KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Concerns About Technical Snags On Marketplace Opening Day

Advocates and foes of health law agree that technical glitches could create some problems.

The Wall Street Journal: Health Law Hits Late Snags As Rollout Approaches
Obama administration officials scrambling to get the health law's insurance marketplaces ready to open on Tuesday keep hitting technical problems, while government-funded field workers across the country say they aren't fully prepared to help Americans enroll in the program (Weaver, Martin and Radnofsky, 9/29).

The New York Times: As Opening Day Nears, Insurance Exchanges Scramble To Prepare
Tuesday is the long-awaited kickoff for President Obama's signature health care law, when millions of Americans can start signing up for new insurance options. Yet across the country, officials are issuing warnings that despite fevered efforts, their new insurance exchanges — online markets where people can shop for health plans and see if they qualify for federal subsidies — will not be fully operational for weeks or even months (Goodnough, 9/29).

The Wall Street Journal: 'Lego' Model For Exchange Software
Pradeep Goel arrived from India 23 years ago to study in America. On Tuesday, Mr. Goel, now chief executive of a fast-growing technology company, faces his toughest examination yet: Making sure the software behind two new health-insurance exchanges doesn't crash. ... For the state exchanges to work, normally separate computer systems have to talk to each other and it is EngagePoint Inc.'s job to build software bridges between those systems (Corbett Dooren, 9/29).

Reuters: Race To Get Obamacare Online Sites Running Goes To The Wire
Just days before the launch of the new U.S. state health insurance exchanges that are the centerpiece of the Affordable Care Act, a nationwide push is still under way to test and patch the technology behind the online sites. Officials working on the sites have acknowledged that information technology (IT) failures will prevent many of them from functioning fully for weeks, and perhaps longer (Begley, 9/28).

The Hill: Barrasso: 'Duct Tape And Chicken Wire' Holding Obamacare Exchanges Together
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) on Sunday said that ObamaCare insurance exchanges set to go live this week "are being held together right now with duct tape and chicken wire" (Balluck, 9/29). 

The Hill: Dean: 'There Are Going To Be Some Glitches' With Obamacare
Former Vermont governor and Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean acknowledged Sunday that there are "going to be some glitches" with President Obama's healthcare law (Pecquet, 9/29). 

Meanwhile, a different kind of potential glitch -

Medpage Today: ACA Countdown: Expect Low Pay For Docs In Exchange Plans
National physician groups are concerned the rates are so low that their members won't sign on to participate in ACA marketplace plans, and there will be no doctors to treat those newly covered patients. A representative of one primary care provider organization, speaking to MedPage Today on background, said some rates were 70 percent lower than traditional preferred provider network plans, adding that plans were trying to make provider rates as low as possible to keep premiums equally low (Pittman, 9/27).

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