Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Obamacare Rollout was Bad. The Fallout is Even Worse. But the Plan Just Might Work.

 The ACA rollout is a mess.  I mean, really--only six people were able to sign up on the website the very first day?  Insane. 

But what did we expect?  They're saying the website doormen woefully underestimated the numbers of drive-bys and joiners on that first day.  It's rumored they only planned for 250,000 visitors.   After all the fuss about Obamacare, they actually thought a mere quarter-million curiosity-seekers would line up to get inside?  On any given day on YouTube the antics of a single adorable kitten can get more than 250,000 hits.

This is Obamacare, O ye gentle incompetents over there at HHS.  What were you thinking?  You've got a few million people out there breathlessly awaiting the day you admit defeat and shut the whole thing down.  Many of those same people are in positions of power.  The spotlight is on them every time you screw up.  They get to call you names and then, if you fail or even falter, they get to say "Told you so."

They're already saying you're pushing a plan that will never work, that it's a scam, that it's the devil's work.  To their minds it's settled, then.  Obamacare is a scourge and it needs to be eradicated from the face of the earth.

The hitch in all this is that they're not obligated to come up with something else to take its place.  Nobody expects that.  Their one and only role is to find the nearest public stage and read from their "Eviscerate Obamacare!" scripts.  And where are you in all this?  You're in the wings setting up their scenes and feeding them their lines.

Republicans, to a person, worked overtime for years to stop any hint of a public health care plan.  Even one as watered down as Obamacare is a danger to them and their monied interests.  But in spite of their hopes and plans for interference-free health care practices and profits, the unimaginable has happened: The Affordable Care Act, a frail shadow of its original promise but a threat nonetheless, is now the law of the land.  Now all these frantic losers are left with is a chance to work overtime to make sure it doesn't succeed.

The U.S Supreme Court gifted the opposition with yet another roadblock:  Individual states now have a choice and can opt out of portions of Obamacare--including the Medicaid options.  They'll have the extra advantage of letting the Fed (that's us) pay for anything they don't want to be a part of.  Talk about a prescription for failure.  I'm guessing they're ecstatic about it.

The Essential Wendell Potter, former CIGNA CEO turned whistleblower, makes it no secret that what we need in this country is universal health care.  He's not happy with the ACA rollout disaster, for several reasons, including this one:
"HHS wasted valuable time trying to persuade more states to operate their own exchanges. Officials apparently deluded themselves into thinking that even some of the red states could be persuaded that it would be in their best interests to have a state-run exchange than one run by the federal government. In hindsight, those officials wasted months in which time and resources could have been devoted to making sure the federal exchange would work on Oct. 1. HHS officials should have realized from the beginning that Republican governors and state legislators had no incentive for Obamacare to work. There wasn't a chance that they would operate their own exchanges if doing so might enhance the chances that Obamacare would be perceived as a success. "
 No kidding. Texas, anyone?  Potter has been on this since the beginning, exploring the depths to which the opposition will go in order to kill the dreaded Obamacare.  It's not a pretty picture.  (More from him here and here.)

We have to keep reminding ourselves that this is just the beginning.  Universal health care is in the infant stages; there will be falls and failures all over the place until we get it right.  Outside of Medicare and military care, we've never been anywhere close to the kind of public options we're heading for now.  Some of it will work, but some won't.  We'll adjust.  And we'll never want to go back.

The powers opposing this first step won't ever adjust, either.  They'll fight this to the end and beyond.  (They can't help it; it's in their DNA.) We have to make sure they'll lose.  But first we have to make sure we have the weapons to fight them.  That would mean--you ready for this?--a health insurance program that works the way it was promised.

Nobody ever won a battle by handing ammunition to the enemy.


Also posted at Alan Colmes' Liberaland.


  1. I'm all for Obamacare - I'm not as informed as I'd like to be about it - but I hope that after a few years things will start to be improved with amendments. Unfortunately, since the website doesn't work yet, I'm not sure how those of us on the ground will meet the January 1st (March, really) deadline for having healthcare. I have two close family members that need health insurance.

  2. You do know you can just call them 1-800-451-3192 and believe it or not the website does work. Not as good as it should but its not the total cluster-f#ck its made out to be

  3. I just haven't tried yet... my FIL has been trying for the past couple of months but he is not always the best indicator of how easy something is. :P I need to sit down with the family member in question who needs this and probably do it with them. I did some research last night - prompted by the post (thank you!) - so I'm feeling decently confident about getting it to work!

  4. The problem is we have one side that is terminally stuck on negotiation and compromise, even when the other side has turned, walked away long ago, and now is sitting in the stands throwing feces.

  5. I hope they get it straightened out soon, too. I think I heard today that they had registered 440,000, but not all online.

    I have a feeling they're already madly tweaking the whole thing in order to get the people who need it insured ASAP.

    There are people who care very much about getting this off the ground--but then there are those people who care just as much about sabotaging it. I hope our guys win.

  6. Amen, Merlin. I'm still grieving over those two years when the Dems held both the house and the senate. Of course, they didn't have the 60 votes to kill the filibuster but there's no question that if the Dems had forced the Republicans to cast votes against their own constituents instead of saying "Well, they'll vote 'no' anyway, so why bother", we wouldn't be in this fix.

  7. It's still hard for me to believe that our stalwart protector and last political Kennedy chose right then to kick it. Durn!

  8. Teddy's death was a huge loss. So sad that he couldn't accomplish what he worked for his whole political life. We need more like him. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are working at it. So is Sherrod Brown, along with a few others, but they're voices in the wind when it comes to actually getting anything done.


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