The country could be doing much better -should be doing much better. And that is the theme of my Washington Examiner column today.
The immediate problem is the enormous new costs and even larger uncertainties engendered by Obamacare. Hard to plan your Christmas budget when you don’t know what the health insurance tab is going to be in 2014. Even in states with barely functioning websites like California, the insurance tsars there admit they don’t have a clue whether the posted rates will be sustainable. (Translation: They expect adverse selection to drive rates for individual purchasers through the roof in 2015.)
Governor Christie, Senator Rubio –all of the would-be GOP nominees should start now to say again and again “The country could be doing much better, we should be doing much better, and with genuine reform, we will be doing much better.”
Well, I’ll do my part. Customers of BestFiletMignon.com using the code “Hugh” get 10% off. Ditto purchasers ar SeaBags.com. Use “Hugh” as your discount code there as well.
It is cold here in D.C., and not just outside my hotel.
The problem is that so-called back end systems, which are supposed to deliver consumer information to insurers, still have not been fixed. And with coverage for many people scheduled to begin in just 30 days, insurers are worried the repairs may not be completed in time.
“Until the enrollment process is working from end to end, many consumers will not be able to enroll in coverage,” said Karen M. Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans, a trade group.
The issues are vexing and complex. Some insurers say they have been deluged with phone calls from people who believe they have signed up for a particular health plan, only to find that the company has no record of the enrollment. Others say information they received about new enrollees was inaccurate or incomplete, so they had to track down additional data — a laborious task that would not be feasible if data is missing for tens of thousands of consumers.
In still other cases, insurers said, they have not been told how much of a customer’s premium will be subsidized by the government, so they do not know how much to charge the policyholder.
Did you see those Black Friday crowds, those Thursday and Friday numbers? The crowds will continue in the brick-and mortar stores and online through Cyber-Monday and beyond.
The four-day Black Friday weekend in 2012 racked up $59 billion in sales, and this year’s promises to be larger, perhaps by double-digits.
Americans know how to shop. American businesses know how to serve customers. On yesterday’s radio show, Fran Philip of Seabags.com offered my listeners a 10% discount through December 15 if they use my name “Hugh.” That’s called generating traffic, getting an edge, making a sale –the market. It is underway at millions of businesses across the country.
Nobody told the customers where to go or what to buy or limited their choices. Nobody told WalMart and Target what to stock, Sea Bags to offer free shipping, or BestFiletMignon.com where to advertise.
But after four years and now who knows how many blown deadlines, Obamacare won’t be ready as promised –again– by the president.
And this is the message for every GOP candidate, incumbent or challenger for ever Senate and House race: What we could do, what we could be, if we just got the government out of the way of productive people. And not just in helaht care, but especially in health care.
Those people, under that Dome, God bless ‘em, but they don’t have a clue how to make or sell a car, much less a replacement hip, a dialysis machine or Varithena, Olysio, Luzu, Imbruvica,Aptium, Gazyva, Zohydro ER, Vizamyl, Opsumit, Zorvolex, Novoeight, Otrexup, Adempas, Duavee, Clinolipid, Brintellix, Valchlor, Mirvaso, Trokendi XR, or Epanded –which are all new drugs approved by the FDA in the past three months. Approved, not made mind you, by the government, but invented by the private sector.
The market works, candidates, and the Democrats destroy markets. The market for health insurance needed freeing up –interstate sales of policies, for examples– not hyper-regylation of mandated benefits and grossly incompetent bureaucratic management of websites by careerists who flee from the media and issue self-congratulatory declarations of victory even as their alleged model exchanges fail to serve even one tenth of the people whose policies were cancelled. (For a sober assessment of California’s rocky start, see Dan Weintraub’s reporting here.)
The free market swirls and produces, delivers and enchants and where it fails is punished from Thanksgiving through Christmas with a visibility that it never achieves the rest of the year. Never is the contrast so sharp with the government as right now. Make that point, candidates, and keep making it.
What we could do, what we could be, if the government just got out of the way 9 out of the 10 times it blocks the way forward.