are sovereign entities,” Davis said. “Congress can pass laws, but it cannot compel the states to utilize either their treasury or personnel to implement those federal laws.”

Guess you don't have enough releatives, eh?

SamAdams

I just have one question: Where can Ohio get a copy of the South Carolina bill so that we, too, can be exempted (along with all of Obama's other cronies, of course)?

John Harville

Where were you when we passed a Constitutional Amendment in Ohio? We got the power.... but our governor went the other way and accepted the Medicaid plan that puts us squarely in Oamacare. You really should try to pay attention.

mikesee

Only because these people haven't actually had to use it yet!

KURTje

No BaybeeMom - but - Rt.2 has plenty of stationary cameras especially in the Eastbound lane. hmmm. Were not there last year.

Darwin's choice

I just love how the head obamabot coasterfan is spinning like a balerina at a dance recital!

And john harville has to be big dog, he spews the same mindless crap without merit, or anything to back up his blathering statements.

Did anyone see Obama at the criminals funeral service today? He was bowing more than those head shaking dolls you see in cars rear windows...

Darwin's choice

Harville or coasterfan, how about the fallout from this "Obamacare" disaster in the making????? Democrat proud!!

Volunteer Fire Departments will be forced to dissolve due to obamacare..

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/...

You boys just keep digging the hole to china you're in.....hahahaha!!!!

Contango

Re: "digging the hole to china,"

A hole dug from the U.S. through the Earth would come out 'somewhere' in the Indian Ocean.

Appropriate for them, yes? :)

Contango

I always LOVE how the lefties continually use the "other developed countries" argument when it comes to socio-economic programs (healthcare, gun control, et. al).

A major fallacy:

Overwhelmingly they are small countries with mostly small homogenous populations.

The U.S. has a large landmass, is culturally and ethnically diverse and is made up of approx. 315 million people.

It would be about as difficult as trying to get the ethnically and culturally diverse European Union with its 28 member counties and 507 million people to agree lock step on social and economic programs.

H*ll, many doubt as to whether the euro (one of their few agreements) will survive as a major currency.

Of course, the centrally planned, command and control Soviet Union had a population (1991) of 291 million AND free health care. How'd that work out?

Remember: American progressive-socialists 'know' where the Soviets went wrong and can do it BETTER.

FORWARD SOVIET!

Contango

New WSJ/CBS poll:

Obama☭are:

Bad idea: 50%

Good idea: 34%

Pres. Obama's job approval rating:

Disapprove: 54% (all time high)

Approve: 43%

http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_ne...

If you like your president, you can HAVE him.

Donegan

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I...
If your the 1% and willing to pay more you can keep your doctor and insurance if you are willing to pay for it, To everyone else they can pack sand. Thanks you Obama worshippers for screwing us all and supporting the 1%.

John Harville

The ACA isn't taking away your doctor or insurance plan... your insurance company and doctor are. Insurance companies cancelled the 'grandfathered' policies. A few doctors are unwilling to participate because they can't keep running the 'scams' mentioned earlier.

John Harville

No one is required to use the website to buy insurance. Contact an insurance agent - or ten. Shop the policies they offer. Or just go on h8ting.