Friday, December 19, 2014

Covered California II

Enrollment for Covered California began one month ago, and will end on January 15, 2014. The online internet enrollment worked more smoothly and was easy to access. It functions fairly well and most of the time it proceeds without a hitch.

One problem I encountered was an inability to progress from {adding members}  to where the web page for adding new members. This attempt repeated itself a number of times when 'next' was selected. After several attempts the next page did appear, and the process proceeded without further difficulty.

The people who receive the 'best benefits/premium cost' are clearly in the Medi-Cal category if their income is at or below the poverty level. The web site performed fairly well with numerous pop-ups and drop down menu selection. Because of the relatively large number of selections and fields it was difficult to scan through deductibles, and/or co pays. The site allowed users to select and compare plans by checking the plans one wanted to compare.

The plans all have deductibles and co pays. The lower the premium the higher the copay and and deductible.  In many cases the insurance appears to be 'catastrophic coverage'  Common sense would make one wonder how many people could afford a deductible of $2500 to $10,000.

The financial algorithm was  designed by people who know little about health care or it's real expenses.  It seems the design was to fit health care into the budget process.

Jonathan Gruber, the principal economic adviser and designer is an expert in health economics at the macro level, and is no authority on patient care.  He has no medical experience or clinical credentials and is ignorant of patient-provider health process.  He had received numerous awards in healthcare economics.
Gruber has published more than 140 research articles (the majority of which were for NBER) and has edited six research volumes.[11] He is a co-editor of the Journal of Public Economics, an associate editor of the Journal of Health Economics, and the author of Public Finance and Public Policy.[12] In 2011, he wrote Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It's Necessary, How It Works, a graphic novel delineating the Affordable Care Act, illustrated by Nathan Schreiber.[2]
An allegation and video content of Gruber testifying in several resulted in an eruption of public outrage and discontent.
In January 2010, after news emerged that Gruber was under a $297,000 contract with the Department of Health and Human Services, while at the same time promoting the Obama administration's health care reform policies, some conservative commentators suggested a conflict of interest.[18][19][20] Paul Krugman in The New York Times[21] argued that, although Gruber didn't always disclose his HHS connections, the times when he didn't were no big deal. 
In November 2014, a series of videos emerged of Gruber speaking about the ACA at different events, from 2010 to 2013, in ways that proved to be controversial. Many of the videos show him talking about ways in which he felt the ACA was misleadingly crafted and/or marketed in order to get the bill passed, while in some of the videos he specifically refers to American voters as ill-informed or "stupid." In the first, most widely-publicized video taken at a panel discussion about the ACA at the University of Pennsylvania in October 2013, Gruber said the bill was deliberately written "in a tortured way" to disguise the fact that it creates a system by which "healthy people pay in and sick people get money." He said this obfuscation was needed due to "the stupidity of the American voter" in ensuring the bill's passage.
Gruber's published works include:
Covered California web site illuminates the copay/deductible inverse relationship and premium subsidy.  The working of Obamacare  obfuscates the ACA bill which was passed by the Democratic party.  Very troubling is  it did not include Republcan legislators in the design process. 

Contrary to Obama's proclamations many patients did not keep their physician,or hospital. Nancy Pelosi's uncannily accurate comment 'we won't know what is in it until we pass it'. Jonathan Gruber's "stupid" must also mean 'congress' was too stupid as well.

Portions of this article are attributable to 
New York Times, Covered California (online enrollment)

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