Thursday November 14, 2013
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Since the grand opening of Healthcare.gov - the federal home of Obamacare - on October 1, 2013, the federal government has been able to sign up only 26,794 people.
26,794 people is something short of what the Administration of Barack Obama had hoped for, had sneered at Republicans for doubting, and had assured the American public it was on target to produce.
Put another way, after spending over three years and, according to the Washington Post, between $170 and $300 million (just for the website), the geniuses at the Department of Health and Human Services have been able to sign up the equivalent of the entire population of … Carbondale, Illinois (Pop. 26,241)
If you're looking for something to compare all this with, Amazon.com gets about 4.3 million unique visitors - per day; almost 129 million per month.
According to NBC News, HHS has had a "goal of 7 million newly signed up by the end of March" 2014.
I think I'm doing this correctly: 7 million - 26,794 = 6,973,296.
There are 137 days from today until March 31, 2014. Leaving out Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years; plus Martin Luther King and Presidents' Days that leaves 132 days (Let's assume the website will, like Amazon or eBay but not Chick-fil-A, function on Sundays).
Starting tomorrow, the Healthcare.gov website has to average 52,828 Americans signing up each and every day.
Given that only 623 have enrolled on the healthcare.gov website in the first 43 days, there is - as they say in those "Think Positive" lectures - plenty of opportunity for growth.
That 26,794 number represents the number of people who have gone through the federal site. An additional 79,000 signed up using state-run websites, so I have somewhat overstated the "opportunity for growth."
In Washington State, though, some 8,000 enrollees are getting some bad news: The amount of the premiums that the state system said they would have to pay was incorrect to the low side. Why? Because the state system was sending the IRS "hub" monthly income figures; while the IRS "hub" was calculating the amount of subsidies based on annual income figures.
Sort of like that time? In 1998? That NASA had two different groups working on a mission - Lockheed Martin and Jet Propulsion Labs - and the Lockheed team used English units of measurement while the JPL team used metric calculations to send guidance signals to the spacecraft?
Result? The Mars Climate Orbiter missed the whole planet.
Another problem with Healthcare.gov not being able to sign people up for health insurance is that the private sector is moving along with its part of the deal with private sector efficiency.
In California, for instance 35,364 people have signed up using the state's system. That's the good news. The bad news is that over one million Californians have been sent cancellation notices by their insurance company.
Those would be notices cancelling the policies that President Obama promised Americans they could keep if they liked their plans.
How is all this playing in America? According to RealClearPolitics.com no national poll that has been in the field this month has President Obama's job approval above 44 percent, nor disapproval below 52 percent. Two polls - Pew and Quinnipiac - have him at 39 percent.
A chart published by Chris Cizzilla in his Washington Post blog "The Fix" dramatically demonstrates the state Obama is in.
I know what you're saying: "Moron. Obama's not going to run for anything again so who cares?"
Every Democrat running for election or re-election in 2014, would be the answer to that.
The mid-term election of 2010 was fought in the Arena of the health care issue. Two years later, Mitt Romney allowed the President's team to move the fight from that to Romney's business practices.
But in 2014 there is little doubt that what we now call Obamacare will be on the minds of voters and reporters. Reporters love stories about people who are being treated unfairly. A family of four making more than the upper limit for a subsidy will, in many, many cases, be paying more in premiums and will have a higher co-pay than they had before.
If I were advising Republicans running for office next year - any office - I would want as many people as possible to sign up for Obamacare and then look for young families who are paying a lot more for their insurance and make my Democratic opponent answer for it.
If Republicans expand their majority in the U.S. House and take over control (or come close) of the U.S. Senate, the definition of the term "Pyrrhic Victory" will include these words: "See, also, Obamacare."
On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to all of the stories referenced including how much the website costs, the NBC summary of how its all going, the Washington State snafu, the mission that missed Mars, the Cillizza column on Obama's numbers and the definition of a "Pyrrhic victory" which you've never, ever looked up on your own.
Also a Mullfoto that goes straight to the heart of the Redskin controversy.
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