Train wreck? So far, maybe

John Taylor: April 22, 20130 Comments

Hyperbole is the aorta of politics, but I believe there wasn’t all that much exaggeration the other day when Sen. Max Baucus warned that “a huge train wreck” was in the offing when federal healthcare reform more fully unfolds next January.

Understand, though, that Baucus is a Democrat who helped write the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Now he was scolding Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius for the lack of a comprehensive public education campaign. Businesses are in the dark as is the general public, he said, giving her an “F” grade.

By way of affirming that concern, over the last three years Community Medical Centers polled its employees three times on its Forum Intranet site as to what their experiences have been with health reform since it became law in 2010. Routinely ranking atop the replies – feeling ignorant/inadequately educated about the most massive health overhaul in more than 40 years.

Sebelius told Baucus that her department is now hiring “navigators,”  a cadre of experts to help individuals and small businesses wend their way through the maze. He wanted to know how many navigators were being deployed, where and when. Sebelius didn’t have the answers. Ouch.

Presumably, open enrollment in health insurance market exchanges across the nation will begin October 1. And care for nearly everyone will be available by January 1.

Sadly, as NPR and Kaiser Health News have reported,  business is already brisk for the telephone, snail and email crooks trying to snooker people into giving them vital personal and financial data, promising to smooth so-called insurance enrollments.

The public’s frustration level is likely to rise at least until legitimate education efforts hit overdrive.

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