KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations Troubles Continue To Claim Headlines

The Washington Post offers a not-so-rosy progress report on repairs to the federal online health insurance marketplace. Other news outlets examine what went wrong in terms of the project management and what might be gleaned from the soon-to-be released enrollment numbers.  

The Washington Post: Troubled Unlikely To Work Fully By End Of November
Software problems with the federal online health insurance marketplace, especially in handling high volumes, are proving so stubborn that the system is unlikely to work fully by the end of the month as the White House has promised, according to an official with knowledge of the project. The insurance exchange is balking when more than 20,000 to 30,000 people attempt to use it at the same time — about half its intended capacity, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose internal information. And CGI Federal, the main contractor that built the site, has succeeded in repairing only about six of every 10 of the defects it has addressed so far (Goldstein, Eilperin and Sun, 11/12).

Politico: The Making Of An Obamacare Management Failure
In the days after went live, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough quietly dispatched Jeff Zients, a favorite West Wing fixer, to assess the operation and report back. When Zients did, President Barack Obama learned the project was in worse shape than suspected — riddled with coding problems, management issues and communication gaps, according to a senior administration official. It was only then that Obama and his top aides realized the extent of what they didn't know (Budoff Brown, 11/12).

CNN: What Will Obamacare Enrollment Numbers Tell Us About Its Health?
Technical failures have plagued since its October 1 launch, although officials say it's slowly getting better. White House spokesman Jay Carney says enrollment numbers "will be lower than we hoped and we anticipated." Just how low and what effect all of those online roadblocks had on enrollment remain to be seen. But what will the numbers mean about the health of Obamacare? (Aigner-Treworgy, 11/12).

Meanwhile, administration officials are urging users to give the website another try -

NPR: Administration Invites Users To Try Again
If at first you don't succeed, try again. That's the message from the White House on Tuesday, with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) asking more than 275,000 people who tried and failed to sign up for health plans on the stalled website to give it another shot (Neuman, 11/12).

Politico: HHS To Obamacare Website Shoppers: Please Come Back
The Obama administration is asking people frustrated by early application problems with to give the website a second chance. So they're reaching back out to the earliest shoppers who may have given up on the broken website after the awful Oct. 1 launch, hoping they'll try again (Millman, 11/12).

Bloomberg: Obamacare Web Users Invited By U.S. To Try Signup Again
About 275,000 people who tried and failed to sign up for Obamacare health plans are being asked by the U.S. government to return to the website as the software flaws that initially shut them out are being corrected. People are being contacted this week in a "series of e-mails in waves" to avoid too many getting on the website at the same time, Julie Bataille, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, told reporters today on a conference call. Additional people who weren't able to complete applications on the insurance exchange will be solicited later (Wayne and Nussbaum, 11/12).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Emails Ask Those Who Failed To Try Again
Roughly 275,000 "come back, we miss you" emails will be sent in waves this week encouraging consumers who couldn’t create an account or log-in to the  malfunctioning website to try again, officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said Tuesday (Evans, 11/12).

McClatchy: Officials Appeal To Frustrated HealthCare.Gov Users: Come Back
Confident that repairs to its website are progressing as planned, the Obama administration has begun notifying some 275,000 people who couldn’t enroll in coverage at the troubled website's Oct. 1 debut to try again. "Those consumers who have perhaps created an account, but not submitted an application; those consumers who have submitted an application, but not selected a plan; those would be the kinds of individuals that we anticipate reaching out to and speaking with directly over time," said Julie Bataille, the communications director for the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (Pugh, 11/12).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.