Preparing For The Health Law’s Second Lap
With open enrollment fast approaching for the online insurance marketplaces, news outlets are examining the preparations that have been made in order to ensure a smoother process this time around.
The Washington Post’s Wonkblog: Five Things We Need To Know Before Obamacare Enrollment Starts Again
The Obama administration seems pretty confident that HealthCare.gov can avoid punch-line status again when Obamacare enrollment reopens next month. Administration officials this week showed off improvements to the enrollment Web site that are supposed to be much more consumer-friendly — things like new smartphone capabilities, a shorter application process and the ability to actually use the "back" button while filling out the online application. As new Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell talked with reporters Thursday about plans and expectations for Obamacare's second year, there are still some big question marks about the landscape for the health-care law when enrollment opens again Nov. 15 (Millman, 10/9).
The Fiscal Times: Obamacare Year 2: High Hopes
Health officials have been gearing up for round two of Obamacare – and this fall, Healthcare.gov will debut a makeover that, from what they say at least, is ready for prime time. Federal health officials spent all summer revamping the website to make sure that last year’s tech-compromised launch doesn’t repeat itself. They’re fairly confident so far that consumers will be greeted with a faster, more reliable and user-friendly website (Ehley, 10/9).
News outlets also report on the difficulties of avoiding the law's individual mandate tax and GOP congressional murmurings about how to undo the health law's risk corridor provision -
Politico: A Maze To Opt Out Of Obamacare Individual Mandate
There are dozens of ways to escape Obamacare’s individual mandate tax — but good luck figuring that out come tax season. Tens of millions of Americans can avoid the fee if they qualify for exemptions like hardship or living in poverty, but the convoluted process has some experts worried individuals will be tripped up by lost paperwork, the need to verify information with multiple sources and long delays that extend beyond tax season (Bade, 10/9).
The Fiscal Times: $1 Billion Obamacare Payments To Insurers Under New Scrutiny
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and 13 other GOP senators sent House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) a letter this week urging him to block $1 billion in funding for a key Obamacare provision needed to stabilize the health insurance market, Roll Call first reported. When lawmakers return to Washington after the midterms, they’ll have about a month to pass a stopgap-spending bill to keep the government afloat past December 11, when the existing continuing resolution expires. The senators want the spending measure to exclude Obamacare’s risk corridor provision, which helps insurers keep policy costs low (Ehley, 10/9).
Roll Call: Republicans Eye Obamacare Showdown In Lame Duck
A group of Senate Republicans have their eye on another Obamacare showdown in the lame-duck session. The 14 Republicans, led by Marco Rubio of Florida, wrote a letter urging Speaker John A. Boehner to ”prohibit the Obama administration” from spending money on an “Obamacare taxpayer bailout.” They point to a legal opinion from the Government Accountability Office that said additional funding authority would be needed to make payments to insurance companies under the risk-corridor component of the Obamacare health care exchanges. The Republicans say taxpayers could be on the hook for bailing out insurance companies that suffer losses. ... The letter writers are mute on exactly what action they think Boehner should take (Lesniewski and Dennis, 10/8).