Published November 21, 2013
Today, President Obama and the Democrats are faced with the opportunity to take a timeout – a timeout from ObamaCare.
I believe that they should delay ObamaCare for six months to a year. America’s health care system isn’t something that can be pieced together on an ad-hoc basis amidst failing websites, party infighting, bickering insurers and a confused American public.
Since the website launched last month, it has become increasingly clear that the policy – and indeed the mechanics – weren’t ready yet. And while I, along with the rest of the American people, would’ve preferred that it had worked correctly right out of the gate, there is no shame in looking at the situation we’re in and saying, “a delay would do us all a world of good.”
Let me be clear, I am not suggesting this delay so that the Republicans can vote another 40 some-odd times to repeal ObamaCare or that they can be successful in this endeavor.
I am suggesting a delay so that we can get it right, so that we can fix the ACA. So that the President’s dream to deliver affordable health care to each and every American can be realized. So that America can actually provide the best health care delivery system in the world, which it clearly does not do today and hasn’t since inception.
After the 39-Democrat rebuke to Obama on Fred Upton’s bill less than a week ago, and with increasing numbers of Democrats voicing concern over the implementation of the ACA, this is an opportune time for President Obama to show that he’s in step with national mood and that he understands the concerns of the electorate and his Congress.
As I have argued before, there are a number of good ideas circulating for how we can improve ObamaCare during the timeout and guarantee that it delivers for the American people.
For starters, the administration needs to consider the possibility of interstate purchasing of insurance. This would instantly give Americans more options and, at the same time, imbue the system with a sense of fairness that is wholly lacking today.
They should also customize the enrollment experience. As Rick Newman argues, “Healthcare.gov is basically a one-size-fits-all website that treats all applicants the same. In the private sector, no savvy company would approach consumers that way.” Indeed, the government needs to start thinking of Americans as consumers of health insurance, not just applicants.
We should also look at health care spending options, including flexible spending plans and health savings accounts. Incentives for purchase – and benefits – would surely make the ACA more palatable and, even, appealing to Americans.
Tort reform and some utilization for people to buy private insurance as part of the options offered should also be considered.
These are just some of the options that should be explored over the next year to ensure that the President is able to make good on his promises as to what ObamaCare would do for the American people.
It is critical that the administration takes my words to heart; that they take a break from on-the-go fixes and spend some serious time reflecting on what’s best for the American people. I believe that universal health care is best for America, but not this way.
President Obama, and the country, would be well served by a nice, long timeout from ObamaCare.