Health care roll out fails to meet expectations

By Jim Lorditch | Student Columnist

The socialization of medicine has long tickled the American mind.  According to Jill Lepore of The New Yorker, some politicians have entertained the notion, in one form or another, since the dawn of the twentieth century. Proponents of socialized health insurance looked to Germany as an example because its pre-war army was so physically prepared that many attributed it to their socialized insurance. But with the declaration of war in 1917, healthcare was dead. Decades later, presidents including Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson promoted efforts to involve the government in healthcare. The most significant laws were Medicaid and Medicare.  However, the Affordable Care Act differs substantially and thus far is an utter train wreck.

The bitter process used to pass this law was overwhelmingly partisan. The two month implementation is analogous with other major calamities such as the Titanic, which political cartoonists across the nation have zestfully portrayed Obamacare as.

In March 2010, James Hohmann of Politico covered a speech in which Nancy Pelosi boldly declared “we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what’s in it.”  Now that individual pieces of the law have started to reveal themselves, the populace has grown progressively worried. A Gallup poll conducted on Nov. 10 found 55 percent of the public opposed the law.

The administration’s inability to produce a working website in the three years following the passage of the law is simply inexcusable and brings major doubts whether the government can adequately administer the law’s more complex provisions. On Oct. 21, The National Review ran an article titled “Consumer Reports: ‘Stay Away From Healthcare.gov.’” The article tells of “Consumer Reports” warning its readers to avoid the website “for at least another month” and also called the site “barely operational.”

In the wake of this rollout, the Obama administration now faces a major credibility crisis. In fact, Michael Shear of The New York Times called Obama’s position a precarious one in his article “Health Law Rollout’s Stumble Draw Parallels to Bush’s Hurricane Response.” He notes “the disastrous rollout of his health care law not only threatens the rest of his agenda but also raises questions about his competence.”

The law has instilled feelings of anxiety among those who lost their policy because they failed to meet the requirements. Voicing his concern, Bill Clinton called on President Obama to uphold his promise of allowing individuals to retain their health insurance if they wish.

Unfortunately, the prices of complying policies are drastically higher and compel the enrollee to purchase more coverage than they may intend to buy. The Daily Mail’s David Martosko brings to light chief insurance oversight deputy Gary Cohen’s concession that prices will not be lower. In a letter to state insurance commissioners Cohen admits that “in many cases with federal subsidies, some of them are finding that such coverage would be more expensive than their current coverage.”

The botched rollout of the law has led to an interesting development. Democratic politicians that are up for reelection in 2014 that swore by the law for the past three years are now desperately trying to separate themselves from the law. These politicians from red states such as Senator Kay Hagan who saw her lead collapse from a September lead of 12 to 17 percent according to Public Policy Polling after people began receiving health cancelations. She is not the only one; a Quinnipiac poll released Nov. 13 indicated that a nine point House Democratic edge due to the government shutdown has now effectively evaporated.

The GOP has a very real chance of regaining the senate for the first time since 2006. It is for this reason that 39 House democrats voted with 222 Republican colleagues on Friday, Nov. 15 for a bill that would allow people to keep their health insurance. President Obama has promised to veto such legislative efforts.

One of the more ironic stories to see is the very people that argued on behalf of the president such as The Daily Beast’s Kristen Powers, who said they would not lose insurance. The pundit admitted this was not what the president, or other Democrats promised or ran the past election on.  This blatant falsehood by the president has led to a loss in credibility and poses a very real threat to the rest of his second term agenda. Obama’s own admission that he fumbled the rollout of the law and his broken promise about the retention of healthcare coverage certainly lessens his political clout for the future.

Obamacare’s poorly executed rollout in its early stages sends a very troubling signal for the full execution of the law. On Jan. 1, 2014 the employer mandate will kick in, conveniently after the midterm elections. No doubt Americans will be watching further developments with angst during this very slow train wreck.

Jim Lorditch is a senior Supply chain management major and can be reached at lorditchj@duq.edu.

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