Friday, November 15, 2013

Minimum Wage, Increase, Gallup Poll, Senate Democrats, Living Wage

By Mildred Robertson

It’s not like we didn’t know that there would be glitches in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as “Obamacare.” It is the most ambitious social program of its kind in the last 50 years.

With just 3 short years and much opposition to the implementation of Obamacare, it is no small wonder that some of the millions of Americans flocking to the website these last several weeks have had some difficulty. To launch a program of this size and complexity, it would be naïve to expect smooth sailing from day one.

But as we turn on the nightly news, we hear pundits from the right and the left criticizing the program; some who have never even ventured onto the site to navigate the system and examine options. When have you ever experienced the rollout of a new computer program without glitches?

Many want to pronounce the program “dead on arrival.” This pronouncement would be pre-mature at best and diabolic at worst. This program offers hope to millions of uninsured Americans, many of them the working poor, who are forced to go without the most basic healthcare because of staggering healthcare costs. This, in the most prosperous nation on earth.

According to Cheryl Smith, a senior practitioner at Deloitte, a research and consulting firm, nothing like this has ever been attempted on this scale. In an article published by “Stateline,” a daily news service of the Pew Foundation, Smith said that people might compare the ACA rollout to Medicare Part D or to Medicare itself. But she says there is no comparison. “Nothing like this has ever been done on this scale,” she says.
ACA’s aim is to enroll 16 million uninsured Americans into health insurance plans or an expanded Medicaid. Health experts such as Henry Aaron of the Brookings Institute remind us that, “When you’re dealing with tens of millions of new clients, mistakes are inevitable.”

Let’s give the administration time to work out the glitches. That can’t be done in three weeks, or even three months with a program of this magnitude. I personally believe it will be worth the wait.

If you listen above the din of the naysayers, you will hear stories of people who have done the comparisons, and found that the ACA offers them real cost savings. You will find that previously uninsured working poor can finally afford to buy health insurance. You may even hear that ACA has spurred economic growth.

I anticipate the five-year anniversary of the implementation of ACA. I daresay it will no longer be called “Obamacare,” because it will be a huge success.