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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Obamacare and Katrina: No One Died at the ACA Website

Obamacare and Katrina: No One Died at the ACA Website

Friday, 15 November 2013 05:52

Things seem to be spinning off the rails very fast here in Washington. The NYT has an article today explicitly comparing the rollout of the health insurance exchanges to President Bush's response to Hurricane Katrina.

There is no doubt that the rollout of the exchanges has gone very badly, with people having great difficulty getting on the Obamacare website and buying insurance. And the opponents of Obamacare have been very effective in hyping stories, real or unreal, of people losing their insurance due to the Affordable Care Act. But the comparison to the response to Hurricane Katrina has to qualify as more than a bit over the top.

People died because of the failed response to Katrina. For whatever reason, President Bush was unable to organize a response to a hurricane hitting a major American city even though its course and ferocity had been accurately predicted a week in advance. People in New Orleans died because they could not get access to food, water, and medical care. It seems more than a bit over the top to compare the difficulties that people are facing arranging for insurance to this sort of catastrophe.


Comments (13)Add Comment
written by Tom, November 15, 2013 5:40
Not to mention all the spinning of "you can keep your insurance" as a lie vs ithe 4000 US and many more Iraqis who died due to "Mission Accomplished"
No one died, yet , Low-rated comment [Show]
Mark Twain: It Makes No Difference Whether One Will Not Read or One Can Not Read
written by Last Mover, November 15, 2013 6:06

When Katrina hit someone on Dubya Dimwit's staff had to play a custom made DVD before he could figure out what was going on.

When the Obamacare rollout hit Obama didn't need someone with a coloring book to explain it to him. It was the typical political gaffe that haunts any politican after making it and dominates MSM and their sock puppets as they drag American into the serial theater of endless sound bites of mud wrestling they call news.

Why? Because it's "factual", right there before the tawdry tabloid eyes of a desperate America looking for answers to what has happened in a sound bite because they will not or can not read. No investigative reporting required.

Obama said there were no weapons of mass destruction hidden away in Obamacare didn't he ... and then by God, there they were, front and center, weapons of mass destruction taking down America like it was the Civil War all over again.

Land of gullible squabbling dimwits. We hardly know you from what came before America.
3 1/2 years, Low-rated comment [Show]
Sabotage works
written by Squeezed Turnip, November 15, 2013 7:46
The GOP led states refused to set up exchanges. The Obama team neglected to respond to what this really meant. This was avoidable, indeed, if only the GOP had some political goodwill and if only Obama would stop relying on incompetents promoted by Harvard/Clintons.
Thousands will die from cancelled insurance
written by Rob Urie, November 15, 2013 8:13
Tens of thousands of insurance cancellations were sent and it is left to the 'discretion' of the insurance companies to reinstate them. Those buying this extremely expensive insurance do so because they need health care. Insurance companies will reinstate policies for the people who don't need health care and leave those who do need it to rot. This has been standard business practice for several decades now. This is completely and utterly Mr. Obama's fault.
written by AlanInAZ, November 15, 2013 9:18
I think the long term consequence may be worse than Katrina. Emergency response post Katrina has improved however I doubt that efforts to rationalize the chaos of American medicine will be improved by this experience.
written by kharris, November 15, 2013 9:47
Many reporters see real events through the lens of political consequences. It's a small-minded way of thinking, and it leads to stupid writing, but it seems to be an overwhelming urge for lots of reporters.

In the particular case, looking for a metaphor means looking for a Bush-era, poor-execution metaphor. When you limit your choices in that way, you end up making a stoopid choice.
They are Dying Every Day, Low-rated comment [Show]
Yes they are dying but they were before too
written by Jennifer, November 15, 2013 11:33
In fact Bush had more than a week-predictions of the consequences of a Katrina had been known for years-although fault belongs to Clinton and the Army Core of Engineers for much of damage as well.
Most people are already covered by employers or the government, they have seen no changes. The cancellations are a small part of the market that is left after that. Of the people getting "cancellation" letters most will be able to get insurance which is probably better and ultimately cheaper. By comparsion the people who have up until the ACA not been able to get insurance-because of poverty who will now get Medcaid is much more, as well as people who were "uninsurable" prior to the ACA due to preexisting conditions. These people have been dying but there has been less concern for them.
At the risk of focusing on the point of the original post ...
written by Lex, November 15, 2013 12:21
... the issue isn't the quality of Obamacare, the issue is the quality of the Times's journalism. And I've touched dead fish so rotten they broke in two when I picked them up that didn't stink as badly as this story did. I would refer everyone to this response: ...


... which was a lot more polite than my email to the writer, which concluded with this sentence: "Good Christ, I wish stupid were painful." My wife's elderly mother lost her house to Katrina. More than a thousand people DIED. Sure, there's a story here, but part of the reason Times reporters make the big bucks is that they're supposed to be able to consider and reject a wrong and grossly inappropriate frame for a story when they're writing it, no matter which of their favorite GOP sources is offering it.
written by Chris E., November 16, 2013 11:10
Oh boy, APS big time troll:

"At the risk of trolling... I have a final point. Not to defend W .... And in my book, the moral equivalent of Katrina, no matter how you try to spin it. "

oh boy. the lies are pouring in from the right-wing nuts.

so tired of the whole ACA debate. i hate the bill to begin with and im not about to just defend it even from stupid right-wing lies. but ffs..
Not one Person has yet lost insurance because of the ACA
written by Dean, November 16, 2013 2:26
Come on folks get a grip -- policies are being cancelled as of Jan 1. I really doubt anyone will not be able to get a new policy by then, unless they don't want one. In that case, you have to be smoking some pretty strong stuff to blame it on Obama.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.