Sylvia Mathews Burwell to Replace Kathleen Sebelius as HHS Secretary

kathleen sebelius 350x234 Sylvia Mathews Burwell to Replace Kathleen Sebelius as  HHS Secretary

Sylvia Mathews Burwell to Replace Kathleen Sebelius as HHS Secretary (Credit: Wikipedia)

Another one bites the dust as HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is throwing in the towel after a horrible Obamacare rollout.

The New York Times reports Sebelius “is resigning, ending a stormy five-year tenure marred by the disastrous rollout of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act.”

President Obama has accepted Sebelius’ resignation and will nominate OMB Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell to replace her.

Wall Street Journal: “Mrs. Sebelius’s departure came after months of speculation that she would resign over the rocky implementation of the law, which included a wave of technical problems plaguing the HealthCare.gov website. Mrs. Sebelius had said earlier today in congressional testimony that the administration had turned a corner on health-insurance enrollments, with 7.5 million people picking plans through federal and state-run exchanges.”

 Sylvia Mathews Burwell to Replace Kathleen Sebelius as  HHS Secretary

Poll: U.S. Uninsured Rate Falls to Lowest Level Since Late 2008

us uninsured rate 350x217 Poll:  U.S. Uninsured Rate Falls to Lowest Level Since Late 2008

Poll: U.S. Uninsured Rate Falls to Lowest Level Since Late 2008

A new Gallup poll released Monday found that the uninsured rate in the U.S. is the lowest level it has been since 2008.

Gallup reports the uninsured rate dipped to 15.6% in the first quarter of 2014, a 1.5-percentage-point decline from the fourth quarter of 2013. The uninsured rates for blacks also fell, while the enrollment rate for young people in Obamacare, fell.

The uninsured rate falling kinda makes the Republican Party’s aversion to Obamacare utterly ridiculous. The fact is, the legislation can work, with tweaks as needed. It can’t be repealed at this juncture.

The uninsured rate for every major demographic group declined in the first quarter of 2014. The uninsured rate for lower-income Americans dropped 3.2 points to 27.5% — the largest decline within any key subgroup — while the uninsured rate for blacks fell 3.3 points to 17.6%. Hispanics remain the subgroup most likely to lack health insurance, with an uninsured rate of 37.0%, though their rate dropped 1.7 points in the first quarter.

 Poll:  U.S. Uninsured Rate Falls to Lowest Level Since Late 2008

NPR Poll: Obamacare More Popular with Americans Than President Obama

A new NPR poll finds that Obamacare is more popular than President Obama and the approval numbers for the landmark healthcare legislation is rising.

obamacare popularity rises 317x450 NPR Poll: Obamacare More Popular with Americans Than President Obama

NPR Poll: Obamacare More Popular with Americans Than President Obama (Credit: NPR)

Our survey of likely voters, conducted for Morning Edition by Democrat Stan Greenberg of Democracy Corps and Republican Whit Ayres of Resurgent Republic, shows the president’s health care law is still unpopular but it might not be as heavy a millstone for Democrats as expected.

After a horrendous debut in October, the Affordable Care Act ended its enrollment period with more than 7 million people signed up. And our poll shows the law is viewed a little more favorably now. That’s welcome news for the Democratic half of our polling team, Stan Greenberg.

“The conventional wisdom that it’s an unpopular program that hangs around the necks of Democrats is absolutely a misreading of the poll data,” he says. “If you look at this poll for NPR, we asked whether you favor or oppose the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. It comes out 47 percent support and 51 percent oppose, with the intensity on the opposition side.”

In our poll, the number of people who intensely oppose the law is 12 points higher than those who strongly support the law — bad news for Democrats. But, Greenberg points out, 7 percent of likely voters in our poll oppose the law because it doesn’t go far enough — presumably these are Democrats who wanted a single payer Medicare-for-all system. Whit Ayres — the Republican half of our polling team, points to other data that suggests Obamacare will still be a great issue for Republicans this fall.

“First, more people oppose than support Obamacare, as has been the case since it passed. Second, the intensity is on the side of opposition and intensity drives voting behavior,” he says. “Third, independents oppose Obamacare by 21 points in this survey and they hold the balance of power in this election.” Source: NPR

This latest news could work against the Republican Party, with lawmakers hellbent on repealing the legislation, though they have not put forth an alternative. Sen. Ted Cruz engineered a government shutdown last year over defunding Obamacare.

 NPR Poll: Obamacare More Popular with Americans Than President Obama

Champagne Celebration as Obamacare Enrollment Surpasses 7 Million Mark

obamacare enrollment surges 350x231 Champagne Celebration as Obamacare Enrollment Surpasses 7 Million Mark

Champagne Celebration as Obamacare Enrollments Surpasses 7 Million Mark (Credit: White House/Pete Souza)

Enrollments for the Affordable Care Act (known as Obamacare) hit “at least” 7.041 million through midnight last night and yes, there was some celebrating — with champagne, according to April Ryan:

At 12:01 AM, White House Chief Technology Officer Todd Park acknowledged to QSSI, the Columbia, Maryland firm tasked with fixing Healthcare.gov that the ACA enrollments have surpassed the 7 million mark.

Park and QSSI employees celebrated with champagne after the early morning announcement in the lobby of the building as they are not allowed to drink alcohol in the offices at QSSI.   Park led the countdown into the end of the enrollment deadline and preceded with a speech to the workers where he acknowledged a the number set out by CBO was surpassed.

Park said “Everyone thought that was impossible…you actually exceeded the seven million goal.”

President Obama is also in a celebratory mood as well. The White House tweeted a photograph of the president receiving the update in the Oval Office. Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius also said 80 to 90 percent of enrollees have already paid their premiums.

Um, right wing heads are exploding over Obama’s ‘victory.’ Fox News, in particular, is putting out all kinds of smears to justify their position. Charles Krauthammer calls the seven million figure “phony.”  Really? Whatever…Obamacare is here to stay.

“These numbers that they are touting are phony numbers… That’s like saying anybody who goes on Amazon, orders a nifty stereo set, puts it in the shopping cart, has purchased the stereo set. I assure you it’s not going to show up at your house until you pay for it.”

 Champagne Celebration as Obamacare Enrollment Surpasses 7 Million Mark

Rick Santorum Suggests Uninsured People Are Deadbeats, Won’t Make Payment for Obamacare

rick santorum 350x232 Rick Santorum Suggests Uninsured People Are Deadbeats, Wont Make Payment for Obamacare

Rick Santorum Suggests Uninsured People Are Deadbeats, Won’t Make Payment for Obamacare (Credit: Wikipedia)

OPINION:  Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum is spewing venom again… During an appearance on “Meet the Press,” he suggested that “many” people who purchased private insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act were deadbeats who “won’t make a payment.” Sorry, but Rick Santorum is quite irrelevant in the political landscape in this country.

Santorum told guest host Chuck Todd that he “felt vindicated” for attacking President Obama’s health care reform law during the 2012 presidential campaign. He said health care was an “area of strength” during his days as a US senator from Pennsylvania.

Santorum asserted, “Well, it was the issue in 2010 that caused us to have a tea party revolution.””It was all around the issue of health care. And this election is going to be all around the issue of health care.”

“When I ran my ’94 election, it was on health care against the sponsor of HillaryCare.””You look at what Obamacare is really doing, it’s driving up costs right now.” Um, that’s despite the fact that over six million have already signed up and 15 million are expected to be covered under the law. No. That’s no big deal to Rick Santorum. He argued that many of those people already had insurance. Really?

He said, “And you look at these number of six million people [signing up], I talked to insurance companies, you’re looking at anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of those who haven’t made a premium payment yet.” Santorum said, “Many of them are uninsured and probably won’t make a premium payment.”

 Rick Santorum Suggests Uninsured People Are Deadbeats, Wont Make Payment for Obamacare

Last-Minute Surge Pushes Obamacare Enrollments Over 1.1 Million

healthcaregov logo 300x75 Last Minute Surge Pushes Obamacare Enrollments Over 1.1 Million

Last-Minute Surge Pushes Obamacare Enrollments Over 1.1 Million

A last-minute surge puts Obamacare enrollments over 1.1 million, Marilyn Tavenner, head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said in a blog post ahead of Tuesday night’s original deadline. Tavenner wrote, “December enrollment so far is over 7 times that of October and November,”  compared to only 27,000 who enrolled in October when the site’s launch was a major fiasco due to technical glitches.

As we continue our open enrollment campaign, we experienced a welcome surge in enrollment as millions of Americans seek access to affordable health care coverage through new Health Insurance Marketplaces nationwide.  More than 1.1 million people enrolled in a qualified health plan via the Federally-facilitated Marketplace from October 1 to December 24, with more than 975,000 of those enrolling this month alone.  Our HealthCare.gov enrollment nearly doubled in the days before the January 1 coverage deadline compared to the first few weeks of the month.  December enrollment so far is over 7 times that of October and November.  In part, this was because we met our marks on improving HealthCare.gov: the site supported 83,000 concurrent users on December 23rd alone.

We are in the middle of a sustained, six-month open enrollment period that we expect to see enrollment ramp up over time, much like other historic implementation efforts we’ve seen in Massachusetts and Medicare Part D.

White House Declares Victory in Meeting Goal of Improving Healthcare.Gov Website

obamacare system stability 300x199 White House Declares Victory in Meeting Goal of Improving Healthcare.Gov Website

White House Declares Victory in Meeting Goal of Improving Healthcare.Gov Website

The White House is declaring victory now that Healthcare.gov is working, two months after the troubled roll-out. The progress report says, “While we strive to innovate and improve our outreach and systems for reaching consumers, we believe we have met the goal of having a system that will work smoothly for the vast majority of users,” the progress report says.

Key points from the progress report:

  • The site will now be able to support a maximum of 800,000 visitors per day, including a target of 50,000 concurrent visits.
  • The site is now online 90% of the time, according to the The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
  • The “tech surge” that came to the site in late October has helped to fix 400-plus bugs and glitches on a “punch list.”
  • The average response time of the site is now less than one second, an improvement from about 8 seconds in late October.

Of course, the Republicans want to hear nothing about the website functioning properly. I went on the site yesterday and made it all the way to the submission point. I do agree that the rollout was horrible and I believe President Obama should have had his ‘Brownie’ moment and fired the people who presided over this mess.

Nearly 27,000 People Bought Insurance on Healthcare.Gov in 1st Month

healthcare.gov  300x75 Nearly 27,000 People Bought Insurance on Healthcare.Gov in 1st Month

Nearly 27,000 People Bought Insurance on Healthcare.Gov in 1st Month

Obamacare enrollment numbers are abysmal, but we expected that due to the roll-out fiasco. According to NBC News, 26,794 people bought insurance on Healthcare.gov in 1st month; nearly 80,000 more signed up on state marketplaces.

This news comes as the word on the Hill is that the site unlikely to work fully by the end of November, as the Obama Administration said, the Washington Post reports. Of course, House Speaker John Boehner is calling for the legislation to be scrapped, with no alternative on the table.

700,000 Applications Filed for Obamacare Despite Website Problems

healthcare.gov  700,000 Applications Filed for Obamacare Despite Website Problems

700,000 Applications Filed for Obamacare Despite Website Problems

For a system that doesn’t work, approximately 700,000 applications have been submitted for Obamacare through the exchanges that have been set up. That’s darn good, though the Republicans would have you think that’s insignificant.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released the number during an update for journalists about the healthcare marketplace, which has had a rocky rollout since enrollment in the new plans began on Oct 1.

The U.S. government is operating the healthcare.gov website, which has been plagued by technical problems since the outset and is the portal for 36 states; the remaining states are operating their own online marketplaces. The nearly 700,000 applications are the total from both the state- and federally-run exchanges, Julie Bataille, a CMS spokeswoman, said on the media call.

 700,000 Applications Filed for Obamacare Despite Website Problems

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus Compares President Obama to ShamWow Guy

reince priebus 300x214 RNC Chairman Reince Priebus Compares President Obama to ShamWow Guy

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus Compares President Obama to ShamWow Guy (Photo credit: Donkey Hotey)

Despite abysmal poll numbers, the Republicans are still on a suicide mission to defund Obamacare. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus is now calling President Obama #PresidentShamWow. You all know the story behind the Sham Wow guy, who was popped for beating up a prostitute who bit him on his tongue. Talk about the right’s constant obsession with linking the nation’s first black president to criminal and unsavory behavior.

Priebus tweeted out a link to a Chicago Tribune editorial arguing that the problem with the Affordable Care Act is much larger than a glitchy website.

Priebus wrote:  “#PresidentShamWow: the flaws aren’t just in your website…they’re in the law itself.”