It was only in the past few weeks President Obama finally realized that buying insurance is inherently complicated and his signature law’s exchanges can’t make it simple. This is, of course, one of the many reasons I thought having (at least) a public option was so important.

Given what my job is I have had several friends and family ask me for advice on what they should buy in the exchange, and even with my expertise helping them is not easy. There are multiple factors to consider and technical jargon to explain.

In addition, the poor design of the website makes it very difficult for me to help these individuals over the phone, because there is no easy way for me to see in detail their options without me creating numerous fake accounts. Figuring out what hospitals/providers are in each of these limited network plans and how these limited networks might impact an individual are time consuming.

If there was a public option I would probably feel comfortable advising them to select that. It might not be perfect for them but it would at least it would be a decent, cost effective plan not run by private insurance companies which spend decades figuring out every which way to screw people over.

It was supposed to be both a benchmark and a guarantee of at least one not terrible option. Now people just face a very confusing mess on the exchanges, and it is beyond frustrating that Obama only actually figured this out a few days ago.

Image by Chris Messina, used under Creative Commons license