Chalk up broken promises to politics

The rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges lurched into gear coughing and sputtering, instead of taking off with the smooth hum of a well-oiled machine, leaving millions of Americans frustrated with the $400 million system that had been promised to be a one-stop shopping, point-and-click experience.

Even if a consumer might be able to register, actually logging in successfully is turning out to be quite another matter. Among problems was the inadequate capacity of the federal website, which was designed to handle 50,000 to 60,000 consumers at a time.

There were warnings. Democratic supporters of Obamacare, health care officials, insurers and the Government Accountability Office all had voiced concerns about whether the exchange was ready. Those warnings failed to deter the Department of Health and Human Services and the White House from slowing down and getting it right.

Launching the nationwide system was an immense IT challenge, so some glitches and tweaking were to be expected. But the problems have surpassed the “glitch” stage. Some observers say the problems lie with the system’s design itself.

But that just covers troubles on the technical side.

As reported by Winthrop Quigley in The Sunday Journal, some New Mexicans have found that the president’s promise that “If you like your current plan, you can keep it” is not true — and the required changes are likely to be more expensive.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010, so the government has had three years to get the system ready. One of the administration’s top priorities should have been to have the signature accomplishment of this president’s administration test-driven and ready to go when the starter pistol was fired. As for broken promises, chalk that up to politics.

 — Albuquerque Journal

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