It has been six weeks since enrollment into the Affordable Care Act’s public health care exchanges opened. CBS News reports that at least 106,185 people have enrolled so far with another 975,407 applicants pending. These exchanges are designed to give uninsured Americans access to subsidized healthcare when the act officially takes effect on Jan. 1, 2014. This falls short of the targeted number of 500,000, but officials remain optimistic about future enrollment.
On the flip side, opponents are quick to point out some of the major pitfalls of implementing the Affordable Care Act. CNN reports that policies are being unexpectedly dropped from the program, causing people to lose coverage. Furthermore, technical hurdles and planning problems have produced a lot of confusion in recent weeks. Democrats are urging the Obama administration to change or delay certain aspects of the program while the kinks are worked out. Strict deadlines have forced coders to put up some exchange websites in mere days. Henry Chao, chief project manager of healthcare.gov warned the House of two major security risks the website faces.
One of the biggest criticisms comes from the Democrats themselves. Initially, Americans were assured that they would be able to keep their existing healthcare plans if desired. That no longer seems to be the case; those with existing healthcare plans are being warned that they must switch to a plan that meets the entire minimum overages listed under the Affordable care act.
The Washington Post reports that President Clinton stated his support for a proposed law that would allow everyone to voluntarily keep his or her existing plan. Democratic senator Mary Landrieu has introduced the “Keeping the Affordable Care Act Promise Act” to do just this. Unfortunately, Landrieu’s bill would exempt many wealthier, healthier persons from Obamacare and cause premiums to go up for those poorer in health and finance. In short, a political solution only creates a new economic burden to society.
Everyone should have healthcare, but I don’t think Obamacare is the best way to accomplish this (at least yet). The bill was implemented too quickly for it to be fully worked out and its political and economic ramifications to be probed. It is time the Obama administration steps down for now on healthcare. Moving so fast has only created confusion and disagreement within the Democratic Party. Both parties must come to an agreement if there is any hope of salvaging socialized healthcare in the United States.
We need an immediate hold on the Affordable Care Act. The beginning of next year is clearly too soon to implement a program of such a large scale. Disagreements in Washington must be reconciled in order to avoid a repeat of anything like the recent budget fiasco in which House Republicans attempted to block Obamacare by defunding it. A consensus must be reached on how we are to implement universal healthcare in the coming years. It is furthermore imperative that we first study and recognize all of the possible economic ramifications before jumping into the deep end.