A Busy Agenda for Obama and Burwell

August 28, 2014

President and Health Secretary to Meet in the Oval Office Today at 2:10 PM

President Obama is meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell this afternoon and there is no shortage of items for them to discuss – inconsistencies, new cancellation notices, enrollment details, deleted emails, the status of building the backend of the exchange, or the progress of the states running their own exchanges. In the months leading up to the start of the first open enrollment period, administration officials repeatedly insisted that implementation was “on track” and the system was “working the way it’s supposed to.” The president also repeatedly promised the American people that they could keep their health plans, keep their doctors, and they would save money. Recent news reports raise serious questions and concerns about what the American people face as the start of the next enrollment period approaches.  

The USA Today reports, “Hundreds of thousands of people risk losing their new health insurance policies if they don’t resubmit citizenship or immigration information to the government by the end of next week – but the federal HealthCare.gov site remains so glitchy that they are having a tough time complying.”

The Denver Post recently reported, “The Colorado Division of Insurance has reported that there were about 2,100 health-plan cancellations in the state over the past two months, bringing this year’s total to more than 6,150. … Since 2013, there have been about 340,000 policy cancelations in Colorado.” 

Maryland has spent the past several months rebuilding its exchange and, as CNBC reports, “A federal watchdog issued subpoenas in its investigation into Maryland’s troubled health insurance exchange.” This may have come as a surprise to President Obama, who on September 26, 2013, proclaimed that the first open enrollment period was “going to be smoother in places like Maryland where governors are working to implement it rather than fight it.”

Meanwhile, The Oregonian reports, “At least 2,000 Oregonians need to change coverage due to health exchange errors.”

The AP adds, “The operators of Minnesota’s health exchange have acknowledged an administrative backlog after a woman complained it took more than four months to get her newborn son on the family’s insurance. Around 3,700 people are currently waiting for MNsure to process changes to their insurance.”

In Washington, D.C., “Diana Daniel’s experience with the District’s health insurance website is the sort that gives government bureaucracy – and Obamacare – a bad reputation.” The Washington Post reports, “The Northwest Washington mom filed her online application for medical coverage for her two teenage daughters on June 4. The process supposedly requires three weeks at most. No coverage materialized for nearly three months, despite Daniel’s numerous calls to D.C. Health Link trying to sort things out.”

 

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