“The highly anticipated rollout of President Obama’s signature law (commonly called Obamacare) was supposed to provide insurance to 500,000 Americans in the first month, a lofty goal for such a radical and relatively unpopular law. However, results through the first six weeks show a miserable trend.”
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Eric Stubben is a mechanical engineering sophomore and Mustang News conservative columnist. These views do not necessarily reflect the opinion or editorial coverage of Mustang News.
I’ve given President Barack Obama every chance to redeem himself on his signature Affordable Care Act (ACA) during the past month and a half. The “train wreck,” as many Congressional Republicans have dubbed it, finally hit me.
It wasn’t necessarily the low enrollment numbers, the healthcare.gov disaster or even the law itself that pushed me over the edge. What seems to be the most disturbing trend stemming from the ACA is the Obama administration’s constant lying and fact distortion on behalf of the American public. For the past five years, Americans have been putting up with an ineffective administration that states they are “committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government.”
But open governments don’t reside behind a smoke screen of numbers and irresponsibility for their actions. An open government doesn’t wait six weeks to give an apology for a clearly floundering law. An open government certainly does not look like the Obama administration, especially during the ACA rollout.
The highly anticipated rollout of President Obama’s signature law (commonly called Obamacare) was supposed to provide insurance to 500,000 Americans in the first month, a lofty goal for such a radical and relatively unpopular law. However, results through the first six weeks show a miserable trend.
Through website glitches and confusion over the law, a grand total of 106,185 Americans have finished the sign-up process on either state or federal ACA websites. Now this is where the Obama administration drops the first curtain. At first glance, a 21 percent sign up rate seems poor. But the numbers are even worse than that. Although these people have completed signing up for health insurance, it’s still unclear how many are actually enrolled in health care insurance plans. The 106,185-person statistic is not even the same statistic that the Obama administration used to estimate how many people would enroll into plans.
Even if most of the health care sign ups were able to enroll, demographic data would also be important. The ACA’s effectiveness depends on whether or not young Americans enroll in the program. If data is released and a high percentage of enrollees are elderly, the future of the ACA will be in jeopardy without a strong base of future users. It’s hard to tell whether these problems will materialize with the Obama administration’s blanket over health care statistics.
The ineffectiveness of the actual law has so far been largely overshadowed by the website’s failures, and rightfully so. President Obama repeatedly assures Americans that healthcare.gov will be up and running by the end of November, although there are no signs of improvement. Now we’ve learned the president was aware the website failed tests just days before the rollout but refused to move back the rollout date. It’s one thing to be strong-willed, but another to be ignorant towards what is best for the American public.
We know the website was developed for at least $93.7 million spanning three years. After website repairs and post-rollout fixes, the cost is sure to be much higher. And, of course, that’s part of the whole hypocrisy of the law. We’re paying millions more in tax dollars to fund a dysfunctional website and an incompetent ACA leadership team when no results support them.
Defending his signature law, President Obama has stooped to a new low. “If you like your plan, you can keep it,” he said. That was one of the most attractive draws for many to support the ACA. Of course, things are never as they seem. Backtracking on this statement, President Obama claims he “meant to say” you can keep your health care plan if you haven’t changed it since the law was passed. Well… that’s an important detail. We now know that millions (up to 52 million) Americans will be forced to give up their current insurance plans for new ones.
A quick apology and admittance of mistakes would be have been a much more admirable form of leadership. Instead, he waited more than a month to state he’s “sorry (Americans) are finding themselves in this situation.” Notice he doesn’t hold himself accountable for causing the sticky health care situation we’re in now. Actually, President Obama has done quite the contrary. His administration has suggested the website is malfunctioning due to heavy traffic and the popularity of his health care law. He even cited on Twitter via his staff that healthcare.gov had been visited 20 million times in the first three weeks. Twenty million hits sure are different than 20 million enrollees.
Americans have until March 31, 2014 to sign up for Obamacare insurance. If the current rate continues, less than 700,000 Americans will be able to sign up. That’s much less than the previously estimated seven million who would actually enroll in health insurance plans.
Although I stand firmly with Republicans against the Affordable Care Act, it will not be repealed with a Democratic Senate and president. However, at this point we’ve lost more than one month of the enrollment period with a defective website and, consequently, the president’s ratings have taken a hit. The Affordable Care Act mandate must be pushed back to account for lost time and confusion among the American people. Meanwhile, President Obama can sit back and watch as his signature bill takes away health care coverage from millions of responsible Americans and damages whatever positive credibility he has left. Maybe then he’ll realize what his Affordable Care Act is truly all about.