Let the ACA do its job

Obstructionists need to get out of Obamacare’s way

The roll-out was a disaster. For more than a month, the enrollment website went offline, and when it was online it was unwieldy and riddled with problems.

The Affordable Care Act? Well, yes, but the same was true in 2005, when the Bush administration tried to implement its new prescription-drug program, Medicare Part D. The difference is that in 2005 the many congressional Democrats who voted against the measure, instead of trying to block it once it had passed, began working to make sure their constituents could access the coverage it provided.

Compare that with Republicans’ determination to do everything they can to make access to the ACA more difficult and to undermine President Obama’s effort to extend health insurance to millions of Americans currently without it.

As regular CN&R readers know, we have long supported extending Medicare to all Americans as the best solution to the lack of health insurance. Unfortunately, that simple and highly efficient approach has lacked sufficient political support to get through Congress. Instead we’ve got this Rube Goldberg contraption called Obamacare. It’s complicated and confusing, but it also clearly has the potential to expand access to health care to millions of people and distribute the cost of that care more widely and evenly.

This week, Marilyn Tavenner, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, reported that around-the-clock website-repair efforts were having results. “Users can now successfully create an account [on HealthCare.gov] and continue through the full application and enrollment process,” she said, adding, “We are now able to process nearly 17,000 registrants per hour, or five per second, with almost no errors.”

Some 45 million Americans lack health insurance. In its first 24 hours, HealthCare.gov logged 4.7 million unique visits, an indication of the need. The obstructionists should get out of the way and let Obamacare do its job.