Democratic governors: Obamacare works for us

November 18, 2013

A trio of Democratic governor has written an op-ed for the Washington Post arguing that the federal health-care law is working at the state level.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy write in today's Post that they succeeded because they didn't rely on a Web site -- as the federal health care exchange has -- and because the issue isn't as politicized where they come from.

"Sure, having functioning Web sites for our health-care exchanges makes the job of meeting the enormous demand for affordable coverage much easier, but each of our state Web sites has had its share of technical glitches," the trio writes. "As we have demonstrated on a near-daily basis, Web sites can continually be improved to meet consumers’ needs."

They cite instead a lack of political bickering over the law.

"The Affordable Care Act has been successful in our states because our political and community leaders grasped the importance of expanding health-care coverage and have avoided the temptation to use health-care reform as a political football," they write.

State-level exchanges were significantly more successful at signing people up than the federal HealthCare.gov Web site -- completing about three times as many applications in just 14 states.

Here's more:

In our states, elected leaders have decided to put people, not politics, first.

President Obama announced an administrative change last week that would allow insurance companies to continue offering existing plans to those who want to keep them. It is up to state insurance commissioners to determine how and whether this option works for their states, and individual states will come to different conclusions.

What we all agree with completely, though, is the president’s insistence that our country cannot go back to the dark days before health-care reform, when people were regularly dropped from coverage, and those with “bare bones” plans ended up in medical bankruptcy when serious illness struck, many times because their insurance didn’t cover much of anything.

Thanks to health-care reform and the robust exchanges in our states, people are getting better coverage at a better price.

...

These sorts of stories could be happening in every state if politicians would quit rooting for failure and directly undermining implementation of the Affordable Care Act — and, instead, put their constituents first. Health reform is working for the people of Washington, Kentucky and Connecticut because elected leaders on both sides of the aisle came together to do what is right for their residents.

We urge Congress to get out of the way and to support efforts to make health-care reform work for everyone. We urge our fellow governors, most especially those in states that refused to expand Medicaid, to make health-care reform work for their people too.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Sean Sullivan · November 18, 2013