The open enrollment period for Obamacare ended in April, and with it came a form of closure for all of the people who worked on health care reform.
For the past four years, operatives, politicians, aides, lobbyists, activists and the like have toiled, first to craft a bill and then to defend it. They watched Congress nearly derail the prospects of reform and the Supreme Court nearly rule it unconstitutional. They waded through a presidential election during which repeal was on the table. They saw the launch of the health insurance exchanges marred by a glitchy website. And then they observed more than 8 million people sign up for insurance through those same exchanges.
Health care reporters documented the process every step of the way. And now that it's over, they have a chance to relax a bit and reflect on everything that happened. The Huffington Post figured we would facilitate that relaxation and tape that reflection.
In the first part of a series titled "Wait, Is This Thing On?" we brought together four of the top health care reporters in the business: Sarah Kliff of Vox, Julie Rovner of Kaiser Health News, Alex Wayne of Bloomberg News and Jeffrey Young of The Huffington Post. Over some beers, they discussed virtually every element of the Affordable Care Act, from its construction and ultimate passage to its failures and triumphs.
The whole thing was basically an excuse to imbibe. But along the way, they also exchanged stories on everything from the most overwrought Obamacare controversy, to the one early enrollee that EVERY media outlet decided to interview, to how a hot dog vending machine became a legitimate food option for reporters covering the story.
We hope you enjoy it -- at least more than you would enjoy a hot dog that came from a vending machine.
Watch the video above. Here's an index of key moments in the discussion:
00:00 - Meet The Reporters
04:10 - Why Did It Take So Long To Pass Obamacare?
07:52 - The Rise And Fall Of Sen. Ben Nelson
10:19 - The Historic Sunday Of The Bill's Passage
12:16 - The White House Media Strategy (Or Lack Thereof)
14:24 - Critiquing The Press
15:33 - The Story Of The Bungled Website
18:00 - Canceled Plans Become A Scandal
20:34 - Chad Henderson Causes A Media Fiasco
24:16 - The Future Of Obamacare