ROLLOUT THE DOUCHE BAG – THE IMPLEMENTATION OF OBAMACARE

Each month we at Boom Bap Radio will bestow  the award of “The Douchey McDouche Bag” award on the biggest dickheads in the news.  This category is not limited to politicians or entertainers or even athletes – there’s room for everyone on this bench.

However, each month one person stands out as the absolute winner of our coveted prize.

The award is based on the name I gave a menial worker from a big box department store, who insisted that my item was no longer in stock without looking. This douche actually made me order the item online and had a whole five minute explanation of why the product was not available days after Christmas. Evidently it was shipped back to some remote warehouse – over the hills and far, far away.

Imagine my surprise when about an hour later –while walking to the other end of the store I found piles of my item, neatly stacked and very much available.

So this one goes out to that collared shirt wonder, who obviously knew nothing, but before he knew a whole friggin’ lot –Douche Bag!! Hey dickwad - this award  goes out to you  – You Douche!!!

The October 2013 Douchey McDouche Bag Award

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Since we began handing out our award, more than two years ago, it is probably more of a miracle that our vinegar and water prize hasn’t ended up in the White House at least once.

Now almost 30 douches later, after more than two years of handing out our coveted award, the POTUS has finally earned his very own red rubber bag, hose, a gentle mixture of vinegar, water and our popular cleansing mix.

However, this douche was special and of the long lasting variety. This douche may have begun in October, but it kind of lasted all the way until early December and was our first douche on extended play.

In October President Barack H. Obama rolled out his signature Universal Healthcare effort and in doing so, in such a half-assed fashion, not only attracted our attention, but drew our collective ire.

Facetiously dubbed, “Obamacare,” Conservatives of every ilk bombed the effort to give all Americans healthcare coverage from the day Obama won his first term.

They ratcheted up the hate and the heat at every turn.

Obamacare is this.

Obamacare is that.

They said Obamacare would feature death panels and used words like “socialism” to describe the effort to bring insurance coverage to millions who cannot afford or are not provided health insurance by an employer.

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 Opponents of the plan even went as far as to publicly portray the President as a witch doctor or as the evil villain The Joker from the D.C. Batman comic series.

In the end the public grew weary of the endless criticism and anxiously awaited the launching of the much anticipated arrival of universal healthcare.

But at the end of the day, when  much anticipated Affordable Healthcare Act website went live on Oct. 1, 2013 the only word that came to mind was: “cluster-F.”

No Health Care For You!!

In what will be gauged as one of American history’s biggest governmental f’ ups, following years of criticism and right-wing attempts to derail and overturn the law, the commencement of universal healthcare in America was not undone by the Right, but instead a team of screw-ups paid by the Left.

The “fumble,” as the President called it, prevented legions of the uninsured from obtaining coverage, while allowing the many critics of the federal healthcare to give a resounding “I told you so,” on “Obamacare.”

Run through the governmental internet website – “HealthCare.gov” and the rollout of national healthcare in America hit an immediate snag when internet visitors to the site were greeted by a freezing website and an overall inability to select the health care packages they hoped would give them coverage.  After all of the error messages and freezing, a whopping 27,000 people were able to sign up for Universal Healthcare.

To make matters even worse, because the entire program was run through the same faulty computer portal, even those attempting to join over the telephone were unable to complete what was expected to be a complicated task in the first place.

So how does an administration hell bent on transparency and providing healthcare allow the heralded and controversial, game changing rollout of “Obamacare” to open in such a cold and douchey fashion?

It had lots of help.

President Obama first began his push for universal healthcare shortly after sweeping into office in 2008. Obama, who lost his mother to cancer, watched her spend the last few years of her life battling the disease without the basic coverage afforded to people in most democratized nations across the world.

The push for universal healthcare in America, which gained traction at the height of the Great Recession, was called ill-timed and un-necessary by opponents of the president.

At that time, February of 2009, healthcare was just a concept.

Sure it had been attempted in the 90’s under the President Bill Clinton and it had been accomplished by unlikely healthcare proponent Gov. Mitt Romney in Massachusetts, but this push was different. It was championed by fading New England legend Sen. Ted Kennedy and resembled Republican plans forwarded by Bob Dole during the Clinton years.

By the time November rolled around, the House of Representatives, then controlled by Democrats, passed its bill for Universal Healthcare and the Senate followed a month later. By March of 2010 Universal Healthcare became the law of the land and it wasn’t long before all the challenges began.

In August 12, 2011 the 11th Circuit Court Appeals ruled that part of the law were unconstitutional. Months later in November, the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. ruled the law was constitutional.

Almost simultaneously, 26 states led by Florida petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court and challenged the Affordable Healthcare Act.  By June 2012 the Supreme Court ruled that the individual mandate portion of the law can be upheld by Congress and could work under the U.S. taxing clause.

As a provision of the new law, each state was expected to create their own respective healthcare exchange, as per the compromise between Democrats and Republicans that allowed the law’s approval. However, by the time the law was expected to go on board, only 16 states agreed to set up their own exchanges, leaving the federal government to set up similar exchanges for the remaining 34 states.

The almost impossible nature of that task joined with good old fashioned incompetence to bring us a less than satisfying rollout to the federal healthcare effort.

As conservatives continued to harbor doubts, Obama fostered hope at every turn. He explained away the death panels and repeatedly told Americans, “If you like your insurance, you can keep your insurance.”

Obama carried his message through his successful 2012 re- election and by the time enrollment was set to begin a year later, we all expected nothing but unequivocal victory. Instead we got douched.

Sadly, the sputtering and freezing website not only hindered Americans for shopping for healthcare, but seemed to draw into question whether government truly does have any ability to help provide affordable healthcare coverage and, on a larger note, whether this American President could be deemed competent.

Now I have to admit, I have been a proponent of the Affordable Healthcare Act and have actively rebuffed all conservative attempts to discredit the law and hinder the ability of the Obama administration to provide healthcare to all Americans.

For that very reason, it has been a pride swallowing siege to watch the lame introduction to healthcare I witnessed in October. You would think after all of the erroneous allegations and lies that this opening would have been scrutinized with a fine toothed comb.

Sadly, this was not the case and the unveiling of the HealthCare.gov website was obviously not ready for primetime on Oct. 1, 2013.

Once things went terribly wrong and it was learned that the website barely worked and that all information collected needed to flow through the faulty portal, a douche parade of gargantuan proportions began.

 

You know you screwed up when “stars” at the Country Music Award put enough brain cells together to write a parody about the Affordable Care Act and its inability to allow folks to sign up.  At least it was funny to all of the millionaires assembled for the show at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.

It probably wasn’t as funny to the scores of toothless, unemployed and/or under insured masses who buy their records.

Just Plain Sorry

As October 1, 2013 came and went, the country braced itself for the onslaught of douchiness that was about to besiege us from both sides of the political aisle.

Each day led to the shocking realization that things weren’t kind of bad, they were absolutely, unequivocally FUBAR’d.

Then a mind numbing conga-line of mea culpa’s began and even an industrial sized bottle of douche mix wasn’t big enough to drown it out.

The parade started from the top when President Obama informally apologized for the malfunctioning website.

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Then, Veep Joe Biden apologized.

Next came Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency responsible for new website.

Health and Human Services Secretary Katherine Sebelius also apologized.

The President then formally apologized and qualified his mea culpa with a statement that seemed to suggest, “If I would have known it was this screwed-up, do you think I’d be out promoting it this hard?”

None of these apologies made me feel any better about the new law or about how the President was unaware of all of the website’s shortcomings prior to its much anticipated launch.

The House of Representatives Oversight Committee held hearings about a month after the flawed launch.

Chaired by Right-wing hard-on Rep. Darrell Issa, (R- Calif.), Issa’s hearings were more of a Conservative “na-na na-na boo boo” than an apparatus created to right the troubled website.

This witch hunt, while entertaining, brought about the best apology during the mea culpa parade.

Website creators CGI, which looked to apologize by simply appearing before the US Congress, withstood a four hour grilling and gloatfest enroute to getting members of the “do nothing” Congress to actually do something.

The highlight of the Republicans gloatfest came when David McKinley (R- W.V.) admonished representative from the Canadian IT giant for not openly apologizing. McKinley all but begged  and pleaded for another mea culpa.

CGI Vice President Cheryl Campbell came to the rescue and provided the best theater from the Issa hearings, when she acknowledged that an apology was requested, but still never actually apologized.

 Based in Montreal, CGI was the vendor hired to create the website.

The international IT group worked on the medicare.gov website and was initially paid $104 million of the total $630 million set aside for the HealthCare.gov project when all the freezing and crashing began. The international IT company stood to make about $2.3 billion in federal governmental contracts.

At the end of the hearings, CGI continued to work out the kinks on the troubled website and vowed to have everything fixed by the end of November 2013.

Glitch Girl

The worse bit of political roadkill to become a casualty in the HealthCare.gov mess was a young woman who became the face of the original website.

glitchgirl

Frustrated people turned their misdirected anger to the smiling face of a woman only identified as “Adriana” on its masthead.

As the face of the website, Adriana was seen as “the Mona Lisa” of Universal Healthcare when things were good and was later dubbed “Glitch Girl” when things went terribly wrong.

The model placed at the top of the site gave an exclusive interview to ABC News and complained she was “cyber bullied” when her likeness was mocked and later she became the brunt of jokes on late night comedy shows.

Adriana, a model of Colombian descent, but who lives in Maryland, said she emailed her photo to Medicare and Medicaid Services had her picture taken in exchange for allowing the photos to be used to market the universal healthcare. She wondered aloud why people seemed to “hate her” because of the botched rollout.

About two weeks into the troubled opening of HealthCare.gov, Adriana’s picture was removed by the Department of Health and Human Services faster than you could say Summer’s Eve.

With Friends Like You Who Needs Enemies

Spritzing and rising got really loud when former President Bill Clinton weighed in on the issue and stated the President may need to change the law to help the millions or 5% of people who had their personal coverage cancelled because it was substandard by government standards.

The change Clinton referenced was not completely embraced, but later President Obama did set forth an exception for Americans who were losing their coverage because it basically sucked. That fix was also challenged and rejected by states like California and Connecticut, which already had successful health exchanges up and running.

Of course other frenemies jumped right in while the cleansing mix was still warm.

Crossfire co-host Van Jones, a former Obama cheerleader, said for reversing his course on the whole “like your insurance, you keep it thingy,” Obama would pay a hefty price.

“And he overpromised. And he will, listen, he will pay a price. ‘Mission accomplished,’ you pay a price,” Jones said when interviewed on television news magazine “This Week.”  “No new taxes,’ you pay a price. ‘You keep your plan,’ you pay a price.”

A week into November the din of douchieness  grew even louder when the unthinkable happened in the houses of Congress – a bi-partisan effort. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia joined with Mark Kirk, a Republican senator from Obama’s home state of Illinois to introduce legislation that would delay the tax penalty for going without healthcare.

Then came the Harry Reid debacle .

December brought stories about Reid allowing his staff to opt out of Affordable Healthcare.

The GOP pointed out that Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a firebrand for Universal Healthcare was the only top congressional leader to allow his staff to exempt itself from buying its insurance through the new exchange.

Although Reid himself and his personal staff will buy insurance through the exchange, a few of his staff members will be allowed to continue to be insured their federal employee plan for another year.

The preference became a political football in a poisoned atmosphere as the faulty website was repaired and didn’t help to give anyone that warm fuzzy feeling of party unity we were hoping to find when things went terribly wrong.

In the end, it’s important to note that the effort to get all Americans healthcare is laudable and should not be diminished by how poorly it was availed.

The question of how poorly the website reacted does not have a bearing on the need for affordable healthcare in this country, regardless of what the douche bags on the Right say.

I still applaud the president’s intention with the law, but simply cannot allow the nightmare that has been the unveiling of this new law go unpunished.

The road to hell truly is paved with good intentions.

So President Obama, no more daily apologies for something that should have been done months ago. No one has the stomach endless mea culpa’s – it’s sickening.

Maybe one day you will remember how to champion a law that you and most Americans need and want.

By not doing so, after all of the criticism, it allows you give credence to the uncertainty that first reared its ugly head in 2010, when this thing was first passed and for that you and your team are our October 2013 Douchey McDouche Bag winner – Mr. President.

Stop apologizing and get this thing fixed, Americans really need healthcare, you seemingly ill-prepared, apologizing – Douche!

 

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