Staffing the Obamacare bureaucracy

Now we must staff the bureaucracy required to run Obamacare.  This may at least put a dent in unemployment, but at untold costs, not just to the federal government but to states and insurance companies.  For example, the law requires the hiring of thousands of “navigators,” whose purpose is to help people pick out an insurance company.

From the Washington Post:

Signing up an estimated 30 million uninsured Americans for coverage under the health-care law is shaping up to be, if not a bureaucratic nightmare, at the very least a daunting task.

While some people will find registering for health insurance as easy as booking a flight online, vast numbers who are confused by the myriad choices will need to sit down with someone who can walk them through the process.

Enter the “navigators,” an enormous new workforce of helpers required under the law. In large measure, the success of the law and its overriding aim of making sure that virtually all Americans have health insurance depends on these people. But the challenge of hiring and paying for a new class of workers is immense and is one of the most pressing issues as the Obama administration and state governments implement the law.

Tens of thousands of workers will be needed — California alone plans to certify 21,000 helpers — with the tab likely to run in the hundreds of millions of dollars. . . .

Over the short term, some workers may be funded by federal grants, state budgets or private money. But over the longer term, most of the costs are to be covered by the new health-care marketplaces, called “exchanges,” being set up in every state. The money will come from fees that insurers will pay to sell their plans on the exchanges. .  . .

Under the law, the exchanges must fund enough navigators to ensure that every applicant who needs assistance can get it.

“You have to ask, how many people can one navigator help in one day?” de Percin said. “Well, the people who do this kind of work might spend an hour to three hours with folks. So the answer is not many.”

via For insurance exchanges, states need ‘navigators’ — and hiring them is a huge task – The Washington Post.

Again, I ask, How can Obamacare possibly work?  And let me ask a new question:  If the federal government is going to take over the medical industry, wouldn’t it be better to just have a government-run healthcare system like Canada and England do, rather than this jury-rigged, Rube-Goldberg, bound-to-be-inefficient system that pretends to use private insurance companies while actually taking them over?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    The answer to the question is, “Yes.”

    But a government run system is the real goal, isn’t it?
    The fact that “Affordable” Care Act will fail epically is a desired intermediate goal.

  • James Sarver

    ” The money will come from fees that insurers will pay to sell their plans on the exchanges. . . .”

    So “insurers” will pay fees to participate in a system in which revenue is artificially limited and they are prohibited from limiting their risk? Sure thing…

  • sg

    Lemme guess, most of the hirelings will be women. Obviously this was intended to be a jobs program, duh. Look at Britain. Their health service is the largest employer. There are tons of marginally competent folks out there who need to be managed. I will laugh my butt off if it turns out that a college degree (any degree) is required for promotion. So, they get them in. Pay them more than such dull work pays elsewhere. Give them security. Chicks love that, and the types they will be hiring likely won’t be married. Make them get a useless degree (aka indoctrination) that they can’t afford. So, they will have student loan debt, plus consumer debt cuz chicks always have consumer debt. They won’t be able to quit because no one else will want them. When they grow weary of this soul sucking make work, then we will get their attitude. Yeah, we all know how awesome this “service” is going to be. It is going to be like getting two for the price of four. There is no way this is going to be cheaper. No freain’ way.

  • Steve Bauer

    Mike @1. Nothin’ more to be said.

  • tODD

    SG (@3), thanks as always for your insightful, relevant commentary.

  • sg

    @5

    What is your point? Just needed an opportunity for a casual drive by ad hominem?

    If the plan called for hiring nurses, doctors, and allied health workers, then one could expect it to be more relevant to health care than expanding the paper shuffling pink ghetto.

  • tODD

    SG (@6), really? Now you’re going to play the pity card?

    You spent nearly 200 words writing nothing but the purest conjecture, based on nothing more than what could be pulled out of your … mind … to which you added, for no apparent reason other than that it is a real hang-up for you, your own personal issues with (working?) women. And you’re going to complain about “a casual drive by ad hominem”?

    Man, chicks, am I right? They’re funny like that. Gettin’ all dramatic and makin’ crap up because they can’t deal with logic like men do! Right, SG?

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    I hear the keystone cops are available a stint.

  • sg

    SG (@6), really? Now you’re going to play the pity card?

    as if, I am more amused than annoyed.

    I just wondered if you had a point. I guess not.

    My crass characterizations aside, surely you can sympathize with exasperation at the waste of paying for more paper pushers instead of health care providers.

  • tODD

    SG (@9), my point was this: whatever hangups you have about (working?) women are obvious, and have caused you to write a comment that is nothing but baseless fiction informed by your self-admitted “crass characterizations”. You could’ve saved time by simply saying “I have nothing to say on this topic, but man, do I have issues with (working?) women!”

    But hey, chicks are like that. I mean, you know that, right? All drama, no brains. I mean, I don’t have to tell you. Right, lady?

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  • kerner

    Hey, I love this! Like every other big government program, complete voluminous regulations and penalties, this is the Full Employment for Lawyers (and women) Act. I’ll never be a chick, but trust me, we dudes with law licenses will be cashing in as well. :D

  • kerner

    Oh and trust me on this one: we dudes and chicks with law licenses ALL have student loans and consumer debt, and we NEVER get tired of soul sucking work. On the contrary, soul sucking is our very life’s blood. Bwahahahaha!

  • sg

    @12 By soul sucking, I mean the kind of work that feels meaningless because you kinda know it is stuff that doesn’t even need to be done. I mean, seriously, with all the extant insurance bureaucracies, there is no need for more federal employees. It is just make-work to employ people. It is a jobs program.

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