22 October 2013
Accountability for Obamacare
At this point, transparency is the only remedy for the bad impression created by website problems during the opening of the enrollment period for the health-insurance exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act. There's no use trying to spin the problems away, and the President doesn't seem to be trying to do that. Still, Democrats ought to take the lead in demanding and conducting investigations to figure out what went wrong. The problems are all the more inexcusable for seeming to confirm the Republican stereotype of public-sector bureaucratic incompetence. If you want to prove that stereotype wrong, you have to prove it wrong by accomplishing something complicated in a competent way. The stereotype presumes that bureaucrats are not held as accountable for their failings as the market holds their private-sector counterparts. That can be proven wrong easily enough by having heads roll -- figuratively, that is. This opening fiasco was only slightly obscured by the debt-ceiling crisis, and now Republicans want to make the most of it. The best way to keep the GOP from exploiting the debacle is to be tougher than they are on the people responsible, while remaining vigilantly tough on the GOP itself. It's one thing to be critical of obvious shortcomings, another to be critical in bad faith, carping about the means when you've never agreed on the end. Who should Americans listen to: those who find fault with an intent to fix the problems, or those who find fault but really want the whole thing to fail? Democrats may think they know the answer, but they have to ask the question first.