The sense of urgency surrounding the program is palpable — and largely artificial. The Obama administration royally screwed up the launch, no question about it. But there’s time to get it right. Plenty of time.
The real deadline for creating a sleek, seamless, customer-friendly website allowing people to buy insurance through the federal exchanges isn’t three weeks or even three months. It’s three years and change — the time President Obama has left in office.
The Affordable Care Act will remain the law unless its opponents win veto-proof majorities in both houses of Congress. With the GOP’s approval numbers essentially down to friends and family, a landslide victory in next year’s midterm election seems unlikely, to say the least. This means that as long as Obama is around, his eponymous health care reforms will be around, too.
So everyone can take a deep breath and calm down. The state exchanges are working fine. The first task with the federal website is to make sure the flow of information to and from insurance companies is reliable and accurate. This whole scheme doesn’t work unless insurers know whom they are insuring.