I hope the Rude Pundit doesn’t mind me re-posting this from his site today, but his post shows how quickly history repeats itself. Not only that, it shows the hypocrisy people inject into the conversation based completely on ideology when all other things are the same.
Within a week of the new health care law coming into effect, the St. Petersburg Times was reporting that “After hearing about the elaborate network of options…Hugh Mabe had a simple response. ‘I don’t get it.’ For the past week, many Citrus County residents have echoed Mabe’s sentiment. Though enrollment began Tuesday, few potential beneficiaries have settled on a plan.” Yes, it was confusing because it was so very new and different.
Of course, the computer glitches didn’t help: “During the first few days of enrollment, people had trouble logging onto [the] website because of heavy traffic.” Because of all the problems, less than a month after its rollout, at least one senator from the president’s own party wrote to officials in charge of the website, saying, “I am writing to express my concern with serious problems brought to my attention relating website. [People] have reported that the pricing information of plans listed on the website is inaccurate and misleading…A discrepancy of thousands of dollars is more than just a ‘glitch’…This sort of problem could greatly hinder successful implementation of the [new health care law] by undermining consumer confidence in the program.”
A Democratic Congressman wrote to the president after a month into the sign-up to complain that “only 500,000 of 40 million eligible [people] have signed up so far. This low participation number is not surprising. After all, the fledgling program has been plagued by mishaps and misinformation.” He was also frustrated that Congress was doing nothing to help fix the problems.
Things got so bad that even a governor who supported the law was frustrated that only “700 of the 100,000 applications [from his state] that have been submitted” had even been processed. He also noted that the Department of Health and Human Services promised that the “glitches” were fixed, even if users still had difficulties with the website. Among those glitches were “computer file transfers” that caused people to have to resubmit applications that were processed incorrectly.
Medical professionals were also upset with the program. “It’s a nightmare,” said one. “It will be a disaster” if the problems are not fixed, said another.
Let’s just show the cards here. If you haven’t figured it out, this is all about the sign-up period for what was the then-new Medicare prescription drug program, Part D. The “people” up there are actually senior citizens. The senator was Olympia Snowe of Maine, a Republican. The congressman was Benjamin Cardin of Maryland, who is now a senator. The governor was Richard Codey of New Jersey. The president was George W. Bush. The time period was from mid-October of 2005, which was the start of enrollment before the plan went into effect on January 1, 2006.
It’s amazing to me that the similarities between the two are almost identical, yet the reaction of the DC crowd is totally opposite today vs what it was then. Even with the bumpy rollout of that new program, the Democratic Party didn’t decide to go Terminator on the federal government in order to destroy it to save America from being destroyed.
Given that the GOP passed this health care bill with the Democrats as the opposition then, I’ll let RP tell you how that vociferous opposition railed against this new law.
The bill was passed in December 2003. In November 2004, there was a vote to raise the debt ceiling. You know what didn’t happen? The Democrats in the Senate didn’t hold the debt ceiling hostage because the act was confusing and unpopular – remember, it passed the House only because of bribery and threats by Tom DeLay. They didn’t try to undermine it or sabotage it. No, they tried to make it better, with Republicans refusing to do so.
Senator Blanche Lincoln, a Democrat from Arkansas, tried to fix things in December 2005. She said that “all of the problems that have occurred could have been avoided if Republicans had not blocked a crucial amendment she cosponsored during federal budget debates last month. Lincoln’s bill would have added six months to the transition period to ensure that pharmacists are reimbursed under Medicaid until each eligible senior is assigned to a new drug plan under Medicare. Her amendment was uniformly opposed by Republicans in the Finance Committee and during budget debates on the Senate floor last month.” It failed because Republicans didn’t want to delay the law.
It’s not often that I can thoroughly enjoy a post from the Rude Pundit without any cussing, but he hit a home run with this one. I’ve posted most of it, but if you want to read it in its entirety, it’s the first link under the related articles section.
- The Tale of the Terrible, Glitch-Filled Health Care Law Rollout (rudepundit.blogspot.com)
- Glitches common for federal government’s Web rollouts (washingtonpost.com)
- Insurers, others say ‘Obamacare’ glitches fixable (sacbee.com)