What’s Left: In Light of Recent Problems

Ryan Martin

The Republican Party waged war against health reform efforts essentially from the day the President stepped into office. So, it should come as no surprise that Republicans are now jumping all over the early problems with the insurance program.

Only a few weeks since the government was shut down in what appeared to be a last ditch effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Republicans seem reinvigorated enough to carry on with their unending crusade.

Truly, one must admire, or at least acknowledge, the collective Republican chutzpah of this act. These guys appear to forget about their recent failings as quickly as fraternity brothers might forget about a night of drunken antics. But in all seriousness, even those supporters of the law, such as myself, have become frustrated by the recent problems with Obamacare.

At the top of the list was the launch of the program’s website, Healthcare.gov, a resource aimed at allowing millions of Americans to sign up for health insurance. The site has been plagued by glitches and very long wait times and has been the target of media scrutiny ever since it was brought online.

Beyond this, there has also been an outcry among Republicans in Congress in regard to the cancellation notices sent out by insurers to millions of Americans, which are quite worrisome to those who cannot access the website.

The reality of these problems is that they will cast a negative light on a program that, in the long run, will be positive for millions who are currently uninsured. Cancellation letters and websites that do not operate reinforce the stereotypes pertaining to the “inefficiencies of government,” or the “attempts by government to control our lives.” If President Obama is able to deliver on his promise to fix these early problems, then negative attention on the new program will fade quickly.

But regardless of the blatant desire of Republicans to destroy this law before it is given its fair chance, the longer Americans are left waiting for the program the federal government pledged to have ready for them, the more pronounced the decline will be in public support for the President and any of his objectives.

It is my prediction that the present problems with the Affordable Care Act will be long forgotten in the end. Once millions of Americans who previously had little or no health coverage are able to experience the benefits of receiving care on a regular basis in a comprehensive fashion, public opinion that has swayed over the years will again turn much more positive.

Similar to the passing of Medicare in the 1960s under President Johnson – which was also harshly opposed by conservative politicians making claims that it was a socialist program – Obamacare will prove to be socially significant nevertheless.

 In an age where obstructionism and policy gridlock reign, the real turning point for the new program will be on January 1, 2014, when coverage begins and people can determine their opinion of it through their own experiences.

Contact Ryan Martin at [email protected]