Glitches distract from real problems

The Obama administration, led by the president himself, still doesn’t get what the real issue that working Americans who already have health insurance fear about the Affordable Health Care Act: Namely, its affordability, or lack thereof.

President Barack Obama took to the Rose Garden for a televised speech last Monday that largely focused on the glitches in the on-line signup and marketplace for insurance coverage, which we know will be fixed. Computer system glitches are as natural as computer systems themselves. Glitches can be overcome.

Obama also spent time delivering tales of people who have reported saving money with the government program.

Between the two angles – the emphasis on the multiple ways to sign up including an available toll-free number with operators standing by and the savings reported by a few people – it was almost an infomercial.

We are beginning to wonder if the computer glitches could have been part of the rollout all along: Divert opponents’ attention onto a relatively trivial matter that can be resolved so the criticism against the impact the system will have on those already working and covered by employer insurance, as well as the impact on employers, will be blunted.

The issue, again, is not about the delays and the glitches in the computers. It is about the cost impact to working Americans who already have health insurance, who will pay more as they’re separated from being able to be covered by family or spousal coverage, as their employers cut work hours to avoid the onerous requirements for providing coverage, as the costs of group plans rise while the big federal program fails to apply cost-cutting measures to the system that already were occurring in private insurance systems, such as allowing over-the-counter medicine reimbursements instead of costing the system full-on prescription prices.

As a diversionary tactic, the glitches couldn’t be happening at a better time, allowing the president and the administration to appear to be working on the health care system while not listening to the basic criticisms that continue to go unanswered.