By Matt Jackson
To put it mildly, the unveiling of President Barack Obama’s healthcare plan has been nothing short of a disaster. With half a billion dollars and three years to set up the system’s website, one might assume that the roll-out would have been a success. Wrong.
The healthcare website has been widely perceived as difficult and confusing to use. However, the site’s greatest issue seems to be remaining up long enough to allow Americans to register for their healthcare plan. In fact, while Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was testifying before Congress about the website’s issues, the site was non-functional.
The president’s plan for national healthcare seems to have been doomed from the start. Since its passage, the bill has faced constant criticisms and debate among a concerned American public. Expectations were never all that high for the plan’s roll-out, but no one could have predicted how bad it would actually be.
Since the website’s terrible debut, it appears the worst news was yet to come for the Obama administration. While enrollment numbers for healthcare have always been expected to start off low, these latest troubles are expected to further hinder those stats. The latest complaint among those few who have registered has been the loss of their personal insurance plan.
As registration began, President Obama himself promised the American public that “if you like your plan, you can keep it.” This miscalculation has cost the president a loss of credibility and a steadily decreasing approval rating. The president went as far as to publicly apologize for this latest issue on Thursday saying, “I am sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation based on assurances they got from me.”
President Obama continued by stating, “We’ve got to work hard to make sure that they know we hear them, and we are going to do everything we can to deal with folks who find themselves in a tough position as a consequence of this.”
Republicans have continued to shame the president since nearly 12 million Americans with individual policies on the private market have received letters of cancellation due to their personal plans not meeting the requirements for government healthcare. In many cases, affected policyholders now have to pay more in the marketplace for healthcare.
Despite talks of improving the registration process, a clear plan is currently nowhere in sight. House Speaker John Boehner said, ”If the president is sincerely sorry that he misled the American people, the very least he can do is support a bipartisan effort [to allow Americans to keep their current insurance plan]. Otherwise, this apology does not amount to anything.”
While President Obama has since stated he hopes that people do not feel betrayed by an effort carried out with their best interests in mind, it appears the American public is now increasingly wary to trust the president’s efforts. As he puts it, it is true that “When you try to do something like make our healthcare system better, there are going to be problems along the way.” But there is no excuse good enough to explain the disaster healthcare’s roll-out has become.