There is no denying that the website introducing the US to the Aff0rdable Care Act (Obamacare) has been a disaster. Some of the problems have included long wait times, the inability to browse programs before signing up with personal data, and the possible lack of security of personal information.
These real issues have offered the neocons a great opening in their ongoing war on the president. Ammunition to be used to “prove” to their followers that Mr Obama is not only corrupt and a liar but that Obamacare itself is a financial and personal disaster. The reasoning is simple. As usual. If the Obamacare website has glitches and some of the mechanics of signing up don’t work well, the entire idea of universal health care is evil. That argument, of course, makes no sense.
So, let’s look more carefully at something called “evidence”. And put things in perspective. What , exactly, has gone wrong with the Obamacare website and how does that impact on the actual law itself.
First, the website. The website was contracted out to a private company, as is most of the federal government since the 1980s. The company knew what was expected and when the product was due to be released. It knew how much it was going to be paid. These were not secret or unanticipated issues.
Knowing when the product was to be delivered and what the product was supposed to do, the contractors accepted US government funds to do the job. Keep in mind. these software developers were not part of that vast array of”government workers” that the right-wing consistently degrades. These were not federal or state employees. These contractors supposedly represent the best options for producing things of value, i.e. PRIVATE contractors. But they failed miserably. They knew what they had to do and when they had to do it. And they failed to deliver.
Is this unusual ? The Republicans in the House of Representatives were outraged by this multi-million dollar failure of a website. They have been trying to determine how on earth the government could allow these contracts to be allowed NOT to perform within the budget given them . Pointing the finger. Which is fine. Except. At the same time the latest (and there has been a long series ) cost overrun for another piece of military hardware went unmentioned. The naval vessel USS Gerald Ford just came in $2 billion dollars OVER budget. That’s right. Add $ 2,000,000,000 to the taxpayers bill, No Congressional outrage. No investigation. No special hearings. No complaints from our “fiscal conservatives”. Just business as usual. So, on the level of fiscal responsibility, at least, the GOP outrage over the cost of the website does seem a bit political.
Of course the states that welcomed and tried to implement the law, like California and New York, are, on the whole quite happy with the results. They took responsibility and have encouraged their citizens to enroll in cheaper , more comprehensive plans. It is the states that refused to cooperate that are having problems.
So, the contractor does not deliver. OK. The website is a mess. No doubt. Somehow, a faulty website, based on poor computer system, is being translated into a faulty program. Really ? An analogy. You write a book. The published prints it. Pages 55 to 88 are missing. Solution? It is a bad book ? The author should have done better ? Or, let’s reprint that book with all the pages there. ?
So, in the end, this short-term problem WILL be cleared up . And when the ACA finally kicks in for everyone it will be welcomed and appreciated by working Americans. Something the right-wing of the GOP fears more than anything.