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Website Glitches Are No Katrina

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It's no secret that the rollout for Healthcare.gov has been somewhat of a bumpy road. Technical glitches have caused delays for folks looking to obtain insurance, and frustrated those working hard to provide coverage options for all Americans for the first time in this nation's history. While the kinks get repaired, much of the criticism has been beyond comprehension. Is it okay to highlight website problems? Yes. Is it okay to push the president to get these tech issues resolved quickly? Absolutely. But when did having website problems become the same thing as not sending enough help to those dying and suffering in the midst of a devastating hurricane?? The two aren't even on the same page. Katrina was a prime example of government neglect; the Affordable Care Act is government engagement on behalf of those that have been neglected. Even remotely comparing the two is insulting at best. Let's not fool ourselves.

When the destructive floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina demolished homes, killed innocents and trapped countless residents, the government caused even further pain and suffering. The slow response to rescue people, provide appropriate aid and overall shoddy relief efforts literally cost some their lives. And even prior to the storm, the inability to properly secure those levees that eventually gave way during the hurricane was a prime example of government failure. Katrina killed more than 1800 people, cost billions in damage and once again made a segment of the population question whether their lives were deemed as valuable as those in the upper echelons of society. The lack of an appropriate response to Katrina was a prime example of institutional government neglect. Healthcare.gov is a safe haven for those that have been abandoned.

There are many lawmakers that would like nothing more than to see this president fail. That's no secret. And they have cleverly used the website glitches as justification to criticize health care reform all together, and once again undermine Obama's signature legislation. But we expect that. We expect politicians who put the needs of the people last while they try to score political points by blowing things out of proportion. We expect elected officials only concerned with their own self-aggrandizing ambitions to misinform the public and play on people's fears of the unknown. And we expect individuals whose number one goal is not to lead, but rather attack the president at every opportunity to do nothing else than to create the extremely false comparison between Katrina and the Affordable Care Act. That's expected; but when journalists and media outlets do the same, we have a serious problem.

Unfortunately, many have jumped on the dishonest comparison bandwagon. It is an insult to those who have been disenfranchised and ignored by the majority. The victims of Katrina were overwhelmingly the ones who were already marginalized, and our government failed them once again. The uninsured and underinsured are the ones who cannot afford coverage, who have to choose between taking a child to the doctor and putting food on the table, who fall into bankruptcy because of one illness, who have been kicked off of plans because of a pre-existing condition, who cannot afford life-saving medicine when they need it, who never receive preventive care -- in short, they are the ones that society often chooses to disregard. The Affordable Care Act is reform designed to finally give them an opportunity to receive health insurance. It is a mechanism established to create further equality in the country. Even hinting at a comparison between website difficulties and a failure to appropriately respond to the victims of Katrina is an affront to all who have been alienated.

The Obama Administration has stated that most of the technical glitches will be repaired by the end of this month, and that as time progresses, all kinks will be worked out. That's great news. It's important to remember that while it's ok to keep pressure on the president and his administration to getHealthcare.gov fully functional, we cannot pretend that this isn't an unprecedented feat. For the first time in this nation's history, all Americans have the opportunity to shop for affordable health care coverage. It's a huge undertaking which will take some time to implement. Change never happens overnight, and there will always be those that are opposed to progress. But let's not fall victim to their game of lies and deceit.

The response to Katrina was a failure of government; health care reform is an example of how government works to benefit the quality of life for its people. One was clear government breakdown; the other, active government participation. Now which one would you rather have?