[Ed. note: Time to circle wagons … again]
The HealthCare.gov debacle has been thoroughly dissected so far by America’s best health journalists and policy analysts. To be sure, every major rollout of a new or changed social policy, including Medicare itself, is rough and takes weeks or months to resolve. But this rollout is clearly worse, and, as we learn more about its history over the past six months and more, the failures in vision and execution, in the face of clear and blunt warnings of problems ahead, are striking and troubling.
Go back, first, to Max Baucus’s famous and widely distorted and misused “train wreck” comment in a hearing to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in April 2013. Contrary to Ted Cruz and countless other Republicans, Baucus did not call Obamacare a train wreck—he was referring directly to its implementation through the website. He said, “I understand you’ve hired a contractor. I’m just worried that that’s going to be money down the drain because contractors like to make money more than they like to do anything else. That’s their job. They’ve got to worry about their shareholders and whatnot.
“And also, all the other agencies are all involved. People are going to be really confused. And maybe give some thought to one-stop shopping somehow, so you go to one location–a businessperson–one location, get the answers.
“I just tell you, I just see a huge train wreck coming down. You and I have discussed this many times, and I don’t see any results yet.”
“What can you do to help all these people around the country going, ‘What in the world do I do and what–how do I know what to do?’ ”