The “New and Improved” Obamacare May Be New, But It Is Hardly Improved

Someday, when it comes to the rollout of Obamacare, I will assume that things cannot possibly get worse, and blessedly, I will be right.

Today, however, is not that day:

Raising concerns about consumer privacy, California’s health exchange has given insurance agents the names and contact information for tens of thousands of people who went online to check out coverage but didn’t ask to be contacted.

The Covered California exchange said it started handing out this consumer information this week as part of a pilot program to help people enroll ahead of a Dec. 23 deadline to have health insurance in place by Jan. 1.

State officials said they are only trying to help potential customers find insurance and sign up in time. But some insurance brokers and consumers who were contacted said they were astonished by the state’s move.

“I’m shocked and dumbfounded,” said Sam Smith, an Encino insurance broker and president of the California Assn. of Health Underwriters, an industry group.

Smith said he was under the impression from the exchange that these consumers had requested assistance. He received the names of two consumers this week but has not yet contacted them.

“These people would have a legitimate complaint,” Smith said.

The names provided include people who started an insurance application on the Covered California website since enrollment launched Oct. 1, but for whatever reason never picked a health plan or completed the sign-up process.

The state said it provided information on tens of thousands of people who logged into the state’s website, but it didn’t know the exact number.

The exchange said agents were given names, addresses, phone numbers and email addresses if available.

Recall from yesterday’s post that Paul Krugman believes California shows us how Obamacare can be successfully implemented. I wonder what it takes to raise fears of an unsuccessful implementation. Riots in the streets? Dogs and cats living together, with a side order of mass hysteria?

Recall as well from yesterday’s post that people like Ezra Klein are trying to rewrite history when it comes to the president’s Obamacare-related promises. Klein is not alone in this dishonest endeavor:

If you want to keep your doctor, you might have to pay more for it, Obamacare architect Zeke Emanuel said today on Fox News Sunday:

The host, Chris Wallace, said: “President Obama famously promised, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Doesn’t that turn out to be just as false, just as misleading, as his promise about if you like your plan, you can keep your plan? Isn’t it a fact, sir, that a number, most, in fact, of the Obamacare health plans that are being offered on the exchanges exclude a number of doctors and hospitals to lower costs?”

“The president never said you were going to have unlimited choice of any doctor in the country you want to go to,” said the Obamacare architect.

“No. He asked a question. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. Did he not say that, sir?”

“He didn’t say you could have unlimited choice.”

“It’s a simple yes or no question. Did he say if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor?”

“Yes. But look, if you want to pay more for an insurance company that covers your doctor, you can do that. This is a matter of choice. We know in all sorts of places you pay more for certain — for a wider range of choices or wider range of benefits.The issue isn’t the selective networks. People keep saying, Oh, the problem is you’re going to have a selective network–“

Just to be clear on this issue, the president told us that if we wanted to keep our doctors or continue relationships with our hospitals, we could, “period.” He didn’t say “you can, but your premiums will go up.” He also didn’t say “you can, but you will have to pay more out of pocket,” or “you can, but you may be sans money,” or “you can, but forget about that new car.” He said “you can, period.” As with the case of Ezra Klein, I wonder whom Ezekiel Emanuel thinks he is fooling in this instance. Again, we have Google. We also have working long-term memories. We know what the president said and we can look it up in order to prove it. Attempts to brainwash the country by presenting some kind of alternative history are doomed to fail, and these particular attempts to brainwash the country by presenting some kind of alternative history aren’t even remotely convincing to begin with.

Remind me again how we are supposed to celebrate “improvements” in the implementation of Obamacare. Because somehow, I don’t feel like partying ’til the break of dawn over this issue.