Saturday, November 23, 2013

Have you heard the good news about Obamacare?

The national media, especially that portion of it that is located inside the Washington beltway, seem to have completely adopted the Republican line on the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. It's a "train wreck." The website is a disaster. Repeal is inevitable.

But if you get past the front pages where all these horror stories appear, you may find quite a different tale, buried somewhere on page six. This week, for example, we saw headlines like these:

No big drop in Obamacare support

and

Obamacare enrollments surging

and

HealthCare.gov website working better

The stories that appear beneath these headlines detail the fact that support for the health care program is holding essentially steady, that enrollments in the program during the first two weeks of November were more than twice what they were for the entire month of October, and, finally, that the glitch-prone website is now working for at least 90 percent of its visitors. These are all hopeful signs that point to the eventual success of the process and the program itself.

While the federal exchange still lags behind where it should be, many of the states which operate their own exchanges - notably Kentucky, Connecticut, and California - are exceeding projections and signing up people faster than had been expected. The states that are working well for the most part have Democratic governors who have worked to make the program a success. These states have also expanded Medicaid so that more of their citizens are now able to be have insurance through that program.

In mean-spirited states like Texas, which have done everything possible to throw a monkey wrench into the works of the federal exchange servicing the states and have refused to implement expanded Medicaid to help more of their citizens, sign-ups for health care have lagged. But even here, people are clearing the hurdles and getting through. As the website begins to work better, as it now is beginning to do, more and more people will be able to take advantage of the insurance plans on offer for their area. By the end of the year, I would expect to see enrollments "surging" there, too.

So, in spite of what you might hear from the national media and from the obstructionists who keep trying to kill it, all is not doom and gloom with Obamacare. Indeed, there is light at the end of the tunnel and it does not appear to be an onrushing train.

Meanwhile, there was this little-noted story from yesterday's news. Yes, that implacable foe of affordable health care, Speaker of the House John Boehner, is now a fully signed up member of Obamacare!  

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