For many of us Obamacare will dramatically change how we go about our daily lives. Whenever there is this much change in society, we can expect technical difficulties and glitches. The types of technical glitches that we are having with Obamacare indicate major flaws in the information that our policy makers are getting. Processing applications is one thing all health insurance companies know how to do and they do not let ideology or personal feelings interfere with it. Clearly our policy makers were not listening to the right people, and the question that needs to be asked; have they learned anything from this mistake? Like him or not, President Obama is a teacher. Teachers will often see mistakes as a good thing, if their students learn and adapt from it. Time will tell if the Covered Ca staff is learning and adapting.
There are some major inconsistencies in Obamacare that do not follow President Obama’s primary goal of insuring that everyone has access to quality healthcare. The most glowing example are the dependents of working people who have decent paying jobs. For example many of the Medi-Cal workers here in Sonoma County that are enrolling people into Covered California health plans will not qualify for the insurance premium subsidies. The cost of buying coverage for their children and spouses is way too expensive for many of them. Now we need to ask, where was their union while Obamacare was being written? What were all of these organizations that claim to be champions of social justice, social action and consumer rights doing, when Obamacare was being written?
After Hilary Clinton’s effort to reform healthcare was defeated, the insurance industry, organized labor and many of the social action organizations did internal analysis of why it failed. As witnessed, the only group that learned from past mistakes was the insurance industry. The right to upper mobility is fundamental to our society. The unions and all these organizations know that when we make healthcare too expensive for working people, we are also denying them the right to the pursuit of happiness and access to the American Dream.
Now let’s get back to the subject of the glitches in the computer systems. Henry Kissinger said: “don’t look for a conspiracy when simple incompetence will do.” Again Obamacare is at the mercy of the health insurance industry. It is a well run industry so we could do worse. They are however one of the last segments of society that one should choose to direct social reform. The last Republican in my family voted for Lincoln. My question to my fellow Democrats is, why are we letting the least competent and most irrational among us in the Democratic Party set the agenda? Just because Goldwater said “liberals cannot park a bike,” does not mean that we are obligated to prove him right. “Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question.” (Barack Obama) Is it really a Democratic Party value to deny the children of the working class parents the right to access to healthcare? What values are we demonstrating when we deny our young parents the right to upper mobility and the pursuit of happiness? Obamacare is the law of the land and we need to make it work. Martin Luther King said "we can learn to live together as brothers, or perish together as fools." The later may be far more entertaining but it has no place in public policy.