Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who swooped into Tampa for a 90-minute visit on Tuesday, said "today is better than yesterday" for the still-balky Health Insurance Marketplace. Each day the online enrollment site, HealthCare.gov, will work better than the day before, she said.
The Obama administration promised "significant improvements" in accessing the federal health overhaul website this week, after taking down the system for maintenance over the weekend. But many in Florida were still unable to enroll at the start of week two.
The White House is still blaming the overwhelming turnout for the difficulties millions of Americans encountered when they tried to enroll in the health-plan Marketplace after its rollout last Tuesday. But a tech expert interviewed by the Washington Post said that’s only one of the two problems; the other is bugs in the software that there weren’t time to fix before launch.
Unbeknownst to the public, the current government shutdown was planned in February, right after President Obama was sworn in for his second term, the New York Times reports. That planning meeting was organized by Edwin Meese III, a Reagan administration official who resigned following a Defense Department scandal called Wedtech.
It’s been one heck of a week for reporters, what with half the government shutting down and the rest trying to get the federal health-plan exchange up and running. WUSF’s Craig Kopp talks with Health News Florida Editor Carol Gentry about this crazy week.
Craig: There's a lot to talk about, but before we get into that, let's look at something that shows just how confused the American public has become from health-care politics. A CNBC poll found 46 percent are opposed to "ObamaCare." But just 37 percent are opposed to the "Affordable Care Act."
The Hillsborough County Health Department showed up Tuesday on the list of "navigators" to help uninsured people enroll in the federal online Marketplace. That was a real surprise since the state Department of Health made national headlines last month when it ordered local health department directors not to allow navigators on their premises.
After noticing the HCHD name on the navigators list at Healthcare.gov, Health News Florida asked the state DOH press office whether the agency had rescinded its controversial policy. The question apparently set off a scramble.
When the uninsured ponder which health insurance plan in which to enroll on the federal online Marketplace, there is more to consider than the cost of the premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. (Florida's plans and prices are listed by county here.)
There is no charity in the hearts and souls of the members of Congress who are trying to block the access to health care of working families who for too long have been unable to get health insurance, writes health policy consultant Paul Gionfriddo of Lake Worth.
He says the views of Rep. John Culberson of Texas were particularly unsettling in a CNN interview, where the Texan when he said, “We do not want the federal government socializing health care as they have in England and in France.”
A larger-than-expected surge in interest as well as complex technology are being blamed for a “sluggish” start of the online Health Insurance Marketplace serving Florida and 35 other states on Tuesday.
Floridians don’t have to wait until the crowds and glitches diminish on the federal website to see which local plans are available. They can view a PDFwith all of the plans available in Florida and can also download information about the plans and prices for Florida and other states at this site.
The new Marketplace is supposed to open online as a shopping site for the uninsured tomorrow, but according to two new polls, plenty of people still don't know about them.
According to a survey by the Commonwealth Fund, almost 70 percent of uninsured people don't realize they will be able to shop on the online Marketplace for health coverage (at healthcare.gov) starting Tuesday.
Starting Oct. 1, millions of uninsured people around the country are going to have a new place to shop for health insurance, but many still don’t know about this provision of the Affordable Care Act.
Take Maggie Banta, a St. Petersburg woman who works a part-time job that doesn’t offer insurance. She is likely to find affordable coverage on the Marketplace, but she said she didn’t even know that was an option.
It's a good thing for uninsured Floridians that there is a six-month open-enrollment period for the federal online Marketplace. Most of the "navigators" who are being trained to help consumers enroll aren't licensed yet, and the Marketplace opens Tuesday.
According to a list released Wednesday by the Florida Division of Financial Services, only 57 of about 150 navigators for the state have applied to DFS for a license. Of those, only 11 had received one, the list showed.
The sticker price for a benchmark health plan in Florida's online Marketplace will average $328 a month, far below the price that had been forecast, according to a federal report released early Wednesday.
“We are excited to see that rates in the Florida Marketplace are even lower than originally projected,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a press release issued later.
At a stop in Tampa to discuss women’s issues, U.S. House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi criticized how Florida's leaders have handled the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the Tampa Bay Times reports. At the appearance with U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, Pelosi noted Obamacare is moving forward and criticized Gov.
One of the most popular aspects of the Affordable Care Act’s online Marketplace, which allows the uninsured to shop for their own plans, will be the likely death of COBRA, as Kaiser Health News reports.
Even though the Affordable Care Act was signed into law three years ago, confusion over what it does and doesn’t do has reached a fever pitch, with both deliberate and accidental misunderstandings careening around the Internet. Fact-checking organizations are trying to keep up.
Profiles of people who would have benefited from the Affordable Care Act's major features, which take effect Jan. 1, if they had been in place in the past were published in the Tampa Bay Times(caution: paywall):
With the Oct. 1 Obamacare enrollment date right around the corner, Republicans in Congress are threatening a government shutdown. South Florida Sun-Sentinel columnist Michael Mayo argues that Republicans in both Congress and Tallahassee should give the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, a chance to prove itself before dismantling it.
Floridians who use county health departments for primary care are mostly too poor to qualify for enrollment in a health plan through the online Marketplace to open Oct. 1, the Department of Health says.
So it makes more sense for “navigators” -- enrollment advisors for the uninsured who seek health coverage on the online Marketplace beginning Oct. 1 -- to go to other locations such as hospital emergency rooms, or county libraries, the memo says.
Frank Cerabino, columnist for Cox Newspapers, writes that "it's impressive to see the lengths that Florida's leaders are going to keep state residents from getting health care insurance."
It's bad enough, he writes, that the state House blocked expansion of Medicaid -- even though federal funds would have paid for it, and even though Florida has the second-highest rate of uninsured people.
Florida's Republican-dominated state government is being dominated by a relative few power-hungry politicos who have turned a blind eye to the needs of their constituents by making it as difficult as possible to implement the Affordable Care Act in this state, the Pensacola News-Journal editorial board says.