USA Today reports from Washington that many of the problems that have plagued the HealthCare.gov website stemmed from high demand for health insurance coupled with confusion between contractors. So an official with a top government contractor will say in prepared testimony to a House panel on Thursday.
Meanwhile, House Republicans cite problems with the health care site as signs that the law is flawed. If only since politics is a lot of “he says, she says” do keep in mind that New York has about 37,000 successful enrollees through the state-sponsored exchange. Also of note: New York is a legitimate state-run exchange, a minority overall, since most states are reliant on the Federal government to run their exchange. This makes sense, right? Not only does red tape cost money, it also costs time and introduces confusion. So far, the only numbers we’ve found that show any sign of Obamacare success are coming from more localized programs, like New York.
On Wednesday, the White House held a meeting with top insurance company executives. Basically it was a roundtable discussion where different parties claimed limited responsibility. However, one company, CGI, caught the brunt of the blame. That’s because analysts are curious how their initial $93.7 million contract was awarded, in addition to new money they received in April. According to USA Today, “the company’s contract to create HealthCare.gov spun from an existing 2007 contract, federal contract records show.” Of course, CGI is claiming that this is a common tactic–to lowball a project with the Federal Government in order to earn future work. (Wait, doesn’t that happen in other industries? Cough, cough, advertising and media for one.)
Meanwhile another executive, a proponent of the individual mandate, sees no reason to panic about the federal exchange problems — yet. He’s call this “DEFCON 1,” a political problem, though likely not a marketplace problem yet. “If it’s not running by Thanksgiving, that’s DEFCON 2,” he said. “It’s a real problem because people want to get insurance by January, but it’s not a crisis.”
“The real crisis comes if people can’t get insurance until March,” he said, mentioning that people can enroll over the phone or by paper now.
Meanwhile, here at Atlas MD, enrollment and sign up is running smoothly.
Also of note: Congress is asking for an extension on the enrollment cut off date. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., sent a letter Tuesday requesting a deadline extension past March 31. Those who do not enroll by that day may be required to pay a fine through their 2014 taxes. Republican Marco Rubio of Florida has made a similar request, and Sen Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said Wednesday that he was researching a similar proposal. What a mess? As was pointed out before, this will affect that “actual” enrollment deadline of Valentine’s Day, to account for a processing period and the fact that insurance goes into effect on the first of the month. Subscribers will face a fine of $95 if not “actively” enrolled in a program by the Federal deadline.