11th Hour Chutzpah & Obamacare Exchange Enrollment Begins Anyway

1 Oct

18 times over the last 6 months, Senate Democrats have asked House Republicans to start a budget conference in order to work out differences and compromise on differences the two bodies have with respect to the federal budget and continuing resolutions to fund the government. 18 times over the last 6 months, House Speaker John Boehner has refused. A conference committee could only lead to compromise, and compromise is strengstens verboten in tea party dogma.

So, yesterday there was a grand theater, mostly orchestrated by Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who has insisted all week that Obamacare has been a failure,  despite the fact that open enrollment for the health insurance exchanges commences today, whereby the House sent the Senate a continuing resolution that would delay implementation of the individual health insurance mandate for one year. 

It doesn’t take a Ph.D. in political science to figure out that the Republicans don’t really want the mandate delayed a year – if they were to secure a delay (which, on its face, sounds reasonable) – they get another year to demagogue what Obamacare is, and another year to sell people on a full repeal. Why, we might even get another 10 – 20 House repeal votes on top of the 40+ that have already taken place. Take Obamacare implementation into 2014, and the Republicans get a whole year to run on Obamacare repeal and get a fourth bite at the apple of undoing a law that was duly and legally enacted in 2010. 

The House refused to send the Senate a “clean” continuing resolution that contained no effort to delay Obamacare, despite the fact that Obamacare is unaffected by a shutdown. It was all for show.

Senator Reid held up a Medicare-related artifact

So, after several attempts to send the Senate an unacceptable continuing resolution, Boehner sought a conference committee with the Senate. If House Republicans were remotely serious about governing, rather than shutting down the government, they could have done this months ago. Weeks ago. Even days ago. 

So, as 800,000 federal workers get furloughed (which will adversely affect the economy), and after all of this utterly needless drama, the Obamacare health exchanges are up and running for open enrollment today for coverage starting January 1st.  If you’re on Medicare or Medicaid, nothing changes. If you have coverage through your employer, nothing changes (although you now have more consumer protections and wider mandatory coverage for preventative care). If you have no coverage, you can check healthcare.gov and find out what your options are. More specifically, go to http://healthbenefitexchange.ny.gov/ and find out what is available for you here in New York. 

Happy Obamacare day, everybody. Even the cretins’ shutdown-for-show couldn’t stop it. 


22 Responses to “11th Hour Chutzpah & Obamacare Exchange Enrollment Begins Anyway”

  1. Michael Rebmann October 1, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    Millions of people already have a one year delay from the implementation of Obamacare due to the exemptions already granted to many businesses. The Senate Democrats are easily just as guilty of grandstanding, if not more so, than House Republicans. Their failure to discuss anything, even the patently unfair medical device excise tax, is indefensible. Putting an extra charge on people using medically necessary devices is deplorable.

    • Alan Bedenko October 1, 2013 at 10:50 am #


      When legislators drafted the Affordable Care Act, they asked each health industry to essentially give something up in return for the increased volume of patients they would now see. Health insurers, for example, will pay an industry-wide fee that generates $60.1 billion in revenue over the course of a decade. Pharmaceutical companies had a higher assessment of $80 billion.

      As for medical device makers, they ended up with a 2.3 percent tax on sales. This will, according to the Congressional Budget Office, generate $29 billion in revenue over the course of a decade–which the health law plows back into expanding insurance coverage. The tax applies to devices such as defibrillators or pacemakers. Anything sold over-the-counter directly to consumers (think hearing aids, contact lenses and eyeglasses) is exempt.

      A 2.3% sales tax isn’t “deplorable”. You misspelled “reasonable”.

      • Michael Rebmann October 1, 2013 at 11:42 am #

        Those industry costs are ultimately passed on to the people (patients) utilizing the services/devices/products of those industries. I thought one of the justifications for the Affordable Care Act was to lower health care costs. At best, this excise tax maintains the status quo. Next year I will be due for a new piece of medical equipment to treat my sleep apnea. The out of pocket expense, after insurance, is approximately $5,000. An excise tax on this equipment hardly seems reasonable.

      • Alan Bedenko October 1, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

        So, in your mind, a 2.3% sales tax on medical devices – a tax borne by the insurance companies, incidentally – is the equivalent of an uninsured person suddenly having access to quality insurance for $280 that yesterday cost over $1000. This to you is “status quo”.

        If your cost for sleep apnea device is $5,000 out of pocket, it sounds to me like you have some shitty insurance there. Maybe go find a better plan. After all, they can’t deny you coverage despite your pre-existing condition.

      • Michael Rebmann October 1, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

        Maintaining the status quo is not taking advantage of cost savings opportunities at the expense of people already bearing significant costs. As for my insurance coverage, it is one of the better plans. Durable Medical Goods, of which Bipap and Cpap equipment are classified, have a $1000 annual maximum allowance. The plan is through Independent Health. I have compared group plan rates from all companies that would provide a higher annual allowance, however, the difference in premiums is greater than the out of pocket expenses. Insurance will only provide coverage for new equipment once every 5 years. If I were to go through the exchange for better coverage, my monthly premium cost would be more than double what it is now. Even the silver plan, which is worse coverage, would significantly increase my out of pocket expenses.

      • Alan Bedenko October 1, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

        Maybe you’re overpaying for your devices.

      • Michael Rebmann October 1, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

        I’m sure I am overpaying. In a system of health care which is highly regulated, and leaves little choice of providers, I am basically stuck with dealing with in-network approved suppliers. Going out of network triggers a deductible which wipes out any savings. I do actually buy nasal masks online cheaper than going through the approved provider and having half the cost covered by insurance. A mask through my provider costs $130, of which insurance pays half. I buy the same mask online for $56. Something is wrong with that picture and it is directly a result of regulations.

      • rastamaniac October 1, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

        Why not go see why everyone is buzzing abut Somalia? No pesky government regulations, no liberal health care policies draining the pockets of righties and Glibertarians. There’s a tropical climate and some serious capital to be gleaned from maritime operations in the Gulf of Aden. Investors and self starters always welcome.

      • Michael Rebmann October 1, 2013 at 7:16 pm #

        Friends, family, and a desire to see my country moving in the right direction. Running away is easy. Fixing things is noble.

      • UncleBluck October 2, 2013 at 10:25 am #

        And fixing things is what is being done regardless of the Tea Party….

      • Michael Rebmann October 2, 2013 at 11:15 am #

        The Affordable Care Act cements and mandates the inherent problems driving the upward spiral of health care costs for all except the chosen few. The Tea Party, Republicans and Democrats share the blame for not putting together a comprehensive plan that would actually be beneficial for everyone by reducing those costs without threatening the quality of care and respecting the rights of individuals.

      • Alan Bedenko October 2, 2013 at 10:01 am #

        Maybe you should have quit smoking earlier. Now, you expect other people to pay for your breathing problems.

      • Michael Rebmann October 2, 2013 at 11:23 am #

        Your logic escapes me since my sleep apnea predates smoking and the disconnect you put forth claiming I expect others to pay for my treatment.

      • Ridgewaycynic2013 October 1, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

        Ditch the smoke…you’ll breathe and sleep better.

      • Michael Rebmann October 1, 2013 at 4:05 pm #

        Actually, I haven’t had a cigarette since July 18.

      • Oswald Carnes October 1, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

        That’s too bad. They make you look so cool and wordly. It’s never too late to start again!

      • Ridgewaycynic2013 October 1, 2013 at 4:07 pm #

        Good! Now fix your pic… 😀

    • BuffaloB October 1, 2013 at 12:11 pm #

      You come off as something of a high functioning sociopath …

      • Oswald Carnes October 1, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

        Why do you think he’s “high functioning”?

      • BuffaloB October 1, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

        LOL, nice …

        But, yeah, he can at least slap together a syntactically correct sentence. That is something to think about when you consider his political cohorts.

      • Oswald Carnes October 1, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

        Ah, I see. It’s a low bar.

  2. Sean Danvers October 1, 2013 at 2:05 pm #

    TBN is reporting the NY State exchange has crashed from heavy use. Must be the terrible-ness.

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