Obamacare: working hard to make it fail

I really wanted to put “clusterfuck” in the title, but a devil on my shoulder objected. Still, it is as clusterfuck. The launch of Obamacare has been hobbled by many impediments. First, the GOP has done everything they can to make it fail. They convinced states not to have their own exchanges, which, it turns out, is really, really stupid. I didn’t help that the most visible part of the rollout—healthcare.gov—was a disaster. A webportal is small potatoes, normally, but since this is the public face of the law, it feeds into the over-the-top anti-Obamacare rhetoric.

The insurance companies, who have been granted a gift by this insurance-reform law (it is not healthcare reform) seem to be doing all they can to suck advantage off the bone they’ve been thrown. My patients are getting letters warning them of the cancellation of their soon-to-be non-compliant plans and are being offered new plans at higher prices. These letters do not inform them that they may very well find a better deal by signing up at healthcare.gov. And the states that turned down local control of their exchanges received very little money to get out the word. The states smart enough to start their own exchanges have been given a lot more flexibility (i.e., money).

Any large-scale insurance reform is going to be a bit kludgey on launch, but with the landmines, tank traps and grenades tossed in the way, everyone here is going to get hurt.


  1. Slate’s Political Gabfest had a really fascinating overview of the tech clusterfuck. If that-almost unimaginable-degree of bureaucratic inefficiency is any indication of how things actually work behind the scenes, rethuglican terrorism and all, then I don’t have much hope for this turning out well. I was naive to think things couldn’t possibly be worse than the pre-existing clusterfuck that left so many millions without access to healthcare. Clearly I lack imagination.

  2. Regina Anderson

     /  November 14, 2013

    Instead of waiting for the website send out paper applications pay people to mauually process and stop saying. Obamacare. Doesnt work because we dont know just the website doesn work. !The gov needs to employ. The. people who start social media websites . Do they think the american people are that dumb .if they want it to work it wll if they dont it wont

  3. It is unfortunate that the clusterf—- of a rollout of the insurance marketplace is being used as a reason to reject the whole idea of health insurance reform. The technical problems will be fixed at some point. The inevitable expense of a new marketplace will be felt and complained about for the near future.

    However, the rules of economics would suggest that the whole concept of increased participation of all individuals in a system that is designed to promote competition among the insurance companies should be a good thing. It’s not conservative or liberal. It’s fair and makes sense. Besides, the self-defeating nature of our current system mandates that something be tried.

    Too bad we flubbed the technical part of the roll-out. It’s fodder for the naysayers.

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