At the dawning of a new era in the United States as we lurch and stumble forward to fulfilling a dream of affordable health insurance for all our residents, I have been disappointed at how many Democratic leaders that helped pass President Obama’s signature first term accomplishment have been missing in action now that the Affordable Care Act is being implemented. When we need political and representational leadership most, the Democrats have abandon ship. To the Democratic Party I say, “Don’t ask me for money for your campaigns.”
Democrats abandon President and constituents
The Affordable Care Act represents a monumental change to the individual and family health insurance market place. Just like Medicare Parts A and B, Medicare Advantage Part C Plans and the Prescription Drug Plans, the ACA will forever change the landscape for families, doctors, hospitals, and insurance companies. Any ground shifting change is bound to have problems and that is where I expected leading Democrats to step up to the plate and show leadership. Instead I’ve witnessed a bunch of spineless politicians more interested in re-elections than their constituency.
Elected officials ignore Covered California
Not only have leading Democrats in California abandon our President, they have also forsaken the residents they have sworn to serve. Regardless of how an elected official feels about the ACA, when a constituent is having problems with a government agency such as Covered California, Department of Insurance or the Department of Managed Health Care, addressing the issue should be of the highest priority. But as Covered California has performed an excellent job torturing consumers with their enrollment website and customer service, California’s elected Democratic officials have remained virtually silent.
Democrats ignore serious consumer problems at Covered California
Aside from a couple local Democratic politicians that have organized some enrollment events, most elected Democrats offer little help to either enroll Californians or address their problems. The biggest stink has been over the low enrollment of Spanish speaking families that Covered California targeted as a priority. But where is the post enrollment follow-up from these Democrats when a simple application for health insurance turns into a David versus the bureaucratic Goliath’s of Covered California and the health plans.
Californians need help -
- Finding out why their chosen health plan never received their enrollment from Covered California
- Enrolling in children’s dental plan that Covered California had hidden for the first couple months of open enrollment
- Learning why Covered California retroactively cancelled their health plan enrollment to the first of January, leaving them without coverage
- Finding a doctor who will take the Covered California plans now that the provider search feature has been removed from the Covered California website
Elected Democratic officials should also be investigating why -
- The health plans have overly restrictive networks
- Doctors are refusing to take any Covered California health plans
- The health plans were so overwhelmed with data and billing errors that new members are spending hours on the phone to talk to customer service representatives
- Covered California call center phone lines are constantly jammed with callers and wait times exceed 30 to 60 minutes
- The Covered California CalHEERS website went down for five days and was able to corrupt the applications of over 14,000 Californians (See: Covered California February outage corrupts applications)
Where are the elected Democrats?
- Rep. Pelosi and Senators Boxer and Feinstein are all Medicare age and are probably still trying to figure out the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan initial, gap, and catastrophic coverage limits.
- Governor Brown is more interested in attending University of California Board meetings about reducing staff pay than he is about battling the Covered California Board over a dysfunctional website that has cost Californians hundreds of thousands of lost hours on the phone waiting to talk to either the Covered California call center or health plan.
- Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones seems to have a running feud with Peter Lee the Executive Director of Covered California and only has one plan, Health Net, that his department regulates that offers new ACA plans.
- The California Department of Manage Health Care that oversees the Department of Health Care Services that partnered with Covered California to develop the CalHEERS enrollment website seems to be content with watching the whole fiasco unfold.
Democratic legislators refuse to call for any investigation or make comments critical of Covered California because they want no part of it before the 2014 elections.
Begging for campaign donations
Shortly, I will be bombarded with phone calls and direct mail begging me to contribute to state and congressional Democratic campaign victory funds. You folks can take me off your list. None of the Democrats have been there for me, my clients or the rest of California as Covered California put us through a nightmare these last four months. You have left the side of the President to save your own political skin. Why should I give you a dime of my money?
Democrats didn’t support me or my clients
Democrats don’t call me asking for money. You are a bunch of spineless cowards. When California needed representation and leadership, you evacuated out of state for lucrative fundraisers for your campaign and left California at the mercy of a dysfunctional health exchange bureaucracy. Democrats, you are the definition of a fair weather friend. The current crop of worthless politicians is what gives their opponents the opportunity to win.