The Affordable Care Act will have its usual detractors and promoters this week, but today is a deadline, the first of December. Sure, make merry, as the second leg of the glorious Winter holiday season looms. But for the usual suspects, today will also be a special day to better lie, cheat, insult, obfuscate and otherwise misinform the American public, the land of the free and the home of the uninsured; almost 50 million citizens lack healthcare coverage of any sort and millions more are under insured on junky policies. A huge number of the uncovered are also mired in poverty, exacerbating that dismal metric. Obamacare can address a lot of it, although millions will be left naked again, at least this year and most often next too, at least until saner heads prevail, in those red states where ledges or governors have chosen to withhold free healthcare from the least fortunate. That’s a sad commentary on the wealthy-political axis; forever in pursuit of any thing smacking of indecency or inhumanity, provided there’s so much as a tiny chance it may sway the news cycle against Barack Obama for a single morning.
State websites are doing well, some are doing great, which both tests and confirms the above thesis. That’s how this deal was supposed to work. Republicans openly, brazenly, poured sugar in the gas tank of this ledge so they could then stand on the sidelines and crow about how they said it might not run very well. But there are phone and mail options. Soon there will be insurance agents pitching the product to small business and individual markets on a more personal, face-to-face basis.
If you have trouble with the fed site, don’t forget about Health Sherpa, which lists the policies and other details, calculates a rough premium payment with subsidy for prospective buyers, and can take you directly to the buy page for each plan. You won’t hear anything about sherpa from the critics, but it would be nice to see more of the friendly, objective talking heads and lawmakers mentioning that alternative website.
But back to the original post, the federal healthcare website will be re-opened today (Or tomorrow) and is now supposedly ready to handle many more users:
TPM — The White House’s bottom line is: The site’s capacity has now been doubled to handle 50,000 users at a time, up to 800,000 per day. In a briefing with reporters Tuesday, Jeff Zients, who has been tasked with overseeing the fixes, said that the administration believes that’s enough capacity to meet demand. There will be times when the site isn’t working perfectly, Zients acknowledged. A senior administration official told TPM that HealthCare.gov sometimes saw as many as 250,000 users at once during its first month.
USA Today — But the state numbers quickly began to go up as the states addressed their own website glitches, while at the same time boosting marketing efforts. Early successes included Kentucky, a Republican stronghold that decided to expand Medicaid and build a state-based exchange. “There is great variation by state,” Dorn said. “In states that are enthusiastically implementing the law and trying to implement the state exchanges and trying to increase enrollment, there’s going to be greater numbers.” In other states, such as Oklahoma where there’s no mention of the Affordable Care Act on the state website beyond to bash the law, it’s going to be a tougher ride, he said. “There are a lot more resources available in the states that are doing their own exchange,” Dorn said. Those states received federal funds to market their exchanges.