are we so critical because a giant complex health care overhaul doesn’t run
perfectly after only two months? Is
this all about the mandate and the penalties? Do we expect to see the perfect
mix of signers after only two months? Are we nuts?
media has been brutal about the difficulties with this roll out. Maybe this has
been positive in a way because it has forced the administration to pour energy
into making the health care web site work. The media is still hyping this
crisis, although I am not sure why. They have set this up so that if the web
site is not perfect by December 2, 2013, then this whole new insurance
framework will have failed forever. We know that in the past the larger the
program, the rougher the roll out. This program, although it was only designed
to provide insurance for 30 million or so uninsured individuals, also attempts
to solve some thorny insurance problems which have been created by a risk-adverse
industry – problems like pre-existing conditions and lifetime caps on treatment
costs, problems like placing insurance costs beyond the reach of many younger
Americans or the self-employed. In order to ask the industry to cover these
high-risk areas it became important to reach a new pool of young healthy
Americans to serve as a counterweight. The media reports the so far “desperate”
failure of the plans to pull in these young buyers because they have been
turned away by a nonfunctioning web site and they are not convinced of the
value of this insurance to begin with, so once they have tried and failed, they
will be lost to the market forever. Is this real panic or media created panic?
Only time will tell, but I can’t help but wonder what stake the media has in
the failure of the ACA beyond a blatant attempt to improve ratings. Even if the
marketplace has not sorted itself out by March, 2014, it is entirely possible
that dispensation will be given in the form of a later deadline for those tax
penalties to kick in.
much will these difficulties affect the 2014 election? We are all so fickle, or
disenchanted by government, or so ADHD that it is impossible to guess how voters
will jump until we are much closer to the election. We all know that big
programs require generous start-up periods with an expectation of frequent
glitches. Isn’t this the first large government/private partnership that has
had a digital roll out? Of course it did not help that that oft-repeated
statement the President made about keeping your insurance plan and your doctor
was almost immediately proved wrong, or false, depending on your point of view.
Did the President deliberately lie to get us on board? This really makes little
sense as an explanation. Why would anyone whose life belongs right now to the
public make such a public statement if he knew that it would soon be proven
very publicly as false? I don’t believe any President would do that which
leaves either 1) the President did not understand all the ramifications of his
own plan, or 2) the President did not understand the calumny of the insurance
media is free, of course, to be as dramatic as they wish to be and to crank up
their dismay at the “failures” of the ACA start up to operatic proportions, but
they must accept that they may be helping the opposition party destroy a
program that really would have eventually improved our health insurance. I also
understand that it is not the media’s job to tout a program just because of
inherent social values it might have; the media is not an advertising agency.
However, reminding people that there is real history behind that old cliché, no
pain, no gain; reminding them of the difficulties that have accompanied other
roll outs; reminding people that mistakes are made and can often be forgiven,
should also be covered regularly as part of this story.
fact that Congress does nothing and is especially quiet and inactive right now
may be forcing the media to focus on the ACA roll out because it is just about
the only news in town. In fact, the media could be feeding right into one of
those GOP game plans that the New York Times exposed, was it just last week? So
the Republicans could have strategized to have the media dissing the ACA for
them so they can really kick back and revel in that doing-nothing thing they
are doing. We the people need a way to fire Congress but the only way we can do
this is to elect Democrats in 2014.
is the view from the cheap seats.
blog post is also available at www.brissioni.com