Failure to Launch for Obamacare Website
The Affordable Care Act website fiasco has given opponents of the health care reform even more fodder for their criticisms. However, the single greatest flaw may be not a software glitch, but the fact that many Americans feel that the President has broken his promise. The website has been down repeatedly and is still currently undergoing maintenance, although Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said that the site will be working more smoothly by the end of November. Not being able to access the website sort of defeats the entire purpose of making health care universal.
Sebelius and Vice-President Joe Biden have apologized about the state of the website, but there is something more that is upsetting people who couldn’t care less about registering online because they wanted to keep their old doctors and plans, which was actually one of Obama’s campaign promises. People are ruefully finding out that that may not be necessarily the case. For example, the hospital in Concord, New Hampshire doesn’t accept any policies offered by the health care market places. Thus, in order to see a specific doctor there the patients need to pay out of pocket. The alternative is to travel 25 miles to Manchester.
Other hospital are following suit, teaching hospitals in particular including NYU in New York, UCLA in Los Angeles, and Emory in Atlanta. This lack of alternatives more often than not boils down to hospitals and insurers not being able to reach an agreement. As the Concord Hospital CEO put it, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield would pay the hospital less than it would cost to provide care. While the President all but guaranteed that people would be able to keep their doctors, the website actually includes a few caveats, specifically in a section called ‘Can I keep my own doctor?’ The short answer is it depends.
Of course, this not to say at all that President Obama deliberately misled the voters. On the contrary, and like he himself says, opposers should come up with viable options to fix issues instead of merely pointing them out. Like the saying goes, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Like economist and professor of health policy at Johns Hopkins University Karen Davis expressed, some coverage beats the heck out of no coverage at all. MIT economist Jonathan Gruber adds that the market will improve in time.