Comment: US health reform expert explores the current state of Obamacare and visits 'bewildering' health insurance websites
Release Date 24 October 2013
Dr Jonathan Bell, from the University of Reading's Department of History, is an expert in modern US politics, specialising in health care reform. Dr Bell said:
"Republicans will try in today's hearing to capitalise on the implementation problems, but the fact is that this crisis over implementation conceals a bigger problem no one wants to talk about. The law does not change the fact that health care in the US remains mostly in the hands of a massive private insurance industry, and access remains fraught with difficulty for many.
"The administration is hoping for at least seven million Americans to sign up by March, but serious headway in resolving the technical issues will need to be made quickly so that enough people enrol and the law is deemed a success.
"After exploring two state health insurance exchange websites (California and New York) I was faced not only by technical glitches, but by a bewildering array of options and price schedules that still prove to be a major obstacle to those wanting affordable and yet protective care.
"After the bruising battles of the last few weeks to keep his health care reform alive, the last thing President Obama needed was high profile negative publicity about the federal website set up to help uninsured and underinsured Americans find health insurance plans."