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A woman poses for photos while holding a placard with her thoughts on healthcare at the White House Youth Summit on the Affordable Care Act in Washington December 4, 2013. U.S. President Barack Obama urged Americans not to be discouraged by the rocky rollout of HealthCare.gov on Tuesday and vowed to fix whatever glitches remain as he sought to restore confidence in his leadership...REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque  (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS HEALTH) - RTX163UR
Charles Gaba, known around these parts as Brainwrap, has been keeping meticulous track of health insurance enrollments under Obamacare for months. Based on his research, and the news from the administration that they had reached more than 5 million enrollments, he's comfortably predicting that enrollments will hit the CBO's estimate of 6 million enrollments. He then goes out on a limb to say that 6.5 or even 7 million (the administration's target before the HealthCare.gov rollout debacle) could be possible.

But it's a hard slog to get there. Take the example of the Lower Eastern Shore of Maryland.

In 2011, about 20,000 of the counties' 178,000 residents lacked health insurance, according to the most recent census data. That 14 percent rate was the fourth-worst in Maryland that year, and above the 2011 statewide uninsurance rate of 12 percent.

It is now up to a team of just 15 county health workers to get those people covered under the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature health care reform law.

That's 15 people covering three counties across 1,100 square miles. They are further hampered by a website that has at least as many problems as the federal exchange website. The results are worth it:
"We finally got a plan," said Sheila Fisher, a two-time cancer survivor from Westover who had been unable to afford health insurance before Obamacare's passage prohibited health insurers from charging astronomical rates to those with "pre-existing conditions." For $271 a month including tax credits that cut the cost, Sheila and her husband, Samuel, got a low-level "bronze" plan plus dental coverage. The couple had been uninsured for three years.
These are the stories that justify the arduous path this law has taken. But they're also the stories that aren't breaking through. There's still a ton of misinformation about what Obamacare is, and going through all the options is still a complicated process, particularly for someone who hasn't experienced it before. That's what navigators face in these last two weeks of open enrollment. If it's a challenge in Maryland, imagine how hard it is in Texas or other states where the need is greatest, but which are actively hindering the process. All because Republicans are putting politics before people.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:40 AM PDT.

Also republished by Maryland Kos and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (45+ / 0-)

    "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

    by Joan McCarter on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 10:40:03 AM PDT

  •  I Wish Democrats Would Defend Obamacare (5+ / 0-)

    instead of knocking it.  I think that voters trust someone that defends what they voted for than one who voted for something and than bad mouths it.

    "Don't Let Them Catch You With Your Eyes Closed"

    by rssrai on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:02:35 AM PDT

    •  What Democrats are knocking it? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      manyamile

      Except for those who post comments to sites like this one, saying obligatory things "I don't like ACA so I'm disappointed in Obama ..." I don't see a lot of publicly-visible Democrats knocking it.

      But then I'm lucky to have two good Democratic senators and a Democratic Rep who do stand up for the ACA. So I may be missing something of what you're referring to.

      I don't love writing, but I love having written ~ Dorothy Parker // Visit my Handmade Gallery on Zibbet

      by jan4insight on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:08:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Landrieu has (4+ / 0-)

        though she's at least fighting for Medicaid expansion in LA. There's several that jumped on the cancelled plan bandwagon and have talked about the problems, Shaheen for one. I'm fine if they talk about the problems, as long as they also talk about real fixes.

        If the more expansive, systemic reform the nation's health care system really needs is ever going to be accomplished, we've got to have Democrats solidly backing this one, and talking about making it better.

        "The NSA’s capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left, such is the capability to monitor everything. [...] There would be no place to hide."--Frank Church

        by Joan McCarter on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:16:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Don't see them robustly championing it either (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rsmpdx, sharman, jan4insight, ybruti

        Debbie Wasserman-Schultz herself said that 'fixing' it was a winning message.  

        Paul Begala has framed this perfectly:  It's about our health care RIGHTS.  Scream it from the roof tops.  

        I'm sick and tired of hearing one parenthetical excuse, one qualifier after another.  

        Be BOLD, Dem's.  Be PROUD of accomplishing this under the thumb of lies and a media that sells the lies.  Do your effing jobs, for God's sake.  

        We can continue to make it BETTER.  But 'fixing' it is defensive.  

        Between now and November, no such weak support should be tolerated.  That's up to DWS and she's all fine with apologizing because the law isn't perfect.  

        We'll get it a lot closer to perfect if we gain power in November.  Why is this so hard to understand?

        •  Given that there's plenty of people (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lencialoo

          here on this site knocking the ACA because it isn't "perfect," may the folks you reference are just listening to their base? /snark

          Like you, I'm sick of it, too. But I wasn't aware that such high-profile Dems were doing it, too. And that's why I asked the question.

          I don't love writing, but I love having written ~ Dorothy Parker // Visit my Handmade Gallery on Zibbet

          by jan4insight on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 04:00:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I'm making the assumption that most of those (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ybruti

        still rooting for the failure of the law on this site are not those who stand to be helped by it because

        ~they already have health insurance through their employer, through another group, or through Medicare or Medicaid   or

        ~they earn too much to qualify for a subsidy  or

        ~they live in another country  or

        ~they have never been seriously ill or in an accident that resulted in punishing hospital bills

        "It ain't right, Atticus," said Jem. "No, son, it ain't right." --Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

        by SottoVoce on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 04:54:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Why should Democrats defend a Repbublican (0+ / 0-)

      policy, invented by the Heritage Foundation??? It sucks less, but it still sucks.

      •  Because it's better than what we had? And ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... in this political climate, there is NO chance of doing better?

        Or do we continue to pout and stomp our feet?

        2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

        by TRPChicago on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 04:51:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's true many of the ACA's predictable problems (0+ / 0-)

        stem from being an entrenchment of a for-profit insurance model, albeit a better-regulated and more inclusive one.  

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 05:06:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sure, single payer would have been better. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lgmcp

          And the insurance companies are doing well, thank you, with their model. (Medicare also helped 'em, because it removed so many high-cost patients from their business plan.) Amazing they fought those reforms so hard.

          AS for being new to someplace, I was around for that thousand-plus page bill that Hillary presented early in her husband's administration. The one she was entrusted with because it was such a high priority. The one that was almost dead on arrival, but not even high-ranking Congressional Democrats spoke straight to her and her advisors as it withered away.

          I wouldn't defend the introduction of health proposals by the Obama administration either - RE content or strategy - with the diddling those proposals got in a Senate by alleged friends who just couldn't seem to move such a high priority forward. But its passage was a victory, particularly with the political retrospective of a disastrous set of 2010 campaigns and the results.

          It's counterproductive now to do what so many did in 2010 ... and that's get amnesic about ACA and start mumbling about other things. On this one, I will give absolutely no ground to Republicans who are lambaste ObamaCare for all they can muster. Now, we defend ACA and be grownups who know they have to make good results happen.

          Yes, we should tout the successes of the Affordable Care Act.

          2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

          by TRPChicago on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 08:03:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agreed. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TRPChicago

            It's helping a lot of folks, including many who are too myopic to realize it.

            "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

            by lgmcp on Thu Mar 20, 2014 at 06:56:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I agree that there are successes. (0+ / 0-)

            I agree that Obamacare is better than what we had. That said, it's still hugely overpriced, inefficient and ineffective. It's also a fascist policy, as opposed to a wholesome socialist policy. I cannot brag about nor defend this dog.

      •  YOU!! Out of the gene pool, RIGHT NOW! (0+ / 0-)

        ObamaCare! Sign-up by phone: 1-800-318-2596

        by mwm341 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 06:09:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  We got half a loaf (0+ / 0-)

    And were never going to get the full loaf. Better than going hungry, for sure.

    Shall we go? Yes, let's go.

    by whenwego on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 11:48:26 AM PDT

  •  this is actually helping individuals (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rsmpdx, ybruti

    A LOT.  saving a few hundred a month, are you kidding?  and for better coverage. that MATTERS!!!!

    •  And most especially for people (0+ / 0-)

      who were completely screwed hitherto, thanks to preexisting conditions.

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 05:08:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  lets say that the average person who enrolls saves (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rsmpdx

    300 a month, so 5 million times 300 is 1.5 billion a month, or 18 billion a year. thats 18 billion that stays in the peoples pockets and can go to other things.

  •  "Having insurance" is an abstraction (0+ / 0-)

    that doesn't make good press copy (and for many people, doesn't mean much, which is why it's hard to get young healthies to buy it.) It will take a while before a certain percentage of those people use their shiny new insurance for actual medical care that they wouldn't have been able to afford before, or that would have left them with huge bills, or cleaning out the kids' college savings plus the 401k.

    And it's always harder to tell the good news stories than the aint-it-awfuls -- any journalist knows that. "250,000 people made it home safely from work today, and 350,000 school children boarded their school buses and got home safely" will never make the news. One car accident will get a small mention; one school bus accident will get a larger mention; one school bus accident in which someone dies will make the front page.

    •  Good point. (0+ / 0-)

      On the old journalstic scale of man-bites-dog is news to dog-bites-man is non-news ...  nice-dog-wags-at-man is never gonna even REGISTER.  

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 05:12:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  W00T!! Chris Hayes featured (5+ / 0-)

    Kossack brainwrap's ACA Signups graph All In tonight, half an hour ago, starting at the 53 minute mark. I'm watching on DVR. Discussion with Avik Roy and Jonathan Cohn.

    Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

    by Mokurai on Tue Mar 18, 2014 at 06:32:37 PM PDT

  •  Better than the system we had. (0+ / 0-)

    Which is like saying solid poop is better than liquid poop. But it's still poop.

  •  Verification Process (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jck, ybruti

    I made my first attempt to sign up around Dec. 15th. the program spit me out when I got to the verification part. Me being a hot head I gave up. a week later I tried again.
    I was told to send a copy of me licenses to a place in KY.
    I did that the next day. I sent it out before Christmas !
    I got a reply from that place in KY 2 months later !
    BUT ! I called the number again around Jan 6th.
    The guy I spoke with verified my account.
    Then it was up to me to decide. Well I didn't know enough to make a decision & put it off till I got back from a race I was going to with the boss the weekend of Jan25th/26th.

    The 24th I had appendicitis !

    LOL

    I did get signed up for March 1st.
    Still haven't got the stuff from BCBSNC yet though !

    the reason it was hard to verify me is I've never bought anything on credit in my name. when I was 20 My brother co-signed so I could get a motorcycle, 10 months or so into paying for it, it got sold. The insurance company had gone bankrupt, the state was going to cover it, but I had to keep making payments during that process. it was at least 10 months before it was taken care of & I got screwed out of all those payments I made. like 600 bucks. Never bought anything I couldn't pay cash for again.

    So it's not easy for poor people to buy insurance.

  •  in today's wonkblog (7+ / 0-)

    This guy knew when Obamacare enrollment would hit 5M before anyone else. Now he’s predicting 6.2M.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!" — Upton Sinclair

    by Greg Dworkin on Wed Mar 19, 2014 at 04:49:46 PM PDT

  •  It took me FOREVER to get enrolled... (3+ / 0-)

    It was pretty hellacious. Incredibly slow and frustrating. I first applied for coverage back in October. I just got my Kaiser membership number a couple of weeks ago,

    BUT...

    I now have a Kaiser Permanente Silver plan that is very comparable to my old employer-sponsored plan. The Employer-sponsored plan was around $560/mo in Premiums. With the subsidy, I am paying $64 a month for my plan now. I just went to my first appointment last week. I'm glad I was able to stick with it and get it done. It's an amazing deal.

  •  It took us over 3 months to get everything sorted (3+ / 0-)

    out. It certainly was worth it. My wife has the same prescription copays as she had while we were on my COBRA plan, only now it costs us $800 less per month.

  •  Thanks so much! (0+ / 0-)

    I'm flattered :)

  •  This fight for health care coverage is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ybruti

    at the core of our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Every American needs to be covered by health care coverage that they want and need.  Getting sick should not ruin your life or put you in debt or bankruptcy,   This is an area of human need with is basic to survival and it calls for the use of the commonwealth to create wholeness in our health care services.  To sustain life with decent, affordable and high quality universal health care is our achievable goal as progressive people concerned about the future.

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