Friday Follies: KC Star’s Obamacare hate editorial, Sebelius arrogance and Healthcare.gov malfeasance

October 25, 2013
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The Folly Fodder this week could go on ad infinitum but in the interest of space and time I have focused this week’s entries to the three key players in the Obamacare roll out:  The federal contractors that designed the debacle known as healthcare.gov, the head of the agency that let the contracts that paid for the debacle known as healthcare.gov, and a representative sample of the journalistic malfeasance that carries this administration’s water on the debacle known as healthcare.gov.

So what time is it?  Tis that time once again when we take stock of the inane and foolish put upon us by those forced to navigate life with an amount of gray matter just slightly larger than that found in your average toad

#3  The representatives of the four federal contractors, CGI Federal, QSSI, Equifax Workforce and Serco, that now that they’ve been exposed for wasting hundreds of millions of tax payer dollars on the absolute worst website in the history of the internet could do nothing but blame the government that hired them.

Granted, HHS, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and probably the White House as well, are neck deep in this pile of crap but when Cheryl Campbell, VP of CGI stated that “It was not our position to tell our client whether they should go live or not go live”

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., had one of the best analogies of the day:

“I think it’s really kind of a lame excuse,… Amazon and eBay don’t crash the week before Christmas and ProFlowers doesn’t crash on Valentine’s Day.”

But then Amazon, eBay, and Pro-Flowers have incentive not to fail:  bankruptcy.  The only incentive for these four contractors not to fail has so far been but 3 ½ hours of testimony split four ways in exchange for over a half a billion dollars in the bank.

Never happen in the private sector but this is Washington D.C.;  Home of the public sector, home of the public servants, home of the smartest President ever, birthplace of “fundamental transformation”.  Logic and reason have no place here.

The incestuous relationship between federal contractors and government bureaucrats that let those contracts has produced several horrors over the past few decades but none as ugly and dysfunctional as healthcare.gov.

Here’s the full video via the C-Span video library.

#2  The former Governor of my home state Kansas who now perpetrates her incompetence upon an entire nation, one Kathleen Sibelius.

It was bad enough she blew off  yesterday’s Congressional hearing to attend a Wednesday night Boston gala, but then she showed her true colors Thursday night with this response to a question on whether she should resign over her failure:

The majority of people calling for me to resign are, I would say, people who I don’t work for and who do not want this program to work in the first place. I have had frequent conversations with the president and I’ve committed to him that my role is to get the program up and running, and we will do just that.

Click the link to view the video, courtesy of Keith Koffler’s  www.whitehousedossier.com.

#1  This week’s top spot goes to none other than that  bastion of “journalistic excellence” (term used EXTREMELY loosely) the Kansas City Star.  Along with its sister paper the Wichita Eagle, the McClatchy group has a virtual lock on print coverage in the state and ergo a larger than should have editorial voice and influence in the state.

An editorial voice that sent my blood pressure up another few notches with this editorial reprinted in the Joplin Globe this morning:

Remove Obstacles

More than three weeks into its launch, Health Care.gov is not working properly. People are having trouble logging in. The registration process is too onerous. Frustrating delays or cutoffs can occur at any stage. And when consumers manage to create accounts and actually purchase insurance, the site sometimes sends the wrong information to insurers.

No one expected a glitch-free rollout, and at first it seemed that high demand may have crashed the portal. But the problems now appear severe and long term. News reports have revealed a process that was underfunded, rushed and put together without the technical expertise required for such a monumental task.

Those are reasons for the opening flop but hardly excuses. The insurance exchanges are a core provision of the Affordable Care Act, and the administration needs to get this right.

Failure to do so could have severe consequences, especially in states like Missouri and Kansas, where GOP obstruction has caused thousands of uninsured residents to fix their hopes on the federal marketplace.

States had the option of creating their own insurance exchanges. Most of those that did are outperforming the federal exchange. State-designed marketplaces in places like Washington, New York, California and even heavily Republican Kentucky have enrolled about 150,000 persons so far, according to The Washington Post.

The federal government hasn’t released any figures yet, but the number of consumers who have actually signed up for insurance is thought to be much lower than hoped for.

Troubled beginnings for big, new Web-based programs are hardly novel. The portal for Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit, was so clunky that its launch in 2005 was delayed for three weeks. That was a Republican-backed entitlement program, but Democrats helped get it up and running.

Consumers would benefit greatly if Republicans in Washington and state legislatures would take that posture now.

Unfortunately, Republican politicians in Missouri and some other states are so blinded by an irrational hatred of “Obamacare” they are openly committed to seeing the exchanges fail. Voters need to let them know that is unacceptable.

Already we are looking at a situation where insurance policies are likely to be more expensive in Missouri than in most other states, precisely because of obstacles set up to impede the state’s participation in the federal exchange.

— The Kansas City Star

I could write a more nuanced “critique” of the above but instead choose to copy my initial reaction I fired off in an email before the sun was even awake this morning:

“…….I know the Star leans left but damn.

I actually found myself agreeing with the editorial today.  UNTIL, the last two lines.  For line after line they pretty much stayed to the facts, then BAM, there it was they just couldn’t help themselves.

“blinded by the irrational hate”?  Yes, I hate Obamacare but for purely rational, economic reasons. 

It’s bad law, it doesn’t bend down the cost curve, it doesn’t allow purchase across state lines, it doesn’t include tort reform, while it DOES dis-incentivize medical research, is driving doctors out of the profession, overloads an already broken system, derives much of i’s “savings” from just further lowering payments to providers. 

The only reason it’s “affordable” is because of the billions in subsidies being paid for by other Americans who many are seeing their own coverage canceled because they didn’t meet arbitrary HHS mandated benefits.  Benefits many don’t need nor want.

And it’s those mandated benefits and the rest as stated that are driving up the cost of Missouri and other states insurance not some “irrational hate” as the Star just couldn’t help itself to throw in there……”

You can let your own thoughts be known on the bias at the Star by contacting their public editor via publiceditor@kcstar.com,, submit your own response via oped@kcstar.com  or kick it up a notch to parent company McClatchy with an email to Communications Director Peter Tira at ptira@mcclatchy.com

I realize, you’re all busy and time is always too short, but the tagline of the Corner is not just a catchy phrase I and my marketing guru Mr. Miller Lite came up with one Saturday night.  “Where apathy reigns, tyranny rules”, to me at least, pretty much says it all. 

We either make the time to make ourselves and our views known, or by default we accept to live under the rules made by others.

As always, thanks for reading and I’ll see ya round the Corner.

UPDATE (10:20am)

H/T once again to  Keith Koffler and his White House Dossier website.  He’s just posted video from CBS News’ Jan Crawford reporting on how thousands of the new Obamacare enrollees aren’t actually getting insurance but instead are getting the expanded Medicaid benefit.  Yes, the very same expanded Medicaid that the feds are paying for now, but can never pay for in the future.  The expanded Medicaid that many state Governors saw for what it was:  a bait and switch that would leave their own states on the hook for billions of additional costs down the road.

View the post and video here:  State Signups Flocking to Medicaid – Not Insurers.

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One Response to Friday Follies: KC Star’s Obamacare hate editorial, Sebelius arrogance and Healthcare.gov malfeasance

  1. anson on October 25, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Conservatives ranting against a failed web site launch are only ranting, again. A bad launch of a web site can be fixed, over time and such will happen at huge cost for sure. “Tiger Teams” get paid big bucks and I used to make money doing exactly that, from time to time.
    The KC Star and about half of the country miss the point. The cost of private insurance is going up, again, because private insurance companies have to pay for “everything” when it comes to HC now, pre-existing conditions, unneeded test, no caps on cost etc., etc.
    Demand with government decree, force if you will, for a private company to pay more, for more “stuff” and guess what? Private companies demand more money for their product, period.
    And to think that the money will come from the people that don’t want to buy the product in the first place, needed product or not, is insane. It goes against human nature, to buy something you don’t want, again needed or not by someone else’s view of the matter.
    Solution posed by most progressives is to get private companies out of HC payments. They ulitmately want “government to pay for it”.
    Are you kidding me. Government has yet to really pay for Medicare, over 40 years of government HC payments for now about 50 million people. Government only pays for it by borrowing more and more money for Medicare, forget ACA, each year and no solution for the Medicare problem is in site.
    Want more HC then pay for more HC becomes the solution. Who pays now is the debate, in essence. Last time I checked people that NEEDED a product were expected to pay for the product, themselves.
    But not in today’s America, for sure. “Someone else must pay” is the progressive mantra.
    Anson

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