Saturday, November 2, 2013
The cyberlaunch of the Affordable Care Act — aka Obamacare — was a disaster, as Obama administration officials are now conceding.
It was a good move. In the long run, a bunch of technology problems don’t really matter.
Let’s face it, if Obamacare succeeds in bringing down the cost of health care and boosts access to medical insurance, the cascade of computer glitches would be forgiven by the public.
Unfortunately for the Obama administration, the ACA roll out seems to be going downhill.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday that notices went out to hundreds of thousands of Americans informing them that their health insurance policies are being canceled as of Dec. 31.
The notices are red meat for Republicans eager to undercut President Obama’s social agenda.
President Obama sold the ACA on the promise that those who liked their insurance and their doctors could keep both. This latest development, whether a minor problem or a huge one, has created anxiety for those who are being told by their insurance company they won’t be covered in 2014.
White House officials contend that canceled insurance will be replaced by better policies. That promise and about $2,000 will pay the bill for an average hospital emergency room visit.
The pledges of affordable insurance are also ringing hollow to some.
The prices for the various insurance plans might be “affordable” based on calculating incomes and projected medical costs for families. However, those rates might seem high — even outrageous — to those being asked to pay the bills.
One of the reasons people don’t have health insurance now is because they couldn’t justify the expense. They might have little cash left after car payments, house payments, student loans, grocery bills and utility bills. Their incomes might be above the $45,000 Obamacare subsidy threshold, but the fact is there isn’t any money left.
And even those who are eligible for subsidies feel, based on their personal situation, that Obamacare insurance plans cost too much.
This is why millions of folks who have been able to price insurance in the newly established marketplaces have balked at giving their VISA number.
Insurance is not affordable now, and it still might not be affordable.
Perhaps their expectations of cost were unrealistic. All the hype could have caused some to conclude the cost will be free or close to it.
Free, of course, is too good to be true. Therefore, it isn’t.
The Obama administration has a lot to manage in putting the ACA into action, including the public’s expectations. It won’t be easy.
But the success or failure of Obamacare hinges on meeting the majority of expectations.