Are You Ready for the Affordable Care Act Graduate School Course?

Posted: Oct 29, 2013 3:20 PM

Attention: Are you a Ph.D. student at the University of Texas at Austin looking to earn extra credits next semester towards your degree? Well, if so, you’re in luck. Starting next spring, graduate students can enroll in a course specializing in "navigating" the ins and outs of the Affordable Care Act. No, I’m not kidding.

The DC reports:

Enrolling in Obamacare may be more difficult than anybody thought.

The University of Texas at Austin’s spring 2014 course offerings include a graduate course on navigating Obamacare exchange enrollment. The university’s LBJ School of Public Affairs will give aspiring PhD students academic credit for examining the Obamacare enrollment process.

The Public Affairs department aspires to “improving the quality of public service in the United States.” Presumably taking a deeper look at how consumers can manage to navigate will further the improvement of Obamacare as a public program.

The class, entitled “Enrolling in Health Insurance Through the Affordable Care Act: An Austin Case Study,” will take a look at the Texas experience through the federally run exchange at

The 60000-level course corresponds to a second-year graduate course — because of course, the enrollment process meant for the average American can only be understood by someone with five or more years of higher level education under their belt.

In other words, don’t feel bad, my fellow citizens -- especially if you’re one of the countless Americans who’ve experienced all sorts of snags and glitches trying to enroll in the government exchanges. Always remember you’re not the only one. In truth, the process is so complicated and so broken that a real life university is offering Ph.D. candidates an actual course to figure this damn thing out. Stunning.

The issue here, of course, is that the University of Texas is trying to offer a public service by navigating the government exchanges, presumably so we won’t have to. But in the process they’re merely exposing how fundamentally flawed the system is, raising all sorts of questions about whether the president’s signature overhaul is even workable. After all, if universities are now deploying Ph.D. students to figure out this mess, what are the chances ordinary citizens like you and me will be able to do it? Hmm. An interesting question, indeed.

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