The new health law may bring more criticism and problems in the New Year along with a chance to redeem itself. Major benefits will take place along with some disruptions.
Some people will see major improvements for example - Howard Kraft of Lincolnton - a hotel bellman -has a painful spinal problem which left him unable to work. He has been able to get coverage as insurers cannot refuse people with health problems.
"I am not one of these people getting a policy because I'm being made to," Kraft said. "I need one to stay alive."
The health law is very good for people like Kraft and may seem like a punishment to others, especially requiring virtually every American to get covered, through an employer, a government program or direct purchase of a plan.
The main problem is with errors in the health care records - a person may turn up in the Emergency only to be told that there is no record of their insurance cover or enrollment. There will be a record with government but none with the insurer.
Some of the people enrolled will have records with the insurer but their information details don't appear in the government's computers
The Obama administration says the rate of such errors has been dramatically reduced, and insurers agree. The volume of sign ups has increased so that the cases with errors are also increasing.
"There are going to be problems for any number of people who thought they had signed up, and it won't work right off the bat," said Mark McClellan, who oversaw the rollout of Medicare's prescription drug benefit — a program that has had its share of issues. "It would be particularly disruptive for people in the midst of treatment."
Anticipating disruptions, major drug store chains like CVS and Walgreens have announced they will help customers who face coverage glitches, even providing temporary supplies of medications without insisting on up-front payment. Many smaller independent pharmacies are also ready to help.
Obama visualizes that the arrival of the Affordable Care Act's major benefits in 2014 would be like a national seminar, showcasing his philosophy that government can and should smooth the rough edges off an unforgiving economy for struggling working people.
Although the goal of the law was to cover the uninsured, at least 4.7 million insured people had individual policies canceled because they didn't meet the new requirements. The president apologized for the cancelled policies as he had promised people that they could keep their health plans. According to the administration most of these people invested in new policies.
Americans with job-based health plans are also worried as in a recent poll it was found that many businesses were shifting health costs to workers - in the name of Obamacare
At present, administration officials are focused on getting through the March 31 end of open enrollment. People who enroll by that date will not face the law's tax penalty for remaining uninsured.
The administration is planning to get younger, healthy uninsured people to sign up, key to the law's long-term success.
Hannah Punitha (IRDA Licence Number: 2710062)
Fox News, January 2014