Why Understanding Glitches Are Important
In 2006, speaking of President Bush’s Medicare prescription drug program (Part D), 3 years after its enactment, then House Representative John Boehner (R-Ohio) remarked, “The implementation of the Medicare plan has been horrendous.”
The Medicare Part D drug program was a disaster. It experienced the same sort of implementation problems as Obamacare. There was overcharging at pharmacies. Some who qualified for both Medicare and Medicaid were not able to get their drugs; some states declared health emergencies in order to pay for lifesaving drugs.
Congress should anticipate Obamacare glitches, now as well as in the near future; consumers should anticipate them as well. In his current role as Speaker of the House, Boehner certainly should have anticipated them. Especially when implementing a healthcare law more complex than a prescription drug law.
Why ‘If You like It You Can Keep It’ Anticipations Were Wrong
Make no mistake about it; the health care law, derogatively known as Obamacare, is the law of the land.
That being the case, why should any well-adjusted adult assume they could keep their healthcare policy when it does not comply with the law? President Obama should not have to qualify his pledge that people who liked their coverage could keep it by amending it with something akin to “providing it satisfies the requirements of the law.”
I recognize there is a difference between federally mandated health insurance and state mandated car insurance. Nevertheless, the following hypothetical analogy helps to make my point.
If one buys an automobile and is able to purchase insurance for it, they should not expect to be able to register that automobile unless the condition of the automobile and its insurance plan complies with the law. It is obvious they would need to make the automobile and insurance compliant with the law in order to register it. And, if bought on the cheap, they should expect, in order to comply with the law, it is going to cost them more. Under healthcare law, why should it be any different?
Why There Should Not Be Exceptions and Fixes
Hypothetically, consider a state so rural and unpopulated that speed laws, stop signs, and traffic lights do not exist. There comes a time, however, when the population increases and automobile accidents become frequent. The state then enacts driving laws, initiates speed limitations, stop signs, and traffic lights. But the drivers, who once drove with impunity, now believe the driving law does not apply to them. They believe they should be able to continue to drive at whatever speed they want, and should not have to stop at stop signs or traffic lights. Should there be grandfathering or exceptions for these drivers? No, of course not. No more than there should be exceptions under Obamacare.
Obama was wrong even to have considered grandfathering; neither should he have offered a fix by allowing exceptions to the law.
And, the Republican-led house’s “Keep Your Health Plan Act” fix to Obama’s pledge amounts to nothing more than chicanery. The republican goal is to put healthcare completely in the hands of the same folks who, over the years, have been responsible for getting us into this healthcare mess.
For about 70 years, U.S. presidents have put forth proposals for some sort of national healthcare. Obamacare is the first healthcare system overhaul since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. Its lofty goal is to improve quality and affordability of healthcare insurance plans, lower premiums by expanding public and private insurance coverage, and overall reduce cost.
A problem recognized for 70 years by so many of our nation’s leaders merits a solution. Obamacare has broken the ice with an (albeit not perfect) attempt to point the country in the right direction. Obamacare needs and should receive our support and we must not allow republicans to derail it.
As Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) said, “the law does face problems [probably will continue to face problems for some time into the future],” but changes proposed by Republicans “are not friendly proposals. They’re designed to derail this effort.”