Now that the first drill down on the website issues by Congress is over what have we learned? It seems the only new news is that the security of our personal data may be at issue.
In my opinion the person Congress needs to hear from is President Obama himself. I would ask him: 1) Did he read the entire 2,100-plus pages of the law before signing it or rely on aides to brief him on the details? 2) When did he know the website was flawed and what corrective action did he order? Can he live with a rollback if it needs to happen in order to have a productive enrollment and/or make minor fixes to the law?
In the end, it seems the most important point of all this debate is how many “younger” people sign up. The goal appears to be that 40 percent are needed to balance the senior enrollees’ forecasted plan utilization. Failure to achieve this goal may lead to higher premiums in 2015. If that happens what is not clear is will the subsidies also increase to help offset such increase? If so where will those funds be derived?
Also what will occur if the job market slows again and members need to seek coverage alternatives such as COBRA? What is the COBRA design provided by this law? Or what will happen to the plan utilization if a disproportionate number of “younger” workers lose jobs?
I think it is time to retreat from the current implementation timelines and take time (at least three to six months) to avoid marginal sign-ups and to make any minor fixes already proposed. Gov. Shumlin has already taken such a step with his contingency plan, which I applaud.
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