Obamacare 411

May 4, 2013
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obamacare

About three months ago I posted an edition titled “Obamacare 911.” For some reason this excited the search engines and I continue to receive a majority of hits when people search. Not certain if it’s the Obamacare or the 911, or perhaps both.

Today I realized Obamacare 411 is a much better title. It hints that this is the place for Information, or as it’s called today, “Directory Assistance.”

 

obamacare

About three months ago I posted an edition titled “Obamacare 911.” For some reason this excited the search engines and I continue to receive a majority of hits when people search. Not certain if it’s the Obamacare or the 911, or perhaps both.

Today I realized Obamacare 411 is a much better title. It hints that this is the place for Information, or as it’s called today, “Directory Assistance.”

411 for the Accountable Care Act is becoming overloaded. The numbers and information change rapidly.

healthcare policySen. Max Baucus    ACAHHS Kathleen Sebelius

Senator Max Baucus (Democrat), who previously supported the Affordable Care Act, strongly admonished the Head of HHS (Kathleen Sibelius) before a congressional hearing, stating the law was badly flawed and miscalculated in terms of start up expenses.

WASHINGTON – A senior Democratic senator who helped write President Barack Obama’s health care law stunned administration officials Wednesday, saying openly he thinks it’s headed for a “train wreck” because of bumbling implementation.

“I just see a huge train wreck coming down,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., told Obama’s health care chief during a routine budget hearing that suddenly turned tense.

Baucus is the first top Democrat to publicly voice fears about the rollout of the new health care law, designed to bring coverage to some 30 million uninsured people through a mix of government programs and tax credits for private insurance.

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A six-term veteran, Baucus expects a tough re-election in 2014. He’s still trying to recover from approval ratings that nosedived amid displeasure with the health care law in his home state.

Normally low-key and supportive, Baucus challenged Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at Wednesday’s hearing.

He said he’s “very concerned” that new health insurance marketplaces for consumers and small businesses will not open on time in every state, and that if they do, they might just flop because residents don’t have the information they need to make choices.

Responding to Baucus, Sebelius pointedly noted that Republicans in Congress last year blocked funding for carrying out the health care law, and she had to resort to raiding other legally available departmental funds.

The administration is asking for $1.5 billion in next year’s budget, and Republicans don’t seem willing to grant that, either.

At one point, as Sebelius tried to answer Baucus’s demand for facts and figures, the senator admonished: “You haven’t given me any data; you just give me concepts, frankly.”

“I don’t know what he’s looking at,” Sebelius told reporters following her out of the room after Baucus adjourned the hearing. “But we are on track to fully implement marketplaces in Jan. 2014, and to be open for open enrollment.”

That open-enrollment launch is only months away, Oct. 1. It’s when millions of middle-class consumers who don’t get coverage through their jobs can start shopping for a private plan in the new marketplaces.

But half the states, most of them Republican-led, have refused to cooperate in setting up the infrastructure of Obama’s law. Others, like Montana, are politically divided. The overhaul law provided that the federal government would step in and run the new markets if a state failed to do so.

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After the hearing, Baucus’ office clarified that he still thinks the Affordable Care Act is a good law, but he questions how it is being carried out.

And the Washington Times Reports:

“From the outset, the senator’s terse and pointed questions made it clear that he did not think her agency had done enough to implement key pillars of the law by 2014.

He also said he is “very concerned” by the lack of information among small business and accountants who are “throwing their hands” up over the law.

“I just see a huge train wreck coming down,” Mr. Baucus said Wednesday. “You and I have discussed this many times, and I don’t see any results yet.”

His comments turned heads because Republicans are typically the ones who openly criticize Mr. Obama’s signature domestic achievement.

Mr. Baucus has served in the Senate since 1978 but faces a tenuous battle for re-election in 2014.

Last month, he was among four Democrats from traditionally red states who voted against the Senate Democrats’ budget plan for the coming year. And Wednesday, he was among a handful of Democrats who did not support a bill that would expand background checks before certain gun sales – signs of just how fragile his political terrain has become.”