Whose train wreck is it anyway?

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about top Democratic senator Max Baucus predicting a “train wreck” coming for PPACA. In a budget hearing nearly two weeks ago, Baucus expressed his concern that the exchanges for consumers and small businesses wouldn’t open on time in every state. He also said the “administration’s public information campaign on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act deserves a failing grade.”

People worried about Obamacare’s implementation? Not a big surprise. But a key author of the health legislation screaming about it in a budget meeting? Not great for morale.

Recently, both HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and President Obama admitted some flaws in the whole thing — Sebelius admitted the law would cause higher premiums for some, while Obama just this week said there will be “glitches and bumps” in the rollout of his health care law.

This isn’t news, but just how much higher premiums will be and just how bumpy this ride will end up — those are the questions.

One thing’s for sure: the law is losing steam. Public opinion is no longer on Obama’s side: The latest Kaiser Family Foundation poll found that a majority of Americans have a negative perception of the law. In the latest tracking poll, 40 percent said they have an unfavorable view of the law, compared with 35 percent who have a favorable view.

Oh, but here’s the worst (I mean scariest) part about all of it: Consumers still don’t get it. Like, they really, really don’t get it.

A staggering number of Americans — 42 percent — apparently didn’t realize that the Supreme Court held a huge case on the constitutionality of the law — and voted to keep it. Four in 10 Americans are unaware that the PPACA is still law and is being implemented. Among them, 12 percent believe the law has been repealed by Congress, 7 percent believe it’s been overturned by the Supreme Court and 23 percent say they don’t know enough to say what the status of the law is.

There’s not much else to say besides that’s not OK.

It makes me ask: whose train wreck is this, really? Is it the fault of the administration who passed and praised and pressed this law, but haven’t been able to successfully control its implementation? Is it Republicans who are too prideful for this to work, doing everything they can to prevent the success of the law?

Or is the trainwreck due to the ignorance of Americans, who apparently really need to pick up a newspaper or put on C-SPAN for a few minutes?

It’s a little bit of everyone. But without being embraced by each of these groups, the PPACA won’t just be off to an imperfect beginning; it will be a hot failure.

About the Author
Kathryn Mayer

Kathryn Mayer

Kathryn Mayer is Managing Editor for Benefits Selling magazine. She can be reached at kmayer@sbmedia.com

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