It’s time to Break It Down!
Just over 3 weeks ago, we witnessed the official launch of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, affectionately, derisively, or at least familiarly known as Obamacare. Thanks largely to an unbelievably inauspicious, if not torturous web management enterprise; the President’s signature domestic initiative likely could not have started on shakier footing.
Perhaps, if there was one infinitesimal element or redeeming feature related to the October 1, 2013 debut of Obamacare, the thing that comes to mind is that because of inexplicable Congressional machination, the GOP/Tea Party forced a shutdown of the federal government. Consequently, major media outlets, while giving a modicum of coverage to the failed state of Obamacare program kick-off dynamics, was immersed in exhaustive day-to-day coverage of the government shutdown.
In basic terms, it is my opinion that the hoopla attendant to the website morass is vastly overstated. Yes, of course it is significant. Obamacare is, after all, characterized as that one domestic accomplishment that the President’s critics call his “only” accomplishment, before they quickly add that it would never have come to pass, were it not for a Democratic Supermajority in Congress, as no Republicans voted for it. Even supporters concede it is likely to be the legislative mandate that will be most closely associated with the future Obama legacy.
Still, the web rollout is, in and of itself, not Obamacare. It is simply a means to an end. It is an important means, to be sure. Ideally, it would be the most efficient, effective, and often used means. Ultimately, it may still be all of the above.
First, let us note, the rollout is not a one-day, a one-week, or even a one-month event. Prospective customers, or patients if you prefer the language from the legislation, have until March 2014 to sign-up during the period of Open Enrollment. There is every indication the web portal may be fully functional before then. Moreover, there are other means to access the program, including individual State exchanges (in States other than those in which intransigent Republican Governors have refused to allow the program), and egad, by picking up the phone and calling to sign-up.
This brief statement is, not by any means, intended to downplay the seriousness of the flawed web rollout of Obamacare. Rather, it is a suggestion to one-and-all not to throw out the baby with the bath water. Partisan political agendas aside, there are problems…and they are resolvable. The Administration is pushing ahead to that end…and the President’s opponents are working just as fervently to derail the efforts. In the final analysis, the marketplace will decide the outcome.
Having watched much of the discourse unfold around this initiative, I must admit, I find a couple of recent revelations…well, perplexing. Health & Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who has oversight responsibility for the rollout of Obamacare, in a CNN interview with Dr. Sonjay Gupta, said two things that will undoubtedly draw lots of intense reaction. She indicated that HHS is bringing in the “A Team,” in an attempt to resolve the problems. She also asserted that President Obama was not made aware of the nature and scope of the problems with the website until two or three days in.
I have only one word…”uneff’nbelievable!” That is all.
Interestingly, it is the policy implications of this law that really matter. The website discussion is small ball, but low-hanging fruit that Senator Cruz and his Tea Party crew found irresistible. The Senator has threatened to pull a déjà vu move early next year, and play the shut down the government/threaten a default card, all over again. Alternately, Senator Mitch McConnell has said, essentially, “It ain’t gonna happen!” So goes the schizophrenia of the GOP.
Meanwhile we continue to consider…”Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act: The Much Ballyhooed Website Debacle!”
I’m done; holla back!
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