The government shutdown knocked ACA glitches from the headlines

I find it ironic that the Republican’s effort to stop Obamacare, by shutting down the government, managed to distract from the bad news stories about Obamacare. This is a rare instance when the GOP’s war on Obamacare may have helped the effort of Democrats to sell it.

The Affordable Care Act exchanges opened today. If there hadn’t been any other major news this would have been the big story of the day, but clearly a government shutdown trumps everything. The big banner story on the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, CNN.com, etc… is the shutdown.

Many of the stories today about the opening of the exchanges have focused on the problems and there have been a lot of problems. This is one of the most massive technological rollouts ever by the government. There is no way something this big could work perfectly on day one, and the needless complexity of this law’s design assured it was going to have many issues. Even the administration is trying to lower expectations by admitting there will be lots of glitches.

I suspect some of these problems will naturally be worked out in the next few days or at the very least they will be “old news” in a week and not receive much attention.

During the few days when the media was almost guaranteed to focus on several negative stories about Obamacare, Congressional Republicans actively managed to instead make the big story about infighting and an unpopular government shutdown.

Photo by José Goulão under Creative Commons license