Obama Tries To Move Past Health Care Website Woes - KMSP-TV

Obama Tries To Move Past Health Care Website Woes

Posted: Updated:
Washington, D.C. -

(FOX 11 / AP) Seeking to move past its website woes, the Obama administration is launching a two-pronged health care strategy this month aimed at avoiding enrollment snafus come January while also trying to refocus the public's attention on broader benefits of the sweeping law.

Case in point: Tuesday morning the administration released a 50-state report saying that nearly 1.5 million people were found eligible for Medicaid during October. As website problems depressed sign-ups for subsidized private coverage, that safety-net program for low-income people saw a nearly 16 percent increase in states that have agreed to expand it, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

President Barack Obama will focus on such benefits at a White House event Tuesday. Flanked by Americans who the White House says have gained as a result of the overhaul, the president will try to remind Americans that his health law is preventing insurance discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions and is allowing young people to stay on their parents' coverage until age 26. He'll also take aim at Republicans, arguing that the GOP is trying to strip away those benefits without presenting an alternative.

Behind the scenes, the administration is furiously trying to rectify an unresolved issue with enrollment data that could become a significant headache after the first of the year. Insurers say much of the enrollment data they're receiving is practically useless, meaning some consumers might not be able to get access to benefits on Jan. 1, the date their coverage is scheduled to take effect.

On Monday, administration officials and insurance company representatives began holding daily 7 a.m. meetings to discuss the enrollment data. Officials at the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services - the department overseeing the insurance exchanges - are also personally reaching out to individuals who have enrolled online to make sure their information is correct and that they are sending payments. Call center representatives are doing the same with people who enrolled over the phone.

"We are very mindful of making sure that consumers who want coverage starting in January are able to get it," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.

The White House's approach comes as Obama tries to recover from the deeply flawed rollout of his signature legislation. The failures have emboldened Republicans, put Democratic lawmakers facing re-election on edge, and contributed to a drop in Obama's overall job approval rating.

Obama had set a Nov. 30 deadline for ensuring that the website was working properly for the vast majority of users. While administration officials declared over the weekend that they had met their goal, counselors helping people use the online health exchange gave the updated site mixed reviews, with some zipping through the application process while others are facing the same old sputters and even crashes.

The website troubles resulted in significantly lower enrollment than what administration officials had hoped for and it's questionable whether the program will reach the 7 million sign-ups predicted by the Congressional Budget Office. The sign-up period runs through March 31.

But officials now say they are no longer as concerned about the overall number. They say the insurance exchanges will succeed regardless of the total, as long as about one-third of those who sign up are healthy in order to offset the cost of those with more expensive health problems.

"Our goal is to make sure that everybody who wants to enroll through the exchanges is able to do so during the open enrollment period," Carney said. "We believe those numbers will be sufficient and that the pool of people who enroll will be of the necessary diversity to make sure that the ACA works as envisioned."

The White House says it is buoyed by high traffic flocking to the website. As of Monday at noon, the site had about 375,000 visitors. However, officials would not say how many of those had actually enrolled in the insurance policies.

Medicaid signups are proceeding on a separate track. While subsidized private coverage is available to middle-class people in all 50 states, the expanded version of Medicaid currently is only provided in states that agreed to accept it. So far 25 states and Washington, DC, have done so.

Tuesday's HHS report did not tease out a separate statistic for the number of Medicaid recipients newly eligible under the law in October. Instead, the total of 1.46 million also included those who signed up and would have been eligible anyway, even without the program expansion.

Nonetheless, the impact of the law was evident. States that expanded their Medicaid programs saw a nearly 16 percent increase in Medicaid applications during October, as compared to previous averages. States that did not expand saw a smaller, 4-percent increase.

  • Political NewsMore>>

  • Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's corruption case goes to jury

    Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell's corruption case goes to jury

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 6:02 PM EDT2014-09-02 22:02:25 GMT
    The corruption case that could send former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife to federal prison was in the hands Tuesday of jurors who must decide whether the couple sold the influence of the office to a wealthy vitamin executive seeking legitimacy for his company's signature product.
    The corruption case that could send former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife to federal prison was in the hands Tuesday of jurors who must decide whether the couple sold the influence of the office to a wealthy vitamin executive seeking legitimacy for his company's signature product.
  • Ex-Va. Gov says he knows in heart he's innocent

    Ex-Va. Gov says he knows in heart he's innocent

    Friday, August 22 2014 6:33 PM EDT2014-08-22 22:33:08 GMT
    Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says he knows in his heart he's innocent of the federal corruption charges he's facing.
    Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says he knows in his heart he's innocent of the federal corruption charges he's facing.
  • Rolex passed among jurors in ex-Va. gov trial

    Rolex passed among jurors in ex-Va. gov trial

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:08 PM EDT2014-07-31 23:08:18 GMT
    The requests for lavish gifts were frequent. Jonnie Williams — the star witness in a corruption trial against the former Virginia governor and his wife — was being asked for everything from a joy ride in his Ferrari to stock in the company he led.
    The requests for lavish gifts were frequent. Jonnie Williams — the star witness in a corruption trial against the former Virginia governor and his wife — was being asked for everything from a joy ride in his Ferrari to stock in the company he led.
  • PoliticsMore>>

  • Video Purports To Show Beheading Of Another US Journalist

    Video Purports To Show Beheading Of Another US Journalist

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 2:25 PM EDT2014-09-02 18:25:29 GMT
    An Internet video purports to show the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff by the Islamic State group. Sotloff, who freelanced for Time and Foreign Policy magazines, had last been seen in Syria in August 2013.
    An Internet video purports to show the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff by the Islamic State group. Sotloff, who freelanced for Time and Foreign Policy magazines, had last been seen in Syria in August 2013.
  • Mayor Eric Garcetti: We Need To Make Sure People Have Enough To Spend For The Economy

    Mayor Eric Garcetti: We Need To Make Sure People Have Enough To Spend For The Economy

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 2:23 PM EDT2014-09-02 18:23:16 GMT
    Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has used Labor Day to call for raising the city's minimum wage. Garcetti on Monday announced a proposal hike from the current $9 per hour to $13.25 in 2017.
    Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has used Labor Day to call for raising the city's minimum wage. Garcetti on Monday announced a proposal hike from the current $9 per hour to $13.25 in 2017.
  • Russia's Gains Cloud Obama's Assurances To The Baltics

    Russia's Gains Cloud Obama's Assurances To The Baltics

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 11:02 AM EDT2014-09-02 15:02:19 GMT
    For the second time this year, President Barack Obama will travel to Russia's backyard to assure nervous nations of his ironclad commitment to their security.
    For the second time this year, President Barack Obama will travel to Russia's backyard to assure nervous nations of his ironclad commitment to their security.
Powered by WorldNow

KMSP-TV
11358 Viking Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Phone: (952) 944-9999
Fax: (952) 942-0455

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices