Once the Republican foolishness over the government shutdown finally drew to a close, the attention of Washington was promptly redirected toward the electronic problems facing the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act.
Since then, the computer glitches affecting Obamacare have been the topic of headlines and news stories on a daily basis. The latest news preoccupation is with the fate of Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services and the official responsible for the implementation of the health care law.
In stunningly short order, she has received a barrage of criticism over the clogging of computer access to those seeking information about the health-care provisions. While she is the latest victim of Republican-led assault on anything remotely related to Obamacare, there are certainly questions about how much of a role she played in the development of the plagued website.
All of this, however, misses the point.
The real story seems to be how people across the country have been seeking to sign up by the hundreds of thousands for a health-care plan that Republicans have criticized as representing the end of American civilization.
Regular, everyday Americans seem to understand something that the Tea Party-led Republicans don’t: That the Affordable Care Act is a law that assists common men and women in getting their health-care needs met. It especially gives a significant measure of security to Americans who have lived on the margins, especially African-American and Latino citizens for whom affordable health care was little more than a pipe dream.
President Obama addressed the issue of the computer glitches in a matter-of-fact manner, telling the American public that no one was more disappointed and frustrated by the electronic problems than he.
“We did not wage this long and contentious battle just around a website,” the president said, speaking to supporters of the health-care initiative. “That’s not what this was about. We waged this battle to make sure that millions of Americans in the wealthiest nation on earth finally have the same chance to get the same security of affordable, quality health care as anybody else.”
And that’s the point. It is critical that the issues related to the computer system and Obamacare be worked out as quickly as possible. It’s in the interest of the uninsured and of the nation.
But the fact that the Affordable Care Act is now becoming a reality is something to celebrate. There are millions of Americans — many of them utterly without health-care coverage — who will now find peace and security in being able to have their medical needs met without having to turn to the costly and often nightmarish world of emergency rooms.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
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(Photo: REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn)