President: No excuse for problems in health care website rollout
by Julie Pace, AP White House Correspondent
October 20, 2013 11:06 PM | 814 views | 5 5 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WASHINGTON — Last week, President Barack Obama gathered some of his top advisers in the Oval Office to discuss the problem-plagued rollout of his health care legislation. He told his team the administration had to own up to the fact that there were no excuses for not having the health care website ready to operate on Day One.

The admonition from a frustrated president came amid the embarrassing start to sign-ups for the health care insurance exchanges. The president is expected to address the cascade of computer problems Monday during an event at the White House.

Administration officials say more than 476,000 health insurance applications have been filed through federal and state exchanges. The figures mark the most detailed measure yet of the problem-plagued rollout of the insurance market place.

However, the officials continue to refuse to say how many people have actually enrolled in the insurance markets. And without enrollment figures, it’s unclear whether the program is on track to reach the 7 million people projected by the Congressional Budget Office to gain coverage during the six-month sign-up period.

The first three weeks of sign-ups have been marred by a cascade of computer problems, which the administration says it is working around the clock to correct. The rough rollout has been a black eye for Obama, who invested significant time and political capital in getting the law passed during his first term.

The officials said technology experts from inside and outside the government are being brought in to work on the glitches, though they did not say how many workers were being added.

Officials did say staffing has been increased at call centers by about 50 percent. As problems persist on the federally run website, the administration is encouraging more people to sign up for insurance over the phone. The officials would not discuss the health insurance rollout by name and were granted anonymity.

Despite the widespread problems, the White House has yet to fully explain what went wrong with the online system consumers were supposed to use to sign up for coverage.

Administration officials initially blamed a high volume of interest from ordinary Americans for the frozen screens that many people encountered. Since then, they have also acknowledged problems with software and some elements of the system’s design.

Interest in the insurance markets appears to continue to be high. Officials said about 19 million people have visited HealthCare.gov as of Friday night.

Of the 476,000 applications that have been started, just over half have been from the 36 states where the federal government is taking the lead in running the markets. The rest of the applications have come from the 14 states running their own markets, along with Washington, D.C.

Americans seeking health coverage through the Affordable Care Act must fill out applications before selecting a specific plan. The forms require personal information, including income figures that are used to calculate any subsidies the applicant may qualify for. More than one person can be included on an application.

The White House says it plans to release the first enrollment totals from both the federal and state-run markets in mid-November.

Obama will directly address the technical problems with the health care websites Monday morning during an event in the Rose Garden, according to the White House. Officials said the president finds the glitches unacceptable and will outline for the public steps the administration is taking to address the troubles.

Comments
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October 21, 2013
Just remember if you complain about the Unaffordable Care Act according to Robert Pinko Redford you are a racist. Your probably one of those Herman Cain following racist and would have voted for Herman last round for president but ended up voting for Newt.
dereg = 3rd party
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October 21, 2013
For all intents and purposes, Obamacare is deregulation of monopoly health insurance within states.

Whenever the government deregulates a monopoly commodity, the previously regulated commodity provider employs third party contractors to perform the integration work.

Having been monopoly providers, they have zero experience integrating with other providers or some government entity, so what choice do they have but hire third party integration contractors?

These third party contrators hire whatever programmers respond to their ad on the internets. The hiring parties, HR contractors from the internet, do not care whom they hire.

Neither the HR or programmer contractors care whether the deregulated rollout is successful because it is when their contract ends, and the third party integration contractor corporation does not care how it turns out because they do have one good set of employees: their corporate lawyers.

Given that Obamacare is deregulation, and given that the personal mandate is the brainchild of conservatives, and given that the whole program is effectively Romneycare, one wonders why Republicans hate it so much!

Papermill gal
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October 21, 2013
Typical gushing from the left, all in an attempt to cover for Obama and the Dems' debacle., which was quite possibly intentional.

Americans, even many democrats, did not want this. Special populations are exempt. It hurts middle class families and young people starting out. It's all about system failure and the country going to a single payer system, which was Obama's goal all along. Watch the media cover for this boy president and keep watching American families suffer. Thank God for Ted Cruz, the only politician in Washington with the guts to stand up against this takeover of 1/6 of our economy.
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October 21, 2013
Just look at how well the V.A. is run do you think there will be problems?
windmill, me thinks
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October 22, 2013
Read much? Which part of the dereg 3rd party criticism was "gushing from the left?" That website was doomed from the outset. Because of all the comings and goings of data between entities and the public (the dumbest of all entities), at best the site will only ever be perhaps 75% correct.

Americans did not want a broken website, but if you mean Americans did not want the Affordable Care Act, why on Earth wouldn't they have elected whoever the opposition was? "Romney" wouldn't have mattered, as he would have been "Not Obama" if what you feel were accurate.

Yes, Thank God for Ted Cruz. I believe thanks to him and his cronies we will finally achieve a multi party system in which coalitions are formed. The extremists from both the right and the left will lose their strangle hold on us when the moderates from both parties join forces to become the dominant party.

The religious kooks will be left out in the cold with the environment kooks to pray for and against global warming, thus canceling each other out in a way that does no harm to the majority of U.S. Americans.
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