For sure Obamacare has had a dubious beginning. From all reports it could hardly be worse. And yet I have a hunch over the long run, and not all that long of a long run (a year or two), it’s going to work out fine. I’m not saying people will be singing the praises of the Affordable Care Act, that is Obamacare. Actually I imagine if it does what it is supposed to do people will just take it for granted. They will take it as their sacred right and move on to some other bitch about what’s wrong with this country.
It is perplexing that the Obama administration so savvy in using computers for campaigning could fail so miserably in setting up the computer websites for the health care exchanges. They touted them so loudly and when they were finally put into operation people were left out in computer limbo or Catch 22. On the one hand, they are told they must have health insurance or be fined, and on the other hand, they either could not even get on the website or could not navigate it successfully. And sometimes the sites just crashed.
They’re being promised that everything will be fixed by the end of this new month (November). Problem is the credibility of the administration is in doubt these days. How may times did you hear the President say “If you have a health insurance policy you like you can keep it.” Apparently that was misleading at best. It turns out in many cases insurance companies are dropping their old plans, in many cases because they don’t meet the requirements of the new health care law. And there are at least anecdotal reports of people with individual policies facing major boosts in their premiums, supposedly due to Obamacare.
But really all of this has to play out. I think the administration is trying to convey the message that regardless of what might be happening with old policies, in the future with this new law there will be total availability to everyone for health insurance and there will be a much wider variety of options to choose from. And for those who cannot afford insurance there will be a government subsidy. The government already was taking care of the poor, but a lot of people fell between being considered in the poverty class and being slightly but only slightly above that and thus not qualifying for government assistance.
And correct me if I am wrong here, but most of us don’t even have to do anything under the new law (Obamacare). If you have insurance through your work and your employer will still offer it (and that is a question for some, perhaps) then you don’t have to do anything.
Will your insurance from work become more costly? Unless you are one of the few left whose employer pays the whole premium I imagine so. But that has been at least my experience for a long time. Each year my premiums go up and the coverage is somewhat less.
(I hate to even think about it, but some time ago I had a job where the employer paid the whole bill and the insurance was great. I used much of it to fight a bout of cancer. But due to circumstances beyond my control I no longer have that job. But as I understand it, the employees now have to kick in some for their insurance, but I’m sure it’s still good.)
I think the interesting thing to be seen in all of this is will be costs of health care somehow be brought into line. Right now they operate in some kind of never never land, not a real market place. Due to the nature of health care itself it cannot be simply sold on the open market under the same economic rules as most commodities or services. And there is the moral imperative that everyone has the human right to it (from the Republican presidential debates in the last election I realize not everyone agrees with that moral imperative. I’m sorry for that. Well of course not everyone believes in God, mercy, and human dignity either).
However, there does need to be some controls on the amount of care we offer individuals who on their own free will choose to live risky life styles, such as smokers, heavy drinkers, or those who refuse to wear motorcycle helmets. The rest us will continue to pay the tab for many of those people because they often lack resources.
The provision in Obamacare that prohibits people from being excluded from coverage for pre-existing conditions is a boon to the consumer. And so is the one that allows parents to keep adult children on their plans as they finish their schooling.
I don’t think the Republican Party has made much headway in its fight against Obamacare, despite all the noise. It would do better to suggest constructive fixes to it and move on to some other area where it might excel.
Come to think of it, the greatest enemy to Obamacare might be the Obama administration itself. Let’s hope it gets its act together.