A quiet year after the Affordable Healthcare program roll out….
We hear from the Health and Human Service Secretary at the time…..ex Governor Kathleen Sebelius…..And she says it ‘was a battle worth fighting’…..
There are plenty of Democrats who have had second thoughts about the Affordable Care Act — about the timing of the law’s passage, the decision to move ahead without Republican votes, the unqualified promises that everyone could keep their health care plans, and, of course, the competence of the launch. But for all of the political agony Sebelius went through — first during the bitter congressional debates that led to its passage, then during the botched rollout — she’s not much for second-guessing.
Sebelius does have ideas on what would help future political leaders launch programs that represent a complicated technological undertaking. She says the contracting process needs to be overhauled so the promising start-up gurus can be tapped, not just the same old companies that get the contracts mainly because they’ve worked with the federal government before. And she says the technology teams need to work directly with the officials who know the policy, something that didn’t happen enough before the enrollment launch last year.
But unlike Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sebelius has no regrets about turning to health care reform right at the beginning of Barack Obama’s presidency. Schumer argues that the Democrats addressed the “wrong problem” by taking on health care reform in 2009 rather than keeping their focus on the recession. Sebelius, however, sticks to the view Obama and most Democratic leaders held at the time: If health care reform didn’t get done then, with a newly elected president and Democrats at the height of their power, it was never going to happen.
“I certainly would have much preferred a very smooth rollout and robust enrollment from day one. But I also feel very good about the fact that this president was able to get a law passed that 70 years of debate prior to him, of both Republican and Democratic presidents, had failed to do,” Sebelius said.
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