KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

As Falters, Navigators And Marketing Efforts Forced To The Sidelines

Navigators, who had planned to be working hard on online enrollments by now, are forced to try paper insurance applications or trying to answer consumers' questions about why they can't enroll. At the same time, a marketing blitz planned by health law advocates is on hold until the website works better.

The Wall Street Journal: Health-Site Flaws Put Navigators On Front Lines
Christine Kaufmann and thousands of other people hired to help consumers sign up for health insurance on the new exchanges this fall knew they would be busy. But problems with the federally run website have placed these "navigators" on the front lines, facing a deluge of questions and resorting to pen-and-paper applications to enroll consumers (Martin, 10/31).

Politico: Obamacare Marketing Push On Hold
Team Obamacare is sitting on hundreds of millions of dollars of essentially frozen assets — yet another consequence of the failed launch of There's no point in an ad blitz directing people to sign up on a website that doesn't work. And while advocacy groups say they had always planned to spend more money on the back end to boost enrollment in lagging states at the end of this year and early next year, they didn't count on the opening month fizzle (Palmer and Allen, 10/31).

Meanwhile, in states opposed to health law, helping consumers often falls to local officials. 

The Associated Press: Houston Launches Major Effort To Roll Out Federal Health Plan Despite Political Opposition
But this is no hurricane. Instead, it is Houston's offensive to reach more than 1 million people across 600 square miles who don't have health insurance and connect them with the new federal health insurance program that began accepting applications this month. The push is happening in one of the nation's reddest states, an example of the gap between the vitriolic political opposition to President Barack Obama's signature initiative in some conservative bastions and the actual response to it by local officials (Plushnick-Masti, 10/31).

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