• Newsletter Issue #727

    November 4th, 2013


    You just know that Microsoft earns most of its revenue from the sale of operating systems and productivity software. Sure, there is the Xbox, which has been somewhat profitable after years of huge losses, but that’s an exception. As to the Surface tablet, after taking a $900 million write-down on unsold stock, Microsoft is again trying to find the silk purse in the sow’s ear with the Surface 2. Predictably reviews have been tepid. Sure, it’s faster, sleeker, and the kickstand now has two positions. But why offer a business-oriented computer as a potential stocking stuffer for the holidays?

    As someone once said in a TV show, where’s the logic in that?

    Besides, the Surface 2 went on sale on October 22. Do you remember that date? Let me refresh your memory, since the media wasn’t filled with stories about what Microsoft was up to. That’s when Apple launched the iPad Air, the iPad mini with Retina display, new MacBook Pros, and, oh yes, a lot of free stuff.

    Now on this week’s episode of The Tech Night Owl LIVE, outspoken commentator John Martellaro, Senior Editor, Analysis & Reviews for The Mac Observer, covers Apple’s growing investments in R&D, why Microsoft’s strategy for the Surface tablet will flop this holiday season, the real reason Apple is giving away the OS and consumer apps, why Apple is ill-serving customers who have lots of data to back up, and the company’s vision for the forthcoming Mac Pro overhaul.

    From Josh Centers, Managing Editor for TidBITS, you’ll get his fearless comments about Apple’s latest financial statement, the Night Owl’s decision to move from Gmail to Microsoft’s Outlook.com, and the positives and possible negatives discovered in OS X Mavericks and iOS 7.

    Now about that decision to switch to Outlook.com: For the most part, it’s worked out all right, at least over the first few days. For better or worse, however, Microsoft seems more proactive (or paranoid) about setting security policies. So the first time I sent an email from my Outlook.com account via an iPhone 5s, I had to go to the Outlook site and verify the device. But that appears to be strictly an issue when you send a message from an email client the very first time. I haven’t had problems using Webmail, at least not yet.

    On this week’s episode of our other radio show, The Paracast: It’s one of the greatest “what ifs” of all time. What if John Kennedy had survived the ambush in Dallas, Texas? What then? That’s the subject of a fascinating new novel, just out in time for the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. It’s called, “Surrounded by Enemies: What if Kennedy Survived Dallas?” and it’s full of twists and surprises. The author is a friend of The Paracast, Bryce Zabel, who last dipped his toe into the alternate JFK timestream when he created NBC’s Emmy winning “Dark Skies” TV series.

    Now Shipping! The Official Paracast T-Shirt! We’re taking orders direct from our new Official Paracast Store, where you can place your order and pay with a major credit card or PayPal. The shirts come in white, 100% cotton, and feature The Paracast logo on the front. The rear emblem states: “Separating Signal From Noise.” We’ve also added a huge selection of additional special custom-imprinted merchandise for fans of our show.


    Or maybe not. But if you can believe a certain article in a large national newspaper, the iOS 7 upgrade has been an unmitigated disaster. Bugs and more bugs, and one survey concluded it was even worse than Windows Vista. On the other hand, isn’t Windows 8 worse than Vista? After all, customers are avoiding it like the plague.

    Now I haven’t read a retraction from the paper in question, although there ought to be. You see, that alleged survey was released by a consulting company that worked for the likes of Google and Samsung, but not Apple. The propriety of depending on such a biased source for a key story eludes me, but the identity of the source was, at the very least, disclosed in the article, so it’s faults were front and center, and you quickly realized what was really going on if you did some checking.

    On the other hand, the mainstream media isn’t very tech savvy. For how else would the likes of Rob Enderle, a notorious alleged industry analyst whose credentials list him as being paid by Apple’s rivals, be allowed to comment on our favorite fruit company? At least mention the reasons why he’d be biased.

    That practice is, however, no better than some cable TV outlets who hire political commentators who are employed by firms that are engaged in partisan activities. One would think such a job history would violate some sort of ethical policy, but so long as the talking head in question gets good ratings, the large media companies don’t seem to care.

    Sure, they will sometimes mention when someone has a potential conflict, but not always.

    In any case, I first installed iOS 7 on a third generation iPad on the day of its release, September 18. I did not test the beta version, although I kept close tabs on the development progress. Certainly I was aware of the potential pitfalls and the complaints about the ultra-thin lettering and sometimes amateurish icons. Well, allegedly. Of course, Apple would never engage in creating the sort of stick pin artwork that pollutes Windows 8, but it sure was different.

    Now one of the key complaints of iOS 7 is that it’s somewhat poky on older gear. Clearly the iPad Air is several times faster than Mrs. Steinberg’s iPad, though she hasn’t complained very much about performance issues. However, it did seem a tab less snappy with the new iOS. Not to any significant degree, but it’s also true that the incessant zooming effects don’t exactly convey a feeling of speed. One solution for that is just to turn it off, a solution that arrived in the iOS 7.0.3 update. Just go to Settings>General>Accessibility and activate Reduce Motion.

    Indeed, the change is dramatic. Apps seem to launch instantly, and switching from one to the other also seems quicker.

    Reduce Motion also kills the parallax effect that really doesn’t intrude unless you look real close. But the two changes should eliminate complaints from some users about dizziness and nausea. This is not something I can evaluate myself, but I will accept the complaints as real. Certainly allowing you to quickly kill the zooming effect indicates, to me at least, that Apple was sensitive to the problem.

    But let’s continue.

    Another complaint about iOS 7 is that it’s still slow on older hardware regardless of shutting off the special effects. One benchmark I saw recently does show that iOS 7 on an iPhone 4 makes apps launch noticeably slower, although we are talking of a fraction of a second in most cases, something that may not be not be so easy to notice. Turning off another setting, General>Background App Refresh, might also help improve performance. But I suspect that this is one feature that improves over time, so give it a few days.

    If you don’t like the text styling, well, sorry. The only possible solution is another Accessibility selection, Bold Text. But that makes it too bold. I suppose if enough of you complained — and it doesn’t bother me — Apple could offer some intermediate option. Considering that a hefty portion of the iOS user base has already upgraded, I suppose this is something that would be considered if there are enough complaints. Obviously Apple reacted quickly to complaints about zooming effects causing nasty symptoms.

    Having used iOS 7 on my wife’s iPad, and on an iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s, I really do not share the concerns of some. As with anything that has changed drastically, it may take a few days for some of you to get used to the new look and feel. There is one more setting that might be useful from Accessibility, and that’s Increase Contrast. That takes care of a fair amount of the system’s transparency effects, in case they bother you. They don’t bother me.

    Yet another complaint has it that too many apps crash. I get them on occasion, but no more than any previous iOS release, and not nearly as much as on an Android smartphone.

    The real troublemaker for me, however, is iCloud Keychain. The feature, which debuted in OS X Mavericks, was added to iOS in the 7.0.3 update. For me, it’s sadly broken. When bringing up some login screens, the wrong username is listed. When I try to delete the incorrect entry, text is removed at a glacial pace, with several seconds passing for every single character. So I have disabled it on the iPhone and iPad. It still works on the Mac, and I assume Apple will fix it soon, since it’s a key feature that’s been heavily promoted.

    Of course, Apple was in a peculiar situation when releasing iOS 7. The critics said the iOS had grown stale, and the upgrade surely isn’t stale. So now they complain that the changes are too drastic. But, with the 7.0.3 update only recently released, I expect there will be ongoing changes as hundreds of millions of users beat it to death and complain when things go wrong. You will also see more and more apps updated, eventually requiring iOS 7 to run.

    In the end, no matter what Apple does, there will be reasons to complain about usability, performance, and compatibility. However, when I look at the competition, I prefer iOS 7 by a huge margin over Android and Windows Phone. But Apple needs to continue to make it better, and innovation has to come fast. Even now, Google is hoping that the latest Android release, KitKat 4.4, will be deployed on larger numbers of smartphones and tablets to help reduce the fragmentation nightmare. We’ll see, but Apple can’t rest on its laurels.


    No matter what your political leanings might be, you no doubt agree that the rollout of HealthCare.gov has been a total failure. Instead of fulfilling the promise of an easy one-stop shopping center for health insurance in the U.S., millions of visitors found it impossible to navigate, let alone being able to create a user account. In recent days, it has been reported that this train wreck cost some $600 million to build, although that appears to include funds that were authorized but not yet spent.

    The U.S. government should have asked for a refund, but it’s also clear that the people who put this thing together are in way over their heads. They are trying to accomplish something that is, at every level, extremely difficult. And with both political parties fighting over the very existence of the health care law, nicknamed Obamacare, it’s easy to see why it has been hard to complete development in an efficient way.

    Democrats will complain, for example, that Republican governors sabotaged the effort by, in large part, refusing to create their own state-run exchanges, and asking the Feds to do it. Some 36 states are managed by the government site, and what it’s being asked to do is far more complicated than any normal commerce site, such as Amazon or even Apple’s online shopping portal.

    You see, Amazon may be a sprawling marketplace in its own right, but even third-party vendors are using a single infrastructure, all working together in a pretty seamless fashion. Even then, Amazon has an occasional outage. As for Apple, iCloud still has service interruptions, and don’t forget the flawed rollout of MobileMe, a disaster where you had to wait for several days even to get your email. And, again, these sites are not being asked to do near what HealthCare.gov has to accomplish.

    Consider that HealthCare.gov has to instantly communicate with several other government portals, such as Medicare, the IRS and the Social Security Administration, plus state-run insurance sites, including Medicaid. And that’s before they attempt to talk to dozens of insurance companies to handle numerous health plans, rates, and sign-up information. Add to that the fact that many of these sites were developed in very different ways, and not with the latest and greatest technologies. Social Security, for example, has legacy data that takes you back to the era of punch cards. That these systems work at all is a miracle.

    Now some would suggest that President Obama should have known it was broken, since he’s supposed to be a tech-savvy chief executive. Well, perhaps. But the fact that he has used a BlackBerry and owns an iPad doesn’t make him an online wiz. He’s a lawyer, and, in his 50s, no doubt mastered many of his work skills before the Internet took over our daily lives.

    I could be conspiratorial and suggest that he knew full well that the site would be a disaster, but allowed it to open anyway, making the excuse that nobody could have predicted it would receive so much traffic and fail in so many ways. A smooth rollout might not have garnered much publicity, but the daily condition of HealthCare.gov is front and center on the 24/7 cable news channels. Some say that any publicity is good publicity, and if the site is improved as promised, it may even attract more customers, particularly younger people, which is required to make this sprawling program work.

    Of course, the critics will hope that the site will continue to misbehave and that the entire law will collapse under its own weight.

    Regardless, it is good to see that even Silicon Valley experts, from such companies as Google and Oracle, are being called in to set things right. As a start, maybe they could make it work properly in Safari for Mavericks, where you can’t even bring up an account page correctly. I know my wife would love to have affordable health coverage, if she could ever complete the enrollment process and actually pick a plan that suits her needs.

    Update: After the November 2-3 maintenance, which took the site down for at least 12 hours, content and functionality appears to be more compatible with Safari. Response time is also improving.

    I suppose one might hope that this sad episode would convince the U.S. government to find better and more efficient ways to bring services online. As to the contractors who built this mess, I hope their workers haven’t given up their day jobs. And if this is their day job, they need to find other lines of work. There are always openings for greeters at Walmart. But I don’t mean to insult the hard-working people who are employed at those stores.


    The Tech Night Owl Newsletter is a weekly information service of Making The Impossible, Inc.

    Publisher/Editor: Gene Steinberg
    Managing Editor: Grayson Steinberg
    Marketing and Public Relations: Barbara Kaplan
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    17 Responses to “Newsletter Issue #727”

    1. rsmurf says:

      Just a bit of clarity. The government is not building the web site. Contractors are. And the only thing contractors want is money. I talking about the people who run the contracting firms. They hire the cheapest people they can find or go to India (too many problems to discuss in this post) and they really don’t care what happens. I’ve been in the business for a long time. Companys that hire contractors always get burned but they keep coming back cause they are mesmorized by the word “cheaper”. We should stop “oustourcing” the onlything thig it oustources is quality.

      • @rsmurf, This is an argument about overhauling government procurement policies. I’m sure that, if a Silicon Valley company had the chance to bid on this project, it would have been done far more efficiently. But there is an entrenched and very inefficient IT system in Washington, and this is not the right climate to change that.


    2. dman says:

      “Democrats will complain, for example, that Republican governors sabotaged the effort by, in large part, refusing to create their own state-run exchanges, and asking the Feds to do it.” Blaming Republicans for the debacle is a partisan attack, especially because the complaint is not true. Oregon, for example, which is a very liberal state, has not had very much success enrolling people: http://oregoncatalyst.com/25343-plenty-oregonians-interested-obamacare-enroll-online.html That said, the federal government is the one who is mandating the law, so it’s not a far stretch to ask that they implement it. It’s their law.

      What’s worse, if and when the website is fixed, most people will probably find the name of the law very misleading as it’s not going be the affordable plan that Obama and Democrats sold it as. In fact, in the average state, “Obamacare” will increase underlying premiums by 41 percent: http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2013/11/04/49-state-analysis-obamacare-to-increase-individual-market-premiums-by-avg-of-41-subsidies-flow-to-elderly/

      It would be a glorious day if the law succeeds as it was sold–if it lowers overall premiums, let’s people stay on their current health insurance plan if they like it, increases or maintains the quality of health care, allows us to keep our doctor, and increases the number of options we have to choose from for health coverage. Will that day ever happen? Only time will tell.

      • @dman, Forbes has a known political basis, and surveys can be manipulated to produce a given result.

        The long and short of it is that, before tax credits and Medicaid coverage (or at least in the states that don’t block Medicaid expansion, which only hurts millions of their residents), rates for young people tend to be higher, and rates for older people tend to be lower. It varies. In New York State, it may be as much as 50% cheaper.

        But you have to compare apples with apples, which is to take a health insurance package with the same benefits, deductibles and co-pays. I did that with my wife’s policy when I checked the ACA site in Arizona, in the county in which we live. It ended up that rates were roughly $100 per month less for similar coverage, without considering whether she’s eligible for a tax credit.

        It’s a highly imperfect law nonetheless, but rather than the two parties working together, it’s a case of one party saying that a plan that was originally developed by the conservative Heritage Foundation in 1989 is the end of the world, and that millions of people who have no coverage or substandard coverage can just do without. Yes, it’s true. The Democrats adopted a plan designed by conservative Republicans, and that includes the individual mandate.

        In any case, let’s forget the partisan wangling. Let’s just push the people in Washington D.C. to make the thing work.


        • dman says:

          @Gene Steinberg, According to Heritage Foundation, the medicaid expansion “adds an estimated $638 billion in new government spending from 2013–2023. New spending at the federal or state level is reckless in light of the country’s trillion dollar budget deficits and over $16 trillion in national debt”: http://blog.heritage.org/2013/04/24/10-myths-about-the-obamacare-medicaid-expansion/

          I really have to wonder, if Obamacare is so great, why did Congress demand to be exempted from it? Members of Congress and their staffs were supposed to face the same laws, regulations and restrictions that all of us now face in acquiring health care and health insurance. But they complained about the costs; members of Congress, particularly their staffs, complained because they couldn’t afford it. So the president subsidized 75% of premiums for Congress, Senate, and their staffs.

          From my perspective, if the new law is so great, it would have been a landmark move by Obama to be the first one to sign up and show everyone how wonderful it is. But that’s just not the case.

          I’m not saying this is the best solution, but if Obamacare is actually about making health care more affordable for Americans, wouldn’t it have made more sense to take the $600 million spent on the website and instead just give each American an equal portion of that money by putting it in some sort of individual health savings account, which we could spend on healthcare when we need it? Assuming there are about 300 million Americans, the cost of the broken website alone would have given each of us close to $2 million to spend in our lifetime on health care. That solution would have been MUCH less expensive than Obamacare, and everyone would have benefited from it.

          Sure, portions of Obamacare were loosely based on a plan originally developed by the Heritage Foundation in 1989, but the fact remains that zero (“0”) Republicans voted for the Affordable Health Care Act. Both parties have not worked together on this law from day one. We can do better.

    3. Blad_Rnr says:

      We have a law that should have never been implemented. Government has no stake in this. They exempted themselves from it. Why should it succeed? Obama knew it wouldn’t. They had three years and $400M and couldn’t get it to work. Why? Because government by nature doesn’t care. Why should they? They have fear of going out of business. That’s why whatever the government does is expensive with very little return. Medicare/Medicaid fraud has been going on for years. $1000 toilet seats for the military and $400 hammers. That joke has been going on for a long time. But its true. There is so much waste in any government because they don’t understand costs. They don’t have to.

      Only private enterprise has to make a profit therefore they know what said product costs, because they have to live in the real world where there is a return on the investment. Government can just tax us more or print more money when they don’t get something to work. Does anyone care that we are $17T in debt? How wonderful is that?

      Government is simply too big and too cumbersome. The Republicans didn’t vote for this mess because some of them knew the common sense answer was to allow health insurance companies to cross state lines that would have driven down costs and made it more affordable, as part of the solution. And before you decide that’s bologna, just consider how many commercials you sit through from Geico, All State, Progressive and all the rest…just to sell car insurance! They drive down the prices because of competition, and they actually have websites that work! They strive to cut costs and run a tight ship, and make a little money. At least they aren’t a drain on our economy and our national debt! Who would have thought?!

      Wait until next year when these companies that got exemptions this year start to cancel even millions more. One sixth of our economy…down the $400M toilet.

      • @Blad_Rnr, You are sadly misinformed. Congress, for example, is NOT exempt, nor are their staffers. The only difference is that they get the standard employer contribution to a health plan, same as tens of millions of Americans. This is something that the noise machine continues to distort.

        Besides, the critical part of the ACA is meant for people who are not insured, not people whose employer already provides health insurance. I’m sorry you don’t seem to understand this fundamental fact.

        In addition, ACA means you can’t be dumped or get a rate hike for a preexisting condition, that there is no lifetime cap, and that a number of basic services are covered within the limits of a policy, such as doctor visits, hospital visits, lab tests and even mental health care. Some of those junk plans that are being phased out now cover very little. They are ripoffs.

        The law is highly imperfect, but it is, as I said, strongly inspired by the 1989 Heritage Foundation concept. Indeed, a variation of this concept may have become the law of the land in the Bush I administration had it not been for the Gulf war. Check your history.

        No, having insurance carriers sell policies across state lines would not solve the problem of preexisting conditions, lifetime caps, and so on and so forth. Don’t get you that?

        Sure, it might make for a more consistent rate structure. But it may also mean that the state that has the least controls gets all the insurance companies. When we did that with credit cards, maximum interest rates and late fees increased.

        Besides, your argument is illogical. Republicans say the state should be in control, but making insurance plans available across state lines, perhaps nationally, makes it a Federal solution. You really don’t get it.

        You also seem to forget that the liberal criticism about ACA is that it’s a multibillion dollar giveaway to the health insurance industry, since all of the insurance is provided by private carriers. They were promised up to 30 million new customers, and they’re salivating.

        It’s not government health care. It’s private health care, for better or worse.


        • dman says:

          @Gene Steinberg, But again, if the ACA law is so great and, as you suggest, “is meant for people who are not insured, not people whose employer already provides health insurance,” we could have taken the $600 million spent on the website and given the 30 million uninsured $20 million each. And then saved billions–probably trillions over the next decade–by not implementing the new law.

          Instead, Obamacare is forcing insurers to drop coverage for millions of Americans because the government thinks those people chose “Some of those junk plans,” as you suggest. But maybe people only wanted catastrophic coverage, so that they wouldn’t have to spend wads of money each year on expensive premiums that are now required by the ACA. A healthy 28 year old young man or woman may not want or need that expensive plan; they may only want cheap catastrophic coverage, which would save them tons of money. But, we both know the ACA law needs healthy young people to pay boatloads of cash for insurance they don’t need, so they can cover the cost of other to have health care and cover the cost of “preexisting conditions, lifetime caps, and so on and so forth.” Redistribution 101.

          Republicans are not just saying that the states should be in control, they are also saying that the government should absolutely not be in control of our choice to purchase whatever kind of health care plan we want–or don’t want. And using the IRS to enforce and oversee our health care decisions is perhaps one of the most uncomfortable aspects of the new law.

          Blad_Rnr is right, the government does not care–it’s not designed to. It thinks in numbers and cost. A great example of this is when Kathleen Sebelius told a 10 year old, dying from Cystic Fibrosis, “some will live and some will die.” She didn’t care about the dying girl, because government isn’t designed to care, she cared that some bureaucratic law said that children must be at least 12 to get a lung transplant. Unless money grows on trees, when things get too expensive, gov’t will ration or they will find less expensive (lower quality) solutions.

          • @dman, It’s clear from your comments that you aren’t giving us a direct response. You are just repeating Fox News or Republican talking points (no difference).

            Yes, there are fairly basic plans on the Exchange, as I’ve seen them myself. Nothing stops someone from buying insurance direct from a company. But when someone buys a plan that doesn’t provide basic coverage, and ends up in the emergency room because that person can’t afford to pay for treatment because of an inferior plan, you pay for it. I pay for it. You don’t realize that, do you? I figured you didn’t.

            Yes, young people have preexisting conditions too, and, yes, they do get cancer, and they do get other serious illnesses. But because the ACA provides limited open enrollment, it’s not that someone can just get sick, call the insurance company, and get covered. It doesn’t work that way.

            You also do not understand about limiting this to states. You see a state is not a separate country. Someone may live in one state, and work in another. Someone may have to move to another state for a new job or another reason. They should be able to have good health insurance wherever they live. The need for health care doesn’t change because of the state in which you live.

            As I said, this plan was developed by the Republicans, in 1989. It is a market-driven system pure and simple. You still have Aetna, Humana, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, HeathNet, etc. Why can’t you admit the truth? What are you afraid of?

            All you are doing is regurgitating tired old talking points, most of which are proven to be lies. Tell us something original, or you’re outta here!


            • dman says:

              @Gene Steinberg, I do know that we pay for treatment when someone ends up in the emergency room but cannot pay for it themselves. That solution was already in place prior to the ACA. It was much less expensive than the ACA, too.

              I also fully understand that a state is not a separate country. I think if health insurance was not limited to state lines, it could resolve some issues. In a free market system, more competition means the consumer wins; insurers would sell what consumers want, and lower their prices to beat competitors and win customer loyalty. That said, you are right to say that that wouldn’t solve all problems, but it could help fix some of them. So why not try it?

              I don’t claim to know all of the answers, but I also don’t think I’ve lied about anything. (Definitely not intentionally.) If I am wrong about a specific comment, by all means point it out. I’m not some Fox News junkie, I’m just a normal dude trying to make sense of something that my gut tells me could be trouble.

              Gene, I really do enjoy your work and I don’t mean to step on anyone’s toes–but we are debating about a hot button issue, so toes are bound to be stepped on. For that I do apologize. 😉

            • @dman, I appreciate your more realistic attitude.

              One more thing: As you may have heard, there is a huge scandal brewing about the phony insurance cancellation letters being sent out now, and state insurance commissions are investigating. Indeed, Humana was fined $64,430 in the state of Kentucky for sending out misleading letters.

              All these letters do is explain that someone is being transitioned to a different policy, unless they choose something else. But some appear to be cancellation letters, and it’s freaking people out.

              Many of the letters are negative option schemes that are similar to the record and CD clubs of old. If you don’t say no, you may get a health care plan that may be overpriced compared to the ones the same company may offer in the exchange.


    4. RenaissanceLady says:

      I especially appreciate that you wrote this:
      “You see, Amazon may be a sprawling marketplace in its own right, but even third-party vendors are using a single infrastructure, all working together in a pretty seamless fashion. Even then, Amazon has an occasional outage. As for Apple, iCloud still has service interruptions, and don’t forget the flawed rollout of MobileMe, a disaster where you had to wait for several days even to get your email. And, again, these sites are not being asked to do near what HealthCare.gov has to accomplish.”

      That hit the nail on the head. Flaws on internet sites are common, though these tend not to reflect the quality of the product. I also find it especially amazing that the same people who shut down the government to keep this from going into affect are now complaining that people cannot quickly enroll. Many new products have glitches when they first enter the market.

      We’ve had a system where countless Americans are uninsured, causing our emergency services to be extremely taxedand leading to countless preventable deaths. The reason we pay the highest rates of healthcare in the world is because we have so many who are uninsured, not getting any healthcare until a problem becomes a crisis and then being unable to pay the hospital bills. It is inexcusable that the same people who keep complaining about the “takers” who “abuse the system” are now enraged that we have a system – which was first planned by Republican organizations – that requires most Americans to have insurance while better enabling them to do so. This isn’t “socialized medicine,” but rather its opposite. The ACA enables people to get insurance through the marketplace. This was, at one time, the Republican goal. The Heritage Foundation was advocating this very thing dating back to 1989. While I am truly grateful to not be dropped for my pre-existings and to have competitive rates for health insurance, I’m still hoping that these policies will eventually lead us to some sort of single-payer plan.

      • @RenaissanceLady, Yes, it’s fascinating how the Republicans scream when you remind them that the whole ACA concept, including the individual mandate, was theirs. But the problem is that Obama passed it. If W passed it during his administration, they’d be praising it to the skies.


    5. dfs says:

      Let’s forget about the good and bad points of Obamacare and save all the partisan sniping for another day. The immediate problems are a.) the Obama administration seriously underestimated the frictions involved in migrating to the new system of health insurance and b.) probably for political reasons (they want to receive credit for the benefits of their new system in time for the next presidential election), the administration has attempted to push this transition at an unrealistically fast tempo. Much more thought and planning should have been invested in it. Now the administration “owns” all the backlash generated by this friction (difficulties far too serious and widespread to be written off as nothing more than figments of Republican imagination) and this too may have a serious effect on the next couple of election cycles.

      • @dfs, I don’t think the administration understood the intensity of the opposition, which surely hurt the rollout in a number of ways.


      • RenaissanceLady says:


        I would counter that we’ve known for years that these healthcare changes were happening, so I cannot see that this has been done “at an unrealistically fast tempo.” In the last presidential election, Mitt Romney ran on a platform that centered on repealing “Obamacare.” He lost, and the changes that had been planned became well underway.

        When JFK threw down the challenge, it took us *only* eight years to put a man on the moon. I therefore cannot see why taking four to implement a healthcare plan using an existing healthcare marketplace would be too fast to become feasible. Contrary to what some on the right would have us believe, the problems with the ACA aren’t with the plan itself but rather due to some glitches on a website. This happens all the time whenever a new product is released. The bugs are then fixed and we all get collective amnesia regarding the initial problems with our fancy new gadget, For that matter, how many infamous automobile recalls have happened, possibly in our own lifetimes, due to potentially fatal problems that have lasted years or even decades before they were finally addressed? Problems with a website are exceptionally minor in comparison. We’ve waited a few years for this. Waiting another few weeks to work out some kinks isn’t much of a sacrifice. This is a hiccup, not the end of the world.

        We should also consider, those of us who live in states with governors who support the ACA have working websites which we can use to enroll. This clearly indicates that there are no problems with this happening “at an unrealistically fast tempo” in those places that had little opposition. When we work together for the greater good, we can move mountains. When we have people who have dedicated their lives NOT to help the country but to hurt a political party, we can expect bumps in the road.

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