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877 people were able to select a health care plan during the first month of Obamacare. WISN's Dan O'Donnell puts that into some perspective.
Think about the number 877 for a second. It sounds pretty big, right? It’s almost 900.
In the digital world, if you have almost 900 friends on Facebook, you’d think you’re pretty popular. If you have 877 Twitter followers, you might think you’d think you’re somewhat influential.
If your blog gets almost 900 hits, you’d think you might be a decent writer. If your website gets 877 people to sign up in its first few days, you’d assume you’re doing something right.
But what about 877 in a month? If it’s your first site’s first month, you’d still probably feel pretty good.
But what about 877 people out of 5.7 million? That’s the population of Wisconsin and it’s also the approximate number of people across the country whose health insurance policies have been cancelled because of the Affordable Care Act.
And 877? That’s the number of people in Wisconsin who selected a health insurance plan under the ACA from October 1st through November 2nd, the first month that the health exchanges were open.
877 out of a total of 5.7 million possible enrollees; 877 out of the hundreds of thousands of eligible enrollees in Wisconsin.
It doesn’t sound all that big anymore, does it?
Consider this, 877 people enrolled in the 33 days between October 1st and November 2nd. That’s fewer than 27 people per day.
Then consider this, the federal government announced that a total of 106,185 people across the country enrolled in Obamacare during its first month, so the 877 in Wisconsin represent just 0.826%.
It doesn’t sound all that big anymore, does it?
Then consider this, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, there were a total of 19,098 completed applications in Wisconsin, but only 877 of them were able to enroll. That’s a success rate of just 4.5 percent.
Then consider this, those enrollment numbers aren’t really enrollment numbers. The DHS report indicates that 877 people have selected a marketplace plan. According to that report, “Individuals Who Have Selected a Marketplace plan” represents the total number of “Individuals Determined Eligible to Enroll in a plan Through the Marketplace” who have selected a plan (with or without the first premium payment having been received directly by the Marketplace or the issuer) during the reference period.
In other words, 877 people have selected plans, but not all of them have actually paid for it.
877. Out of 19 thousand completed applications. Out of hundreds of thousands of eligible enrollees. Out of 5.7 million Wisconsinites. 877.
It doesn’t sound all that big anymore, does it?
Influential health website WebMD was apparently a federal contractor that received a $4.1 million task order from the government to promote the virtues of the Affordable Care Act. The Washington Times reports in a bit of a bombshell exclusive:
The contract documents, reviewed by The Washington Times, reward WebMD handsomely. For instance, the fee schedule offers dozens of products, including:
• As much as $126,826 for a single 5,000-word review article on scientific advances in a clinical topic.
• Up to $68,916 for a four-minute video from an opinion specialist.
• More than $140,000 for an eight-question online quiz.
WebMD says it doesn’t believe it had an obligation to disclose to its broad consumer base its $4.8 million contract with the government. The company says the contract, while awarded to WebMD, went through its Medscape platform, which provides continuing education to doctors in a password-protected portal and is run independently from WebMD’s news operation.
That's some fine nuance there, WebMD. Are you guys sure you're run by doctors and not lawyers?
No matter how this is spun, it's incredibly unethical and extremely informative for those of us who have always thought that anyone who said anything positive about this monster of a health care law must have been paid off!
Remember how the government shutdown was going to permanently destroy the "Republican brand?" Yeah, about that....
In just six weeks, Republicans have completely erased a 9-point deficit in a generic congressional ballot question and are now running even with Democrats.
Thirty-nine percent of registered voters say they would vote for a Democrat in their district — and the same percentage say they would vote for a Republican — if elections for the U.S. House of Representatives were held today, according to numbers from a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday.
Last month, Democrats had held a nine-point advantage on the same question, 43 percent to 34 percent.
The Washington Times notes that while "Independent voters favored Democrats in October, 32 percent to 30 percent, but now favor Republicans by a 37 percent to 26 percent margin."
That's a stunning turnaround for the Republican party (in a left-leaning poll, no less) and underscores just how politically devastating the Obamacare rollout has been.
New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin brilliantly dissects how the president's "big lie" (that if you like your health insurance, you can keep it) has destroyed his credibility with the American people:
It ranks as one of the biggest presidential lies of modern times, all the more so because Obama repeated it 30 times. The fallout of millions being forced from their policies, an experience exacerbated by the hapless Web site, has created a crisis of confidence so vast, it threatens to swallow the second term.
No president can lead from such a deep, discredited hole. And his ratings are likely to keep sinking because, once the Web site is fixed, millions more “shoppers” will get sticker shocks from the new policies ObamaCare requires. And next year comes the employer mandate, which will shake up the policies and prices of millions of others.
Such a lie, therefore, is far more costly for President Obama than, say, President Clinton's infamous "I did not have sex with that woman" because it intimately impacts millions of Americans on a deeply personal level.
Ultimately, did it matter that Clinton had sex with Monica Lewinsky? No, because nearly everyone in the country already knew that their president was a randy old dog. What mattered was that Clinton repeated his lie before Congress, which became an impeachable offense.
Obama, though, made a promise about something that intimately affects every single American directly to their faces. That sort of dishonesty about something so important simply can't be forgiven and is in fact so significant that it may be the major thing that the American people remember about this president.
The Washington Post takes down yet another lie by the Obama Administration:
Software problems with the federal online health insurance marketplace, especially in handling high volumes, are proving so stubborn that the system is unlikely to work fully by the end of the month as the White House has promised, according to an official with knowledge of the project.
The insurance exchange is balking when more than 20,000 to 30,000 people attempt to use it at the same time — about half its intended capacity, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose internal information. And CGI Federal, the main contractor that built the site, has succeeded in repairing only about six of every 10 of the defects it has addressed so far.
Is anyone surprised by this? Anyone at all? And even more telling than the obvious incompetence of the White House in fixing this website is its steadfast refusal to be honest about the depths of its troubles.
Again--is anyone surprised by this?
The woman whose picture appeared on the HealthCare.gov home page was never paid for her troubles (which included cyber bullying amid the site's colossal failure) and isn't even an American citizen. As ABC News reports:
Speculation swirled that Adriana might not be a legal resident of the United States, and therefore not even eligible for the health care exchanges. Adriana said she is a wife and mother who lives in Maryland with her 21-month-old son and husband of six and a half years. Her husband is a U.S. citizen, as is his her son. Adriana, who is Colombian, said she has lived legally in the U.S. for more than six years, is currently a permanent resident and is applying for citizenship.
To add insult to injury, the White House never even paid Adriana for using her picture! Watch the (actually kind of hilarious) ABC News report here:
An Associated Press editor blasts the White House for refusing to offer candid access to the most transparent president in history. As the Daily Caller notes:
Editors of The Associated Press condemned the White House’s refusal to give photojournalists real access to President Obama, who prefers to circulate press release-style pictures taken by his own paid photographers.
These official photographs are little more than propaganda, according to AP director of photography Santiago Lyon.
The AP has only been permitted to photograph the president in the Oval Office on two occasions. Both were during his first term. All other pictures of Obama in his office were taken by White House photographers and distributed to the press.
This actually makes perfect sense: Everything else coming out of the White House is completely dishonest, so why shouldn't the pictures of the president be, too?
The lesson here is, as always, that it's good for a business to be in the good graces of the Obama Administration. The New York Post reports today:
A tech firm linked to a campaign-donor crony of President Obama not only got the job to help build the federal health-insurance Web site — but also is getting paid to fix it.
Anthony Welters, a top campaign bundler for Obama and frequent White House guest, is the executive vice president of UnitedHealth Group, which owns the software company now at the center of the ObamaCare Web-site fiasco.
UnitedHealth Group subsidiary Quality Software Services Inc. (QSSI), which built the data hub for the ObamaCare system, has been named the new general contractor in charge of repairing the glitch-plagued HealthCare.gov.
Welters and his wife, Beatrice, have shoveled piles of cash into Obama’s campaign coffers and apparently reaped the rewards.
Beatrice Welters bundled donations totaling between $200,000 and $500,000 for Obama’s campaign during the 2008 election cycle, according to campaign- finance data compiled by Center for Responsive Politics.
We'd love to say that we were surprised and outraged by this--and that QSSI would become in the minds of millions of Americans Obama's Halliburton--but we're simply too resigned to the fact that this sort of crony capitalism is just the way of doing business in Obama's Washington.
But no, there is no collusion between the White House and the press corps. None whatsoever. Why would you ever think that? POLITICO reports:
The sessions, which have become more frequent in Obama’s second term — he held at least three in October — provide a stark contrast to the combative, sometimes cantankerous relationship between the White House and the press corps. They also serve as an alternate means of shaping the debate in Washington: a private back-channel of genuine sentiment that seeps into the echo-chamber, while Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, delivers largely scripted responses in the public briefings. Obama holds the occasional off-the-record meeting with top White House correspondents, but they are few and far between — a fact that rankles some members of the press corps. (POLITICO has attended off-the-record sessions with the president.)
Now why might those sessions have become more frequent in the president's second term? Might it have something to do with the scandals that plagued its first few months and the all-encompassing disaster that has been the Obamacare rollout? Might it have something to do with the president trying to, as POLITICO admits, create "an alternate means of shaping the debate in Washington?"
No, of course not. There's no liberal bias in the media whatsoever, but POLITICO goes on:
The second goal is more tactical: By meeting privately with the people who shape national opinion, the president ensures that his points of view will be represented in the media — even if those points of view aren’t directly attributable to him.
So the president and members of the media are meeting in secret, off-the-record get-togethers with the stated goal of "shap[ing] the debate in Washington" and ensuring that Obama's "points of view will be represented in the media," even if they can't be traced back to him directly, and we are supposed to believe that an independent, objective press corps actually still exists?
Congratulations, POLITICO, you have just inadvertantly proven that it doesn't.