For the first time today, in addition to previous anecdotal evidence that the first several days of the Obamacare rollout (with 248 enrollees in the first two days) have been an abysmal failure, and the days since have fared no better, HHS Secretary Sebelius finally admitted to the Senate Finance Committee that over a month after the rollout of healthcare.gov, the enrollment figures have been “very low.” Of course, being able to qualify the number didn’t mean she could or would actually put it in numeric terms – it would have been simply too humiliating and may have forced her to finally do what so far nobody in the Obama administration has done: take responsibility for one after another failure (after all, for everything else, there’s “Mr. Chairwoman getting to work“) and resign. One thing, however, is certain, the “very low” number whatever it may be, is orders of magnitude below Obama’s mission critical goal of enrolling 494,620 people in October, and another 706,600 for November.
Why is this critical? Because like any other Ponzi, this particular welfare program needs an influx of new registrants, especially young ones, to keep the funding coming in and succeed. Otherwise, not even all central bank chairmen getting to work around the globe creating wealth effects for a few hundred thousand people, or all false-flag, YouTube justified diversionary wars around the world, will do much to deflect attention from how the supposedly crowning achievement of Obama’s two-term presidential career has disintegrated before everyone’s eyes.
Politico has more on Sebelius’ testimony before the Senate Finance Committee:
“We intend to give you as much information as we can validate,” Sebelius said of the enrollment figures being released next week. She said the numbers will include both Medicaid and health plan enrollment in the new insurance exchanges. She said the numbers will cover “the first month of enrollment,” which began on Oct. 1.
She also intends to give more figures that she can fabricate but there is neither here nor there. All that matters is that she has her job. Kinda like Greece and the Euro.
Curiously it was not just republicans crucifying the HHS Secretary…
Republicans chastised Sebelius for what they called misleading testimony that the website would be working when it went live Oct. 1, and a broken promise that consumers could keep their coverage.
Sen. Pat Roberts, a Republican from Sebelius’s home state of Kansas, repeated his call for her to resign because of her poor leadership. Sebelius did not respond.
The top Republican on the committee, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), said Sebelius’s earlier testimony to the committee about the website’s readiness was “at best, misinformed.” He predicted more problems ahead and called for Sebelius to visit the committee once a month with status updates.
Several Republicans questioned the security and testing of the website, but Sebelius said that neither security consultants nor the administration felt those concerns warranted halting enrollment.
“No one suggested the risks outweighed the importance of moving forward,” she said, “including Mitre, who made recommendations to CMS as is required.” Mitre is a federally-funded nonprofit that handles much of the marketplace’s security.
… it was democrats as well – supposedly those facing stiff competition in the upcoming elections.
In the Finance committee, Democrats expressed vast “frustration” with the website. But they also had harsh words for the contracters tasked with building HealthCare.gov.
“I want you to burn their fingers and make them pay for not being responsible,” Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) told the secretary.
Just don’t burn your own Madame Secretary: after all it is well-known that in Obama’s administration the buck never stops with whoever is in charge – you see, they were never aware of the failures, ever. They only had full supervision over the successes, if any.
Of course, she wouldn’t work for Obama if she didn’t end it on a Hopiumy note:
Sebelius told the committee that the site will be repaired by the end of the month amid a “couple of hundred” functional fixes that have been identified. “We are into the list but we are not where we need to be,” she said. She also said the experts who have looked at the site and its problems have advised making repairs, not taking the site down completely.
Well, maybe not hopiumy enough.
But going back to the original issue, and a far deeper problem with Obamacare than the ongoing website debacle, is that the targeted core constituency of Obamacare, young people under 35, are nowhere near the fastest enrolling population group, with that distinction instead going to the oldest group, people 55 and over, which also happens the be the biggest use of funds within Obamacare. From the WSJ:
Insurers say the early buyers of health coverage on the nation’s troubled new websites are older than expected so far, raising early concerns about the economics of the insurance marketplaces.
If the trend continues, an older, more expensive set of customers could drive up prices for everyone, the insurers say, by forcing them to spread their costs around. “We need a broad range of people to make this work, and we’re not seeing that right now,” said Heather Thiltgen of Medical Mutual of Ohio, the state’s largest insurer by individual customers. “We’re seeing the population skewing older.”
…the numbers demonstrate a real-world fallout from the digital snafus: Less-healthy customers are more likely to persevere through technical obstacles to gain coverage, insurers say. Younger, healthier customers who feel less need for insurance—but whose widespread participation is important to the financial success of the system—could be quicker to give up.
Naturally, the central-planners had a response ready for this too:
A White House official said the Obama administration expects most young, healthy enrollees to wait until the last minute to sign up, citing research showing that pattern when Massachusetts embarked on a similar health overhaul in 2007. People have until Dec. 15 to enroll in coverage starting Jan. 1, with open enrollment for coverage during the year lasting through next March.
Because, you see, young people are so busy watching the Kardashians, working part-time jobs (if they are lucky), and hunting the rats in their parents’ basement, they just can’t afford to figure out how to complete a sign up form.
Finally, even assuming all these quirks are resolved, the worst case as most know by now, is that Obamacare is actually launched albeit with a several month delay. Because the hit to broader discretionary income will be so big, the Fed will have no choice but to engage in precisely the kind of NGDP targeting, read literal paradropping of cash, that we said would happen over a month ago now that the central bank’s back is against the wall and nothing else has worked so far.