Obamacare has been “live” for a month now and it’s been grim. Visitors trying to log on to the Obamacare website early Thursday morning saw the same stubborn phrase that has roiled users for weeks: “The system is down at the moment.” It’s been almost a full month since the HealthCare.gov website launched. Technical problems have riddled it despite a series of advance warning signs. And sure, there’s been a chorus of apologies out of Washington, but it may be another month before everything’s running smoothly.
Here’s some “accountability” that’s been taken: Vice President Joe Biden became the highest-ranking administration official to apologize Wednesday for the botched rollout. “We assumed that it was up and ready to run,” he told CNN’s sister network HLN. “But the good news is although it’s not — and we apologize for that — we are confident by the end of November it’ll be, and there’ll still be plenty of time for people to register and get online.” This came after Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius apologized during a 3 1/2-hour congressional grilling. To the frustrated users who have had problems, she said: “You deserve better. I apologize. I’m accountable to you for fixing these problems.”
So far the President has issued no apology for the site’s malfunction, nor any consolation to insured people who have been deprived access to their fee-for-service doctor, had their provider networks restricted, had their policies cancelled outright, or saw their premium cost rise severely.
Did we need more fuel for our direct care fire? Who knows. What these reports remind us, though, is of our accountability to our patients in order to thrive. When patients pay US directly for high quality care, we need to PROVIDE THAT SERVICE. And if we don’t, WE are held responsible, whether that be a loss of a patient subscription, a bad review, or limited references. In the long term, we are accountable because we might go out of business. However, in our complex bureaucratic system, what we get is people with no responsibility making the decisions. That’s a dangerous scenario. Sure, there might be a fall guy (or girl) for Obamacare’s failing. But that doesn’t do anything to fix what’s been made even more broken — our American healthcare system.