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Obamacare’s Healthcare.gov Roll-Out: One Year Later

HealthCare.gov, the federal government’s health insurance marketplace, launched on Oct. 1, 2013.
HealthCare.gov, the federal government’s health insurance marketplace, launched on Oct. 1, 2013.

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the controversial launch of HealthCare.gov, the federal government’s health insurance marketplace, and the beginning of enrollment in Obamacare. So how are the embattled health care law and its website faring one year later?

According to nationally recognized health law expert Robert Field, PhD, a professor at Drexel University’s Kline School of Law and School of Public Health, the computer glitches of a year ago still haunt Obamacare, but it has lots of company.

“Target, Home Depot and a host of others haven’t done too well either,” said Field, referencing the technical issues that have plagued major retailers this year.

And the shaky roll-out of Obamacare is not without precedent, Field claims.

“Forty-nine years ago, Medicare braced for ‘M Day,’ the day coverage would begin,” he said. “It was very rocky at first, but today, no one remembers that. In a few years, the Obamacare computer glitches will probably be forgotten as well.”

Despite the glitches, is Obamacare working?

One of the primary goals of the Affordable Care Act was to expand insurance coverage, and it has done so, with millions of Americans signing up for new health coverage this year.

So why are so many still claiming that the system been a failure?

“Most people who purchased Obamacare exchange coverage are satisfied with it,” said Field. “But the administration has to get that message out.”

And, while some are still vowing to repeal the health law, Field thinks this is unlikely to occur.

“Obamacare is the cat with nine lives,” he said. “It didn’t die in Congress, in the Supreme Court, or in the computer malfunctions. Now it is marking its first birthday. It has proven quite resilient.”

The law is even fading from the public consciousness as a major political issue.

“Obamacare has been much less of an issue this election cycle,” said Field. “Perhaps Obamacare fatigue is starting to set in, and voters are ready to move onto other issues.”

Field is a widely recognized scholar with expertise in health policy and ethics, health care regulation and public health law.

Robert Field is a professor of law and health management and policy

His most recent book on the American health care system, “Mother of Invention: How the Government Created “Free-Market” Health Care” (Oxford University Press, 2013), puts Obamacare into context historically and politically.

Field will discuss “Mother of Invention” at the New York Public Library tonight at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. More information here.

He also is the author of “Health Care Regulation in America: Complexity, Confrontation and Compromise,” a comprehensive guide to the government’s role in regulating health care in the United States.

Field writes a regular blog, “The Field Clinic,” on health reform and health policy for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

He is a frequent media commentator on this topic, and has appeared on MSNBC’s “The Cycle” to discuss the historical lead-up to Obamacare. You can watch the video here.

News media who are interested in speaking with Field should contact Alex McKechnie at ahm62@drexel.edu or 215-895-2705.

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