Now that I am back to my normal schedule after a week’s worth of blazes in San Diego County, we seem to have another kind of wildfire breaking out in the state.

Over the past few months, it looks like nearly 1,500 Californians have complained to state regulators about their Obamacare coverage purchased through California’s insurance exchange (Covered California).

New data reveal the biggest category of complaints centers on getting confirmation of health plan enrollment and basic issues such as getting an identification card to obtain care.

Many consumers have also encountered difficulty finding a doctor who accepts their new coverage, as well as frustration with inaccurate provider lists, according to the California Department of Managed Health Care.

“If you have a medical condition and can’t get care that is a very serious issue,” said Marta Green, spokeswoman for the managed healthcare agency. “We are still working to resolve many of these cases.”

Health insurers and officials at the Covered California exchange say they are working hard too to address consumers’ gripes. They say some problems are inevitable from such a massive overhaul and that the number of complaints is a small fraction of the more than 1 million Californians who signed up under the Affordable Care Act.

So, let me get this straight: The problems that the 1,500 people have reported are “inevitable” and because it is a “small fraction” we shouldn’t worry. When should I start worrying, then? When someone in my family dies waiting for an appointment?

When “people are the budget” the “death panel” approach to doling out medical care is the only thing that is inevitable.

There is some good news in this report, however. The FBI has not issued subpoenas into the exchange’s activities…yet. That makes Covered California a little better off than Cover Oregon.

The federal criminal investigation of Oregon’s health insurance exchange took a step into public view Tuesday when the U.S. Attorney’s office issued broad subpoenas seeking information from Cover Oregon and the Oregon Health Authority.

While the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s interest in the exchange debacle had been previously reported, the legal demands dated May 13 indicate things may have moved beyond a preliminary inquiry to a full-blown investigation.

The investigation, led by federal prosecutors and the FBI, is seeking documents, memos, and emails between the two state entities that oversaw the botched health exchange with U.S. authorities in charge of dispensing federal money for the project.

Oregon has spent $250 million and three years on an ambitious IT project that failed to produce a fully functional exchange.

We have noted the Obama administration’s less than robust response to the developing scandal following the revelations that several Veterans Administration hospitals were cooking the books on patient wait times, among other very serious issues. The comparisons to the VA situation and the new healthcare exchange programs are obvious, and Cal Watchdog contributor John Seiler projects the likely outcome and provides one solution.

Government medical systems always are disasters. And the “solution” now being touted is “single-payer,” meaning the government runs the whole shebang.

How about Canada’s system? Actually, as was noted recently by Sally Pipes, the president and CEO of the Pacific Research Institute, CalWatchDog.com’s parent think tank:

“Single-payer’s cheerleaders cite Canada as proof of the system’s superiority. Our northern neighbor’s health-care system is plagued by rationing, long waits, poor-quality care, scarcities of vital medical technologies and unsustainable costs.”

…How best to care for our brave veterans? Just close the VA hospitals and instead give veterans health vouchers — like college scholarships — they could use for the best private care. Our vets deserve the best, not the worst.

One of the first videos Covered California offered, as part of an $80 million ad campaign, was entitled “Signs”. If I am reading the signs correctly, the quality of the healthcare system in the state is going up in bureaucratic smoke.

 
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