One thing I’ve learned since I moved to Hawaii three years ago: I’m not allowed to complain about anything that happens here. Of course, I don’t really care about that rule. As George Clooney said in his monologue at the beginning of The Descendants, life is just as real here as it is anywhere else. In addition to, yes, the beaches, warm weather and gorgeous sunsets, there’s poverty, disease, debt, stress, responsibilities and more than enough reality to gripe about.
For example, the Hawaii health insurance exchange, known as Hawaii Health Connector, didn’t launch today on schedule per the mandate of the Affordable Care Act. Not only is this completely infuriating knowing that Hawaii was the first state to agree to launch an exchange — two years ago — but the Connector’s Chief Marketing Officer Rick Budar is treating this massive glitch like it’s no big deal.
Evidently there are software problems, which will reportedly be squared away by Friday. Maybe. Or perhaps by the end of the month. And, on top of that, the insurance providers have yet to work out the numbers for the various Connector insurance policies.
Budar told the AP, “We are going to focus on making October the month of learning.” Sorry, Mr. Budar, but you’ve had two years for “learning.”
Worse, Budar said, “I don’t believe anybody wants to give their money early.” Early? How about “on time” — as in today? There’s only one thing that’s more infuriating than a screw-up of this magnitude: a bureaucrat who brushes off the screw-up like it’s no big deal.
In Hawaii, Budar’s attitude is known as the “aloha spirit.” I call it a massive glitch, not only in terms of helping people use the exchange to buy insurance (like me), but also in terms of optics for the broader ACA law at a time when the Republican Party is actively scolding “Obamacare” as a failed policy.
Thanks, Hawaii, for reinforcing the GOP’s precognitive myth. And no, the beaches and mai-tais won’t make up for it.