Obamacare Is Winning
Good morning, all.
I tried to get on the Health Insurance Marketplace website yesterday, the first day of open enrollment for health care that would begin in January, 2014, and even earlier. Couldn’t. The site was crashing from the onslaught of millions wanting to enroll, including myself. Let’s hope that these crashes aren’t deliberate; I would not put it past some hater(s) to try something. But it is reasonable to assume that people are curious, want to fill out forms, and want to learn more. By all means, people, read up and turn off cable.
I noted, however, that the top article that many people were reading were how to opt out of Obamacare, thus probably helping to back up access. Oh ye of little faith. In about a year or so, I predict these people are going to be crying to let into the program. I’ll say more later about why, but Jennifer Hudson may be put out of business sooner than Obamacare.
What can I say? There were bound to be glitches during the first few days. I’ve been thrown out several times from the site because it is busy, busy, busy. The wingnuts are braying that this portends failure. No, it doesn’t. We also don’t really know yet how many people actually registered the first day. Yet all indications are positive:
Here are some of the early details about Obama enrollment emerging on a state and national level (this post will be updated as the day continues):
National website: A senior Obama administration officialreported that just three hours after Obamacare’s open enrollment period launched, the national Healthcare.gov site had one million visitors. That’s five times more users on the site than the number of users who have ever visited Medicare.gov at the same time. At about 3:45 pm, the White House’s deputy press secretary reported that up to 2.8 million people had visited the site since its launch, and 81,000 people had called the federal hotline to get information about Obamacare.
California: The Golden State celebrated its first Obamacare enrollee at 8:45 am Pacific Standard Time. Since then, state residents have tweeted that they’re “impressed” with how easy it is to use the exchange’s app, and the site is “working like a charm for Californians.” The officials running the exchange say the site is getting 10,00 hits every second.
Colorado: In Colorado, the exchange site opened for business at 8:00 am Mountain Standard Time. Three hours later, state officials had completed the first enrollments and the site had logged over 34,500 unique visitors. During the first half of the day, 1,300 Colorado residents created accounts on the site. Creating an account is the first step for people who want to shop for coverage and eventually buy a new plan under Obamacare.
Connecticut: Despite a few initial glitches with its website, Connecticut signed up its first Obamacare enrollee by 9:30 am. And at that point, 764 other people had active applications for the state’s exchange. “For a site that’s been up for 25 minutes, it’s not bad,” the CEO of Connecticut’s new insurance marketplace, Kevin Counihan, noted. By about 11:30 am, the state had logged 10,000 visitors to its website. By about 2:00 pm, state officials reported that they had fielded 17,000 phone calls from residents and enrolled 44 people for coverage.
District of Columbia: DC’s exchange opened for business at 8:00 am. By noon, about 1,500 DC residents had created accounts on the exchange site, according to a spokesperson for the exchange. The District hasn’t yet experienced any issues with its website.
Florida: MSNBC reports that community health care clinics in Orlando are experiencing long lines as low-income people are visiting to learn more about their options under Obamacare. The CEO of a community clinic in Miami that primarily services uninsured Floridians told MSNBC that Tuesday represents a “new day” for low-income patients who can now gain affordable coverage.
Illinois: By noon on Tuesday, more than 42,000 people had visited the website for Illinois’ exchange.
Kentucky: Kentucky is the only Southern state that’s chosen to participate fully in health care reform by both expanding Medicaid and operating a state-level exchange. So far, it’s paying off. Between midnight and 10:30 am on Tuesday, Kentucky’s website had more than 24,000 visitors. The employees working to manage the exchange processed more than 1,000 applicationsfor health insurance by 9:30 am. By the afternoon, nearly 2,000 people had applied for coverage.
Nevada: As of 10:00 am Pacific Standard Time, 770 different people had created accounts to shop for plans on Nevada’s exchange. State officials had already fielded 492 calls from residents at that point. By 11 am, those numbers had risen to 1,236 accounts and 758 calls.
New York: In the first two hours that New York’s exchange website was open to the public, 2 million people visited the site. That’s a huge chunk of the population that stands to benefit from Obamacare. Approximately 2.6 million New York residents are currently uninsured, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Rhode Island: After Kaiser Health News solicited feedback from people trying to sign up for Obamacare, a Rhode Island resident responded with a positive experience. “Rhode Island site working fine. So many choices at so many price points! Something 4 everyone. I’m ecstatic,” Annabelle Leigh tweeted.
Virginia: Paula Thornhill, a 31-year-old mother of seven, was the first person to apply for a new plan in Prince George’s County. Her husband has health insurance through his job, but they couldn’t afford to pay the extra premium costs to cover her as well. “I’m relieved that they did come out with this affordable health care,” she told the Washington Post. “I’m relieved.”
Blacks and Latinos and others of color who are in straitened circumstances—I don’t think that they need prompting to go after this opportunity.
African Americans are, not surprisingly, in the worst shape in the pre-ACA system. We are less likely to have health insurance than other Americans. We are less likely to have access to a primary care physician, often relying on the emergency room for medical treatment. And when we do have a doctor, we’re less likely to receive quality care.
“In the black community, there are health disparities — higher rates of obesity, diabetes, asthma, certain types of cancer. Part of that has been because of a lack of health insurance. Not having health insurance is the most significant driver of health disparities in our community,” said Gracia. “More than 20 percent in the black community don’t have access to quality care, don’t have access to the services that will keep us healthy.”
Before the ACA, insurance companies could deny people from coverage for pre-existing conditions. Women were charged premiums up to 50 percent higher than men. “Just being a woman was considered a pre-existing condition,” Gracia said.
In January 2014, when coverage kicks in for plans purchased by Dec. 15, millions of Americans will have access to affordable health care. Some provisions of the health care law, signed in March 2009, are already in place, benefiting millions of black people…
There is more about Obamacare that will benefit blacks at The Root. Especially, the impetus, through the Act, to build more community clinics, something that not only creates services but jobs as well.
Okay, so why do I think people are going to be crying to receive Obamacare? One possibility is that people hate the name Obamacare without reason, much like they cannot contain their dislike of the president who made it happen, Barack Obama. Jimmy Kimmel’s priceless man-on-the-street interviews shown on his Monday show with ordinary pedestrians shows how they would rather see Obamacare as some awful calamity and the Affordable Care Act as this benign munificence—without realizing that both are the same thing. Sorta like white Southerners wanting to call the Civil War the War Between the States, but you get my drift. As someone commented on the Huffington Post recently, people living in insane asylums have more sense than Kimmel’s interviewees.
Once these people realize what the program actually is, they will swallow crow. Especially those who have been mainlining Faux Noise and the whole spectrum of hate media for so long that they have lost the power to discern and to think rationally, if they ever possessed it. They are going to hear about Obamacare from neighbors, friends, and relatives who are unemployed, underemployed, have pre-existing conditions, and so forth. They are going to find out that those who were afraid of losing their health plans still have them, and that prices haven’t gone up exponentially. They are going to find out that they were wrong, and that they may need it just as much as the next person.
Sign-up results probably won’t be finalized for some time, and the outcome of receiving these health benefits can’t be ascertained for some time to come. We won’t know yet what works and what doesn’t. As far as I am concerned, let it ride and let it work. We can iron out problems as they go. The website’s answer pages are pretty straightforward. I mean, I got answers to my questions settled. That is, they also cover prescription glasses and they will help you get dental insurance.
Otherwise, if you are poor, have lost your health insurance when you were fired or laid off, or are underemployed, apply. Or just want to know more about who gets Obamacare and who doesn’t, go to http:.//www.healthcare.gov for further details. There is even a Chat Line for those who want to speak to an agent if you aren’t receiving the answers you need. Show some respect to these representatives. Understand that there is going to be a wait time, but to be on the safe side, try to apply after normal hours or better, after the first week. And good luck. We all need it.
- Reach for the stars! Connecticut Obamacare enrollment exceeds baker’s dozen in 3 hours (twitchy.com)
- Millions Visit Obamacare Exchanges (nation.time.com)
- Obamacare so in demand that sites are overwhelmed (dailykos.com)