Maryland, Oregon exchanges still stuck in technological limbo

posted at 1:21 pm on November 20, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

For lack of better news to tout, the White House has lately been including the relatively more robust ObamaCare enrollment going on in some of the various state-controlled exchanges in their daily talking points rather than focusing on their own federal catastrophe (although, as ever, higher enrollment numbers are only a good thing if they are comprised of the right mix of both high- and low-cost individuals, which we won’t be able to judge for certain until the enrollment period is over), but most unfortunately, several of their most enthusiastic blue-state allies are still trying to work out website problems rivaling their own.

WaPo reports that Maryland has yet to effectively tackle their prohibitive tech problems, and points out that their website’s glitchiness is already being used as fodder for the progressive politicking that will likely decide who replaces Gov. O’Malley as the state’s top Democrat in 2014′s gubernatorial:

In October, the exchange’s first full month of operation, 1,278 people signed up for the private plans, and 465 signed up in the first week of November. Those low numbers raise questions about whether Maryland will achieve its enrollment target of 150,000 by the end of March. The state has about 800,000 uninsured residents.

Backup options, such as paper applications, are proving time-consuming and cumbersome. Front-line helpers must manually enter information from paper applications into electronic ones, using an internal state Web page available from only some government buildings. That puts access out of reach for many helpers working at community organizations. …

“What is surprising to me is that the state has been so supportive of the ACA, has messaged positively about it and invested in it early, that it’s a bit of a puzzle to me why the numbers are so low,” said Dan Mendelson, president of Avalere Health, a consulting firm.

And on the west coast, the state of Oregon still — still — hasn’t managed to sing up a single person through their online exchange, despite the ambitious website construction project they began well in advance:

But instead of serving as a national model, Oregon’s experience has emerged as a cautionary tale, inviting comparisons to technical glitches that have plagued other state-run portals and the federal government’s website for those states lacking exchanges of their own.

Oregon’s online exchange has remained inaccessible to the public, requiring the state to sign up applicants the old-fashioned way, using paper forms. This has made comparison shopping more difficult for consumers and severely slowed the enrollment process.

“Oregonians have questions,” said state Senate President Peter Courtney, a Democrat, in a written statement on Tuesday. “What went wrong with the rollout? How are they going to fix it? When are they going to get it right? Is the website contractor doing everything it can? Our people need to know.”

Funnily enough, those are all questions that perfectly apply to the federal exchange, too, which fully or partially covers the ObamaCare operations of 36 states. The White House might be trying to redirect attention to individual states’ comparative successes with enrollment as positive signs, but the fact remains that the overwhelming majority of states are still struggling with unworkable online portals, with no immediate end in sight.


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Zero for zero

Schadenfreude on November 20, 2013 at 1:24 PM

“What went wrong with the rollout? How are they going to fix it? When are they going to get it right? Is the website contractor doing everything it can?

In other words, why aren’t Oregonians able to fly on their own wings?

Here’s a suggestion, spend a bit more time on the technical side up front instead of concentrating on marketing materials.

Happy Nomad on November 20, 2013 at 1:25 PM

Zero for zero

Schadenfreude on November 20, 2013 at 1:24 PM

Or-

Four Zero Four.

Happy Nomad on November 20, 2013 at 1:26 PM

I thought the word was out – this is the fault of Republicans.

OhEssYouCowboys on November 20, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Idiot liberals.

forest on November 20, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Can’t wait for the 2016 presidential primary debates:

Governor O’Malley, why do you think you are qualified to run the Federal government when you can’t even run a website?

blammm on November 20, 2013 at 1:28 PM

Good, yepperuskie, my imagination is working overtime seeing all that is gonna befall this admin and Oboobma…

My imagination says it’s gonna be delightful, but painful for millions, no sympathy for those who voted, not once, but twice for Oboobma, suck it up fools!!

Scrumpy on November 20, 2013 at 1:29 PM

Governor O’Malley, why do you think you are qualified to run the Federal government when you can’t even run a website?

blammm on November 20, 2013 at 1:28 PM

Ans: The President has proven that knowing how to run a website is optional.

Happy Nomad on November 20, 2013 at 1:31 PM

“fault of Republicans.”

Yes, they aren’t clapping enthusiastically enough at the naked emperor. If they only would, thinks Obama, all would be well.

G. Charles on November 20, 2013 at 1:32 PM

And on the west coast, the state of Oregon still — still — hasn’t managed to sing up a single person through their online exchange, despite the ambitious website construction project they began well in advance:

Maybe Obama could help.

txhsmom on November 20, 2013 at 1:32 PM

I can’t wait for The Commie, and all of his Young Pioneers, to lament that they tried to stop the Republicans and their Affordable Care Act. They tried so hard. But they just didn’t have enough votes to stop it.

This is what I fully expect to happen – and I fully expect those who voted for The Commie to believe it. Completely.

The Democrats never legislated the Affordable Care Act – and Oceania was never at war with East Asia.

OhEssYouCowboys on November 20, 2013 at 1:33 PM

New CBS poll has Obama approval at… -20.

And the RCP average of polls for O approval has dropped today to -15. The thing is, though, it is bothersome on the RCP avg that they changed the scale of the graph today, so even though he dropped by over a point, it does not look as dramatic anymore.

anotherJoe on November 20, 2013 at 1:38 PM

Nice picture, though. Good for a screensaver.

kcewa on November 20, 2013 at 1:38 PM

What is surprising to me is that the state has been so supportive of the ACA, has messaged positively about it and invested in it early, that it’s a bit of a puzzle to me why the numbers are so low,” said Dan Mendelson, president of Avalere Health, a consulting firm

Really? He seriously has no idea why. I think he should change professions.

Patriot Vet on November 20, 2013 at 1:39 PM

Dey gots da blue state Bammy-care blues….Marxist morons will be.

viking01 on November 20, 2013 at 1:42 PM

…Oregon still — still — hasn’t managed to sing up a single person…

Why does Oregon want to sing to potential clients?

Is that like kissing them before bending them over?

cozmo on November 20, 2013 at 1:43 PM

…Oregon still — still — hasn’t managed to sing up a single person…

Why does Oregon want to sing to potential clients?

Is that like kissing them before bending them over?

cozmo on November 20, 2013 at 1:43 PM

I think you may have just solved their problem!

kcewa on November 20, 2013 at 1:47 PM

In Oregon, people are not allowed to sign up themselves.

A gas station navigator must do it for them.

Christien on November 20, 2013 at 1:49 PM

I think of Oregon and Maryland every time people point to “red states” that refused to make their own exchanges as one of the reasons the ACA is struggling.

These are states that were committed to making it work. They committed to building their own exchanges and went to work and they still failed.

The ACA isn’t tanking because red states didn’t build their own exchanges and young folks are suddenly listening to Republicans and getting scared. It’s tanking because it’s bad law.

JadeNYU on November 20, 2013 at 1:51 PM

Dang, Nelson Muntz is losing his voice today, he’s laughing so much.

22044 on November 20, 2013 at 1:51 PM

The CBS poll that I mentioned in my comment above that has Obama at -20 approval also has a -30 approval rating for Obamacare with 31% approving and 61% disapproving. Wow is all I can say on that.

Well I can say something else though. As if CBS is manipulating the data or sampling, I have noticed in the past that CBS has sometimes put out a crazy poll showing Obama way way down in approval, and then a couple weeks later they put out another poll showing a sharp rise in Obama’s approval. It’s as if they anticipate the future story of “Obama is rising again,” so they have to first do a very bad poll for Obama. The same could be their plan for Obamacare approval. I mean, here it is -30 today? So, keep an eagle eye on CBS, see if they pull this stunt a couple weeks out. By the way, there’s a video on the poll with Major Garret and all at the link. Nevertheless, it’s -20 for Obama today, -30 for Obamacare!

anotherJoe on November 20, 2013 at 1:59 PM

Governor Kitzhaber is as incompetent now, as he was in the 90′s.

portlandon on November 20, 2013 at 2:09 PM

“…using an internal state Web page available from only some government buildings.”

Wow! That gives me an idea!

I think I’ll invent some software that provides, like, a virtual private network, or something, so computators can be located in different places but have secure access to Intranet resources.

I think I’ll call it VPN.

Tsar of Earth on November 20, 2013 at 2:14 PM

Those low numbers raise questions about whether Maryland will achieve its enrollment target of 150,000 by the end of March. The state has about 800,000 uninsured residents.

So if being uninsured is such a huge economic problem for the uninsured, why wouldn’t their own enrollment projections be a lot closer to 800,000 than 150,000?

Bitter Republican in PA on November 20, 2013 at 2:15 PM

O/T, but worth noting.

Just went to the WaPo website and for the second day in a row there is NO, NONE, NADA mention of any sort of Obamascare, ACA or anything related.

I then checked Google News, and the only story about Obamascare on the entire page was a story about a new study that shows how much healthcare costs have leveled out since Obamascare was passed.

The numbskull media is doing their best to close their eyes and make it go away. Absolutely pathetic.

NOMOBO on November 20, 2013 at 2:20 PM

The numbskull media is doing their best to close their eyes and make it go away. Absolutely pathetic.

NOMOBO on November 20, 2013 at 2:20 PM

That isn’t going to stop the cancellation notices or make the website work. People will feel Obamacare in their lives even if the media trys to ignore it.

Happy Nomad on November 20, 2013 at 2:26 PM

Looks like all that money the government gave Oregon to help build their website has disappeared down the rat-hole!

fbcmusicman on November 20, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Governor Kitzhaber is as incompetent now, as he was in the 90′s.

portlandon on November 20, 2013 at 2:09 PM

He’s a doctor AND a governor smack dab between Seattle and Silicon Valley, and he can’t make duckandcoveroregon a success. Perfect guy to hand a third term.

Christien on November 20, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Looks like all that money the government gave Oregon to help build their website has disappeared down the rat-hole!

fbcmusicman on November 20, 2013 at 2:29 PM

Oh my! I don’t think they were planning on a bunch of rats flying on their own wings. It’s going to play havoc around airports.

Happy Nomad on November 20, 2013 at 2:36 PM

He’s a doctor AND a governor smack dab between Seattle and Silicon Valley, and he can’t make duckandcoveroregon a success.

Christien on November 20, 2013 at 2:34 PM

Well, he’s also right next to Idaho. Maybe potato farming would be a better profession.

Happy Nomad on November 20, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Our next governor of Maryland says that the people didn’t get cancellation letters; they got “renewal” letters.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on November 20, 2013 at 2:43 PM

The really dumb thing is…
for all the money spent on getting Obamacare set up, they probably could have just given everyone in the bottom couple of tax brackets a $500,000 Health Savings Account and left them otherwise alone. And the result would have been much less sturm und drang.

GWB on November 20, 2013 at 2:46 PM

Our next governor of Maryland says that the people didn’t get cancellation letters; they got “renewal” letters.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on November 20, 2013 at 2:43 PM

Well, Maryland is so in the tank for Obamacare that they have the one insurance commissioner that doesn’t seem to have a problem with the legalities of arbitrarily maintaining “substandard” insurance. Maryland is also the only state I know that has a tax on rain.

Happy Nomad on November 20, 2013 at 2:48 PM

The really dumb thing is…
for all the money spent on getting Obamacare set up, they probably could have just given everyone in the bottom couple of tax brackets a $500,000 Health Savings Account and left them otherwise alone. And the result would have been much less sturm und drang.

GWB on November 20, 2013 at 2:46 PM

But, of course, that only makes sense if you think that any of this is about healthcare or health insurance. This is all about wealth redistribution- especially from white middle class families. Literally stealing from them for the more “ethnic” portions of society who have a victimhood mentality.

Happy Nomad on November 20, 2013 at 2:51 PM

Happy Nomad on November 20, 2013 at 2:48 PM

All true. We’re the tax capital of the US. Here’s my shirt.

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on November 20, 2013 at 2:51 PM

Happy Nomad on November 20, 2013 at 2:51 PM

Well, doing it my way would still be re-distributionist. But it wouldn’t make us all dependent on government in the process, so it’s not redistributionist enough.

GWB on November 20, 2013 at 2:55 PM

…blue states!…what were we expecting?

KOOLAID2 on November 20, 2013 at 3:16 PM

Blue states so I don’t care. Get on your knees minions, oh thats right you already did in 2008 and 2012. This time your messiah says swallow. Yes, I went there.

neyney on November 20, 2013 at 3:17 PM

On the plus side, Oregon has signed up 50,000 more moochers on medicaid. Lost 150,000+ have been canceled so Oregon has that going for them.

jukin3 on November 20, 2013 at 4:38 PM

The goofy Cover Oregon commercials are still running on TV, including one that includes the phrase “available in October.” I know Oregon is behind the times, but…

PortlandJon on November 20, 2013 at 6:06 PM

I know, if they can’t fly on their own wings, maybe San Fran Nan can release the flying monkeys!

lfwest on November 20, 2013 at 6:47 PM