The first full day of Obamacare enrollments proved a couple of things: massive software rollouts will have bugs and we have do indeed have way too many uninsured people in this country, with a huge pent-up demand. The glitches and the bugs are real and did hamper plenty of people, that shouldn't be denied.
But software glitches can and will be fixed, and people who couldn't sign up yesterday have until Dec. 15 to sign up in order to be covered as of Jan. 1, 2014. If they miss the Dec. 15 deadline, they still have until the end of next March. Yes, fixing those glitches has to be a top priority, because you don't want people turned away, or so frustrated they don't come back. On the other hand, if you can judge by local news reporting, those glitches are secondary to the fact that millions of people all over the nation rushed to sign up. ThinkProgress compiles local headlines. Here's a few of them:
CONNECTICUT: Health Care Plans Begin: 28,000-Plus Go Online To State Marketplace [Hartford Courant]
GEORGIA: Enrollment Sites Are Swamped On First Day [The Augusta Chronicle]
IDAHO: Idaho Health Exchange Launches With Few Hiccups [Idaho Statesman]
INDIANA: Insurance Marketplace Draws Strong Early Interest [Journal and Courier]
KENTUCKY: Kynect Opens To High Demand [The Courier-Journal] [...]
COLORADO: Heavy Traffic Slows Health Website On Debut Day [The Durango Herald]
FLORIDA: Website Are Overwhelmed As Many Log On, But Optimism Is Voiced [Tampa Bay Times]
ARIZONA: Health Markets Swamped On Day 1 [The Arizona Republic] [...]
ALABAMA: State Insurance Marketplace Swamped With Consumer Interest[The Anniston Star]
SOUTH CAROLINA Health Insurance Website Overwhelmed On First Day [The State] [...]
WISCONSIN: Wis. Residents Flood Exchanges [Stevens Point Journal] [...]
PENNSYLVANIA: A First-Day Rush On Health Care [The Philadelphia Inquirer] [...]
Some of the individual stories
in these accounts are worth highlighting. This is Bethany Jones, 30, of Ida Grove, Iowa, an unemployed mother of two.
"People who don't have insurance or struggle getting insurance because of pre-existing conditions now have that option to not get booted off a plan, to not get services,” Jones said. “It allows them to have access to health care that before they didn't have."
That's the story behind Obamacare's roll-out Tuesday. It's the story behind the law and will be the ongoing story for the next six months of open enrollment. The glitches will be worked out, the ability of millions and millions of Americans to finally get the health care they need will be the permanent result. Which will put the Republicans who shut down government and are keeping it shut down over their obsession with killing Obamacare in a pretty precarious position, politically. What would they do? Take insurance away from all the people who just signed up? Tell them that's not acceptable.