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Even though it is nearly impossible to get signed up for health insurance through the Obamacare websites, if you don’t currently have health insurance you better get signed up by January 1st or you will get slapped with a fine. Is this fair? Of course not. But this is the way that the U.S. government works in the 21st century. They put unreasonable demands on people, and then the government punishes them heavily when they are not able to comply. The launch of the online “health insurance exchanges” which were supposed to make signing up for Obamacare a breeze has been an abysmal failure. There have been a great many examples of government incompetence over the years, but this one might take the cake. The Obama administration spent more than 93 million dollars to set up these websites, and they are so hideously dysfunctional that hardly anyone has actually been able to get signed up for Obamacare over the first ten days. But instead of delaying the individual mandate, the Obama administration is using the threat of a fine to force millions of Americans to use a system that is a complete and total nightmare.
The following is how USA Today (hardly an opponent of Obama) described the launch of Obamacare…
Alas, the administration managed to turn the experience for most of those visitors into a nightmare. Websites crashed, refused to load, or offered bizarre and incomprehensible choices. Even though the system was shut down for repairs over the weekend, Monday’s early reports continued to suggest an epic screw-up.
And Digital Trends was even harsher in their assessment of the launch…
It’s been one full week since the flagship technology portion of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) went live. And since that time, the befuddled beast that is Healthcare.gov has shutdown, crapped out, stalled, and mis-loaded so consistently that its track record for failure is challenged only by Congress.
The launch of Obamacare has been such a disaster that it is really hard to find the words to adequately describe it. The following are 12 facts about the Obamacare launch train wreck that everyone should know…
#1 According to a survey that was just released, approximately 90 percent of the people that have tried to enroll for Obamacare say that they were not able to get signed up.
#2 And many of those that believe that they did get “signed up” are not actually enrolled in a health insurance plan. In fact, health insurance executives say that only about 1 out of every 100 applications being submitted on the Obamacare health insurance exchanges contain enough information to get an applicant successfully enrolled in a health insurance plan.
#3 The Iowa Obamacare exchange has enrolled a grand total of five people in Obamacare at this point.
#4 The Hawaii Obamacare exchange was so bad that the entire site has been taken down and will eventually be relaunched.
#5 Early this week, the Wall Street Journal was reporting that health insurance executives were saying that only “hundreds” of Americans had successfully enrolled through the Obamacare websites so far.
#6 One online database programmer had the following to say about the Healthcare.gov website: “It wasn’t designed well, it wasn’t implemented well, and it looks like nobody tested it.”
#7 The Obama administration received numerous warnings that the launch of the health insurance exchanges was going to be a major disaster…
Major insurers, state health-care officials and Democratic allies repeatedly warned the Obama administration in recent months that the new federal health-insurance exchange had significant problems, according to people familiar with the conversations. Despite those warnings and intense criticism from Republicans, the White House proceeded with an Oct. 1 launch.
#8 According to one estimate, it cost more than 93 million dollars to build Healthcare.gov.
#9 When you create an account on Heathcare.gov, you are handing over a whole host of personal information to the federal government which may end up being used for a vast array of different purposes.
#10 According to Politico, there is no way to delete an account once you have created one on Healthcare.gov…
Once you finally make it into HealthCare.gov, it’s not clear how you get out.
For those who’ve busted through glitches on the federal Obamacare insurance website to create an account, there’s no clear, obvious way for consumers to delete the accounts if they choose — at least not in the current incarnation.
#11 One expert believes that it could take up to two years before the technical glitches are ironed out of Obamacare…
“I think it could easily take up to two years before all these things are working working smoothly,” said Lisa Carroll, president of the Mosaic Insurance Exchange and the Small Businesses Service Bureau in Massachusetts. “This is just an ecommerce project of epic proportion,” said Carroll.
Carroll said the complicated task of getting all facets of the federal health insurance market to interact with each other correctly is made more complicated by rule changes and clarifications that have to be accounted for by software.
#12 The system is so bad that even CNN’s Wolf Blitzer is saying that the individual mandate should be delayed for a year.
And a lot of Americans that already had health insurance are also discovering the pain of Obamacare.
Millions of health insurance policies all over the country are being canceled, and tens of millions of other Americans are seeing their health insurance premiums go through the roof.
This is even happening to a lot of impoverished Americans even though Obama specifically promised that his health care program would lower costs for the poor. The following is a letter from a 26-year-old recent college graduate that has gone viral on Facebook…
So if Obamacare is not even helping struggling young people like Ashley that desperately need the help, then who is it actually helping?
The health care system in the United States was already a complete and total mess, and now Obamacare has made things much, much worse.
But if you choose not to participate in the system, Obama is going to send the IRS after you and slap you with a big fine.
Are you as upset about this as I am? If so, please share your thoughts by posting a comment below…
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In the same way as any and every risk-asset in the world, the price of yield-providing CMBS (commercial mortgage backed securities) have risen to post-crisis highs in the last few months. These are some of the epicentric deals from the crisis that now trade close to par once again. However, the last month or so has not seen CMBS prices push higher with stocks and it appears, as the FT notes, that the reason is becoming clear in the post-holiday-shopping period.
CMBX prices flat since 2013 began...
CMBS cash-flow streams are set to drop considerably as up to 15 per cent of the country’s suburban retail centres forecast to close over the next five years in the face of online competition.
The US’s more than 1,300 regional malls, defined as centres larger than 450,000 sq. ft., are being threatened by the boom in internet shopping and tougher competition and as they add, the prospects for second-tier malls are dimming.
Retail is regarded as an especially risky component of CMBS as a mall can go downhill if an important tenant shuts its store because other tenants are usually able to renegotiate their leases if a traffic-driving anchor tenant leaves. That can have severe consequences for CMBS exposed to the mortgage on the property.
FT: Online sales threat to American malls
By Stephen Foley and Barney Jopson in New York
Credit market investors are falling out of love with US shopping malls as up to 15 per cent of the country’s suburban retail centres are forecast to close over the next five years in the face of online competition.
The proportion of retail properties being put into commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) deals has slumped in the past three years because of concerns about the sector.
The US’s more than 1,300 regional malls, defined as centres larger than 450,000 square feet, are being threatened by the boom in internet shopping and tougher competition.
“I think 200 are going out of business,” said Gerry Mason, executive managing director at property group Savills. “We’re 15-20 per cent overbuilt. There are just too many stores.”
The future of megamalls, which include cinemas, bowling alleys and restaurants designed to lure consumers, appear safe but the prospects for second-tier malls are dimming.
Traders are watching the health of stores such as Sears and JC Penney, where sales are falling, and announcements from retailers such as bookseller Barnes & Noble last week, which said it would shut a third of its outlets over the next decade .
CMBS are bonds backed by a pool of mortgages on commercial property, ranging from office towers to apartment blocks. Retail property accounted for 56 per cent of the pools coming to market in 2010, according to RBS, but that fell to 42 per cent in the second half of 2011 and dropped to 36 per cent last year. In CMBS deals so far this year, the average is down to 30 per cent.
“Investors expressed concern about retail exposure in the long term,” said Richard Hill, CMBS strategist at RBS. Analysts say the market appears to be dividing between mega and second-tier malls, with mortgages on megamalls increasingly being securitised separately in single-property CMBS.
Simon Property Group, the largest US mall owner, reported strong earnings on Monday, boosted by higher rents and sales at its high-end malls.
Retail is regarded as an especially risky component of CMBS because a mall can go downhill if an important tenant shuts its store. Other tenants are usually able to renegotiate their leases if a traffic-driving anchor tenant leaves. That can have severe consequences for CMBS exposed to the mortgage on the property.
Ecommerce accounts for roughly $1 in every $10 spent by US shoppers and its market share continues to rise. In last year’s end-of-year shopping season, online sales increased 14 per cent while sales overall were up by just 3 per cent, according to ComScore and the National Retail Federation.
Ecommerce has already contributed to the demise of Circuit City, an electronics chain, and Borders, a bookstore. Sears and JC Penney, who often serve as mall anchor tenants have announced store closures in the past 18 months, as have Gap, the fashion chain, and Best Buy, another electronics chain.
(h/t Manal Mehta)
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