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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Friday, October 25, 2013

5 things we didn't learn from Obamacare 'operational update' -- By Philip Klein, The Washington Examiner

In an effort to quell criticism of the lack of transparency surrounding the troubled rollout of President Obama’s health care program, the Department of Health and Human Services promised to provide regular “operational updates” to the press.

But the first such update, a conference call held on Thursday afternoon, didn’t provide Americans with much insight into the events leading up to the Oct. 1 rollout of Obamacare — or a real sense of what’s now being done to fix an array of technological problems.

So instead of trying to report on what we learned from the roughly 30-minute call, I thought it was important to emphasize the important questions that weren’t sufficiently answered by Julie Bataille, communications director for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

1) How many people have successfully enrolled in Obamacare through the federal website, Healthcare.gov?

“Nearly 700,000 applications for coverage have been submitted across the nation,” Bataille said.

But this doesn’t really tell us much because it includes not only residents of 36 states served by the federal exchange, but the 14 states plus the District of Columbia that have set up their own exchanges (such as mega-states New York and California). The state-based websites have functioned much better, so the actual number of people who applied through Healthcare.gov is likely to be well below 700,000.

Additionally, applications aren’t the same as enrollments. As Bataille said later on the call, an applicant is “someone who has gotten through the whole application process and gotten their eligibility determination.” That doesn’t mean they’ve picked a plan, let alone paid the first month’s premiums.

2) Who is working on the “tech surge”?

The Obama administration has touted a “tech surge” of great minds brought in to fix the problems confronting the system, but other than former Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget Jeff Zients, the names of the individuals and companies involved have remained a mystery. The call didn’t change that.

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