WaPo: HealthCare.Gov, working by the end of November? Yeah, about that…
posted at 8:41 am on November 13, 2013 by Erika Johnsen
A few weeks ago, the Obama administration blithely imposed upon themselves a deadline of November 30th as the target date by which HealthCare.Gov’s many prohibitive glitches positively should be and absolutely would be finally worked out:
“We are confident that by the end of the month of November, HealthCare.gov will operate smoothly,” said Jeff Zients, the former White House budget director tasked with finding a way to get the enrollment process back on track. He said a group of technology experts has developed a “punch list” of problems they need to fix in order to get HealthCare.gov on track. At the top of the list, he said, are problems with the information the site is feeding to insurance companies.
If [very] recent history is any indication, however, the Obama administration doesn’t really have much of a problem making promises they are egregiously well aware they have no way of keeping, and they seem to be well-poised to take yet another ObamaCare-related egg to the face. The evidence has been mounting that the website still won’t be ready after a full two months into the (as yet) six-month enrollment period, and the Washington Post has another report out on that front:
Software problems with the federal online health insurance marketplace, especially in handling high volumes, are proving so stubborn that the system is unlikely to work fully by the end of the month as the White House has promised, according to an official with knowledge of the project.
The insurance exchange is balking when more than 20,000 to 30,000 people attempt to use it at the same time — about half its intended capacity, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose internal information. And CGI Federal, the main contractor that built the site, has succeeded in repairing only about six of every 10 of the defects it has addressed so far. …
Government workers and technical contractors racing to repair the Web site have concluded, the official said, that the only way for large numbers of Americans to enroll in the health-care plans soon is by using other means so that the online system isn’t overburdened.
Zients mentioned above that one of the biggest problems still plaguing the site is successfully feeding the inputted information to insurance companies, and in that same vein, as Politico reports, that transferring problem has some mightily inconvenient implications for the one part of ObamaCare actually showing signs of life: Medicaid signups. If the system was working like it’s supposed to, Medicaid applications submitted via HealthCare.Gov would be getting approved by the federal government and then transmitted to the states, who would then finalize them and begin coverage for new enrollees on January 1st. …Except that the system isn’t working.
But HealthCare.gov hasn’t begun transferring those applications yet. The Obama administration has delayed the process twice and hasn’t made public a new start date. If it’s not up and running by December, several state Medicaid officials meeting in Washington warned Tuesday, those would-be enrollees might miss the start of new coverage.
And they might not even know it until they show up at a clinic or a doctor’s office or a hospital and try to get care. After all, they had signed up — and wouldn’t necessarily know they were caught in another Obamacare glitch. …
Obama administration Medicaid chief Cindy Mann told reporters Tuesday that her agency is actively working with states to get the application transfer online.
“We’ve been testing those systems with states and hopefully soon we’ll be able to do the full account transfers,” she said.