Archive for Sunday, April 13, 2014

Health care launch ‘terribly flawed,’ Sebelius admits

April 13, 2014

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— The Obama administration’s timeline for having ready the new health care law’s online sign-up system “was just flat out wrong,” outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in an interview that aired Sunday.

The departing health chief also said the two months when healthcare.gov was plagued with technical problems were “a pretty dismal time” and the low point of her five-year tenure. But she defended the law’s impact and said millions of Americans now have access to health care because of it.

“People have competitive choices and real information for the first time ever in this insurance market,” said Sebelius, who last week announced her resignation.

But she acknowledged the rocky rollout for the online sign-up system fraught with technical problems that left Americans frustrated.

“Clearly, the estimate that it was ready to go Oct. 1 was just flat out wrong,” Sebelius said.

HealthCare.gov was envisioned as the principal place for people to buy insurance under Obama’s health care law. But its first few weeks were an embarrassment for the administration and its allies.

“Well, I think there’s no question — and I’ve said this many times — that the launch of the website was terribly flawed and terribly difficult,” Sebelius said.

Obama set a Dec. 1 deadline to have the website repaired, a move that left Sebelius nervous, she said.

“Having failed once at the front of October, the first of December became a critical juncture,” she said. “That was a pretty scary date.”

Sebelius’ resignation comes just a week after sign-ups for insurance coverage ended, enrolling 7.1 million people and exceeding initial expectations. Enrollment has since increased to 7.5 million as people were given extra time to complete applications.

The departing secretary said she decided after the 2012 presidential election that she wanted to leave the administration but decided to stay through the sign-up period. Sebelius said Obama did not try to convince her to stay through the end of his term.

“I thought it was fair to either commit till January of 2017 or leave with enough time that he would get a strong, competent leader,” Sebelius said.

Comments

Bob Smith 1 year ago

We're only in April and the understatement of the year has already been identified!

Julius Nolan 1 year ago

The launch was flawed, not the ACA.

MerriAnnie Smith 1 year ago

Your point is intelligent and there is not a lot of intelligent thought happening in politics. The flaws in the computer program was real. The only flaw in the ACA is that it's not the most optimal system for everyone. That would be a single payer, everybody automatically covered for healthcare who is in this country. Too many not-quite-thinking people would have died of fright if Obama had tried for that. We're a nation of lily-livered Dark-Ages cowards.

Fred Mertz 1 year ago

The flawed launch is a reflection on the Obama administration. It is a failure and in part was due to not bidding out the web contract, not proving good oversight of the work and not having a competent person as HHS secretary.

Lawrence Morgan 1 year ago

Julius, your comment was absolutely correct. The problem was with the company and IT guys who didn't know what they were supposed to do, and yet who charged the government a fortune for code that didn't work.

I also have yet to see that the government has been repaid for their failure to do what their contract promised they would do.

Susan McDaniel 1 year ago

The implementation and law are all wrong. While I do not begrudge insurance to anyone I was only able to keep my plan that I like if I want to pay a ransom to do so. That was not mentioned, it was if you like it you can keep it (if you can afford it).

James Howlette 1 year ago

You should go sell your story to the AFP. They're looking for real examples that don't immediately crumble under media scrutiny. Maybe yours will pass the test and it won't turn out that a new Exchange plan was actually better, cheaper, or covers more than the old plan you claim is now unaffordable.

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