Everyone agrees the Obamacare launch has been a total disaster, but the reason why it has been such a disaster is the real scandal.
The Obama administration spin machine has been running in overdrive trying to convince a skeptical American public that the Oct. 1 Obamacare launch went bad for technical reasons. They said traffic from a populace thrilled that the insurance exchanges had finally arrived overwhelmed the site.
But blaming the high volume of visitors (what, they didn't see that coming?) or complaining that there wasn't enough time to build a proper site – as Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius did to CNN recently – obscures what really doomed the Obamacare launch.
And while the healthcare law's Republican opponents have been milking the chaos as one grand "I-told-you-so" moment, the GOP played a major role in the meltdown of the Healthcare.gov website.
The truth is that the Obamacare launch could have gone much more smoothly were it not for a series of idiotic decisions made by both Republican and Democratic politicians over the past three-plus years.
These decisions were made not with the best interests of the nation in mind, but for self-serving and usually partisan reasons.
Coming from a bunch that spends most of its time name-calling and hurling accusations at each other rather than working together to address such critical problems as unemployment, the $17 trillion national debt, and the unsustainability of entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, I suppose we shouldn't be shocked.
But how well Obamacare works – or doesn't – matters because healthcare makes up nearly one-fifth (18%) of the U.S. economy.
To see how we got here, take a look at the Obamacare facts that made the launch such a mess…
The Obamacare Launch Disaster: Three Years in the Making
Part I – How the Law Was Made
Unlike most large-scale legislation, the Affordable Care Act was passed with zero bipartisan support. At the time the law was being considered, Democrats held majorities in both chambers of Congress in addition to the White House. As such, they didn't feel the need to work with Republicans in crafting the law. That attitude had an immediate impact when Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-MA, died before the Senate could pass the final version of the bill. When Sen. Scott Brown, R-MA, won the Kennedy seat, the Democrats lost their 60-vote, filibuster-proof majority. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-NV, was forced to use a parliamentary tactic known as "reconciliation," a tool reserved for budget bills, to get the law passed. In the end, every Republican in Congress voted against the ACA (one abstained), and all but three Democrats voted for it. That stark partisan divide ensured Obamacare would become a bitter political battleground that drove most of the bad decisions that came later.
About the Author
David Zeiler, Associate Editor for Money Morning at Money Map Press, has been a journalist for more than 35 years, including 18 spent at The Baltimore Sun. He has worked as a writer, editor, and page designer at different times in his career. He's interviewed a number of well-known personalities - ranging from punk rock icon Joey Ramone to Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak.
Over the course of his journalistic career, Dave has covered many diverse subjects. Since arriving at Money Morning in 2011, he has focused primarily on technology. He's an expert on both Apple and cryptocurrencies. He started writing about Apple for The Sun in the mid-1990s, and had an Apple blog on The Sun's web site from 2007-2009. Dave's been writing about Bitcoin since 2011 - long before most people had even heard of it. He even mined it for a short time.
Dave has a BA in English and Mass Communications from Loyola University Maryland.