arteejee

A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Questions and Successes of the ACA



I have been working harder this last month than, I dare say, I’ve ever worked before. I have just concluded working 14 days in a row – two Sundays included! The weekend shifts were only four hours long, but there were more than several week days when I worked ten hours. I’m not complaining, the money is good, but I cannot do it every day of the year.  

How hard have I worked? Let’s put this way: the concept of Friday as that period of time on the calendar that is recognized as the start of a two day period reserved for rest and relaxation (i.e., the weekend) has lost all meaning to me.

I am exhausted.

It is open enrollment season at my job, and we’ve seemingly been answering questions for everyone (and their mothers) about their health insurance choices for next year. It appears that all insurance carriers are changing their policies this season, given that major portions of the Affordable Care Act (we’ve been told not to refer to it as the derogatory term Obamacare during our phone conversations with clients) become effective soon. With these changes come questions about the plans, questions about the ACA, questions about myths and misinformation about the ACA, and of course, many times these questions are accompanied by lots of frustration, screaming, and yelling about the myths and misinformation about the ACA.

During this time, within the last few weeks, I had an opportunity to go to the federal government website for information. Yes, it’s true: I went into the healthcare.gov website untethered, came out the other side, and lived to recount the tale. So did Anne Marie. Oh, we didn’t apply for coverage or anything like that, but the experience was interesting nonetheless.

For example, the media reported that only 106,185 people successfully completed enrollment on the healthcare.gov website during the 30 days ending November 2. Alas, this number was only half of the story, as per the government website. The Obama administration also reported that an additional 975,407 applied and received eligibility determination during that time period. These people are still shopping as per the update published on November 16. (Source: www.hhs.gov)

Somehow, everyone in the media, liberal and otherwise, overlooked this second statistic. This may have happened due to human nature and not a deliberate attempt to mislead the public. It’s well known that bad news sells newspapers and the low number of people who successfully found health insurance from the website during its first month of operation was underwhelming, at the very least for the Obama administration. Apparently, even the liberal media needs to sell a few more papers these days.

Since then, there have been more discouraging reports about the website’s progress towards its goal of signing millions of Americans to affordable healthcare policies by the original deadline. Naturally, the ACA’s critics are emphasizing, perhaps too gleefully, that the website is a failure, therefore ACA is a failure, and therefore Obama is a failure. This realization wouldn’t sting so much if it weren’t for the fact that perception always trumps the reality of the situation.

The perception that the website is a failure is so huge, that it is hard to believe that it is all due to incompetence within the Obama administration.   

Considering that the ACA did not mandate any funding to set up the website in the first place (another factoid I learned in the last few weeks, and this one came from a blog on The Huffington Post), it’s a miracle the website is operational at all. Also, there are so many people who have devoted unlimited resources to ensuring the failure of the ACA, it would not surprise me that there is an organized effort to sabotage healthcare reform.

Organized effort, as in conspiracy theory? Okay, if this gets me membership in the tin foil hat club, then yes, fit me for the metallic chapeau now!

We may eventually find out - eventually, as in, not necessarily our lifetime - that the ACA’s troubles have been caused in large part by hacktivists who may be funded by some well off Tea Party members. I have no proof now, but it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if this effort can be traced back to some very high levels in corporate America.

All of the negativity about the ACA and the website overshadows the success stories about people logging in and signing up. Granted, the stories are few, but there are successes nonetheless. For example, there is the story about a Mr. John Boehner of Washington, DC. He encountered some difficulties, again according to a report on The Huffington Post, but after four hours of diligence and perseverance, he received an e-mail confirming that he was signed up on the website.

That’s John Boehner, as in Speaker of the House John Boehner, as in leader of the legislative group that he has voted to repeal the ACA at least 39 times John Boehner. In the past, he has vowed to repeal the law which will give millions of Americans the chance to have affordable healthcare, and instead of avoiding the concept with a ten foot pole, he jumps onto the website and registers. AWK-WARD!

As for me, tomorrow I’ll be back at work, and hopefully I won’t have to answer as many questions as I have in the last three weeks. Fortunately, it is a short work week…

(Thank you for reading! Now please, no more questions!)

2 Comments:

Blogger David Jeffreys said...

Thanks for the more positive spin on the ACA. I'm sorry that you and others have had to work so much overtime to get healthcare for the masses rolling out.

November 24, 2013 at 9:57 PM  
Blogger todd gunther said...

Thank you, David for the comment. Yes, its been hard work and long hours, but I feel good that I've been able to clear up some mis-conceptions about the ACA.

November 28, 2013 at 9:39 AM  

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