Everyone, Let’s Lay Off the Obamacare Online Marketplace?

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On October 22, 2013, the New York Times ran an article describing the various problems that have accompanied the roll out of a central tenet of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare),   The gist of the article focuses on the technical issues that the public has encountered when trying to shop the online marketplace for health insurance.  Essentially, the volume of interested potential buyers has diminished the ease with which the site was to be navigated.

Because of the apparently gargantuan inconvenience of a website loading slowly, there is a large demand for apologies from all levels of the government, starting with President Obama and trickling down to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Indeed, after our government’s united front in reopening the government (after a shutdown that was their fault) and subsequent dangerous proximity to reaching the debt ceiling, it was shocking that Speaker of the House John Boehner called for the Obama Administration to answer questions related to the flaws in the website’s launch.

That was sarcasm, friends.

Because a glitch in a website visited by thousands of people a day is totally a reason to delay or repeal the availability of health insurance.  That’s also sarcasm.

These problems are called growing pains! Are they annoying? Absolutely.  But they happen- there is no need to make a mountain out of a molehill.  Especially when you consider what Americans stand to gain from the Affordable Care Act.  With health insurance, more people can visit their primary care physicians for routine physicals and for small aches and pains.  It’s often small aches that turn into large medical problems.  Large medical problems lead to large medical bills.  Similarly, there are catastrophic events.  Nobody plans to get hit by a bus on their way to work.  Nobody plans to be in a car accident.  These catastrophes happen, and health insurance provides a buffer of security the necessity of which is not always readily apparent.  When you’re in the thick of medical debt, though, you wind up kicking yourself for not taking advantage of small monthly insurance payments.  The utility of medical insurance, and the costs of that insurance, can be exponentially less than the cost of catastrophic care.  Emergency room visits by the uninsured, for example, have frequently been cited as one of the primary reasons for high costs of healthcare.


This all seems unnecessary considering the fact that we’re in the world’s super power, and that there are concrete examples of how a government-mandated expansion of healthcare can thrive (take France or Sweden, for example).

Do you guys know what this is called?  It’s called a stall tactic.  It’s also called a diversion.  This “controversial” roll out of the website is meant to distract you from what’s really going on.

“Well, what’s really going on?”

Oh nothing, just thousands of people being presented with an opportunity to have a primary care physician for the first time.

Just decisions about your health being ripped from the sole decision of a private insurance company that is more concerned with their bottom line than a rash on your arm.

At the end of the day, the website problems are frustrating, but they are not insurmountable.  The failure of a website to run as efficiently as we would prefer is certainly not a reason to engage in protracted political debates, especially after being so closely linked to a sixteen day protracted political debate that left hundreds of thousands of people out of work.  Health care, for now is debatable (it shouldn’t be, but it is).  Two things that are not debatable are the necessity for protections against the unpredictable occurrences in life and the inconvenience of a website that will eventually help thousands of people.

[New York Times]

Featured image courtesy of [Daniel Borman via Flickr]

Peter Davidson II
Peter Davidson is a recent law school graduate who rants about news & politics and raves over the ups & downs of FUNemployment in the current legal economy. Contact Peter at



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