So nobody likes Obamacare and nobody’s signing up, huh?
Yes, there were glitches, some serious, in the first couple of weeks regarding healthcare.gov. The site did not handle the enormous volume of traffic at all. Then, when pundits (a couple of whom thought it should be Word Press formatted or “just add another server”) chimed in, people got understandably put off.
The almost immediate corrective of reminding people that they could call, write, or visit with Navigators to get enrolled began to reverse the slow enrollments, but those seemed to provide almost no titillating interest – success is never as sexy as failure and faux scandal, is it?
The figures for October are interesting since they actually exceed the HHS goals of having 500,000 that month. Reports to 10/31 from the Director of HHS Region IX (western states) reveal that 101, 185 individuals selected plans and enrolled; 975,407 were successfully through the program, had accounts and were shopping for plans. Another 396,261 have been determined to be eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that is private insurance partly subsidized, partly covered by the enrollee’s parents.
Overall for just October – one month out of the six available for open enrollment – 1.5 million human beings have been engaged in obtaining health care coverage, some for the first time ever.
The “problem” with these figures lies in who is enrolling. Much of the early enrollment is for Medicaid or CHIP programs (states have different names for their own versions) and was dismissed as irrelevant since the people using them were, you know, poor.
Despite the fact that these are precisely the long-time uninsured, usually the working poor, for whom ACA was a most important transformation, only those seeking private insurance were deemed ‘valuable’.
By the seventh week, the overall figures had increased because, without any notice from our media who still prefer scandal and doom to reality, the website is working very well with very few problems. State sites are and have been going well, and yes, states with Exchanges are mostly doing better than the federal site because they have a lower case load and are not being subjected to hacking as healthcare.gov has been. More about that in a minute. Only Oregon has persistent problems; their enrollments are very low, all still by paper submission, and the web site seems almost unfixable. Other states, however, are doing fine.
By end of the 7th week, combined enrollments of private Exchange plans with Medicaid/CHIP had moved from 499K to over 705K. Anecdotal feedback seems to be that people think the federal site still is not working (thank you, Chuck I-don’t-tell-truth Todds of the media) but enrollments are up nonetheless.
States without their own Exchanges are doing less well than states with Exchanges. In Missouri, where our own Murph the Surf is a certified Navigator, there are over 843,000 uninsured but only 751 private insurance enrollments and 4157 Medicaid enrollments to November 17. Despite Murph and his allies in that state who are working very hard, there is not a shred of help to them from the state or media getting out the word to those in dire need. That, after all, it would be helping ACA to succeed. Can’t have THAT, now can we?
It is rather dispiriting to discover that healthcare.gov has been the focus of no fewer than sixteen – yes – SIXTEEN – cyber attacks. Since the first couple of days when the site was simply overwhelmed, too much of the problem has come from deliberate assaults on the site. Only one mainstream news source – ABC – has bothered to report this appalling fact. Such attacks are not just anti-government, they are anti-people since when successful they have kept people from enrolling. On November 13 ABC made this report – and I’ve not seen it again anywhere other than on Twitter and blogs supportive of ACA. This revelation was made to the House Homeland Security Committee by an assistant secretary of Homeland Security – and fell into the information void almost immediately. The details were not made public, but Deliberate Denial of Service through flooding the site with illegitimate log ons was one tactic used.
Therefore, despite no help from non-Exchange states, deliberate assaults from sources unknown, and a general lack of information to the public, people are still not deterred in their quest to find health care coverage.
As we go along, we will try to keep updates on the stories of people who got help, found insurance or Medicaid for the first time, reduced their payments, and are moving forward to get the help they need from doctors and medical systems. But seven weeks into a 26 week open enrollment period, things are markedly better than we have generally been told. Every person covered is a healthier person for it. THAT is success.
UPDATE – 11-21-13: Graphics and links to documents and data confirming the info above:
HHS Report on MarketPlace Enrollment
FROM BRAINWRAP AT http://acasignups.net
(Click the graphic to see high quality version)
Obamacare Website Targeted About 16 Times by Cyber Attacks