KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Tech Experts Say Total Overhaul Of Healthcare.Gov May Be Needed

Beyond consumers' problems using the federal website, insurers are getting flawed enrollment data from the few who manage to sign up for plans, the Wall Street Journal reports. Meanwhile, White House press secretary Jay Carney said that President Barack Obama was seeking "accountability" from those working to fix the glitches as tech experts suggest the site might have to be redesigned.

CNN: Logging Into Tough For Some Early Registrants
The Obamacare website, which launched October 1, deleted some users' passwords, according to multiple call center representatives for the site. Five call center agents told CNN on Wednesday that because of an upgrade to the beleaguered website, many passwords were deleted if they were created in the first week or so after the launch. More recently created user names and passwords don't seem to have the same problems (Cohen, 10/17).

The Wall Street Journal: Health Website Woes Widen As Insurers Get Wrong Data
Insurers say the federal health-care marketplace is generating flawed data that is straining their ability to handle even the trickle of enrollees who have gotten through so far, in a sign that technological problems extend further than the website traffic and software issues already identified (Weaver and Radnofsky, 10/17).

USA Today: Tech Experts: Health Exchange Site Needs Total Overhaul
The federal health care exchange was built using 10-year-old technology that may require constant fixes and updates for the next six months and the eventual overhaul of the entire system, technology experts told USA TODAY (Kennedy, 10/17).

Politico: Fed IT With Obamacare Not Deepest Pool
The lineup in the federal IT game doesn’t read like a list of tech-company all-stars — but the same names keep popping up on the roster when it comes to jobs like the ones at the heart of the troubled Obamacare rollout. The need for an experienced hand — combined with the rules necessary to protect the public interest — ensures a club-like environment for the companies vying for those contracts. The federal procurement machinery makes for a smaller bench of players. Forty-seven information technology companies have won contracts from Health and Human Services or the Treasury Department to manage, support or service the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to a Sunlight foundation analysis. Nearly all of them have a long and deep relationship with the federal government (Boliek, 10/17).

The Hill: Carney: Obama 'Not Happy' With ACA Rollout
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday that President Obama was seeking "accountability" from federal employees working to fix glitches with the ObamaCare website designed to let uninsured Americans purchase coverage. Carney sidestepped questions about whether the administration would seek to recover any of the millions of dollars paid to contractors responsible for building the website, which has been plagued by technical errors since its launch earlier this month (Sink, 10/17).

Politico: W.H. Obamacare Not Just A Website
President Barack Obama’s signature health care law is more than just a balky website and is proceeding with some success, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday. "It’s important to remember the website alone is not the Affordable Care Act," Carney said. Obama, Carney said, is not happy about what the White House has termed "glitches" in that have prevented an unknown number of people from registering for new health care plans. Carney said Obama didn’t include a discussion of the health care law during his Thursday speech about the end of the government shutdown and debt limit crisis because those remarks were about what Congress ought to do and healthcare implementation is an administration priority (Epstein, 10/17). Sebelius Admits: Health Exchange Launch 'Rockier Than We Would Have Liked'
U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius admitted Wednesday that the troubled launch of the federal government's new health insurance exchange hasn't gone as planned. However, she said technicians were working to fix the glitches that have plagued the website, and improvements should be evident shortly to consumers, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported Wednesday (Pallarito, 10/17).

Reuters: 'Obamacare' Helpers Frustrated As Tech Problems Stall Enrollment
Community organizations and non-profit groups that were supposed to help millions of Americans sign up for "Obamacare" are trying to manage mounting frustration with a federal website hobbled by technical problems. Dozens of these groups, known as "navigators," received federal grants to guide consumers through the government's website serving 36 states, which is meant to help the uninsured determine their eligibility for tax credits toward buying private coverage under President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law, known as Obamacare (Skinner, 10/17).

Kaiser Health News: After 63 Tries, Reporter Creates Account On Federal Exchange
After 17 days and 63 attempts, I finally made it. I was able to create an account on the federal health insurance exchange at – a task which has frustrated millions of Americans (Galewitz, 10/17).

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