Letter to the Editor

An unhealthy process on new health-care law

Of the many flaws in Michael Gerson’s critique of the history of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) [“Obamacare needs a doctor,” op-ed, Oct. 22], one in particular stands out: He questions the legitimacy of the law because it “was passed by a partisan vote.”

The law is legitimate because it was passed by a majority of both houses of Congress and signed by the president (and later upheld by the Supreme Court). The Republicans had plenty of opportunities to contribute to the legislative process; Iowa Sen. Charles E. Grassley’s amendment requiring members of Congress to participate in the ACA’s insurance exchanges comes to mind. That they then refused to vote for its final passage does not change the fact that it is now the law of the land.  

Bipartisanship is a worthy ideal, but it not a valid reason for a small minority to hold veto power over the will of the majority, the more so when the motive behind the veto is little more than plain dislike of the majority. We just went through a horrific shutdown and almost defaulted on our debts because of that mentality. There are problems with the ACA and its implementation, but true bipartisanship would call for fixing them, much as the Democrats helped President George W. Bush fix his prescription-drug law even though they had voted against it.

Daniel Kohanski, Arlington

George F. Will [“Too little politics,” op-ed, Oct. 20] berated President Obama for being unwilling to compromise on health care. Does Mr. Will have amnesia? The Affordable Care Act is chock-full of Republican proposals that, to the dismay of many Democrats, Mr. Obama injected in an effort to reach out to the other side — an effort that won him not a single vote from a GOP that was determined to block passage no matter what.

Walter Rybeck, Silver Spring

The Oct. 22 front-page article “HealthCare.gov launched despite warning signs” showed that, in addition to technical problems, there was a top-down communication problem. If people knew ahead of time that the site was not ready, this message did not sink in with top officials. In my experience, communication failures between technical staff and management reflect an atmosphere of fear and lack of mutual respect. I doubt that presidential anger can do much to cure the dysfunctional organizational dynamics that I suspect are at the heart of the Web site problems.

Arnold Kling, Silver Spring

The federal health-insurance exchange Web site isn’t working. It evidently was rolled out too soon and will be fixed eventually, but nobody knows when. So in fairness to all Americans who are trying to register, no one should be penalized until it is fixed. For each week until the Web site works properly, the Feb. 15 deadline for having health coverage should also be extended a week. I would think this is one Obamacare change that Congress and the president can agree on immediately, without shutting down the government.

Bob Stacy, Falls Church

 
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