What a miserable mess.
My friend Derf summed it up nicely in this strip, but no worries. I will enumerate my complaints herein.
I am disgusted at Obama and his administration for:
1) the dismal lack of communication/education regarding the ACA and the subsequent confusion that has plagued the law from the onset.
2) the abject technical failure of the roll out.
The discourse regarding these failures often includes a reference to the three luxurious years Obama had to avoid them. Three whole years!
In those three years a couple of tiny details hindered the ACA. Okay, maybe they weren't so tiny. First, there was Supreme Court decision in June 2012 which spilled into the presidential election. Both events were extended dramas we painfully endured until the threatening does the ACA live or die! toggle switch was flipped.
It's easy to say neither spectacle should have affected development of the ACA, but does anyone believe that the entire program didn't suffer while those sorts of razor-sharp pendulums swung above it?
As a backdrop to the battles of 2012, we've had the GOP's war on health care reform from the onset. It included an impressive monolithic opposition, a slew of red states refusing to set up their own exchanges and myriad local efforts to hinder outreach. The list goes on and on.
A few years ago a pundit nailed it. Although I can't recall the details, essentially he said that for a program as big and complex as the ACA to succeed, the entire country would have to work together, including every level of government from state capitols to Pennsylvania Avenue. We have not and (for now) the ACA is floundering. Badly. And whether you like the present health care reform or not, you will pay the price if it fails. This debacle belongs to the entire country no matter which side of the aisle you're on, just like the Iraq War did.
We're all Americans.
Had the conservatives not waged war, but instead rolled up their sleeves as they did with Medicare in 1965 (after fighting its inception and conceding defeat), and worked for the last three years improving the law, things would look a lot different today. The result would not have been perfect, but it would have been better (see: Romneycare). Of course, that's not how it played.
When the Right's euphoria over the troubled ACA subsides, conservatives are going to be left with the not-so-little problem of offering up a health care reform plan of their own. Why have they failed to formulate said plan? After all, they've had three whole luxurious years to do so. The reason is simple: the ACA is conservative health care reform and always has been.
That's correct: conservatives have spent the last three years battling to topple their own solution to health care reform. The proof is the yawning absence of an alternative. Folks, if they had a good idea, we'd have heard it by now. They don't. They never did. Think back on how quickly those enthusiastic chants of Repeal and Replace! were truncated to ... erm ... um ... Repeal!
The only real alternative now is the expansion of a single payer program, which is all I ever wanted. As it stands, one third of the country is already enjoying a big fat GOV socialized health care program by way of Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare. Ironically, the GOP's fervent opposition to reform may lead the country to the one option conservatives hate more than Obamacare.
Holy hospitals, Batman!
A lot of folks are upset over policy cancellations. What a stunning change of heart. I don't remember many in that group being up-in-arms about people losing their coverage before the ACA. Methinks those indignant Righties don't care much about the actual cancellations, although they do like them. Those cancelled policies represent yet another opportunity to attack Obama because he said they wouldn't happen.
Truth: the cancelled policy debacle is one of the things that should have been sorted out over the past three years, and likely would have been (along with a host of other problems) if not for the GOP's airtight opposition.
For better or worse, Obama and his signature legislation have sustained some pretty significant wounds in this war. His call for insurers to extend those cancelled policies last week is part of the bleeding.
A couple of months ago, the big crisis was chemical weapons in Syria. Last month it was the GOV shutdown. Now we have this mess. Maybe it will fade in a couple of months, maybe not. But while it's not my reform of choice (which is single payer for one and for all), I'm still holding out hope for the ACA.
I don't know what will happen, but turning back is not an option. People are no longer going to accept denial of coverage based on a preexisting condition. They are not going to accept the deletion of their otherwise uninsured adult children from their policy. States like Ohio are not going to give back the Medicaid money. Insurance companies are not going to throw out the work of the last three years without legal hellfire. The list gets longer every day. People may not be signing up in droves, but they are signing up.
Dear GOP, please put down your guns. The more you stab at the ACA, the bloodier we're all going to get. It's time to make this goddamn thing work.
Talk about your wishful thinking.
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