If at first you don’t succeed, try and try and try again.
That’s what Americans who found the sign-up process for insurance under the Affordable Care Act will be urged to do, along with promises that the system will actually work this time around.
As those who found their unconditionally promised ability to keep their insurance plans and doctors if they liked them discovered when President Barack Obama attempted to retroactively alter that promise, promises are made to be broken.
HealthCare.gov has been an accumulation of glitches since the Oct. 1 roll-out, problems that will need to be fixed by the end of the month if coverage are to start on schedule Jan. 1. Even at that, those in our area who find themselves in the Obamacare market but not eligible for federal subsidies may feel the term “affordable” to be a considerably generous definition for the act.
In many ways, the roll-out of Obamacare demonstrates a lot of what is wrong in Washington these days, starting with Obama and the Democrats freezing Republicans out of the process of developing the law and ending — so far — with Republican ineptly trying to strike back at them by temporarily shutting down part of the federal government.
The seemingly never-ending election cycle and a burned-earth policy on the part of the two major parties to have the supper hand when the 2016 elections are tallied has government in a paralysis that goes past gridlock. In fact, all Washington has been lacking to complete its imitation of the last days of Rome is a good fiddle and a matchstick.
And caught in the middle is the American citizen who’d just like to be able to go to the doctor.
What America needs is less political posturing and fewer non-apologetic apologies. The nation’s health care system wasn’t healthy to start with and needed some attention. The reason why Democrats and Republicans couldn’t come together to reform a system that was in Americans’ best interest started and ended with which party would be most in charge and who would get the credit.
Now, the health care system is being expanded, but contracted in another as many who had been covered are left to decide whether they’re better off without the insurance and paying the penalties. And states like Georgia are being criticized for not expanding Medicaid coverage with so-called “free” federal money — a figment of the imagination since it comes from taxpayers and national debt. There’s no thought by critics as to how the state, which has been strapped enough in recent years, would fund the expanded program when those federal checks stop coming in a few years. It’s a safe bet that when the federal money dries up, the medical bills will continue to be robust.
Had Republicans and Democrats gotten together and created a plan with an eye toward improving the health of Americans, there would have been no reason to rush an act that most lawmakers didn’t understand through Congress. A bill with the best of both sides’ views could have been worked out, and Americans wouldn’t have been subjected to the train wrecks of the botched roll-out and the unnecessary shutdown.
Maybe Obama, whose approval ratings are low, and Congress, whose ratings are even lower, will learn that lesson. Maybe the shrill noise that passes for political debate today will someday turn to mature debate that results in laws that, while still imperfect, will be less flawed. That would certainly be healthier for the nation.
— The Albany Herald Editorial Board