The consummate disaster of the launch of the Affordable Health Care Act in every regard, from the website, to the security concerns, to the bevy of butchered promises of coverage is so blatant that even those who supported it are “jumping the shark” and mocking it on comedy shows.
As of this writing, which occurred on the same day that Health and Human Services “Head Honcha,” Kathleen Sebelius received a much deserved drubbing before Congress regarding everything from the website to the woes of the people who have lost their health insurance, approximately 19 million people had attempted to visit healthcare.gov, and a strapping 476,000 people had actually prevailed and purchased Obamacare.
However, my personal favorite from the “Oh, Puh-LEEZE Department” was to blame the malfunctioning of the website on Verizon. Playing the Blame Game is part and parcel of human sin, and Ms. Sebelius is no slouch when it comes to slingin’ it. Mind you, the website, which does not work, has reportedly cost the tax payers around 650 million dollars, and the fact that it is replete with blank screens and security concerns only personifies what happens when government tries to sell insurance. “Now, that’s NOT progressive!”
Ms. Sebelius had the following to say toward the start of her trip through the gauntlet. “It is the Verizon server that failed-not healthcare.gov.” However, I am pleased to say that a Tennessee woman named Marsha Blackburn, (a Republican Congresswoman,) put it to Madame Secretary until she finally capitulated and said that she (Sebelius) was responsible for the debacle. Her exact words were, “Hold me accountable for the debacle. I’m responsible.” OK, I don’t know exactly if we have the same definition of accountability, responsibility, or debacle, but that’s a start.
Moving along, another Republican Congressman, (who had purchased insurance under the new policy in order to show good faith to his own constituents,) produced the letter stating that his own personal insurance policy had been cancelled. Cory Gardner of Colorado asked her, “Why aren’t you losing your insurance?” She replied that she already had insurance, (due to being grandfathered in,) and that “it is illegal for [her] to enter the exchange!” Please remember, the Affordable Care Act was touted as a way to make it possible for thirty million Americans to get coverage, and even NBC is estimating that 16 million of our citizens have lost theirs. Remember, we were promised that if we had a policy that we liked, we could keep it. So how does that translate into what is going on in Athens?
In the years that I have been involved with Athens Now, I have had the joy of having people coming up to me on the street or in a restaurant to comment on the paper, and sometimes make suggestions as to ideas for articles. But this health care issue has cast a pall over that process. I was in a lumber store delivering papers, and one of the women who worked there followed me to the door and said, “My son got a letter in his paycheck saying that his insurance had been cancelled. Please, write an article.” At Storytellers’, another man told me that while his son still technically “has” insurance, his deductible is six thousand dollars, and he is a young, healthy man. Another client said hers had gone up $122 dollars a month, effective immediately. I have never seen people this scared.
Then there is the issue of choosing to stay out of the system altogether and pay the fine, er, “tax.” For now, that does not seem like a bad idea, if for no other reason than protecting one’s identity. However, at the end of the day, there are two things I am glad for as an Alabaman and a believer: we have legislators that are fighting for us, and more importantly, we have a King that is bigger than the badness of Obamacare, and that’s who I am talking to about this mess. Join me, won’t you?
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner