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Sunday, October 27, 2013

How bad was the introduction of Medicare part "D"

One of the excuses that the Left has run out is that when Medicare part “D” was introduced there were problems with it too. The reaction by many is to say , yes … but. In other words to assume that the comparisons are accurate. Why? Because the rollout of “D” was eight years ago and only affected older people so very few of the people commenting on ObamaCare remember it or have any personal experience with the “D” rollout.

So let’s see how bad the “D” rollout was. It happens that there was an article in the Washington Post about it, but like most articles it wasn’t very helpful because it wasn’t very specific.

Let’s go to Jack Hoadley at Georgetown University a fan of ObamaCare for a more in-depth look at “D.”

He first notes that the press introduction was delayed because of technical issues, but the public was allowed to access it on November 8, 2005.  How did that go?
Visitors to the site could not access it for most of the first two hours. When it finally did come up around 5 p.m., it operated awfully slowly.
During the 2005 signup period for Medicare Part D, the number of daily visitors to the online Plan Finder peaked at about 160,000 for a program that would enroll more people than are expected to enroll under the Affordable Care Act.

Seniors in 2005 were more likely to use the program’s 1-800-Medicare call centers than the online resources, but the daily volume there never exceeded half a million callers. The call centers experienced both dropped calls and frustrating wait times to get through, especially in the first days and weeks.

Glitches continued with the Part D website and call center throughout the open enrollment period. But the program added both phone lines and customer service representatives and implemented other upgrades over the weeks. The website – both its functionality and the accuracy of its information – was the source of ongoing frustration for its users, but it did get better over time.

By the end of open enrollment in May 2006, over 16 million successfully enrolled for drug benefits in Part D (not counting another 6 million automatically enrolled as a result of participation in both Medicare and Medicaid). Initial glitches did not deter their enrollment. And today, Part D enjoys widespread popularity.

So how did that compare to the rollout of ObamaCare? I just tried to access and received the message that millions of Americans are getting a month after the biggest government program launch in American history:

The system is down at the moment.

We are experiencing technical difficulties and hope to have them resolved soon. Please try again later.
In a hurry? You might be able to apply faster at our Marketplace call center. Call 1-800-318-2596 to talk with one of our trained representatives about applying over the phone.

To compare the Part "D" launch to the ObamaCare rollout is like finding your car with a scratch in the parking lot vs. a head-on collision with a Semi-truck. The Part “D” rollout allowed people to enroll via the Internet and phone, ObamaCare was Internet only. I repeat, you can’t enroll in ObamaCare by phone.   All applications have to go through the computer system that doesn't work.   

Second, the initial interest was lower for Part “D” than ObamaCare because it was aimed at seniors, not the entire population. However, in the six months following the rollout, 16 million signed up, far exceeding the 7 million expected to sign up for ObamaCare.

So we can conclude that the problems with Part “D” were in no way comparable to the fiasco ObamaCare is experiencing. And that’s just the issue of technology.

Once Part “D’ got rolling it was discovered that the cost was actually BELOW expectations. The cost and adverse selection problems with ObamaCare have yet to be fully seen because so few have actually been able to enroll in the commercial plans, most choosing the Medicare plan. ObamaCare is an actuarial and financial nightmare for anyone who isn’t on life-support or needs a heart transplant RIGHT NOW. Premium increases, deductible increases and coverage for things that the insured doesn't want or need for the healthy middle class who need insurance for medical catastrophes are going to be ruinous. On the other hand, Sandra Fluke is going to get free birth control pills. That’s worth destroying the health care system to save it, isn’t it?

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