Obamacare Incompetence Swaying Supporters

According to polls and media pundits – as well as many politicians – the Republican Party and the Tea Party are shouldering the blame for opposing Obamacare’s funding in the “shutdown” and the debt ceiling debates.

However, political talking points don’t change reality, and what supporters of Obamacare called fear-mongering is turning out to be more preview of coming attractions than pretend posturing. According to a number of health care experts in the media, health care lobbyists, and others, the Act has just one month to live if things don’t start working as advertised.

First, it was Bloomberg economics blogger and columnist Megan McArdle who said the country needs a “drop dead” date for the exchanges:

Well, let’s say Nov. 15 — the date when almost all the experts I’ve heard say we really need to be running at full speed, to handle the crush of applications sure to come between Thanksgiving and the mid-December deadline for buying insurance that starts in January.

Whatever it is, that date needs to be set now. Otherwise the political temptation will be — as it clearly has been all along — to declare that everything’s fine and we should keep going just in case it all works out in the end. The administration’s desire to avoid a giant political embarrassment is entirely understandable. But the rest of us have an even deeper and more important interest in a functioning market for health insurance.

Then it was a Democratic health care lobbyist, who said speaking on the condition of anonymity that mid-November would be the leeway the Administration has before it has to delay the law’s implementation, or at least extend the open enrollment period.

Kaiser Health News staff writer Julie Appleby has gathered similar opinions from several experts in the field. Here are two:

“The system needs to be operating reasonably efficiently – I’m not saying flawlessly – before the middle of November,” said Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger of Kansas, one of the 36 states relying on the federal marketplace because legislators opted not to do their own state-based market.
“If we’re not seeing a substantial improvement in next two or three weeks, we’ll be in a bad place,” said Dan Schuyler, an exchange expert at Leavitt Partners consulting firm. “We’re already behind the curve in getting to that 7 million mark.

And via Mediaite, Fox’s Bret Baier is predicting a delay if the exchanges aren’t fixed by December.

Oddly, this whole idea of a delay – as proposed by the lobbyist and Baier, among others –  sounds vaguely familiar. From September:

While groups like the Tea Party Patriots and ForAmerica have been forcefully calling on members of Congress to not accept any government funding measure that does not completely defund Obamacare, they are reluctantly holding their fire over a House passed measure that only delays the law and repeals the medical device tax.

Looking conspicuously like compromise, Tea Party leaders put the health of the nation above ideological interests, something the Administration has yet to do.

This cross-section of experts and others have all independently come to the same conclusion: That Obamacare has a month or so to live before the tides of incompetence overwhelm it.