Yesterday the U.S. Treasury Department revealed that the U.S. budget deficit for fiscal year 2013 was $680.3 billion. News outlets focused on the fact that this figure was the lowest annual deficit in five years. That statement is true – but it doesn’t mean the nation’s fiscal problems are solved or that there is any cause for celebration.
The budget conference committee required as part of the agreement that reopened the federal government will meet formally for the first time today. As we noted last week, this committee is not expected to do much beyond discussing a replacement of the sequester spending cuts.
CBS News has this incredible statistic today: “CBS News has learned more than two million Americans have been told they cannot renew their current insurance policies – more than triple the number of people said to be buying insurance under the new Affordable Care Act …” NBC News also reports on this story and says that, despite continually promising Americans they would get to keep their current insurance if they wanted to, the Obama Administration knew for at least three years millions of Americans would not.
President Obama promised his health care reform plan would lower the average health insurance premium price by $2,500. However, the Los Angeles Times reports, “Thousands of Californians are discovering what Obamacare will cost them … These middle-class consumers are staring at hefty increases on their insurance bills as the overhaul remakes the healthcare market.”
Facing mounting criticism from both sides of the aisle, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will finally testify before Congress on Wednesday, October 30 about the major problems in the execution and implementation of Obamacare.
The companies responsible for developing the healthcare websites testify today in front of Congress, and by now it’s clear that the rollout of the Obamacare exchanges is a far cry from the “operational excellence” of President Obama’s campaign dream team.
According to The Washington Post, the Obama Administration has decided to delay by six weeks the requirement that all Americans have to buy health insurance. The newspaper reports, “The Obama administration said Wednesday night that it will give Americans who buy health insurance through the new online marketplaces an extra six weeks to obtain coverage before they incur a penalty.”
On Sept. 27, the Office of the Inspector General (IG) for the Department of Energy (DOE) released a report stating that the DOE had not been properly managing contractor spending in its Hydrogen Fuel Cells Program.
Are efforts to improve the Affordable Care Act website making things worse? It seems so. CBS News reports this morning it “has uncovered a serious pricing problem with HealthCare.gov. It stems from the Obama administration’s efforts to improve its health care website. A new online feature can dramatically underestimate the cost of insurance.
The Associated Press and The Washington Post each report officials in the Obama Administration knew before the Obamacare website was launched that it couldn’t handle more than a few hundred customers at once. The Post says, “Days before the launch of President Obama’s online health insurance marketplace, government officials and contractors tested a key part of the Web site to see whether it could handle tens of thousands of consumers at the same time.