I feel like a gypsy the past couple of weeks but it has been a wonderful experience getting to visit with people all over the country. What is most interesting is that they are all talking about one thing in common. Everybody has a story and they all have their own opinion about healthcare reform.
My recent travels took me to San Clemente, California. It is a pleasant surfing town and I heard several radio commercials promoting the Affordable Care Act through the California state exchange. The golden state is one of a minority of states that opted to build their own marketplace to facilitate health insurance options for their citizens. They have embraced the law have the capability to make it happen but others do not. This is an important point. The California economy is actually one of the largest in the world.
Why This Is Important
Most of the other states do not have that type of infrastructure or tax base and they looked at the numbers and opted to let the federal government build their exchange. Their reasoning was two fold: one part political and the other economic. Mostly the latter. These new marketplaces are one of the most expensive technology projects that our government has ever undertaken and unlike the feds, a state government cannot print money. They may need to keep the printers going because one could foresee more expenditures due to this through a failure to launch causing serious scrambling behind the scenes in DC.
A Picture Worth 1,000 Words
Was the Launch a Disaster?
The short answer is yes. What is worse is the fact that they had a long time to prepare for this date and this is a huge problem because this inefficiency affects people’s lives including mine. Credit to Omaha World Herald cartoonist, Jeff Koterba for the illustration above showing exactly what needs to happen to fix this problem.
Call in the nerd herd.
Another solution would be to figure out a way that this issue can be state driven with federal support. There is an innovation waiver in the law allowing states to create their own solution if they can cover the same amount as the ACA and not add to the deficit. At the rate the feds are moving, perhaps other states should push to move this date up so they can solve this problem and potentially opt out of ObamaCare and avoid unpopular provisions.
The President doubled down on the law yesterday and they are now looking to November 1st as a hard deadline. The challenging part is going to be fixing all of these problems and I read earlier this week that over a million lines of code will need to be rewritten.
I get asked all the time what I think of the law. The truth is that I am over it. I think that healthcare reform is the most important issue in the country right now but have reservations about whether this approach is workable. The President went on television yesterday to try to explain the failure to launch the exchanges. On one hand the government is not built to handle IT projects of this magnitude but they also had over 3 years to try to set this up. Is that a good value for your tax dollar? Furthermore, if this program had been run by former Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, how many heads would roll with this type execution.
States like California taking the lead are providing an strong example of how to cover their population. If the law is going to be successful it will have to work in large states like this one, but other states that are smaller should be given additional options. The bottom line is this problem needs to be solved at the state and local level not by unknowns in Washington, DC. That is how we fix this issue.
Do You Want More?
It is time for us to rise above politics and work together to solve this problem. If you are looking to stay in the know about this rapidly evolving and frankly quite entertaining issue then consider a subscription to our exclusive newsletter or a podcast from our weekly radio program called America’s Healthcare Challenge. It is the most listened to program on healthcare reform and is hosted by yours truly. Follow us on facebook and soundcloud for all of our segments.
Our newsletter is becoming a popular national resource and is currently being received in over 700 cities. To stay ahead of the market and grow your business consider a subscription to keep your employees informed and attract new customers by sharing a reliable and valuable informational resource about a popular topic.