Is Obamacare A Train Wreck?

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Max Baucus' (D-Mont) "train wreck" comment on April 17 to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has received much attention and commentary, especially by critics of Obamacare. Sen. Baucus comments at a routine Finance Committee Meeting have been heavily publicized because he is one of the architects of Obamacare. Displeased with the public's confusion about Obamacare, Baucus admonished that the administration must do a better job of informing people about the law's healthcare benefits and how it will work. He told Secretary Sebelius:

"I just see a huge train wreck coming down. You and I have discussed this many times, and I don't see any results yet."

“We certainly take outreach and education very, very seriously.” Secretary Sebelius replied. The following week Secretary Sebelius commented:

"I think the senator [Baucus] was describing a situation where he felt far too few people were aware of the benefits that they were going to be entitled to receive, and that there wasn't enough outreach and education going on."

Of note is that detractors of the healthcare law have worked tirelessly to block funding for administrative costs, which includes the Health and Human Services budget for publishing and disseminating obamacare information.

Her department needs Congress to approve $1.5 billion for it to operate and support new state-based insurance markets. Republicans in the House blocked last year's funding request, causing Sebelius to scrimp on administrative costs and tap into other accounts legally available.

Source:Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press

Senator Baucus later released a statement, which expounded and clarified his concerns about the healthcare law implementation:

“This is a good law but it can’t work if people don’t understand it,” Senator Baucus said.  “I hear from people on the ground in Montana that they are confused about the health care law.  For the insurance marketplaces to work, people need to know their options and how to enroll.  I want families’ lives to be easier, and I want small businesses to focus on job creation, not confusion.  The administration must use every day between now and October 1 to have insurance marketplaces up and running.”

The Senate Finance Committee elaborated further in a press release, which says in part:

Senator Baucus cited a recent Kaiser Family Foundation study, which found that 57 percent of Americans said they lack enough information about the law to understand how it will affect them. In fact, 57 percent believed the law included a public option, and 40 percent believed it established a government panel to make end-of-life decisions for Medicare patients, neither of which is true.

With merely months left before the health care law's implementation, there seems to be little information and a lot of confusion about the benefits and process to apply for health coverage, which is the reason for the alarm bells. Check back regularly as obamacare.com will publish factual Affordable Care Act information for concerned citizens.

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