GOP Defended Web Glitches During Bush’s Healthcare Reform

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

Republicans are calling for the resignation of Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius over the Obamacare web glitches that have plagued the system since Oct. 1.

The GOP, however, was quick to defend online healthcare issues when President George W. Bush rolled out his Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit plan in 2005 and 2006, according to Igor Volsky of ThinkProgress.

Bush’s Medicare web tool was so flawed its debut was delayed for several weeks, leaving low-income beneficiaries to go without medication. Some pharmacies were even receiving the wrong prescription information.

“Any time something is new, there is going to be some glitches,” said Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., during a speech on the House Floor in April 2006. “All of us, when our children were new, well, we knew as parents we didn’t exactly know everything we were doing, and we had a foul-up or two, but we persevered and our children turned out well. No matter what one does in life, when it is something new in learning the ropes of it, it is going to take a little adjustment.”

Bush’s head of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Dr. Mark McClellan, appeared at a hearings of the House Committee On Energy And Commerce to answer for the glitches and explain how the administration would fix the issues of implementing the new Medicare law.

Today the House Committee On Energy And Commerce is holding its first meeting on the shortcomings of the Healthcare.gov website.

Some of the same Republicans who assert that the failure of the Obamacare website is proof that government can’t run health insurance also defended the kinks Bush’s administration encountered with its web tool.

“This is a huge undertaking and there are going to be glitches,” said Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, during a 2006 hearing. “My goal is the same as yours: Get rid of the glitches. The committee will work closely with yourself and Dr. Mark McClellan at CMS to get problems noticed and solved.”

The web glitches were fixed eventually, but more than half of Medicare prescription drug beneficiaries couldn’t sign up until after the first of the year.

Sources: ThinkProgress, Washington Post