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ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Marketplace "consumers" denied the information they need to shop

The Times:

With health insurance marketplaces about to open for 2015 enrollment, the Obama administration has told insurance companies that it will delay requirements for them to disclose data on (1) the number of people enrolled, (2) the number of claims denied and (3) the costs to consumers for specific services.

For months, insurers have been asking the administration if they had to comply with two sections of the Affordable Care Act that require “transparency in coverage.”

In a bulletin sent to insurers last week, the administration said, “We do not intend to enforce the transparency requirements until we provide further guidance.” Administration officials said the government and insurers needed more time to collect and analyze the data.

The mind boggles, doesn't it? Remember, the whole (flawed) rationale for ObamaCare (assuming good faith) was that consumers, by shopping in the marketplace, would bring costs down by forcing competition on insurers[1]. Suppose -- bear with me, here -- I were ordering health insurance from Amazon.com; not so far fetched when you remember Obama compared using the marketplaces to buying a flat screen TV at Best Buy. At Amazon, you'd see (1) how many people bought the product ("the number of people enrolled"), (2) whether the shipper actually delivered on the product ("number of claims denied"), and (3) how much the product costs ("the costs to consumers for specific services"). On this last, yes, I know services are supposed to be covered by the policy, but with narrow networks and formularies, along with high deductibles and co-pays, it's hard to know. For example, I'd want to make damned sure, with a high-priced procedure, that the service provider was in network. Price breakouts would help with that.)

So, Obama wants you to be a smart shopper; he just doesn't want to give you the information that would make you smart (again, assuming the idea that shopping makes you a better consumer of health care works, which it doesn't). That's some catch.

Better still, you aren't being given information about a product that you're mandated to buy. That's the part that boggles my mind.

I don't know what the hold-up is, and the article doesn't say. Could be the administration doesn't want information like this revealed before the mid-terms; could be that the continuing back-end problems render the administration incapable of aggregating the data. Whatever.

NOTE [1] Of course, the insurance companies are also shifting costs to consumers, as this New York Times post shows. But Obama called that "skin in the game." So it's all good.

NOTE [2] You'd also see reviews. How come nobody's talking about adding that function?

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