The computer glitches associated with signing up for Obamacare have not been the president’s finest hour. There are lots of “experts” who claim that it all could have been avoided if the job had been turned over to one of the big boys in the private sector. Maybe yes, maybe no. I’m not a computer expert and neither are Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, among others, who could fool some people into believing that they were. At least their listeners know that getting their information from these Obama haters is always going to be fair and balanced. Funny how none of these experts have said one word about how successful the state exchanges have been in those states that chose to go with their own insurance programs.
Not one Republican voted for Obamacare in either chamber. I wonder if Romney or Newt had been elected president in 2008 whether their plans, which mimicked Obamacare in just about every way, would have passed into law in a Republican congress. With the conservative Heritage Foundation’s previous support of mandatory participation in healthcare, it’s probably a safe bet that we would have a healthcare law called Romneycare or Newtcare.
Both sides are presenting endless anecdotal evidence in support or opposition to Obamacare. Some claim it has helped them and lowered their premiums, others object because it offers fewer benefits and higher costs. Maybe we should hold a special election to determine which side is in the majority. To hear Republicans and the reactionaries on the radio, Obamacare is one big horror story. Maybe it will play out that way, and maybe it won’t, but for sure it has yet to be implemented in full to know. We Americans are a fortunate lot, though, to know that these pundits all have crystal balls. It reminds me of Newt’s prediction that Bill Clinton’s tax increase in 1994 would take us into a depression.
There are things that we do know because we’ve had many years of experience. We do know that there are all too many horror stories associated with health insurance prior to Obamacare. For one, a large segment of the population were shut off from getting insurance because of preexisting conditions. One of the most common and egregious things insurers did was to approve an applicant’s policy after much review, and then years later when there was a major claim the insurer would go back and conduct an investigation into whether there were unreported preexisting conditions. If the insurer found a minor problem that might not even be related for the current problem, they could and would retroactively cancel the policy and deny coverage. Let’s not overlook the number of times that insurance companies denied a patient a recommended surgery because the carrier considered it experimental. Or the insurance company might have insisted that an alternative procedure be done that was cheaper but less effective.
Then there were the small businesses with perhaps a hundred employees who the company insured. If one of the workers came down with a very costly illness, the company had a choice of either finding a way to let that worker go or paying a whopping premium increase. Nice choices.
Obamacare is for sure not perfect, but in time it can become much better. If Republicans had some real solutions both yesterday and now in fixing the computer glitches, just maybe the problems could be fixed without all the finger pointing. When Romneycare went into effect, which is very successful in Massachusetts today, about 123 people signed up the first month. But it’s much easier to tear down the other guy for political gain than to offer real solutions. Congressman Tom Price says he has healthcare plan that is better than Obamacare. I don’t know if it is or not, but I do know that he has had no luck finding other Republicans to support it.
And then there is always Dr./Congressman Phil Gingrey to the rescue. He has blasted out a campaign email promising that if elected to the senate he will “repeal or replace” Obamacare in his first term or not seek reelection. What he doesn’t say is how he will garner enough Republican and Democratic votes to do that, especially if the senate remains majority Democratic, and he doesn’t say what his health insurance plan would be. Considering his legislative record over the past decade I wouldn’t put a lot of faith into this promise. In fact, a better promise would be to drop out of the race and promise to provide medical services to war veterans who actually did deliver on their promise when they took an oath to serve their country.