October 1, 2013 has brought a bit of bad news for the Republican Party. A majority of Americans don’t oppose the Affordable Care Act like they thought.
In fact, the response was so big for ACA’s rollout Tuesday, online sites and phone centers established to handle enrollment were overwhelmed and in some cases could not keep up with the initial demand.
The website for California’s healthcare exchange, Covered California, received more than 645,000 hits on the first day people could sign up for health insurance and more than 17,000 calls were received by the state’s call centers. More than 2.8 million people visited the federal website set up to assist people in states without their own health exchanges. That number had grown to 6.1 million by the end of the Wednesday.
By the end of the day, the insurance exchange computers had crashed. Techs immediately went to work to correct problems exposed by the overwhelming response.
While there is no guarantee that everyone who attempted to get information or enroll through the exchange will ultimately do so, those types of numbers show people want, need health insurance.
So Republicans in Congress should stop using the flawed mantra that they are trying to de-fund the Act, also called Obamacare, because that’s what most Americans want. The notion that Americans are so anti-Obamacare they are willing to support the Republican shut down of the government and a possible default on the national debt is ludicrous. So is a proposed plan to fund items in the budget one by one until only the Affordable Care Act remains, then refusing to vote on that one item!
Democrats are refusing to delay the implementation of the Act for a year and we don’t blame them since next years’ budget battles could include efforts to defund the Act again.
The Republican Party has refused to reconsider the draconian cuts of sequestration aimed mostly at the American middle and working classes and the American poor and unemployed, so what makes anyone think they’ll reconsider defunding the Health Care Act?
Having said this, we really can’t understand why President Obama and the congressional Democrats are being so uncompromising in their refusal to negotiate some type of agreement with the other side of the aisle to take care of American veterans by making sure they receive their pay and services, relenting on allowing National Parks to stay open and making sure unemployment benefits are paid.
By refusing to negotiate at all, Democrats risk being viewed as uncaring and could lose the moral high ground.
President Obama summoned both sides of the aisle to the White House Wednesday afternoon for a meeting, but it seems little progress was made.
It’s time to get the government moving again, continued delay will only harm our still fragile economy.
Fund the Affordable Care Act and then get to the work of improving it so it meets the goal of insuring more of the uninsured and lowering health costs.
Editor’s Note: This column has been updated to correct the number of hits to the Covered California web page. State officials, citing “internal miscommunication” as the cause for the error, said the actual number was 645,000 and not 5 million as initially reported. It is EGP’s view that this number, though much lower, still demonstrates a strong desire on the part of uninsured Californians to purchase health insurance.