Sisterhood Blog

The Real Glitch in Obamacare

By Sarah Seltzer

  • Print
  • Share Share
Getty Images
Obama speaks about affordable health care.

The media is in an absolute tizzy over the website glitches in Obamacare. In fact, I keep getting breaking news emails with updates on the State of the Glitches (this isn’t an exaggeration). I admit: the Obama administration clearly messed up, big time, in their tech firm oversight. And it’s an undeniable concern that all the hype over the website’s flaws will lead people to give up and not try to sign up for the health care they need.

However, something about this relentless focus rubs me the wrong way. That’s why I got a righteous thrill last week when I read Zerlina Maxwell’s piece in Feministing putting her finger on my discomfort. She explains that relatively privileged journalists may be over-hyping the site’s functionality issues and missing the real news, which is that frightened, uninsured Americans are happy to doggedly wait out the website’s birthing pains until they can access the marketplace and breathe a sigh of relief. And again, that sigh is not because the site is working, but because they can get health care, a basic right.

For the most part, those covering the problems are insured themselves and consequently greatly underestimate the patience of a chronically uninsured person who has been counting down the days until Obamacare began so they could have a little piece of mind that if they got sick they wouldn’t be staring down bankruptcy.

For uninsured workers in the queue for the insurance exchange marketplace, having an affordable health plan means security, and opportunity: they are now more well-positioned to pursue their dreams and bolster the economy. That’s the purpose of a safety net, isn’t it?

Of course, there are major flaws in our healthcare system, not limited to the website’s functionality. The chink in the plan’s armor (thanks, Supreme Court!) that gets my blood boiling, rather than 404 error pages, is the fact that there are so many governors bull-headedly refusing to expand Medicaid in their states in accordance with the original plan.

Unsurprisingly, we know who this affects the most: women. A few states have come around since this September article in the New York Times painfully revealed the numbers left out in the cold by governors denying coverage. But there are still many states holding out:

The 26 states that have rejected the Medicaid expansion are home to about half of the country’s population, but about 68 percent of poor, uninsured blacks and single mothers. About 60 percent of the country’s uninsured working poor are in those states. Among those excluded are about 435,000 cashiers, 341,000 cooks and 253,000 nurses’ aides. “The irony is that these states that are rejecting Medicaid expansion — many of them Southern — are the very places where the concentration of poverty and lack of health insurance are the most acute,” said Dr. H. Jack Geiger, a founder of the community health center model. “It is their populations that have the highest burden of illness and costs to the entire health care system.”

It’s a shame that these misguided governors are holding their own suffering citizens hostage. But to me, this giant, persistent gap in coverage reveals the greatest “glitch” in the Obamacare model: the lack of a universally available, socialist-style public option that anyone can access.

While expanding coverage is great, guaranteeing it for every single human being would be better.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Medicare, Obamacare, women, Medicaid, Jewish

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Clueless parenting advice from the star of "Clueless."
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.