Social Question

ETpro's avatar

Have the Healthcare.gov rollout problems forever wrecked progressive's enthusiasm for governing?

Asked by ETpro (34145 points ) December 4th, 2013

Matthew Yglesias claims so this Slate Magazine article. If he’s right, then that highlights an amazing difference between progressives and the regressives who today falsely call themselves “conservatives”. Under the Bush administration, we saw the worst terrorist attack on US soil in our nation’s history, the most spectacular failure at disaster relief imaginable, two needless wars launched at a total cost of over $3 trillion and with no workable plan to win either one, and the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression. Not a bit of this dulled regressive’s firm conviction that they, and only they, hold the policy solutions to all the world’s problems. If Yglesias is right that progressives have decided to go into full retreat and just play dead because a new website didn’t work well right out of the gates, then maybe regressives are right, progressives are too gutless to be trusted with governing.

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27 Answers

janbb's avatar

Without reading the article, that seems patently ridiculous. I am pretty dismayed at Obama and his administration and it will suck if our chance for healthcare reform is blown – which is still may not be. But I still believe in fighting for parity, universal health care, and truly compassionate government.

rojo's avatar

No, I don’t think so. People who want to find fault will do so no matter what and those who want to pursue a more socially conscious society will accept that nothing is perfect, correct those errors that occur and move on to the next step.
As for the regressive conviction that they are the only ones who can do it right; there is nothing that will ever convince them otherwise. When you think about it, the people who do not want government are the same ones who are convinced they are the only ones who can govern. Where is the sense in that?

JLeslie's avatar

I’ll consider myself a progressive on this subject and if you had asked me a year ago, or even ten years ago if government sometimes screws things up or wastes money I would have said absolutely yes. However, private business does too. Plus, private business has one main concern, making money. If it doesn’t make money they close up shop.

Obamacare is new and it isn’t unusual for their to be some glitches. I think the one huge mistake they made was not assuming there would be unpredictable glitches and transitions better planning for difficulties. This in no way changes my mind about ideally wanting socialized medicine. The government has a better chance of putting the patient first than private insurers in my opinion. But, we probably will never get socialized medicine in America, so is it worth even discussing? I don’t know.

I saw Morning Joe yesterday, I haven’t watched it in over two years, I had basically shut off politics, and they talked about how opaque fees and costs are for medical care and especially looked at hospitals. Joe, whom I consider to be a moderate Republican, had his own medical exoeriences where he stated the system we have now is corrupt and for shit. Doctors recommending procedures that can cause more harm than good and outrageous charges for services and supplies. He said any Republican who wants to get rid of Obamacare and stay with what we have had is being ridiculous (he didn’t word it exactly that way, but he was pretty harsh) for not acknowledging how awful the system currently is. He wasn’t saying he is in favor of Obamacare, just disgusted with the head in the sand, ignorant attitude of so many people who think everything has been ok with medical care. He gave me some hope.

At minimum it would be nice if government cracked down on fees, some sort of regulation to make things more transparent and not let hospital bills be like going to the Zona Rosa where you can bargain a product down to half the price it originally started at. It’s all so slimy and unethical to me at this point, and borders on immoral. If Obamacare will help give more transparency I am all for that, but I don’tsee it doign that. I am willing to give it a try though.

Maryland is the one state I know of that for years has had regulations on costs and fees and is an interesting experiment going on for the nation. It has had some good and bad along the way. I believe the state actually gets some extra federal money for the program. Probably I would not completely agree with what they are doing either, but it is better than nothing. On Morning Joe they showed things like an IV costing $3, but they charge $100, things like that. It is criminal. I literally feel they are theives. They use the excuse that it pays for overhead, then I say bill it as overhead, not a 500% markup. They said hospitals are making a fortune. Sure, they have also all convinced walking through the door will cost us minimum $1k and we don’t know how much a test will cost, and we are barely asked if we want something done to us when at the hospital. My sister works at a hospital. When someone goes inpatient the doctor calls are their friends in all the specialities that can possibly consult so everyone can cash in.

zenvelo's avatar

Nope, not one bit. Working great in California, and judging by the numbers just announced, working great at the Federal level too.

Yep, sometimes big computer programs need more work than originally anticipated, but as Jon Stewart pointed out Monday, Wal-Mart’s on line system went down last Friday and Wal-Mart considered the day a rousing success.

janbb's avatar

@zenvelo Andy Borowitz, a leftist satirist, wrote a great piece on Republicans complaining now that the Web site was working too fast!

bossob's avatar

Business as usual.

Congress has become a risk-free path to gaining wealth, and once there, protecting one’s opportunity to become wealthy has become Priority 1. (I recognize there are a few exceptions.)

I don’t see things changing until American voters unite to re-establish the power of their vote that Congress and both political parties have been surreptitiously eroding for generations.

tom_g's avatar

This makes no sense to me. Private software companies developed a website (healthcare.gov) and there have been some challenges, so….what exactly is supposed to be wrecked?

I’m thinking we need some more software engineers in the media and in government so they can temper their “sky is falling” horseshit with the reality of implementing large software projects.

Apparently most people would be appalled to learn how software really works.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

How’s this for Progressive

FREE Universal Healthcare for all.

Monthly payments for all to satisfy military costs.

No web site needed.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies That’s what I’m talking about, but American government has to complicate everything to the nth degree. :)

@tom_g People losing their coverage is a pretty big deal which is why Obama apologized, in part. It’s a little more complicated than just a website glitch.

tom_g's avatar

@KNOWITALL: “It’s a little more complicated than just a website glitch.”

So, are we talking about the ACA or the…

@ETpro: ”...Healthcare.gov rollout problems…”

?

Also, I’m not saying it’s not a big deal, but I’m in the unfortunate position of being a software engineer. Software implementations are long and buggy.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL In a way doesn’t it demonstrate that private insurers don’t give a damn about our health? Suddenly insurers closed down because of Obamacare regulations. Those companies have known what the regulation changes were going to be for years now. No real warning to the people who held their insurance. I am not saying whether I agree with all that Obamacare changed, I am ony saying the Reublicans were dancing in the streets with the glitches, the lobbyist that represent the private insurers had a very expensive bottle of Champagne probably. To me it feels like people snickering in the background, happy about other people’s troubles.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@tom_g Hey, it worked for me the first time I went to the site, I wasn’t impressed with the user-friendliness of it, I didn’t get any price cut, etc…. All I’m saying is that if it was just a website glitch, or de-bugging a few things, I would be okay with it.

@JLeslie Private insurers’ jobs are not to care about our health, that is our responsiblity along with our doctors. They are for-profit companies, which is still legal in this country at present. We are allowed to shop for our own insurance so it’s not a monopoly. There are many reasons insurance rates are high, and I encourage everyone to research that thoroughly before pointing fingers. “The law significantly overhauled the individual insurance market, prohibiting plans that kick people off if they become sick or hiking premiums due to illness, among other reforms.”

I’m a Republican & I didn’t want it to fail for our people. I am holding Obama responsible for how it shakes out and even though I didn’t vote for him, I appreciated his apology to the American people for the issues that have come up. He said that the buck stops with him and he accepts responsiblity, so let’s hold him to that, for the sake of the uninsured.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL I shouldn’t make it sound like I think all Republicans are skipping on the way home. I definitely believe there are Republicans like you who don’t want something to fail simply because the Democrats pushed it through.

We can’t easily shop for our own insurance, we generally take what our employer offers. My husband in his former company was kind of forced to switch to BCBS even though he did not feel they were best, when I say forced I mean he is VP in charge of benefits, he helps decide what the company offers, because the people above him were good ol’ boy friends with the sales people and people at the top of BCBS in the local market. His company at the time was actually self insured so BCBS just really administers the plan, so it is a little different than really directly being insured by a private insurer. Still, the point is, I didn’t really feel like I had a choice. Not reasonable choices. The company paid for our insurance, if I didn’t go with their plan I would have to pay the entire amount myself, they would not give me the money they would save if I did not use their insurance.

I hope people research why rates are high, and why all sorts of fees are high in healthcare and how dishonestly the billing is done in all to many instances. I hope many many more whitleblowers come out of the woodwork. I think about doing something all the time. I am not sure if it would be cathartic, or send me over the edge.

JLeslie's avatar

I wanted to add, with heathcare I think the people taking care of us should care about our health. Health is not like other businesses. I don’t care if it is insurance or the doctors themselves. People are deciding if we will get a treatment or not, if it is worthy of them paying for or not. The nurse at my GYN, her insurance paid for her daughter to be diagnosed with a disease that was taking her sight. There was a proven treatment and insurance would not pay. She did the treatments and went to battle with the insurer, I don’t know if she eventually got it covered.

When I had an ectopic pregnancy insurance would not agree to pay for the medication to terminate the pregnancy. That is wholly ridiculous.

I don’t believe either of those things would happen in socialized medicine.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@JLeslie Most people can shop around with no problem though, Blue Cross and Blue Shield is a fairly low-cost alternative that many in my area use.

The problem is that SOMEONE has to pay for medical care for people. Do you realize how many people like my own mother are on Medicaid with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses? They can’t pay for it.

In my husband’s case, we pay for his medical bills and it’s a priority for us. Unfortunately the fact is that it is not a priority for a lot of people, to the point creditors will sometimes tell you ‘don’t worry, everyone has medical debt past due’. We all have no one to blame except ourselves for the rising medical costs, in my opinion, doctors and their staff deserve to be paid, just ask @rarebear. Illegals have also forced some hospitals to close along the border, forcing them into bankruptcy, I don’t make this stuff up.

See @JLeslie, that is your idealism coming through into your politics though. Yes, it would be great if businesses cared, especially healthcare related, but they don’t. Does your pharmacy care that you don’t have your diabetes or blood pressure meds, probably, but they can do nothing if you’re doctor doesn’t approve it. There are protocols and procedures that have absolutely nothing to do with the humans involved, only the red tape. I admire your idealism, truly, but it’s not practical in today’s jaded world, at least not in this regard.

tom_g's avatar

@KNOWITALL – “Illegals” are what is driving up our health insurance costs? Are they also responsible for driving up health insurance company profits?

KNOWITALL's avatar

@tom_g Yes, I’m not going to debate a well-documented fact with you.

JLeslie's avatar

@KNOWITALL Of course medical care has to be paid for, but there is theft in the system as far as I am concerned, and little to no transparency. When I get a medical bill 90% of the time I have no idea what the charges are for. What test? Appointment? Procedure? It is not clear at all. I have had doctors charge me and my insurance fraudulently. Hospital bill…not broken down in any reasonable way unless you request the breakdown. All sorts of unnecessary things done with no regard to expense if you have insurance. I think we actually would agree on a lot if we got down to the nitty gritty. People who want socialized care are very willing to pay for it. They want to pay into one big pot, so every payment you ever made in your life counts. How it is now I can pay into BCBS for ten years and then if my heart attack happens when I lose my job and have no cobra it doesn’t matter that I paid in $50k over time, that is worth nothing.

tom_g's avatar

@KNOWITALL: ”@tom_g Yes, I’m not going to debate a well-documented fact with you.”

You don’t have to debate me, but a citation would be helpful. I could learn something.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@tom_g I’ll PM you so we don’t de-rail.

cheebdragon's avatar

In the 15 years that I was covered by private insurance, I dealt with so many problems, but I can honestly say that none of them were the fault of the insurance company. Every single issue was caused by incompetent doctors and staff trying to make me pay for shit that they were already getting paid for by the insurance company assuming that I wouldn’t be aware of exactly what my benefits were. I had a dentist try to charge me $600 for root canals that were covered 100% by my insurance, when i reported it they dropped the dentist immediately from their network. I have changed doctors so frequently over the years that I had the Aetna member services number saved as a contact on my phone, you would think that if anyone would get screwed by them it would have been me with my constant calls and questions.

Obamacare isn’t going to fix healthcare fraud anymore than throwing raspberries at the moon, but good luck with that.

YARNLADY's avatar

Reluctant, stingy Taxpayers get what they deserve.

ETpro's avatar

@janbb My sentiments exactly. The article title read ”Healthcare.gov Has Already Failed Website problems won’t stop Obamacare, but they’ve already wrecked progressives’ ambitions.” And my first reaction was, “That’s patently ridiculous.” Reading the article did nothing to alter my first impression.

@rojo I think perhaps columnists consider themselves people being paid to find fault.

@JLeslie No endeavor involving humans will ever be free from error. But so long as we have a press free to go after government waste and fraud, we’ll probably get at least as good error-free effort from government as we get from private, for-profit businesses.

Senator Elizabeth Warren gave a rip-roaring speech on Dec. 2 in which she went after what she called “The Anarchy Wing” of the Republican Party. She pointed out how they gleefully shut down the government, but then reeled in horror when their flights between Washington and their Districts were delayed because there weren’t enough Air Traffic Controllers still in major hub towers.

As to wild fee fluctuations, ABC News has been doing a special coverage on hospital’s wild billing variations for very basic, inexpensive items and procedures. Getting an itemized bill form a hospital and being able to decipher it is a must. You might find a line item like:

Analgesic tablet   Qty: 2   Amt: 325mg   Type: acetylsalicylic acid   Ea. $30   Total, $60

You almost have to be a chemist to know the hospital is billing you $60 for giving you two ordinary Aspirins. That practice is rampant, and it gets way worse when they get into things that are more difficult to compare than the price of aspirin.

@zenvelo How true.

ETpro's avatar

@bossob False equivalence fallacy, and as long as that fallacious logic substitutes for wisdom, the problem’s going nowhere.

@tom_g As a fellow developer focused on far, far simpler tasks, how well I know. I guess most Americans thing it’s all magic. You just show the computer the 10,000 or so pages of the actual bill and all the regulations issued by the Administration to implement it, and after you recite the proper magic incantation, the machine spits out a complete program to perfectly implement all the legalese that most college graduates can’t make sense of. Sorry, folks. It doesn’t work that way. Not yet, at least. And as a programmer, I’m glad it doesn’t.

@RealEyesRealizeRealLies Amen. Every other developed nation on Earth manages to do that for all their citizens, and they outrank us in healthcare outcomes while doing it at a fraction of what we pay for our private, for-profit approach.

Interestingly, the regressive right’s opinion leaders are fond of quoting a statistic showing that only 40% of the public support the ACA. But they fail to mention that 15% of those think the change doesn’t go far enough. So the real number opposed to just sticking with the abysmal system we had is 55%.

@KNOWITALL You’re right that it was a big flub on Obama’s part to say “If you like the plan you have, you can keep it.” Truth is you can stick with the same company, but if you had a garbage plan with them that would leave you bankrupt if you had a major illness of accident, you can’t keep that. Most of those people getting cancelled will find out that thanks to the ACA they can get real insurance that actually protects them at about the same price they were paying for a garbage plan and maybe even cheaper. But the promise was not properly thought out.

@KNOWITALL This is deliberately in Social and I want to see the citation as well. It’s close enough to the topic to suit me, and this is my thread. So please post for all to see.

@cheebdragon As with any big change, there will be winners and losers. It sounds like you came out about even. In general, young and very healthy people with no preexisting conditions are going to be paying more. But you start to win as you get older, and as more preexisting conditions come into play. And getting older without health insurance bankrupting us is something most of hope to be able to do.

@YARNLADY Reminds me of the old Mexican Proverb, “Take whatever you want in this world, says the Lord, and PAY for it.” That is so true.

JLeslie's avatar

@ETpro I’ll have to try to find some of the reporting ABC is doing on it. Thanks for mentioning it.

GoldieAV16's avatar

Oh, goodness, no! Who are these Luddites that they have never experienced internet website problems before?!

I have had problems with Southwest Air, Marriotts, and Origins websites – all within the last month. You know what I do? I PICK UP THE PHONE.

Amazing. Problem solved. I think the entire website issue, while a debacle of a launch, was not really that big a deal. The GOP would like to make it one (Fast and Furious, War on Christmas, anyone?) and the media is more than happy to oblige.

Hashtag First World Problems, people…

ETpro's avatar

@GoldieAV16 Well said. GA!

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