The Affordable Care Act: Unexpected Consequences – RantAWeek
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The Affordable Care Act: Unexpected Consequences

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Posted by mjdudak on November 10, 2013 at 8:08 pm

As Kathleen Sebelius sat testifying before Congress on the merits of Healthcare.gov, the new online healthcare marketplace put in place under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), immediately behind her, the screen was flashing an error as the computer could not access Healthcare.gov. The website, and the rollout of new parts of the ACA as a whole (mainly the individual mandate) has been wrought with problems, and as a result, over the course of the past several weeks, Obama’s approval rating has declined over ACA concerns. The ACA was supposed to be the sterling victory of the Obama administration, and more importantly, was supposed to be the legacy Obama leaves behind (which makes sense given the ACA is nicknamed “Obamacare”). Yet the law has clearly taken its toll on the administration, both in the website and the implemenation of policy standards. We will examine the website glitches, policy problems and their affect on the administration as a whole.

First and foremost, the most easily recognizable and laughable problems are the website glitches. While it may seem as if a website not working is certainly not an indication of anything major (ask any high school student in the nation how good their school is at using technology and they will make you realize how awful beauracracy can be at using the internet), it surprisingly taints the image of both Obama and the law. In his 2008 campaign, Obama was able to successfully harness the power of the internet and social media unlike any previous campaign, and the excitement this created among the youth vote was a large factor in his victory. Since his election, Obama has continued to champion social media, open data and even weekly webcasts. As part of his attempt at creating a modern presidency, Obama created the online healthcare marketplace as part of the ACA. Healthcare.gov is by all accounts accessible, however it is very bad at handling high volume traffic, such as that which would be expected with deadlines like those set under the ACA. With these glitches, perception of the White House was instantly transformed from a modern, tweeting, texting, Facebooking, internet-capable administration to a bunch of monkeys hitting keyboards and hoping something turns out right. The website glitches are harming the perception of both the administration as a whole, and the ACA specifically, as a modern, technologically savvy entity.

Beyond just the surface-level website problems, there are unforseen problems with the ACA itself. While constructing the 906 page behemoth, Obama promised the entire time that no one with a preexisting insurance policy would be forced to change their policy. However, recently, an onslaught of insurance companies have been sending out cancellation notifications to their insurees, citing policies which do not meet the standards set forth in the ACA. In essence, the ACA is forcing insurance companies to do the very thing Obama promised would not happen, thus tainting the image of the ACA as even those who like the core ideas of it are uncertain if they will be forced to change policies or not.

As a result of website glitches and unexpected cancellations, the Obama administration is likely going to extend the deadline for when it is neccessary to have an insurance policy, while scrambling to stop cancellations and get the website working once again. While the cancellations will prevent fines for consumers in the short term, in the long term they may drive up premiums as the insurance companies are claiming any delays will cost them millions of dollars. Clearly, this law is having unexpected consequences upon insurance companies, consumers and the Obama administration as they are forced to deal with new problems. In the end, the law may be doing more harm to the perception of the administration than good.

 

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