I made a small spread today, with AEC, BAS, and MAA up and everything else down.
MAA hiked their dividend yesterday but a couple tenths of a percent.
We are well into the banal month, so I don’t know why I’m bothering to write. I suppose I want to give the shadows something to read. The 9th floor is deserted, but my work somehow remains busy.
The healthcare situation is a fiasco. Little shits on the internet, working for pasty ThinkProgress-type blogs, are heralding the triumphant relaunch of the HealthCare.gov website. Meanwhile, we’re still basically 7 million people shy of where we thought the enrollment process would be right now. And there are <28 (27 now??) days now on the clock.
I want to make this very clear to you right now – this is not some technical difficulty. This is a big fucking deal.
Suppose you got kicked off your plan. You go to the website and can't enroll. At this point, you don't have health insurance any more.
"But Cain, they can just enroll with the insurance companies directly now."
Except they can't, no, not really. The HealthCare.gov website is the primary mechanism for pushing the subsidies that are supposed to help make this law affordable. Those subsidies come in two flavors: benefits enhancements and cost reductions. And without the fancy linking that's supposed to occur through the website, you are left looking at the non-subsidized cost of coverage.
That means signing up through any place other than the website will be very expensive relative to what you were paying before. How many people do you know that will be able to readily absorb a several hundred dollar a month hit to their budgets? I'm guessing not many. The other option is to slash your coverage away to nil. Which isn't much of a choice if you're sick.
Of course, lots of schmucks are trying to say the subsidy issue isn't an issue, by pushing subsidy calculators from secondary sources and suggesting the uninsured just roll with it. Just how bad are these secondary sources? I know of one instance already with a six figure income showing subsidy eligibility.
So I'm gonna say pretty damn bad…
And that's not even talking about the garbled nonsense being reported getting delivered to carriers. Let me just lay out a few very real situations that are likely to crop up over the next six to twelve months.
There will be people who cannot sign up in time.
There will be people who think they've signed up only to discover (God willing not in a life threatening situation, but yes, probably) that they were never processed.
There will be people who sign up for coverage that has become unaffordable to them, only to be forced insolvent.
There will be people who took benefits reductions to keep their premium in line, to avoid insolvency, only to become sick, be unable to meet the higher cost sharing, and become insolvent anyway.
There will be people who think they know what they're paying, only to have subsidy restatements issued that render them with unaffordable, unchangeable insurance coverage.
There will be people with terminal illness who learn after the fact that their network no longer includes their providers.
There will be insurance companies that experience major system failures, dropping God knows what, where. (Rumors are a quarter of Blue Cross of Michigan's system already crashed in October)
You are in for a year of horror stories slowly seeping to the surface, like a tar pond.
And of course, there will be winners. There will be people who make out like bandits because of this law. There will be people who are so much better off, while it slowly dawns on the 80%+ of Americans that were just fine with their healthcare that the reason their neighbors are being raked across the coals is to provide those winners with better coverage than any of them could buy in the same circumstance.