By Patricia L Johnson
Last night I went to bed listening to Dr. Sanjay Gupta grill Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius on the Affordable Care Act computer glitches. This morning I woke up to Republican calls for her resignation and can truly do nothing other than shake my head in disbelief at the total ignorance of the uneducated.
First of all let’s take a step back in time. From the day the Affordable Care Act went into effect, Republicans have done everything humanly possible to have the program fail. The ACA was patterned after the healthcare program put in place by then Republican Governor Mitt Romney and polls indicate it is viewed favorably by 85 percent of Massachusetts residents. So why is the ACA viewed so unfavorably by the Republicans? It’s basically the same program they wanted to pass years ago.
The difference between what was put in place in Massachusetts and what we have now is simply the difference between plans being put in place by a Republican vs. a plan being put in place by a Democrat that the Republicans have tried to toss out of office ever since the November 2008 election. They want President Obama out of the Oval Office and will do anything and everything in an effort to achieve that goal, including sabotaging the Affordable Care Act and anything associated with it.
That said, let’s look at this situation realistically. The Department of Health and Human Services is the agency of the U.S. Government whose primary function is to protect the health of all Americans and provide basic human services. It isn’t in the ‘website creating’ business. If you’ll recall correctly the original intent was for all states in the Union to create their own health insurance exchanges, but the majority of Republican Governors chose to opt out of their responsibility to assist their citizens.
Instead they dumped their primary responsibility on the federal government at the same time Republican members of Congress were busy reducing funding for setting up these insurance exchanges. In addition, HHS was not able to hire the ‘best’ of the ‘best’ due to conflict of interest restrictions placed upon them.
Microsoft is in the software business. Based on software revenues it is considered the top software company in the world [Global Software Top 100 – Edition 2011]. I have two desktop computers that I use at home and both have Microsoft operating systems. I just returned from a three-week trip and the computer I left on was up and running as soon as I moved the mouse. The computer that I shut down completely while I was gone is still “updating”. I have already installed 27 updates, which equates to an update a day for every day
I was gone.
If the ‘best of the best’ requires an update a day shouldn’t we give the Affordable Care Act website a little bit of a break?
There are four separate ways a person can sign up for the new health insurance plans through the insurance Marketplace. You may fill out a paper application, you may sign up online (if not now certainly within the near future), you may sign up by phone and/or you may sign using in-person assistance personnel.
Secretary Sebelius is also in charge of the Medicare website and as far as I’m concerned that website is as good as it gets. Due to the fact I am considered “disabled” by federal standards I have had Medicare coverage for the past twenty-plus years so I’m pretty close to an ‘expert’ when it comes to claims processing.
We went from having a Medicare system that was extremely slow in processing claims, was error prone and totally disorganized to a system that is simply incredible. Under the Obama Administration claims are processed in less than 30 days, there are zero errors and the Medicare Blue Button system allows each Medicare recipient to review his/her claims and download to your computer, a CD, a flash drive or a mobile app as often as you wish.
You will hear the word ‘failure’ often associated with the ACA website, but that’s far from a correct assessment of the current situation. The website has some glitches, but why wouldn’t it? Just think of where we might be if there was any cooperation from Republicans at all. The fact is there have been 19 million unique visitors to the website during the past three weeks is an extraordinary amount of traffic by anyone’s standards.
The fact that anyone at all is able to access the site is nothing short of a miracle. So kudos to Secretary Sebelius and her staff!
© 2013 Patricia L Johnson