Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel: By 2016 healthcare exchanges ‘going to be like shopping on Amazon’

Updated
By Annaliese Wiederspahn

Friday marks the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Obamacare, which cleared the way for the healthcare law to be fully implemented across the country.

Now, the national rollout of the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges is only 100 days away, with exchanges set to go live online on Oct. 1. For the state and federal healthcare officials in charge of overseeing the programs and beta testing the software, the deadline to complete their work looms large.

Politico reports that some Democrats expressed concern earlier this week in a meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about the lack of information Americans have regarding Obamacare’s impact. Lawmakers are also worried that seniors are not comfortable with what Obamacare will mean for Medicare participants.

“I think by 2015, 2016 this thing is going to be like shopping on Amazon,” said President Obama’s former healthcare adviser and University of Pennsylvania professor Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel on Jansing & Co. “A few hiccups are expected and they’ll be smoothed out over time. I don’t think hiccups mean the law isn’t ready for primetime.”

A recent report by the congressional Government Accountability Office warned that several states have missed deadlines for the rollout. The report also revealed that the administration is handling implementation of the exchanges in 34 states that handed oversight of the program back to federal officials.

The Obama administration recently took some heat on its healthcare rollout from the president’s hometown paper. A Chicago Tribune editorial went after HHS for pushing people into “fledgling, sure-to-be-glitchy exchanges” and for not effectively driving down insurance premiums, especially for young Americans.

Dr. Emanuel expressed confidence that once the exchanges are up-and-running the experience will be positive for consumers. “I think that they’ll find it relatively easy to use, certainly, I think a little less confusing than shopping for insurance now,” said Emanuel. “And hopefully the prices in many states, we know already in California and other places are going to be pretty competitive and if not better than what they might be otherwise.”

In Washington, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reaffirmed the significance of Obamacare on the one year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the law in yesterday’s weekly address. She said the Affordable Care Act offers “a healthier life, liberty, the ability to pursue a person’s happiness” and, with 100 days until insurance exchanges go live nationwide, “that’s something our members will take home to celebrate over this Independence Day.”

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel: By 2016 healthcare exchanges 'going to be like shopping on Amazon'

Updated