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FLASHBACK: ‘Any time something is new, there is going to be some glitches’

Fresh off the GOP’s $24 billion dollar, 16-day government shutdown, House Republicans are falling all over themselves declaring the Affordable Care Act’s individual Marketplaces rollout a “debacle,” “wet blanket,” and “disaster.”  But the GOP was less incensed by the flawed, bumpy launch of the Republican-passed Medicare Part D program under President Bush.

Republican Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), chairman of the Energy and Commerce oversight subcommittee currently holding a hearing about Healthcare.gov, had this to say in 2006 

“Any time something is new, there is going to be some glitches.” (4/6/2006)

Republican Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), chairman emeritus of the Energy and Commerce Committee 

“…the new benefit and its implementation are hardly perfect… I would hope that we can work together… to find out what is wrong with the program and if we can make some changes to fix it.” (3/1/2006)

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)

“I am not trying to make excuses or minimize the difficulties some are having. Those problems need to be fixed, and fixed fast… the opponents of this new benefit will complain and fight it no matter what happens.” (2/2/2006)

As House Energy and Commerce Committee Democrats point out in a new report Congressional Republicans were far more forgiving of the glitches, technical difficulties and general rollout problems of Medicare Part D in 2006 than they are of the Affordable Care Act today.  More from the report:

Like the Affordable Care Act, the rollout of Medicare Part D was marred by significant problems with the program’s website and helpline.  These problems lasted for several months and dramatically affected seniors’ access to the law’s benefits…

The website and sign-up process for the Medicare Part D program began in early October 2005 and immediately ran into problems…

The centerpiece of the new drug program – the online Medicare Drug Plan Finder, which was designed to allow seniors to search for and sign up for Part D drug plans, was repeatedly delayed…

Website glitches provided seniors with inaccurate cost estimates…

…several Republican members noted that despite the problems with implementation, Medicare Part D was a fundamentally sound program that should be given a chance to succeed.

SELECTED HEADLINES FROM MEDICARE PART D’S FLAWED LAUNCH

Daily Gazette: Medicare Program’s First Week ‘A Mess’

Wall Street Journal: Glitches Mar Launch of Medicare Drug Plan

NPR: Problems Plague Rollout of New Medicare Drug Plan

USA Today Editorial: Medicare mess portends badly for new drug plan

Boston Globe: Medicare Drug Plan Nightmares – It’s enough to make them sick

Washington Post: Millions Not Joining Medicare Drug Plan

San Francisco Chronicle: New prescription drug program plagued by delays and confusion over coverage

Lawrence Journal-World: Drug Frustrations Mount, Prescription Plan Causes Headaches

McKnight’s: Bush campaigns for Medicare Part D, acknowledges start-up error

Sarasota Herald-Tribune: More Medicare missteps $50 million glitch just the latest problem with prescription plans

New York Times: President Tells Insurers to Aid Ailing Medicare Drug Plan

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: A few glitches on opening days of Medicare Part D drug plan

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