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October 2nd, 2013
The lead article in today’s New York Times, “Opening Rush to Insurance Markets Hits Snags,” describes the kickoff of the long-awaited healthcare exchanges, designed to provide consumers with a wide variety of insurance plans. Like any new endeavor of this magnitude, there were some opening day flaws compounded by a wild rush of people trying to access the associated websites.
Anyone who has tried to get rock concert tickets knows the feeling. The sheer magnitude of people rushing to buy them up makes access difficult, if not impossible. The difference with the healthcare exchanges, however, is they are not going anywhere and will remain open for the foreseeable future. The insurance policies they are selling won’t be effective until January 1 in any case.
Ironically, in a related story, the government shutdown has made the healthcare exchanges one of the few areas of the federal government that is still functioning. The Republican shutdown has not affected their main demand — extortion or blackmail if you will — to delay the healthcare law. The mandate to get insurance remains, combined with some attractive caveats: you can’t be denied coverage for preexisting conditions; children get to stay on their parents’ plan until they are 26, etc.
Oh well, Washington will sort things out as they always do. Meanwhile, the Tea Party crazies should be held to account for this during the next election as they didn’t seem to get the message from the last one.
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