The Shumlin administration, basking in the glory of making one-third of the working
population sign up for healthcare through his overpriced, unworkable, and broken Health Care Connect website, is now offering a signup extension to employers with 50 employees or less. Of course, if they haven’t met the state-imposed deadline by Monday, November 25, they have to notify their existing carriers of this and extend coverage through March 2013.
The reason? Shumlin, and his website. From the Freeps:
Gov. Peter Shumlin and the two insurance companies that cover small employers in Vermont agreed two weeks ago to offer three-month extensions to small employers and to individuals because of technical troubles that have plagued Vermont Health Connect since its Oct. 1 launch. The extension and the automatic enrollment options were safety nets intended to make sure no one ended up without insurance because of the troubled website.
Oh, so that’s the reason why the extension was offered – the kind, gentle hand of government, extending a safety net. Considering that these employees already had insurance, it now looks like the results of the website’s implementation was to take away existing insurance, and a fix must be put in (via the extension) to make sure the Vermonters Shumlin told us he was trying to help can actually keep their existing insurance until his much better, and Shumlin-sanctioned,
single-payer Vermont Healthier Than Most Connect With Intermittent and More Expensive Service decides to finally come online.
Well. That was nice of him.
Let’s do a little math here, since the Shumlin administration seems incapable of doing it themselves (from the Freeps article):
As of Friday, 17,775 applications had been set up on Vermont Health Connect, and 6,454 had been completed to the stage of plan selection. The final step — still unavailable online — is payment.
Well, hey – payment, schmament. The state will be seeing your income tax filings, too, so I can guarantee that payments will be made, one way or the other. It’s most likely that payments will eventually be made through payroll tax deductions, at some point, so the state is guaranteed the income stream to make the payments to the insurers. It’s all value-added work at The People’s Healthcare Bureau. You, the taxpayer, pays the state to take money out of your earnings so they can pay the insurers that they have routinely demonized that provide you with the insurance the politicians say you have a right to.
Got all that? You still have rights, except for the one about keeping what you’ve earned.
About 100,000 Vermonters — small employers and their workers, plus people who have been buying their own insurance — are required by state law to use the new online marketplace to purchase medical coverage in 2014.
In short, less than 18% of those required to enroll have actually had accounts set up on Vermont Health Connect. Even better – only one third of these applicants have actually enrolled in a specific insurance program. The actual enrollment rate in the program is 6.5%.
What this latest news over an extension is truly about is the fact that no one’s signing up for Shumlin’s dearly beloved single-payer vehicle. If it walks and talks like a duck, Shumlin’s trying to sell you something.
But why do we need single-payer in the first place, if, even with the state’s website going down in flames, almost half of small employers are buying their insurance directly with Blue Cross?
Kevin Goddard, vice president for external affairs at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, offered some preliminary data. About 800 of 2,800 small employers had notified Blue Cross about their plans for next year. The breakdown:
• 40 percent chose the new option of enrolling in one of the Blue Cross plans sold on Vermont Health Connect — but were selecting and buying directly with Blue Cross.
So health care costs will go down by spending hundreds of millions of tax dollars on
a website to enroll in a program that you don’t need the website to enroll in? Do I have that right, or did something large just fall on my head?
It’s pretty clear that when the mechanics of enrollment and payment are worked out, the only value for the entire project has to be the centralization of health care under a political regime, not something done to actually a) cover more people, or b) reduce costs, because neither of those things is possible by instituting a plan like Shumlin’s that is designed, purposefully, to do neither.