October 1, 2013 - Will it Come and Go With a Bang or A Whimper?

by Patrick Riley 16 Sep 2013
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As the country's expectations or skepticism grows as we head towards the October 1 deadline, one has to ponder what we will learn by the end of that day. Will the health insurance marketplaces be judged on initial numbers or will Americans be in it for the long haul? The Obama administration seems to be easing its rhetoric admitting there will be "glitches" and "hiccups" in the first few days, even months. Their position seems to be that if it is a problem in October, we should be able to fix it in November.

The critics of ACA will  undoubtedly pounce if initial enrollment numbers are soft and scrutinize the data-hub and how it functions. focusing on the failures. The proponents of ACA and the President will tout success, using testimonials of forlorn Americans who as of September 30th did not have any health insurance and now, thanks to the online health insurance marketplace are enrolled in coverage. So, where are we expected to end up?

As I have written before, some states will embrace the new healthcare law and actively seek to reduce the uninsured rolls locally. There will be coordination between state and federal agencies and an understanding of what the law is and is not. In other states, there will be a lack of leadership and the program will stumble, then fall, in large part as a result of apathy by the people themselves. Not their fault, no one educated them and as a result, they do not have any inclination of how to use the online helath insurance marketplaces.

So, the success or failure of a critical element of health care reform, the health insurance marketplaces, will come down to public opinion and what news they choose to believe and subscribe to. I predict that between October and April, there will be slow but steady acknowledgement of Essential Health Benefits, the approved health plans and how health insurance can improve the health of young families and those of us without any access to care.  Then, the balance of 2014 will determine the fate of not only the health insurance marketplaces but the Affordable Care Act itself.

You can follow me on Twitter @Patrick_FrostHC to read more about healthcare reform.

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