Political Pandering on Obamacare Doesn’t Help Consumers

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/speakerpelosi/

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/speakerpelosi/

Republicans and Democrats are gearing up for campaign mode over the healthcare law. In a system where speculation on presidential candidates begins the day after a President has been elected, the 2014 midterms are right around the corner.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney began Thursday’s press conference with what are now routine efforts at publicizing the Affordable Care Act. “The first — which goes with this graphic — today, as part of our daily effort to highlight the benefits of the healthcare law, we are focusing on the Affordable Care Act’s protections for consumers with preexisting conditions,” Carney stated.

The Democratic National Committee launched a website to compare the Democratic solution to healthcare problems in America, Obamacare, to the Republican idea of repealing the law. In his weekly briefing, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) discussed his new Obamacare plan. “My health insurance premiums are going to double, my co-pays and deductibles triple under Obamacare. I’m thrilled to death, as you can tell.”

Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz blasted Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) decision that allows his staff to avoid the Obamacare exchanges. “Sen. Reid’s decision to exempt his staff from Obamacare exchanges is the clearest example yet of Obamacare’s failures and Washington hypocrisy. His staff worked to pass it and continue to promote it, now they don’t want to be part of it because it’s a disaster,” Cruz said in a press release.

The political volleying back-and-forth amounts to little when it comes to understanding what the American people want legislators to do, and ultimately becomes a point of interest for one side or the other. It shores up political bases, but does little to promote understanding of practical concerns with the law’s functionality.

Appearing on MSNBCAndrea Mitchell Reports, the Vice President, Strategic Communications for America’s Health Insurance Plans, Robert Zirkelbach, explained why he and others in the insurance industry are still concerned about the website.  He explained there has been a great deal of progress on the consumer side, but the “back-end functions,” when information is sent to the insurer, needs just as much scrutiny. “What we’ve seen so far is that health plans have, you know, a lot of those files have included data that’s been inaccurate, that’s been missing, some cases those files haven’t gotten to the health plans at all.” Technical fixes are being worked on around the clock, and “progress has been made — but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done.” Otherwise, come January 1, 2014, people will believe they have enrolled, when they actually do not have health coverage.

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