ObamaCare’s Unraveling

obamacare supreme court-cropped-proto-custom_28Another critical ObamaCare program has turned into a nightmare of mismanagement and corruption, and this debacle serves not only as a microcosm of the health care law itself, but also to illustrate how any obscure part of highly complicated and interconnected law can potentially bring down the entire system.

The name of the program is the Health Care Consumer Oriented and Operated Program (co-op). Its $2 billion dollar affiliated grant loan program has been so disastrously mismanaged that Congress has been forced to freeze all future loan funds while it investigates protocols and management of the program.

The health care co-ops were set-up in the Affordable Care Act to serve as a competing force to traditional health insurance on state exchanges, which were set-up to serve those that aren’t able to get insurance through Medicare, Medicaid, or through their employers. Health care co-ops were presented as promising options for cheap health insurance because they were set-up as non-profits.

The program is now the subject of four federal investigations including by the House Oversight and Government Affairs Committee, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of the Inspector General, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Jonathan Ingram, a healthcare policy analyst with the Illinois Policy Institute, has been tracking health care co-ops, and specifically those in Illinois. He explained that while the concept of health care co-ops was written into the Affordable Care Act, the specific rules governing them were written by staff within DHS. Effectively, this means that nameless and faceless bureaucrats were deciding how health care co-ops would function.

With the loan program in flux, the fate of health care co-ops is also up in the air. Twenty-four co-ops in twenty-five states were exclusively selected by DHS to provide health insurance to compete in the health care exchanges in each of the twenty-five states.

The health-care exchanges, of which health care co-ops are so critical, have their own history of turbulence. Initially, the Obama administration planned on having states each set up their own exchanges, but starting in 2011, mostly Republican governors objected, and currently, in nearly half the states, the federal government will be forced to set-up the exchange itself.

Exchanges are supposed to be on-line and fully functional starting October 1, 2013, but all accounts make that a near impossibility in all fifty states.

Ingram said that the impact on health-care exchanges of the collapse of health-care co-ops is a state-to-state issue. Ingram said that in Illinois, there are currently only five entities offering health insurance on the exchange, making the collapse of one quite critical. He said only four entities appear on the California health-care exchange.

According to an emailed statement from the Chief Executive Officer of Land of Lincoln Health Care Co-op, Dan Yunker told Front Page Magazine that the co-op in Illinois should not be affected:

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act pledged $3.8 billion in funding loans to assist in establishing co-ops in every state. In all, 24 co-ops received federal approval and loans, however the remaining funding for co-ops was cut as part of the fiscal cliff agreement. Land of Lincoln Health (the co-op sponsored by MCHC) was the last co-op to receive federal approval/funding. Land of Lincoln Health’s approval to launch a consumer oriented and operated health plan and loan award was not impacted by Congress’ fiscal cliff agreement. Land of Lincoln Health is continuing to move forward in creating affordable, comprehensive insurance options for the people of Illinois. Land of Lincoln Health’s plans will be available for individuals and business owners on October 1, 2013.

Other states won’t be so lucky. According to figures provided by the HHS, a whopping 43% of all the twenty-four loans are projected to default.

In Vermont, the health care co-op Vermont Health Co-op hasn’t even been able to secure the proper license from the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation despite receiving $34 million in grant money.

Freelancers Union Co-op is a health care co-op functioning in New York, New Jersey and Oregon, and it received a $340 million loan from the program even though it was directly tied to the Freelancer’s Union Insurance Company, a relationship expressly forbidden by the Affordable Care Act.

HHS declined to respond to an email on the fate of the health care co-op program and the health care exchanges in light of this recent scandal.

As Obamcare unfolds, it’s clear that the complicated program is predicated on the smooth transition of thousands of obscure and yet interlocking programs, as this story illustrates. The failure of even one obscure program serves as a domino effect to other programs and ultimately to the entire program. Success can only be achieved if all these programs are smoothly and effectively instituted all at once, and that is now a near certain impossibility. As such, the health care co-op program serves as an apt metaphor for the law itself, a never ending sea of endless mismanagement and corruption.

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  • poptoy1949

    It should have never been approved, and the sooner it can be ended the better the United States will be without it.

  • Watcher

    Kill it, kill it, kill it! House Republicans, gird up your loins and slay the giant.

  • Sheik Yerbouti

    Republicans have a chance to regain the faith of the nation. But they’ll squander it and run off to pander to people who will NEVER vote for them. They are, as a group, insane.

  • Joel Cairo

    Let’s turn it over to Wilmer Cook. He is careless with matches, so it would be easy for him to burn the whole thing to the ground.

  • salamieater67

    Obamacare is nothing but an obomination in fact , it is similar to Hitler’s ‘affordable ‘ health care he attempted to initiate. This Obamacare will kill many uneducated, gullible Americans and will make it convenient to issue the RFID chip ‘mark of the beast’

  • Crazycatkid

    “Patient protection and affordable care act” Ha! Love is hate and good is bad.

  • freedomfighterx

    Obamacare socialism leads to communism. Watch this documentary to find out what Barry and his communist party have planned for America and your family. You’ll be shocked and appalled! – Grinding Down America – http://vimeo.com/63749370

  • Shipwreck Kelly

    The writer could really use the services of a fact checker. Been a long time since I’ve seen so much misinformation in such a short amount of copy. 11 major factual errors in just 16 short paragraphs. I sure hope Volpe didn’t get paid to deliver this drivel.

    • Realist

      Please point out the 11 alleged “major factual errors”. Unfortunately, I cannot find any. It would be appreciated if you would educate me regarding this matter. Thank you.

    • spyeatte

      Since you didn’t mention what the “major” errors were, I can only assume you are spreading false propaganda.

  • R.Young

    Investigate all they want they will find nothing wrong, so says the Regime!

  • okokok

    really? lol lol

    Republicans Do Damage Control On Their Party’s Vow To Shut Down The Government

    BY AVIVA SHEN ON AUGUST 7, 2013 AT 12:04 PM

    After 40 failed votes to repeal Obamacare, several Republicans are threatening anew to block government funding unless the health reform law gets defunded. This threat is nothing new; Republicans have repeatedly demanded that every appropriations bill include a provision to repeal Obamacare since the law was passed. Tea Party lawmakers in 2011 emphasized how dire the situation was, calling for a“blood oath” to “choke Obamacare.”

    Now, these empty threats are coming back to haunt Republicans who fear they will lose their seats if they take the government hostage. Several new town hall videos show lawmakers grappling with furious demands from constituents to shut down the government like the GOP said was needed to defund Obamacare.

    Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL)
    When confronted by one angry constituent, Schock dismissed his pro-shutdown colleagues for “beating their chests” on cable news without thinking about the real-life consequences. “How many weeks would you go without paying Social Security, and how many weeks would you go without paying the troops?” he asked. “And having a young lady walk into my office, whose husband is over in Afghanistan, who can’t pay her mortgage because I’m shutting the government down because I don’t like the health care law? [...] I’m just suggesting that when you get into a fight, politically, you gotta make sure you’re willing to kill the hostage you got. And I am not convinced yet that that’s a hostage we should take headed into this fight.”

    Rep. Robert Pittenger (R-NC)
    Pittenger flatly answered “no” when a constituent asked him if he would join the effort to defund Obamacare. Pittenger argued that the vote would be pointless because the Democrat-controlled Senate would never pass the bill. His constituents yelled back that they wanted to “make a stand to get conservatives back on board.” He later released a statement explaining that he would take “responsible steps to defund or replace Obamacare.”

    Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE)
    At a town hall on Monday, Fortenberry warned of “very significant consequences” should Republicans go forward with their plan, and said “There has to be a better way.” In response, one audience member declared, “We elected Republicans to fight for more conservative policies.”

    Many other prominent Republicans have refused to support the shutdown plan. On Sunday, former vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) said “there are more effective ways” to get rid of Obamacare. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) scoffed, “It’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard,” while Sen. Tom Cole (R-OK) called it “a temper tantrum.” Republican governors have also warned that their state economies would suffer enormously if the party takes the government hostage.

    • Fritz

      It will not cost them support if they use funding appropriations to defund Obamacare, it will put the ball squarely in the hands of the Democrat controlled senate. Why is this so called government shutdown idea considered so terrible? The military continues to be funded as does the security agencies. Medicare, medicaid, and Social Security payments still go out.

      Why do they continue to listen to Karl Rove’s revisionist history on this subject. This is the same man who was so great at his job as “The Architect” that they nearly lost to Algore in 2001, and whose strategies cost the Republicans the house in 2006. He hates conservatives and has been doing his utmost to see that tea party backed candidates are shut out. Many of the other establishment types are no better, they are the reason that B.O got a second term by backing yet another limp wristed moderate for a candidate.

      • okokok

        “Why is this so called government shutdown idea considered so terrible” ask the million of kids, seniors, disabled and others who will be affected. You RWNJs are pathetic in your ignorance and reptilian in your ethical core; tuly disgusting human being–just go die already…maggots and vermin all..

  • TalkinHorse

    My person premium, for a high-deductible policy that I pay for out of my pocket, has doubled since the passage of the “affordable care act”. Every increase — it’s been a series of quick steps — has included a letter from Anthem connecting the increase to meeting the requirements of the Act. Our government has raped us for the benefit of cronies, and justified raping us with lies and more lies. And yet they get away with it. We have a government of criminal lunatics. Does anybody care?

    • MLCBLOG

      Affordable for someone because you are now paying for their premiums!!