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Obamacare's failure masks problems with state exchanges such as CoveredCA.com

By Hugh Hewitt; Hugh Hewitt, Analysis Contributor
Proquest LLC

"CPL" is short hand for "cost per lead."

"CPM" means "cost per thousand."

"CPC" is, of course, "cost per click."

These are all measurements of advertising efficiency. The dollars spent marketing bring a return in customer attention and perhaps purchase. No serious business spending serious money on marketing and advertising fails to know its CPL, CPM or CPC.

No serious business, in other words, fails to measure the effectiveness of its marketing expenditures.

Which means CoveredCA.com is not a serious business. But we knew that. It is the California version of healthcare.gov, and it too is a failure, though one not as obviously, hilariously so as Obamacare at the federal level.

Eight weeks in, in a state where a million plus "folks" -- the president's term for the ruled, replacing citizens -- have received cancellation notices, CoveredCA.com has 80,000 "enrollees." None of the 80,000 have yet paid a bill from their new insurer. No one has yet, in fact, received a bill. But they are all "enrolled." Another 250,000 have been to the website and "begun an application." These things were confirmed to me in an interview Friday the audio and transcript of which are posted at HughHewitt.com. The interview with CoveredCA.com's deputy director, Dana Howard, deserves your attention.

From it you will learn there is a marketing budget of $190 million for the CoveredCA.com operation, though Howard did not know how much of it has already been spent. (A sizable chunk certainly, given the frequency with which we in the Golden State are treated to entreaties to visit the site.)

You will also learn that in all of October, less than 1,000 people listing Spanish as their language of choice enrolled at the site.

You will learn that enrollment organizations are paid $58 per enrollee, that the 1,400 or so enrollment counselors working for these organizations are fingerprinted and those fingerprints sent off to the California Department of Justice, but that only serious crime disqualifies from employment. Howard mentioned, specifically, that non-payment of child support would not prevent an enrollment counselor from enrolling applicants.

And, most surprising of all, you will learn that CoveredCA.com has no projected mix of applicants necessary for sustainability of any of the policies. None. Almost everyone in American who follows the story even a little knows that "adverse selection" will likely cripple Obamacare if the young and healthy simply refuse to be drafted and pay their insurance bills and pay their fine instead. (Or not pay the fine, hoping that the government so inefficient to expend $190 million without a projected CPL isn't likely to be excellent in the ways of finding the non-compliant.)

Generate more leads quickly and affordably.

CoveredCA.com just doesn't care about ordinary measures of success in the insurance market or any market. One can speculate that the tsar of California health care, Peter Lee, believes that compliance will eventually be compelled and so models of viability and efficiency are not necessary. He is, after all, an Obama administration alumnus and thus a believer that hope leads to change.

Proclamations that "the website is working great" have put most of Manhattan-Beltway media elites off the scent of massive failure wafting up from most of the state exchanges. They too want so badly to believe that all this money and all this hope will turn out well. It isn't. Which is why you haven't seen many extended interviews with Lee or other state directors of the little Obamacares.

Hiding amid the ruins of Healthcare.gov, they hope not to be noticed. It is working, thus far.

Copyright:(c) 2013 ProQuest Information and Learning Company; All Rights Reserved.
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