USA Today has done a review of the new HealthCare.gov website and how it helps people sign up for health insurance in the new Obamacare marketplaces, and have declared it a winner.
Look past its start-up glitches — they’ll get fixed — HealthCare.gov is an out-of-the-box success for consumers shopping for health insurance.
As for the glitches, they point out that 2.8 million people crashing a website on the first day is considered a problem that most web companies would love to have. A venture capitalist and former chairman of a health insurance company says “It shows they’ve hit the target. It’s obvious.” Startup glitches always happen, but they are soon fixed and forgotten.
They also point out that premiums in the marketplace are significantly cheaper than expected, even without federal subsidies. For example, for a 40-year-old nonsmoker, the site’s policy will cost $2,700 a year less than the average employer-provided health care coverage for the same person. That’s a pretty significant savings.
Having an open marketplaces where companies compete for your business in an open and transparent way is exactly the kind of market-based solution that you would think Republicans would be promoting. After all, they came up with the idea. Maybe they aren’t telling the truth when they claim to be in favor of free enterprise.
Free enterprise is good, competition is good. Mandate is not good. Mandate is not free market.
Forcing hospitals to treat people for free is also not free market. Forcing people to pay taxes is not free market. Public roads are not free market. Police protection is not free market. Fire departments are not free market. Public schools are not free market.
But they are the right thing to do. Get over it.
Yes, so we cannot call it is free market. That is all I am saying. And interestingly most of the things you mention do not have some corporations in middle that do nothing but gamble. So unfortunately ACA/obamacare is neither free market nor government run welfare system.
Free Markets are bad That’s the reason we regulate all of them.
Hassan, you won’t get an argument from me on that. I would prefer a single payer health care system (the model I like best is the one they have in New Zealand). But I believe the ACA marketplaces do make health care more like a free market than what we had before.
Zed, I am a great believer in free markets, with appropriate regulation. I’ve started several companies (in fact, I’m starting a new one now!) so I would never say that free markets are bad.
ZED – also without free or mostly free markets, which is what it really is, people would be locked into a wage or economic status without hope of getting to the next level. It’s absolutely a mess sometimes but it is the only way to create opportunity. We need regulation in the right amount for the right reasons, ie. worker safety, protection of the environment etc. Without free markets I would argue there couldn’t be any unions which are a great example a free market working in the private sector. Public unions are subject to gov’t regulation and sometimes work to the detriment of the taxpayers and sometimes to the workers. But that’s because government isn’t free market as IK stated.
The two important phrases to remember in relation to the health care environment are: information asymmetry and market failure. In how many free market systems are you told the price of a service *after* receiving it? In how many free markets do you routinely have vast discrepancies in pricing structure for the exact same services? I’m not talking slight differences; I’m talking factor-of-10 types of differences (e.g., $5,000 to individuals without insurance vs. $500 to insurance companies. In how many free market systems do your employer get to decide what purchasing options you have?
The only way that health care can work as an efficient free market is to accept gruesome outcomes based on wealth inequalities. That is, you must accept the idea that it is okay for poor people to die of cancer to maximize the number of rich people that get colds treated quickly.
Patriotsgt, I’m not going to disagree with the general notion that capitalism is a much better general approach than socialism. The problem is that every economy is a blend of the two, which complicates the matter in practice. As it turns out, the U.S. (which has freer markets) has lower social mobility rates than most European countries (see http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/news/2006/04/26/1917/understanding-mobility-in-america/ for an example). That is, empirical data show poor people in the U.S. are more likely to be “locked into [an] economic status without hope of getting to the next level,” than they are in Europe, despite the fact that the European economies are more influenced by socialism! Yes, there are many, many factors that play into that effect. But it is there nonetheless.
Regarding the technical glitches, there’s a lot of discussion going on in the D.C.-area news about how Maryland’s portal is a disaster. A lot of that stems from one poor design choice: You have to create and validate an account before you can even begin to look at prices to see if you want to consider buying from the exchange. That’s creating a huge bottleneck.