The first set of challenges will come from the delays the president used to lower the political pressure. On Wednesday the administration announced a delay in small businesses’ access to the online marketplace, which means a year of complaints from small business owners about having to manage the cumbersome signup through other methods. (Though businesses can still sign up through an agent or broker, which is how many of them do it now.) The employer mandate will also come up again. In July, the Obama administration delayed the requirement that businesses with more than 50 employees cover their employees. Next fall Democrats may face the same kinds of political pressure that forced the delay this year, including stories about how companies are cutting employees’ hours to avoid covering their health care.
One of the problems with the back-end issues insurance companies are facing is the problem of "orphan records"—people who think they've signed up on the web site but the information never actually made it to the insurance company. Those people are going to assume they're covered on Jan. 1, 2014. That's a possible anecdote factory of people who need care, were covered before, thought they'd switched to the new program, and are now are shocked and panicked because they're not. Another potential headache that needs to be managed is the president's promise that people can keep their doctor if they would like to. That won't be the case for many people as insurers restrict the choice of doctors to keep costs down. And then there's the fact that the IRS will be handling the enforcement of the law—a highly unpopular institution the Republicans have exploited for political gain before.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
The Anecdote Factory
At Slate, John Dickerson explains that the Obamacare rollout will continue to provide Republicans with ammunition: