Say, What Defines Success For Obamacare?

That’s something The Politico’s David Nather asks

Democrats have a general idea of what it would take to put the Obamacare rollout back on track. Fix the damn website, they say, and most of the other problems will take care of themselves.

But will they? The problem is that neither the administration or the House and Senate yoked to it can describe a threshold for when the public will view the health law as on the way to recovery.

What does the moment of success look like? Democrats aren’t quite sure – which makes party faithful up for re-election in 2014 increasingly nervous and makes the White House’s ability to set realistic expectations exceedingly difficult.

Most Democrats insist that the main path to recovery is as easy as fixing the website. That’s the line even from the Senate Democrats who bent Obama’s ear at the White House last week about the rollout. They just can’t give any concrete suggestions on what else it would take – which is why most of them sound like the old Saturday Night Live “fix it” guy: “Identify a problem, FIX IT. Identify another problem, FIX IT!”

Democrats and Team Obama think that fixing the website will enable the Unicorn Of Awesomeness to run free, and then the “Affordable” Care Act will be a rousing success. Yet, the website, working correctly or not, is simply the portal to people obtaining Government Approved health insurance. In order to be successful, it would

  • make sure that the majority of the 30-45 million Americans without insurance obtained insurance, like was used as a talking point prior to passage
  • Is revenue neutral, as Democrats stated
  • Is providing quality health care
  • Bends the curve down on rising health insurance and care costs
  • Doesn’t get in the way of decisions between you and your doctor (death panels, government mandates)
  • Are those who are sicker making up the vast number of enrollees
  • Lowers premiums up to $2500 for families, as Obama and other Dems repeatedly stated
  • Makes it easy and inexpensive for those with pre-existing conditions to obtain affordable coverage
  • Companies aren’t dumping their health insurance plans
  • Companies aren’t shifting people to part-time work
  • You aren’t losing your doctor
  • You aren’t losing the plan you like

Well, since many of those have already been broken, it’s exactly the success Conservatives said it would be. For Progressives, the #1 measure is “how much power has government taken for themselves when it comes to people’s health decisions?” Also, “how much closer to single payer are we?” Of course, most of these folks didn’t think that the law would effect themselves. Surprise!

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that the initial numbers should show 40k-50k enrollments. The Washington Post is saying 40,0000. Sarah Kliff, who has mostly been on the cheerleader side, wonders who counts as an enrollee

When the Obama administration releases health law enrollment figures later this week, though, it will use a more expansive definition. It will count people who have purchased a plan as well as those who have a plan sitting in their online shopping cart but have not yet paid.

“In the data that will be released this week, ‘enrollment’ will measure people who have filled out an application and selected a qualified health plan in the marketplace,” said an administration official, who requested anonymity to frankly describe the methodology.

So, if you are cruising Best Buy’s website and “add to shopping cart to see price”, according to Team Obama that would mean you purchased that product. Even if you haven’t paid for it. If you download a free preview of a book from Amazon, that means you bought the book. Though you haven’t paid a dime. If you are on Rotten Tomatoes and say that you want to see this movie, the studio can report you as having seen it, though you haven’t paid.

I suspect the actual paid enrollments are so low that they don’t dare release the numbers.

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