“The administration right now is in a triage mode. Seriously, they do not have the resources to implement all of the provisions on time,” Washington and Lee University professor Timothy Jost, a healthcare reform expert and advocate, told an oversight panel in the U.S. House of Representatives last week.
Current and former administration officials, independent experts and business representatives say the three priorities are the creation of an online portal that will make it easy for consumers to compare insurance plans and enroll in coverage; the capacity to effectively process and deliver government subsidies that help consumers pay for the insurance; and retention of the law’s individual mandate, which requires nearly all Americans to have health insurance when Obama’s healthcare reform law comes into full force in 2014…
But experts say it is the other essential tasks – establishing the high-tech capabilities necessary to process government insurance subsidies and create online shopping and enrollment for consumers – that could be most vulnerable with such a compressed timetable.
“The biggest hurdle is to get the systems up and running,” said one health insurance official. “Nothing’s happened so far that prevents you from being up and running on October 1. But there’s virtually no margin for error.”
The administration is working according to an ambitious schedule for testing a technology hub and its ability to transfer consumer data on health coverage, income, tax credits and other topics between federal agencies, insurance companies and states. The hub is already exchanging data between the necessary agencies.