Rob Horowitz: Obamacare—Hold the Shovels
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
But people who are dancing on the grave of Obamacare, otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act, are doing so prematurely. While as the insurance companies are accurately pointing out there are still major backend difficulties to surmount, it appears that the White House met its self-imposed deadline of November 30 for fixing most of the access problems for consumers. Further, by and large, states that built their own exchanges, the preferred method for individuals purchasing new insurance policies as outlined in the new law, are signing up people at a good pace. Kentucky, California and Rhode Island are examples of state health care exchanges that are working particularly well. Also, data now available from some of the state exchanges show that a sufficient percentage of young healthy people are enrolling. This is a critical component to keeping the price of new insurance policies with-in bounds.
Giving credit where credit is due
Lost in the understandable focus on the problems with the website, is the fact that it is just one aspect of a sweeping comprehensive and needed reform of our broken health care system. Among other important features, Obamcare prevents insurance companies from denying insurance to people with pre-conditions; offers strong incentives for stepped-up primary care and preventive medicine; puts in place needed cost-containment measures and for participating states expands the amount of people eligible for health care coverage under Medicaid.
Obama is also lucky in his ‘just say no’ opponents. Congressional Republicans do not help their cause by doing flamboyant end zone dances over the problems with the web site. Further, they continue to fail to offer any real substantive alternatives. As a result, they look as if the pre-Obamacare status quo, including unsustainable rising costs and 48 million people without health insurance is just fine with them.
While the jury is certainly out about how well Obamacare will end up working, it is still very much alive and kicking. The history of sweeping policy reforms are that they usually require some adjustments during the implementation phase and it is clear already that this law will be no exception. The goals of the Act remain important and essential and it will be ultimately judged by how well it meets them over the long-term—not on its admittedly shaky beginning.
Rob Horowitz is a strategic and communications consultant who provides general consulting, public relations, direct mail services and polling for national and state issue organizations, various non-profits and elected officials and candidates. He is an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island.
Related Slideshow: Check Out The Grades: Rhode Island Hospitals Report Card
A recent survey released by The Leapfrog Group assigns a Hospital Safety Score, using the report card system of A to F to each of the hospitals in Rhode Island. These grades are based on expert analysis of injuries, infections and errors that cause harm or death during a hospital stay.
Let's see how each of Rhode Island's hospitals were graded from highest to lowest:
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