October 27, 2013 by David K. Sutton
Obamacare Website Glitches Reflect Complex Market-Based System
I’m no fan of the Affordable Care Act. Maybe it was the best we could do in 2010 under the weight of Republican double-dealing and quackery, but the ACA is flawed because it tries to exist within the current health care insurance system. And well, the current system isn’t really a system at all. It’s a collection of disparate for-profit health care insurance companies. What the ACA gets right is the patient protections, but what it gets wrong is the method of insurance.
The Obama administration deserves plenty of blame when it comes to the glitches plaguing the Obamacare website (HealthCare.gov), but let’s not kid ourselves, the federal health care marketplace is highly complex. We aren’t just talking about a website, it’s a massive network connecting the IRS, the Social Security Administration, Homeland Security, the Veterans Health Administration, and that’s just for starters. It must also connect with a number of other government agencies along with all the participating private health care insurance companies. Regardless of the Republican ranting and deceit, the Affordable Care Act and the HealthCare.gov marketplace, in the most simplest explanation, is a new way for Americans to purchase health care insurance from private health care insurers.
Instead of going to different insurance company websites and answering longwinded forms, you go to one website and answer a few questions and you are on your way. This means more options, resulting in cheaper health care insurance for Americans who do not get insurance through their employer, and it also means many new customers for private insurance companies. Remember, there is no public option, so God only knows what the hell Republicans are railing against.
I would think private insurance companies would be deliriously elated at the prospect of millions more insurance customers. I sure wish somebody with clout in the insurance industry would publicly denounce Republican efforts to defund, delay, or repeal the Affordable Care Act. Of course it would not be for noble reasons, but I’ll take anything if it means calling out Republican bullshit.
Like I said, I’m no great defender of the ACA, but unlike Republicans, I will only critique the ACA on the merits. Even though I’d like to see at least a public option, but preferably single-payer, I’m not about to start making shit up, I’ll leave that to the GOP.
But getting back to those HealthCare.gov glitches — I can’t help but think about how much simpler this would be if we had single-payer. If we simply extended Medicare to all citizens, wouldn’t that be significantly less complex a system to administer? There would be no need to build a system that hooks into all those government agencies and private insurance companies. It would go something like this: Were you born? Are you a citizen? Good, you now have Medicare. Next issue.