One local lawmaker says there is a way to fix the problems with the Affordable Care Act. Congressman John Delaney (D-Md.) says President Obama needs to tackle the problems with the health exchange websites like a business CEO. "Like any kind of new product roll out, it wasn't successful," he says. "And now what the President needs to do is figure out why it wasn't successful, figure out who exactly made the mistakes, which is going to be some combination of his internal team and outside contractors, and develop a new action plan."
The health exchanges, which went into operation on October 1st, have been plagued with computer glitches as citizens try to get on line to enroll. Delaney says this has not been a positive for the Affordable Care Act. "The perception is going to be very bad. We're hearing that and we're seeing that, and that's likely to stick for a while," he says. "So the best thing to do is to improve the product, and take the time you need to do that because you may not get a second shot here."
Before being elected to Congress in 2012, Delaney had extensive experience in the business world, including serving as a CEO of a publicly traded company, according to his Congressional Office.
Despite the problems with the Affordable Care Act, Delaney says that's no reason to defund or scrap the law. "If we fix this technical problem associated the launch, and get everything back on track, the law can play out over the next several years like it's supposed to," he says.
Because of these computer glitches, many people have called for a delay in the deadline of March 31st, 2014 for all Americans to be enrolled in an insurance plan, or pay a fine. Delaney says he favors Congress and the Administration looking at the problems with the Affordable Care Act, and making some changes. "We should assume that there will be things we know about as it is implemented that we'd like to change and we should be committed to that," Delaney says. "We shouldn't come to the table thinking that this is perfect and can't be improved; nor should we come to the table thinking we have to repeal or defund this whole thing because it hasn't started yet."
In the meantime, Delaney says the President should continue to implement the law while his team is working to fix the problems. He says he's encouraged by the Chief Executive appointing former Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Jeff Zients to oversee repairs to the website, www.healthcare.gov.
Delaney made his thoughts known in an op-ed piece in the Huffington Post. "In my judgment, the Affordable Care Act is a deeply important piece of legislation that will, over time, serve two important goals for the American people: 1) lowering health care costs, and 2) expanding coverage to millions of Americans," Delaney says in his Huffington Post article. He says these goals will be accomplished once the problems with the law are solved.