Bumpy Healthcare Rollout Fuels Critics, Hinders Enrollment
By Mildred Robertson
It is unfortunate. A unique
opportunity exists for people who have little or no health insurance coverage
in America. That opportunity, however, is being undermined by bad politics (an
oxymoron) and a poor implementation plan.
It is unfortunate that the
Affordable Care Act (ACA) was not properly tested before its rollout on October
1, 2013. That bumpy start gave the naysayers just what they needed to be able
to confidently say, “I told you so.” Because of the rough start, many have
begun to give credence to the Ted Cruzes and the Sarah Palins of this world
who hate all things Obama, and anything that might smack of the government
serving the poor.
Meanwhile, millions continue to
forego needed healthcare, or find their way to an emergency room to service
healthcare needs that could have been prevented, or treated at a much lower
cost. And don’t misunderstand who is paying for the high cost of treating the
uninsured. It is you and me.
President Obama will bear the
blame if this social experiment fails. It is not blame that he should
necessarily shoulder alone, since he has had to battle an opposing party that
has attempted at every juncture to derail universal healthcare for America’s
most vulnerable. The plan we have is not the plan he wanted. But it was what he
could get from a cantankerous Republican-led House and a skittish Democratic
The GOP attack has been constant
and consistent, while offering no alternative to a problem that must be solved.
They have created a pervasive fear in the American public that implementation
of the Affordable Care Act will result in the collapse of the healthcare system
and will create a drag on the economy.
Even staunch universal healthcare supporters have balked in recent days
as the news about the rollout continues to be shaky at best.
The fact of the matter is that healthcare.gov
was never intended to meet the needs of citizens in all 50 states. Originally,
that was a task intended for each individual state, with assistance from the
government. Instead, the federal government had to step in to fill the breach
when Republican led states refused to set up healthcare exchanges and enroll Medicaid
Data indicates that those states
running their own healthcare exchanges, as intended, are doing relatively well.
It is the 20 or so that did not that have helped to swell the numbers
attempting to access the healthcare.gov. website and thereby exacerbate issues
associated with the rollout.
Let us not be naïve. No endeavor
of this magnitude could be expected to be without glitches. The implementation of both Medicare and
Social Security were no less controversial than the ACA. Those social programs
were ultimately successful and should serve to calm the fears of supporters,
who admittedly expected better planning and a more precise anticipation of
possible difficulties with implementation.
Unfortunately, many have already
ventured on the site, and left with a sour taste in their mouth. It may be
difficult to get them to give it another try.
Signing up is not necessarily
simple, and for those states who offer their citizens no assistance, each must
do his or her own research to determine how best to navigate the system, or to
find the resources necessary to help them log on and make the best choice for
their families. Many who most need the service are the least well equipped to
navigate the process.
It is important that all who
believe in the Affordable Care Act and support its implementation talk to
family, friends and neighbors and encourage them to log on and sign up. It remains to be seen whether ACA is the best legislation for achieving universal healthcare, but it is
the best that we could get in this contentious environment.
We should applaud President Obama
for fighting for the right of every American citizen to have access to quality
healthcare. We should work diligently to remove the
obstacles that hinder the ACA from meeting its full potential. Then we must work to
refine it, so that it can provide the health and economic benefits that are
possible if we can bring down the cost of healthcare and increase its availability to all Americans.
If you are interested in signing
up for ACA but are not sure where to start, there are a number of resources
available, even in states that do not offer a healthcare exchange. To help you learn to navigate the process, go
to: https://www.healthcare.gov/get-covered-a-1-page-guide-to-the-health-insurance-marketplace/ or call 1-800-318-2596.
Navigators, who are individuals trained to answer your
questions about ACA, can also be found by contacting local churches, nonprofit
organizations or health clinics.