- Cullman, Alabama


November 19, 2013

More sense on the outside

CULLMAN — President Obama’s idea of establishing a national health care law was an act of honorable intent. But like so much in modern American politics, the plan was crippled from the lack of bipartisan agreement and the rush to shove it onto the national stage.

After a bungled beginning to the plan because of poor technology and a growing crisis in confidence in the plan, Obama is now struggling to salvage what was once recognized as his signature accomplishment as president.

The enrollment website can be repaired. Obama actually has a few things in his favor where the Affordable Care Act is concerned. There appears to be a significant demand for the program’s benefits and the insurance industry is generally supportive of that.

The first step for the president is to make sure the website actually works so that the nearly one million people on hold can enroll. That would be a confidence builder for moving forward.

Nonetheless, criticism will remain in the months ahead as new sections of the law are scheduled to be enacted. One of the big tests will come in 2015 with the mandate that larger employers offer coverage. And there is lingering criticism that the act itself burdens small businesses and hampers economic growth.

Many of the criticisms and pitfalls of the Affordable Care Act are related to the inability of the leadership in Washington to construct bipartisan legislation. While some lawmakers simply didn’t want a national health plan, others were simply caught up in political grandstanding and contributed nothing to the process of constructing a plan that would benefit Americans.

The law itself has withstood political and legal challenges and appears to be destined to stick. The chance to make the law work and actually benefit Americans, without causing feared damages to the economy, is still within grasp.

It seems to be clear to anyone outside of Washington that a bipartisan approach to key issues makes sense. Standing in the halls of power is perhaps too intoxicating for many lawmakers to realize anything beyond their talking points.

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