I’m over the whole Obamacare apocalypse now. It’s no longer a topic of interest. I expect there will be some rollbacks/changes/fixes but I seriously doubt there will ever be a full repeal. I’d be willing to bet that even if a Republican wins in 2016 there won’t be a repeal. Though I could easily imagine their whole campaign would be based around ridding the country of the evil Obamacare. Certainly their primary campaign would be.
One thing I still find fascinating, though, is the post-mortem on the mechanics of the web site failure. It’s like a step-by-step guidebook on how to mis-manage a project. Everyone apparently suspected it was going to crash, but none of the bosses wanted to come out and say, "You know, maybe we should consider delaying this." Probably anyone who did that would have been seen as anti-Obamacare, and nobody who wanted to advance in their government career would have wanted that. It all looks like a textbook example of a project managed by bureaucrats instead of industry professionals.
There’s a lot of buzz about how the Obama administration ignored warnings that the site wasn’t ready. My take on that is it’s likely they were not adequately informed, or they simply didn’t understand. There’s no way anyone would have thought they could get away with launching a high-profile web site that didn’t work.
First, I find it hard to believe that anyone would have reported to their bosses that they were failing in their part of building the web site. They would have said something like, "We’re having some issues, but we’re working through them." The next question from the bosses would have been the only one they really cared about, which was whether they could still deliver on time. They would have responded, "Sure!" Then they would have gone off to play golf or something.
Speaking with some experience, most bureaucrats do not want to hear about the technical details of a web site. They think a web site is something that just springs forth from the aether like magic. Unless some programmer pounded their fists on a conference table and screamed profanities, dire warnings probably wouldn’t have made an impression on the bosses. The people who could have made those warnings (that is, the people actually doing the work) probably weren’t even in the meetings.
So I think it’s very plausible that upper administration officials simply didn’t see the warning signs. It’s likely that nobody in CMMS or HHS or wherever knew anything about managing the launch of a large, high-traffic web site, so they couldn’t have seen any warning signs. Besides, they’ve got elections and budgets and speeches and promotions to worry about. You know, important stuff.
As for Obamacare itself, I’ve stopped caring. A lot of people, television shows, radio programs, blogs, tweets, and Congressional representatives are ranting and raving all over the place about how much the new healthcare system is destroying the country, costing money, jobs, lives, etc., but I’m just not seeing it. Some people are clearly having issues in the new system, but the number of people having issues does not seem to be above the normal baseline of people who always have problems in any system.
It’s possible my lack of panic is because I have not the slightest clue what a "single-payer system" is, so I guess I just don’t understand the danger to the space-time continuum. ("Single-payer" is the bad way, right? Or is that the good way? I don’t even know that. By the way, if single-payer is the bad way, what’s the good way? Multi-payer?)
All I know is that what we had before didn’t seem that great, and what we have now doesn’t seem that much different. Before, some people couldn’t get insurance. Now, some other people can’t get insurance. The bottom line is that unless you’re rich or lucky, none of the miraculous medical advances researchers have been making over the last twenty years are likely to help you without also bankrupting you. That’s probably never going to change, at least until the miraculous medical advances come out from under patent protection.