KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Blame For’s Bugs Placed On Design Element

As outside experts offered opinions about the reasons for the problems in the federal health insurance exchange, administration officials asked consumers for patience while the system undergoes repairs. Meanwhile, House and Senate Republicans launched investigations into the difficulties.

The Wall Street Journal: Healthcare.Gov's Flaws Found, Fixes Eyed
Government officials are considering rebuilding some parts of the federally run health-insurance marketplace that have been identified as the key flaws that blocked many consumers from getting coverage. Much of the problem stems from a design element that requires users of the federal site, which serves 36 states, to create accounts before shopping for insurance, according to policy and technology experts. The site,, was initially going to include an option to browse before registering, but that tool was delayed, people familiar with the situation said (Weaver and Radnofsky, 10/10).

The Associated Press: Questionable Design Blamed For Health Website Woes
A decision by the Obama administration to require that consumers create online accounts before they can browse health overhaul insurance plans appears to have led to many of the glitches that have frustrated customers, independent experts say. Most e-commerce websites—as well as—are not designed to require those merely browsing to set up accounts. But it’s one of the first steps on (10/10).

Reuters: New 'Deadline' For Fixing Obamacare Glitches Seen In Mid-November
The U.S. administration has a little over a month to fix the technology problems crippling its online health insurance marketplace, or jeopardize the goal of signing up millions of Americans in time for benefits under President Barack Obama's healthcare law, experts said on Thursday. Problems with the federal marketplace's entry portal serving 36 states, the website, continued for a 10th day on Thursday despite signs of gradual improvement, keeping a brake on the ability of consumers to shop for federally subsidized health coverage (Morgan, 10/10).

ABC News: Obamacare Officials Defend Online Exchanges
Obamacare officials are defending their health insurance exchanges today after an online poll suggested that few Americans are happy with the newly launched program. As many as 20 million Americans have gone online to check out their new insurance options since Oct. 1, according to the Associated Press-GfK poll. But just 27 percent of those surveyed between Oct. 3 and 7 said the launch had gone "extremely," "very" or "somewhat well." Forty percent of Americans polled said the launch had gone "not too well" or "not well at all," according to the poll, and another 30 percent said they didn’t know enough to say (Moisse, 10/10).

Politico: Democrats – So Far – Confident That Obamacare Web Site Can Be Fixed
Democrats are cutting President Barack Obama some slack on the clunky Obamacare website — for now. Problems with the signup site have been so massive that most people who try to sign up can’t get to step one. The troubled rollout is about the last thing Democrats need while they’re trying to fend off the Republican efforts to defund or delay the president’s signature health law (Nather, 10/11).

Politico: GOP To Obamacare Contractors: What Happened?
Republican lawmakers are demanding answers from the White House about the technical flaws that have crippled Obamacare’s online enrollment system in its opening week. Top House watchdog Rep. Darrell Issa and others say the troubled reality doesn’t jibe with the rosy predictions administration officials and contractors were making ahead of the Oct. 1 launch of, the online portal most of the country will use to enroll new Obamacare coverage programs (Cheney, 10/10).

Fox News: Republicans Investigating ObamaCare Website Glitches
House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., sent a letter Thursday to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius demanding answers to a series of questions about the technical failures. The lawmakers are seeking details on the number of people who have successfully enrolled in the health insurance exchanges and information about all of the technical problems that have prevented enrollment and the cost of fixing those problems, according to a news release. "We are concerned by recent comments to the media that the system suffers from architectural problems that need design changes," the lawmakers wrote. "We seek information about these problems as well as whether you still expect individuals to suffer a tax penalty if they do not purchase government-approved health insurance” (10/11).

The Hill: Senator: ObamaCare ‘About As Clear As Mud’
The public is confused about ObamaCare because the administration is “burying” important details, a Republican senator charged Thursday. Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), the top Republican on the Senate health committee, criticized the administration's handling of ObamaCare regulations, noting that some were released through informal channels, while others had to be unearthed by reporters (Goad, 10/10).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Offers New Shopping Feature — Sort Of
With consumers in 36 states struggling to access a federal exchange website to compare health plans, the Obama administration launched a new online tool Thursday that lets users see premium estimates by state, health plan and two age categories (Galewitz, 10/11).

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