Republicans and certain media seem not to remember glitches in prescription program
As Yogi Berra would say, THIS is like deja vu all over again:
Millions of Americans try to enroll in health care benefits during the first days of a new government health care program. They rely on indispensable government website that had been “pitched as a high-tech way”to sort through available coverage options. They’re encountering countless glitches and technical errors: the website freezes, displays incorrect plan information and sends insurers erroneous reports.
Administration officials — clearly caught off guard by the surge of technical difficulties — respond to “tens of thousands of complaints” from angry beneficiaries and promise to “fix every problem as as quickly as possible.”
This sounds like the familiar story of the last few days of the Obama administration’s rollout of the exchanges. But, actually, those quotes, and that scenario, are taken from the Bush administration’s efforts to implement the Medicare prescription drug benefit in 2005 and 2006.
Not only was Bush’s rollout “anything but smooth,” but administration officials had “some trouble getting the [online] tool up and running” and had to delay its debut for weeks. What’s more, computer glitches caused low-income beneficiaries to go without needed medications and sent pharmacies the wrong drug information. Before it was all resolved, Dr. Mark McClellan, Bush’s head of the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), appeared at hearings before the House Committee On Energy And Commerce, laying out the flaws in the law’s implementation and detailing how the administration would address them.
As the House Energy and Commerce Committee holds its first hearing on the implementation of the the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, it’s worth noting that some of the very same Republicans who are lashing out against Obamacare, arguing that the botched rollout is proof that the government cannot implement effectively and should repeal the law entirely, gave the Bush administration a pass and urged Americans not to pre-judge such a complicated process. At least four of the Republicans still on the committee had argued that early implementation hurdles should not taint the entirety of reform.