USA Today reports that in much of the country consumers don't even have the option of purchasing an affordable "bronze plan" -- the cheapest tier of insurance available on the federal exchange:
More than half of the counties in 34 states using the federal health insurance exchange lack even a bronze plan that's affordable — by the government's own definition — for 40-year-old couples who make just a little too much for financial assistance, a USA TODAY analysis shows.
Many of these counties are in rural, less populous areas that already had limited choice and pricey plans, but many others are heavily populated, such as Bergen County, N.J., and Philadelphia and Milwaukee counties.
More than a third don't offer an affordable plan in the four tiers of coverage known as bronze, silver, gold or platinum for people buying individual plans who are 50 or older and ineligible for subsidies.
Former president Bill Clinton said recently that Obamacare “only works . . . if young people show up.” But it won’t work—because young people won’t show up. Obamacare gives them too many reasons not to do so.
One reason is that Obamacare makes things more expensive for them. The Obamacare arithmetic depends on more young people choosing to buy government-approved insurance than were previously willing to buy cheaper, often better, insurance through the free market.
Though the Obama administration has been promoting the benefits of Obamacare for several years now, one perk of coverage through the exchanges that has gone largely unnoticed is a mandated three-month grace period for unpaid premiums. The rule, however, only applies to those receiving subsidies via tax credits advanced to the insurers by the government (§155.430 and §156.270 of the Code of Federal Regulations).
President Barack Obama delivered remarks from the White House Thursday morning following the conclusion of the government shutdown and the raising of the debt ceiling. The president praised government as an entity "we rely on" in a "whole lot of ways." He also said that he hoped the country had learned that "smart, effective government is important."
For over a year it has been common knowledge within the Obama administration that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) could not launch its network of health exchanges for the Affordable Care Act in a minimally acceptable way. That knowledge did not stop the HHS publicity machine from constantly assuring the American public that its computer systems would be ready for the first enrollment period.
As Mike Allen reported this morning, Rep. Tom Cotton, a Republican, is going on the offensive against Sen. Mark Pryor, a Democrat, who recently voted to protect the special subsidy for Congress in Obamacare. Here's video of that ad:
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew refused to answer Fox host Chris Wallace's simple question this morning: How many people have signed up for Obamacare?
"I'm going to ask you one last time," said Wallace, "because, forgive me sir, you haven't answered it: do you not know how many people signed up, which would seem to indicate another major software glitch, or is it that the numbers are embarrassingly small?"
NBC announced today that it would be launching a week of programming to help Obamacare get off its feet, according to a press release sent out by the network. The law has been widely opposed by all Republicans and supported by most Democrats, including President Obama.
As full implementation of Obamacare draws near, some aspects of its operation have received relatively little attention. The October 1 launch of the marketplaces, or exchanges, is less than a week away, but outside of supposedly offering a Priceline-like shopping experience for health insurance, not much has been released about their function once a plan is chosen. Although, the marketplaces have been primarily promoted as a place to shop for, compare, and choose coverage, they will actually function as payment clearinghouses as well.