Oct 24, 2013

Getting A New Government Program Off The Ground Is Tough

     The start-up problems that the Health Care Exchanges are experiencing are not without precedent. As Arthur Delaney writing for the Huffington Report notes there were serious start-up problems with Social Security. Early on, a management expert told the nascent Social Security Board that it should notify Congress that it couldn't run the program! The management expert was told to get back to work. I think you can guess the rest of the story.


Anonymous said...

Yes, the rest of the story on the early start up for SSA: Millions of people to pay taxes and in 1937 - 53,236 people collected a total of $1,278,000 - reference http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_Security_(United_States). And no disability benefits and a small % of population eligible for benefits even many years into the future.

for the number of covered workers vs. people receiving benefits, refer to SSA's own table:
http://www.ssa.gov/oact/tr/2011/lr4b2.html that shows the ratio of 41.9 covered workers per each OASDI beneficiary in 1945.

Some history from

Who Benefited Initially

In the beginning, most women and minorities were excluded from the benefits of Social Security. Job categories that were not covered by the act included workers in agricultural labor, domestic service, government employees, and many teachers, nurses, hospital employees, librarians, and social workers. The act also denied coverage to individuals who worked intermittently. In its early days, these exclusions exempted nearly half of the working population from benefiting from Social Security.

First Payments in Lump Sum

From 1937 until 1940, Social Security paid benefits in the form of a single, lump-sum payment. The purpose of these one-time payments was to provide some "payback" to those people who contributed to the program but would not participate long enough to be vested for monthly benefits. The first payment ever made by Social Security was to Ernest Ackerman, who retired the day after it was signed into law. His one-time, lump sum payment was for 17 cents.

Monthly Payments & Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA)

On January 31, 1940, the first monthly retirement check was issued to Ida May Fuller of Ludlow, Vermont, in the amount of $22.54. In 1950 a cost of living allowance (COLA) was added to Social Security. Previous to this, distributions had remained the same for the '40s.

Compare this to the federal government takeover of the health insurance/health care system for the USA under ObamaCare and there are incredible differences (even discounting the massive improvements in organization and record processing available via computers today). Most importantly, ObamaCare adds incredible bureaucracy and costs but does not create one doctor, nurse, hospital, clinic, or medical office to deliver health care. It's regulations and law encourages a loss of jobs and hours of work. Start up problems? We have not seen anything yet!

Anonymous said...

They are figuring on young healthy people signing up to cover the cost of people that couldn't get insurance due to already having something wrong with them, and I bet those are the only ones signing up. The Web site being crap is the least of the Obama care problems.

Anonymous said...

Most of the people signing up so far are people who are Medicaid eligible, not the young, healthy earners needed to keep the system solvent.

Anonymous said...

When's the last time you saw a young, healthy person pay for something so far before it begins that wasn't a concert ticket or presale for a videogame?

Young healthy people aren't going to sign up until the 11th hour, just before the deadline to avoid the fine or the deadline for coverage to begin as of the first of 2014. Just wait a bit longer as we approach these dates before talking about signup rates ;)

Anonymous said...

Young people aren't going to signup or they would have already bought insurance. They will pay the $95 fine than buy some policy for hundreds of dollars each month with high deductables.