Obamacare glitches

Obamacare glitches
  •  emoticon

Unfolding, as it did, in perfect unison with the shutdown of the United States federal government, the formal rollout of Obamacare has easily been the most overreported underreported story of the last week.

Since October first, Americans without health insurance, or those merely dissatisfied with the insurance they already own, have been able to visit Healthcare.gov and do some shopping at the central marketplace of the so-called Obamacare “exchanges.” Simply enter your state of residence, your number of co-dependents, and a couple personal facts about your income and lifestyle (excluding pre-existing medical conditions, of course!) and the magical website will hook you up with a couple affordable health insurance packages, and possibly even some subsidies to help bring down the cost.

That’s the theory, at least. The practice, alas, has proven slightly more underwhelming.

The site is extraordinarily slow. Error messages are common. Drop-down menus in particular seem to never load properly. Tech support has been described as “Kafkaesque.” It’s getting to the point where making YouTube videos or live-blogging attempts to navigate Healthcare.gov has become a full-fledged meme, so much fun is being had at the poor site’s buggy expense.

On some level, the recepiton was perhaps inevitable. We are talking, after all, about the world’s largest government bureaucracy attempting to produce a simple, easy-to-use website for the world’s most web-savvy (if not web-spoiled) population. President Obama’s health secretary has already likened the post-release bitchiness to to the snark that always accompanies the release of a new Apple product, and to some extent that’s fair — a lot of Americans are probably being critical just to demonstrate their high standards of user interfaces and whatnot, particularly the programmer community, who’ve had a predictable lot to say about the site’s sloppy coding. But there’s are more substantial complaints, too.

One of the reasons lurid travels through the reeds of Obamacare have become such a stable source of vicarious entertainment is because very few Americans seem to be actually using the site. Though the White House has stated it will not be releasing user statistics on Healthcare.gov until November, this column in the London Guardian cites a survey in which only seven percent of Americans claim “actual first- or even secondhand experience” with the thing. Over at the London Daily Mail, meanwhile (why the British papers are all over this beat I have no idea), sources from within the federal health department have apparently leaked statistics claiming the total Obama care-assisted enrollment figure for week one is a measly 51,000. According to other reports, in some states the number of Americans who have successfully purchased health care through the site ranges from five to zero.

While some of the site’s boycotters are doubtlessly doing so for partisan reasons, others have likely been spurred to steer clear by media reports of users disappointed with the experience — particularly the vast, middle-class majority of Americans who already have health insurance and are too wealthy to qualify for cost-cutting subsidies.

It’s no longer very controversial to assert that the many fresh obligations imposed upon insurance firms by the President’s Affordable Care Act — particularly the ban disallowing the denial of customers based on pre-existing conditions and the mandate of comprehensive benefits all health insurance packages must now provide — will result in higher premiums by simple virtue that insurers need money coming in to churn more good stuff out. With this in mind, it seems the plans offered by the Healthcare.gov exchanges, with their adjusted, post-Obamacare costs, represent many Americans’ first glimpse of what government-regulated “affordable” health care actually looks like — and its a price tag they’d rather avoid. The uninsured, meanwhile, particularly the gaggle of so-called “young invincibles” who have never had to worry about health insurance one way or another until now, may have simply found the whole business of navigating the insurance market too complex and intimidating, particularly given the oft-repeated statistic that the Affordable Care Act’s fine for opting out of insurance ownership is a mere 95 bucks (at least in 2014).

Other folks, however, can’t be quite so indifferent. Particularly employees of firms like Trader Joe’s and Home Depot who have been explicitly booted from their employer’s health insurance plan on the upbeat assumption that opting into an Obamacare plan should represent “very little if any net cost to you,” in the words of the Trader Joe’s CEO. Yet if some of the early reporting on this front is to be believed, “very little” is proving to be highly subjective, with many newcomers to the marketplace aghast to find “affordable” monthly premiums that would take a bigger bite of their paycheque than their work plans ever did.

In any case, regardless of motive, the fact that not enough Americans are opting-into Obamacare at the moment could spell bad news for the program’s future. The Huffington Post has an excellent little FAQ-type article outlining 9 Valid Concerns We Can All Have About Obamacare, Without Thinking It Will Literally Bring Hell On Earth, most of which centre around fears that the thing might get stuck in some sort of negative feedback loop. The worry is that Obamacare’s perks, particularly its subsidies and expansion of Medicaid, will be over-exploited by the poor and sick, which will triggering ever-higher costs for the healthy and middle class, who will then get frightened out of wanting to participate in the system, triggering a lack of funding for the perks, and so on.

A buggy website, in other words, could soon prove to be the least of anyone’s worries.




^ 43 Comments...

  1. drs

    Of course, the GOP has been busy distracting everyone from ACA troubles while simultaneously providing an excuse for the problems. Government is shutdown, of course websites won't work! The fact that it's not very valid (though how does furlouging affect the programmer salaries?) doesn't change the PR impact.

    "only seven percent of Americans claim “actual first- or even secondhand experience" That's a lot; most Americans after all do have insurance and thus no need to go to the website. And exchange insurance doesn't start until January, so it's not like there's any need to rush in and enroll.

    Lots of people who did get in were happy with what they saw. http://www.balloon-juice.com/2013/10/01/preach-it

    "a mere 95 bucks" Or 1% of income, *whichever is higher*.

    'users disappointed with the experience — particularly the vast, middle-class majority of Americans who already have health insurance and are too wealthy to qualify for cost-cutting subsidies' Uh, people who already have health insurance have through their employers have no business being on the exchange. What's to be disappointed by?

    "will result in higher premiums by simple virtue that insurers need money coming in to churn more good stuff out. " But the individual mandate brings more customers into the system, especially healthier ones, bringing premiums back down. And then there's the subsidies.

    Individual premiums went down in MA with Romneycare. So your "not very controversial" statement is wrong.

  2. Jake_Ackers

    Yah and in MA its all rich white people who could afford healthcare and simply choose not to buy it. Mostly 20-something year olds.

    Try forcing all the poor people across the country onto these plans. Wait they are all unemployed and can't. Who is going to pay? The taxpayers.

    All of these "healthier customers" are unemployed. They are all in their 20s. Myself included. I can't afford to buy health insurance, nor can I afford to pay the tax.

    It would of just been cheaper to expand Medicare/Medicaid and SCHIP to include the uninsureable. Considering that business are refusing to hire people based on the cost of Obamacare. 90% of jobs created since 2009 are part-time. And not 20 or 25 hours or even just under 40 hours like Walmart used to do. They are on the 30 hour mark, which is a ridiculous number for any business to hire. But they do because of Obamacare. Business want to hire but can't hire full time because of the costs. Thus that is less people being unemployed and those that are, they are for less hours. Less money in the economy.

    You said: "Uh, people who already have health insurance have through their employers have no business being on the exchange. What's to be disappointed by?" They are going to the exchanges because they are losing their healthcare because business can't foot the Obamacare cost.

  3. Shawn Spencer

    Hello – they DID expand medicare. Where have you been? It went from 66% of the poverty level to 138%.

    Some states with Republican Governors simply refuse to implement it out of spite.

    And it would be VERY easy to fix the employer.

    Simply require employers to provide health insurance to ALL their employees, and then base the amount of contribution off the average number of hours worked.

    That way, they can't get away with cutting people to JUST below the "full time" mark.

  4. Jake_Ackers

    If the uninsureable are covered under Medicare there is no need for the rest of the law. Even if you require employers to provide healthcare for everyone, it will just cause more unemployment. Employees will simply hire less people. Do you really think companies will simply pay more? Since when did the "greedy" companies ever pay anything. Plus also the Constitutional fact of that nowhere in our Constitution does it say companies or employers HAVE to provide benefits.

  5. drs

    "They are going to the exchanges because they are losing their healthcare because business can't foot the Obamacare cost."

    A business that was providing good insurance has no reason to be cutting off health care.
    A business that was providing crap insurance might choose to push employees to the exchanges rather than pay for upgraded insurance. But in that case they should be giving employees a pay raise equivalent to what the business was formerly contributing to health care.

    If the business is cutting off health benefits but not giving a raise, then it's simply imposing a unilateral pay cut on its employees, and you should be angry with the employer for screwing them over.

  6. Jake_Ackers

    They are also kicking out spouses. Yes you may think its bad what the employers are doing. Does being angry really matter? The business is still going to do it thanks to Obamacare. I rather have Americans with health insurance and cheaper (having the uninsureable covered by some other government program). Than have this Obamacare program with everyone getting kicked off the employer programs and causing the additional unemployment.

    1) Business never pay for anything. Nor do the rich. 2) You can't make them. They always pass it on to everyone else. 3) Nowhere in our Constitution does it say businesses have to provide benefits. 4) Healthcare costs have been going up ever since the gov't has stuck its noses into it. Buying across state lines works for every other product, I don't see why health insurance can't be that way. That's right… The insurance companies are one big cartel.

  7. drs

    Why are you talking about the constitution? That's a non sequitur.

    "Businesses never pay for anything." Wrong. They pay for their employee's salary. And often they pay for benefits like health insurance. Often the employee pays something, but the employer is paying 80% of the premium or so. If the employer simply drops the benefits then that's a pay cut of thousands of dollars.

  8. Jake_Ackers

    My point was businesses just pass on any increase to the customer. And many employers will drop the benefit. Why? Because of the increased taxation and regulation is causing a rise in costs. Businesses are not going to pay for it. It's not just the individual mandate that is a tax. Businesses are facing a truckload and a half of more taxes and regulations under Obamacare other than the main one..

  9. drs

    "in MA its all rich white people who could afford healthcare"

    What the hell? No. You really think there's no poor, black, or Hispanic people here? You're massively wrong. It's certainly not that case that everyone could afford health care, that's why *we* had expanded Medicaid and subsidies for insurance purchase.

  10. Jake_Ackers

    You know exactly what I mean. MA is not CA or NJ or Mississippi or Arkansas. MA has a hire ratio of richer people than most states. Meaning the amount of poor people in the system is less. So more people will be paying into the system than using it.

    And yes all the people added to Medicaid are those young people who have good health but can't afford it because they are unemployed. So you are proving my point. The money the insurance companies would be making is not going to the insurance companies.

  11. w00062016

    Actually JJ's "not very controversial" statement is very possibly correct. You forgot there is one important difference between Romneycare and Obamacare: a public option. Massachusetts has several taxpayer funded options for those who can't afford private health insurance. Critics say this allowed private insurance companies to kick out and deny less profitable people, thus shifting the cost of the most desperate patients from the insurance companies to the taxpayers.

  12. Shawn Spencer

    So does Obamacare – it's called Medicaid being increased to 138% of poverty level.

    Of course, some state governors aren't increasing it out of some ideological bullshit, thus screwing their state residents over, but that can't be blamed on Obamacare.

  13. w00062016

    That's the expansion of a preexisting program not a new separate public option. Also, requirements vary from state to state and there are large sections of the population who aren't eligible for medicaid, regardless of financial situation. In particular there are only five states that allow adults without dependant children to enroll (although some others offer stripped down versions). Massachusetts on the other hand set up several public health plans that only require sufficient poverty for eligibility.

  14. w00062016

    In the end we can nitpick about what does and does not make a true public option (and some people claim that even taxpayer funded insurance plans like Commonwealth Care aren't true public options), but the basic point still stands: There is good reason to believe that the reduction in premiums came from Insurance companies shifting much of the cost to the taxpayers. I doubt people on either side of the political divide would find that to be much of an achievement.

  15. Shawn Spencer

    Right – but that's a state-by-state problem.

    We know conservative states are always going to be worse for this, and there's not much that can be done about it.

  16. Jake_Ackers

    That is why this plan is flawed. Universal healthcare works in rich states/countries. Sweden, Norway. Now go to Portugal and Greece. They are all old and poor people who live off or work for the gov't. Way more people using the system than paying into it.

  17. Tom

    "sufficient poverty"

    That's nice Orwellian doublespeak.

  18. drs

    It's pretty vague too, to the point of perhaps being incorrect. What's "poverty", after all? The minimal Federal rule was something like providing Medicaid to people with children and little income and basically no assets. Like, <$2000 in cash, maybe a house and car. Some states, including unexpected ones like Indiana, extended Medicaid to childless people who just had low income, as did Romneycare. On the one hand you're giving free care to people who might have sizable assets, on the other hand you're not creating a poverty trap, where people have to go broke before they can get care and can't accumulate anything.

    Anyway, so "sufficient poverty" would be more precise and clear as "sufficiently low income".

  19. w00062016

    @Tom and @drs You realize I'm not a government official and "sufficient poverty" isn't the official government term right? I'm a snarky internet commenter making the point that unlike medicaid, which in many states excludes entire categories of people for reasons unrelated to financial need, the Massachusetts healthcare option only requires people to prove that they lack the financial resources to be reasonably expected to purchase private insurance. The actual Massachusetts requirements are anything but vague (confusing maybe, but not vague). I could have copy pasted giant chunks of text defining exactly who qualifies for the various programs, including large sections defining what assets are allowed, but I figured most people would pick up on the obvious differences between the two systems. Additionally you have been overlooking the fact that there are differences in the two plans on what insurance companies are expected to cover. All this is in service of a larger point: you shouldn't assume something will happen with Obamacare just because it happened with Romneycare. While similar, there are important differences that could lead to wildly varying outcomes.

  20. drs

    Now, yes. Obamacare would have expanded Medicaid to everyone of low income, until SCOTUS allowed states to weasel out of providing free health care to their most vulnerable citizens.

  21. drs

    The public option was supposed to be a government run plan that competed with private insurers. It got axed in desperate attempts to appeal to Blue Dog and Republican votes (i.e., efforts to compromise.)

    MA does not have a public option. It has something for the very poor, which I suspect is Medicaid under a local name, and it has subsidized private plans for people in between. But there's no option; if you're really poor you just get Tier 1 Commonwealth Care, period. If you're well off you're on the exchange looking at private plans.

    So no, there's no difference. Obamacare has expanded Medicaid for the poorest and Enhanced Silver plans for the in-between. Exactly the same as MA.

  22. Jake_Ackers

    MA doesn't have the regulations and taxes like Obamacare. MA has more people paying into the system than most states. These poor conservative states gave no income. Most people in Arkansas and Mississippi are poor. Where will the money come from?

    Moreover, I don't see why we can't have a NATIONAL health exchange? Aka buy from across statelines. It's the freaken health insurance cartels.

  23. drs

    "MA doesn't have the regulations and taxes like Obamacare"

    Wrong again. MA has the same basic regulations as Obamacare, which was modeled after MA. Regulations: the insurers have to sell insurance to everyone who asks, at standard rates, regardless of pre-existing conditions. The insurance has to be comprehensive, not limited and catastrophic. No annual or lifetime limits on payouts.

    "These poor conservative states gave no income. Most people in Arkansas and Mississippi are poor. Where will the money come from" From the federal government. Exchanges are by state, unless the state opts out, but the subsidies are federal.

    "NATIONAL health exchange? Aka buy from across statelines" Sure, if you want to stomp on federalism and impose federal regulations over state ones even more than is already the case. I take it you don't believe in states' rights at all?

  24. Jake_Ackers

    Those subsidies are not going to offset the increase for many people. And moreover, because more people will be using the system, this means increased costs as well. How will they cover it? More taxes. Thus increasing the costs again.

    And everyone knows the national health exchange is a load and a half. The national health exchange is a monopoly in progress. A real open market system would of been I can buy health insurance from a company operating in any state. And the company follows regulations from that state. That is why they opened up their. But under the national health exchange it's under federal regulation. So no, it's not the same any other product from across state lines.

  25. Jake_Ackers

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. Obamacare was done for the uninsureable. Thus he should of just expanded Medicare/Medicaid or SCHIP to cover these people. Would of been way cheaper. The poor can't afford it because the costs are high. The unemployed can't because they have no jobs. Simply lower the cost and get the economy to recover and most of the 47 million will be able to afford their own. The rest are young adults, illegals, or the mentally ill.

    And before you say that is why people were forced to buy insurance, especially young adults. Consider this. There are way more unhealthy poor people than there are healthy young adults or even of any adults.

    Personally I don't mind the individual mandate (on those who actually can afford it and have jobs). It's the taxes and regulations that are causing the problem. Passing the cost onto the businesses thus causing business to higher less or for less hours.

  26. Shawn Spencer

    Assume you mean "Hire" not "Higher".

  27. Jake_Ackers

    Yes thank you. Was writing it early in the morning. :P

  28. drs

    It's not just for the uninsureable, it's for *everyone* on the individual health insurance market, whether too sick to get insurance at all or healthy but avoiding mandate-less death spirals in states like NY or healthy and just too poor. It's also for those with insurance, to prevent them from getting screwed over. Really it's giving individuals the same benefits and security that people on good employer plans have had all along.

    That said, I would have loved to expand Medicare/aid to everyone, or at least had buying into it as an option. But that was too liberal an idea for Congress, and the conservative version of universal health care passed instead, without even the public option that liberals thought they were going to compromise on. Instead Medicaid was only expanded to the poorest, and everyone else gets to support insurer profits. Because Markets!!1!

  29. Tom

    This revisionist history where Democrats support a ""market" would be hilarious, if it weren't screwing us over something fierce.

  30. Jake_Ackers

    Actually DRS I agree with you. By uninsureable, I mean those every people you describe. If costs were brought down the normal way, we would of only had to cover or at least cover the difference for those uninsureable or poor people. The thing I don't like is the government mandating that business provide health insurance.

    I wouldn't even mind the individual mandate as long as it wasn't forced on businesses. And if I opted out of Medicare/Medicaid/SCHIP I would get a discount on my regular insurance. I actually don't mind Obamacare or what it is trying to do, It's the taxes and regulations that keep costing us jobs that I don't like. Morever, I just do what DRS and I were saying. Expand the pre-exisiting programs and/or make a new one.

  31. drs

    Well, the employer mandate was delayed for a year, so you should be happy about that, right?

    " It's the taxes and regulations that keep costing us jobs"

    The taxes are how it's all paid for. The regulations make it work. You want the government to provide benefits while running up even more deficits?

  32. Jake_Ackers

    Could of made a new program and simply just raised the Medicare/Medicaid tax. Or used the "savings" from getting people off of the emergency room. There is over taxation and regulation in the bill. If the market was opened up more people would of been able to buy their own. Thus not increasing cost.

  33. Shawn Spencer

    The reason people are not using the site should be obvious.

    Nobody wants to deal with how buggy it is right now.

    In fact – I've gone to a more stable state-created website just to check out roughly how it works, simply because I don't want to deal with the frustration of the federal site.

    Once another month goes by and hopefully the site becomes a lot more stable, I will be far more interested in signing up for it. But now? No thanks. I knew right from the get-go it was gonna be pretty bad to start – just like almost every major launch ever, so I'd pre-planned to avoid it, despite the fact I am 100% behind the ACA and it's attempt to make healthcare more affordable.

  34. drs

    Hell, I live in MA on Commonwealth Care, and I didn't go through signing up because I didn't feel like it yet. Plus yeah, bug avoidance. I've got 2.5 months left.

    Intuit's made a nice fast premium calculator for the whole country, though. It even knows of the Medicaid gap in GOP states, though it falsely says people in the gap might have to pay penalties. https://ttlc.intuit.com/health-care

  35. DJ

    The ACA has been a huge disappointment to me from the beginning. Since no Republicans voted for it anyway, Obama should have taken the opportunity to do what really needed to be done rather than go through some weird pretense of compromise.

    The real problem with health care in the USA is health insurance companies. They should have been outlawed, but instead, they were made INTO law. They are the reason everything costs so much. Providers are like, well hell, insurance will pick up the tab, so just raise the prices… so they do all their weird arbitrary price hikes… and of course the insurance companies have to screw the customers in response since, hey, everything costs more! Cost of doing business! …right.

    The USA could have fixed all this one of two ways, both of which involve outlawing private health insurance companies:
    1. 100% private: with the bottomless pit of infinite money (private health insurance companies) eliminated, health care prices would be forced to deflate down to levels that can be afforded by regular freaking people; go to the doctor or hospital, pay like you'd pay for car repairs, and go about your life instead of being bankrupted for getting sick
    2. 100% public: the much maligned "public option" — that's right, single payer = Uncle Sam, tax/spend

    Either of these would have worked. I'm not saying they'd be fast or easy to get in place, but they'd both be better than this. What we got is the worst of the worst: the federal government forcing you not to pay taxes but to purchase an essentially WORTHLESS service (I'll get to that in a sec) from crooks who have made health care a luxury. They stand between citizens and their doctors through price manipulation and abdication of responsibility ("oh we don't cover that, or that, or that — sucka").

    Those are my uneducated rants and raves. Just my thoughts on what I see. So, how about what's really happened?

    I was very excited about HealthCare.gov. I voted for Obama and was (and with the failure of the ACA, still am) a proponent of rebooting the health care system in the USA. So when the site launched, I tried every day to go through it and get to the plans. I've been in software development for many years and have had to work with buggy stuff, usually ended up being the one to fix it… comes with the territory… so I was able to maneuver around the glitches that were probably stopping a lot of users from proceeding. And I'm not talking about problems with too much traffic or load balancing — that was just the first few days. After that, it was that the site simply didn't work as intended. Whoever developed and tested (or didn't test, more like) that site should be flogged.

    So I think like 8 days after the initial release, I finally got fully registered and was able to check out the plans! Woo! Well, you'd think woo, anyway. It was more disappointing than I could have imagined. Again, I was already not so thrilled about how health insurance companies won a permanent seat at the table in all this… so when I saw the premiums and deductibles being offered, I shit a brick. Now for reference, I live in Texas (which obviously chose not to participate in making its own exchange site) and have my own independent plan through BCBS. I pay an ungodly amount of money each month and have what amounts to a "low" deductible, if any of them actually deserve to be called low. On the exchange, there is a bottom-of-the-barrel plan from BCBS that has the same premium as my current BCBS plan that I got before the ACA, but the deductible is 4x as high as mine. Same amount of wasted money sent to BCBS each month for doing NOTHING, but 4x as much money out of my pocket before they'll step in and do what I'm supposedly paying them to do.

    I called BCBS to ask what the hell was going on, and they assured me that my current plan isn't going anywhere — at least not until December 2014. After that, all bets are off, and I'll probably get shuffled off into the 4x-as-high deductible group. Oh GOOD.

    That's when I threw in the towel and decided this whole exercise truly has been a complete, utter, and tremendous failure. I keep asking myself how, out of the thousands of people involved in getting this thing off the ground, no one looked at these numbers and thought "this is insane, no better than what we have right now… we have to call it off!" How did it get to where it is now? Absolutely astounding. A few years ago, when I had a $6000 deductible, that was called "catastrophic" insurance. Today, that's called a Bronze Plan! Like it's commonplace and acceptable! Sure, then I'll tell you what's catastrophic: the ACA.

    Some of my more cynical friends insist it's THIS BAD so that we'll all demand the single payer system, which was the goal from the beginning. I don't know — maybe. It'll have to be something though because this just won't work. It's even worse than it was before, and that's saying something.

  36. phlinn

    Obama did not have control over the creation of Obamacare. That would be Harry Reid. And there was no compromise with the republicans, only with more conservative members of his own coalition.

  37. drs

    They tried desperately to compromise with the Republicans, especially ones like Snowe or Collins. But in the end not one Republican would vote for a Heritage-designed plan signed by a Republican governor.

    Why? Well, the GOP leaders said outright that making Obama a one-term president was their #1 priority. What's good for the country took second fiddle to partisan sabotage, just as it is now.

  38. scribbler

    To address the aside about British papers being all over the Obamacare beat, I have a suspicion that Americans trust a British paper on the subject more than any domestic news sources. So the Obamacare beat gets British sites a healthy flow of US traffic.

    I regard all US reporting on the subject as partisan water-carrying first and crass panic-mongering second. The bemused curiosity of our British counterparts feels like the closet thing we have to an objective domestic press sometimes.

  39. Rachel

    I've noticed that about international reporting, too. While reading a US news article, probably on the Falkland Islands dispute, they said something like "but this foreign policy expert we talked to that follows Argentine politics thinks the Argentine leader is probably just mostly posturing". They'd never have that in an article about American politics.

  40. Vic_6

    I'll never understand why anyone trusts the British press, the Fail in particular. Just because they're not the lying bi-partisan crooks you know doesn't make them any better.

    More on subject:- The Grauniad and the Fail claim a larger international readership than they have domestic (via web traffic), as a result they're more prone to investigating US stories for US readers in order to sustain their online footprint. The UK press is largely immune to US investigation\regulation, leaking information is slightly safer. – They probably can't\won't properly investigate it, but they can print it if it'll generate ad revenue.

  41. csthom

    I've looked, although through I started at the Minnesota specific website. I'm considering a new plan, as I would qualify for a subsidy, but there's not much point in deciding on October 1st.

  42. Ann Apolis

    It's not particularly relevant to this story, but a reminder once again – Americans like yourself* often assume that because the Daily Mail is a grown-up newspaper with lots of big words in it printed in old policemen-with-helmets London, this makes it a reputable source on anything at all. Sadly that's incorrect; its status as world's most visited newspaper website is due to its masturbatory analysis on celebrity upskirts and the paper itself contains so little of value that you would demean yourself by linking to it as a citation for today's date. Be less forelock-tuggingly overawed by a UK byline in future, darling.

    *I believe in the right to self-identification

  43. Brandon

    I imagine ACA is here to stay, and I made my attempt to get onto their buggy site to see what sort of horrific price tag I'm going to get jabbed with, but ran into too many errors and bugs.

    My biggest problem with much of the ACA was a lack of punishment for people who failed to take care of themselves. As far as I am aware, there is no clause that quadruples premiums for chain smokers, boozers, and addicts, or even any sort of tax for people eating however many thousands of calories it takes to keep someone in a wheelchair purely from obesity. I do not appreciate the idea of subsidizing someone else's ridiculous habits with my money.

    If were going to do some crazy, big brother solution to healthcare costs, I think starting with smoking, alcohol, drugs, and obesity would be a much better starting point than just saying "We will pay for your mistakes, no matter what. Or rather, that guy over there will pay for it~".