Appropriate GOP response on exchange: Mission accomplished

The pathetic rollout of the federal Affordable Care Act exchanges was an embarrassment that, if not remedied soon, could jeopardize long-awaited access to health care for millions. There are plenty of people in the Obama administration that deserve blame.
In the midst of the blame game, however, it is worth stepping back for some context.
The first question Alabamians should ask, of course, is why the federal government is running the state’s exchange. In deference to the same states’ rights movement loudly proclaimed by Gov. Robert Bentley during his candidacy and after, the ACA provided states with the authority and funding to set up their own exchanges. Bentley and Alabama legislators declined. They were open about their reason for leaving this critical task to Washington: They hoped that if enough states refused to create exchanges, the burden on the federal government would undermine the law.
It turns out the strategy was clever. The federal government must run the exchanges in 36 states, many of which rejected the responsibility in the hopes of derailing efforts at health-care reform.
Alabama also was one of several states — all Republican-controlled — that filed suit seeking to have the ACA ruled unconstitutional. The ACA became law in March 2010, but it wasn’t until June 2012 that the Supreme Court ruled it was constitutional. The law was in legal limbo for more than two years. In retrospect the federal government should have been pumping money into development of the exchanges during this period, but at the time the wisdom of doing so was not obvious.
Even after the Supreme Court ruling, the GOP managed to keep the fate of Obamacare an open question. Republican candidates in the 2012 presidential election were unanimous in their determination to do everything in their power to thwart health-care reform, so it wasn’t until the results of the November election — less than a year ago — that federal agencies, contractors and insurance companies began to have confidence that the 2010 law actually would take effect.
When the Department of Health and Human Services sought congressional approval to transfer some of its funds to improve implementation of the ACA, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives shot it down. Republicans also blocked the Obama administration’s efforts to make legislative tweaks to the complex law, the sort of changes that are necessary in any major piece of legislation.
The nation is at the beginning of what will no doubt be endless congressional hearings on what went wrong with the rollout of the federal exchanges. Those hearings will reveal that blame is appropriate. The consequences for those who are to blame should be harsh, because the mistakes have jeopardized the ability of millions of uninsured Americans to obtain access to health care.
In the midst of casting blame, however, Americans should remember that Republicans in Alabama and Washington have spent much of the last 3-1/2 years in an open and determined effort to sabotage Obamacare. They wanted the exchanges to fail. While millions of uninsured Americans have every right to complain, elected Republican officials should limit themselves to two smug words: Mission accomplished.

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3 Comments

Filed under Alabama politics, Health care, Obamacare

3 responses to “Appropriate GOP response on exchange: Mission accomplished

  1. The Oracle

    Absolutely laughable, even by your standards Eric. So it’s all the Republicans fault? Story after story in the news outlets (I’m talking the ones who actually do investigative reporting….not the ones who do nothing but shake their pom poms for your imbecile president) are showing people’s health insurance premiums going up, if not outright cancelled. Given the overwhelming evidence to that point, all folks like you can do is whine about the GOP. Simply pathetic…just like your president.

    • Thomas Mann

      So, nothing the Repubicans have done have had any effect on the end result? Really?
      Let’s back the wagon up even further – the original problem ACA attempted to correct was that health care costs were increasing 10 fold since the 1980s… What solution has been offered by the Republicans? ACA was based on a solution they originally suggested, by the way…

  2. The Oracle

    Yeah…..really. Many solutions have been offered by the GOP, namely opening up competition between providers across state lines. How about tort reform/loser pays? Oh wait….we can’t have that. That will drive away the main money source for democrats…..the trial lawyers (you know, like the guy who writes this blog). I’m quite aware that the Heritage Foundation came up with the idea. FACT…. Their idea was never meant to be run at the federal level. Only at the state(s) level.

    As we have seen today, more people have lost their insurance than have been signed up under the federal exchanges. The healthcare.gov website is a dumpster fire, the president lied to get the law passed, and elected democrats everywhere are running for political cover. No…..the GOP had NOTHING to do with this steaming pile of dog squeeze. The democrats OWN this law lock, stock, and barrel. Come next November, and beyond, it will be hung like the albatross it is around the necks of democrats everywhere. After all, it is their law.

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