ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Max Baucus throws ObamaCare, and his own bill, under the bus
(To be fair, ObamaCare isn't really Baucus's bill. It was crafted for him by Liz Fowler, a WellPoint VP on secondment to his office as Chief of Staff. She has since re-entered the private sector seeking opportunity in the lucrative field of buffing the turd that is the ACA for Big Pharma.) HuffPo:
Max Baucus Says He Fears Obamacare Is Headed For 'Huge Train Wreck'
Welcome aboard, "Max." If I may call you "Max." Baucus is, of course, a craven opportunist. Then again, that makes him a good leading indicator:
"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 [No doubt!]. ...
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.
"The administration's public information campaign on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act deserves a failing grade," he told Sebelius. "You need to fix this."
Well, that's hardly fair. There are no exchanges on the web to show, and so no marketing can be done, oh lordy.
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 departmental funds that were legally available to her.
Sibelius even botches the blame-shifting. Did that really slow down the process? She doesn't say.
"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 will be able to start shopping for a private plan in the new marketplaces, or exchanges. They'll also be able to find out* if they qualify for tax credits that will lower their premiums. At the same time, low-income people will be steered** to government programs, mainly an expanded version of Medicaid.***
So the "launch" is happening October 1, but the "full" implementation is January 1? What does that make the October launch? An open public beta?
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. Envisioned as a fallback, federal control now looks like it will be the norm in about half the country, straining the resources of the department Sebelius leads.
Meanwhile, ObamaCare won't even be granting waivers to states that want to start experimenting with single payer until 2017, so we've got four years of #FAIL to look forward to before we can start testing the only proven solution on offer!
NOTE * Although they might not necessarily "find out" on the health exchange sites. It's not clear to me how hard and fast the tax credit data will be, given that if your income changes, your tax credit will change.
NOTE ** That would be the "low income" people who are Internet savvy, have decent computers that can handle the health exchange web sites, are "engaged" (HHS is not going to market ObamaCare to the "vulnerable and disengaged").
NOTE *** As opposed to a "government program" like Medicare ("for All"), the known and loved single payer solution ObamaCare --tinfoil hat time! -- is designed to privatize and destroy.