KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Fixes For Health Website Running Up Against The Clock

The New York Times: Health Care Site Rushing To Make Fixes by Sunday
As the Obama administration’s weekend deadline for a smoothly functioning online marketplace for health insurance arrives, more than a month of frantic repair work is paying off with fewer crashes and error messages and speedier loading of pages, according to government officials, groups that help people enroll and experts involved in the project. But specialists said weeks of additional work lie ahead, including a major reconfiguration of the computer hardware, if the $630 million site, Healthcare.gov, is to accommodate the expected flood of people seeking to buy health insurance (LaFranier, Lipton and Austen, 11/29).

The Wall Street Journal: Health Site Is Improving But Likely To Miss Saturday Deadline
Despite recent progress at HealthCare.gov, a raft of problems will remain beyond the Obama administration's Saturday deadline to make the troubled federal insurance website work. The news isn't all bad: Users say the site looks better, pages load faster, and more people are getting through to sign up for health plans. But technical problems still affect HealthCare.gov's ability to verify users' identities and transmit accurate enrollment data to insurers, officials say. The data center that supports the site faces continuing challenges, and tools for processing payments to insurers haven't been built (Radnofsky and Ante, 11/29).

The Washington Post: HealthCare.gov Will Meet Deadline For Fixes, White House Officials Say
Administration officials are preparing to announce Sunday that they have met their Saturday deadline for improving HealthCare.gov, according to government officials, in part by expanding the site’s capacity so that it can handle 50,000 users at once. But they have yet to meet all their internal goals for repairing the federal health-care site, and it will not become clear how many consumers it can accommodate until more people try to use it (Eilperin and Goldstein, 11/29).

Politico: Inside The War Room, Watchful Eyes As D-day Hits
From a Maryland war room, a team of HealthCare.gov fixers hosts two troubleshooting calls a day, monitors the site in real time from 15 large screens and demands that the operation work at “private sector speeds.” The remarkable part: None of this was in place when the website launched the first time. President Barack Obama pledged for years that HealthCare.gov would rival top e-commerce sites, but it wasn’t until after the disastrous Oct. 1 rollout that the White House began setting up the kind of operation that could even come close to delivering on the promise (Budoff Brown, 11/30).

Politico: D-Day For Obamacare Website Fixes
Time's up. It’s deadline day for the repair of HealthCare.gov, a psychological milestone that could revive confidence in the embattled health law or send it into a political tailspin. The administration is taking pains to not characterize Saturday as a deadline. The site, officials acknowledge, will still struggle at times. Repairs and upgrades will go on for months. But the public and many politicians see Nov. 30 as pivotal for both the policy and politics surrounding Obamacare (Cheney, 11/30).

The Hill: D-Day For HealthCare.gov Fixes
Today marks the deadline for federal health officials to fix massive problems with ObamaCare’s enrollment website. Meeting the Nov. 30 deadline would provide a major boost for the administration, which has been mired in unprecedented conflict over its healthcare rollout for two straight months. It would also help push back against criticism surrounding the administration's decision to delay the law's online sign-up system for small businesses. Another month of serious problems at HealthCare.gov would be disastrous (Viebeck, 11/30).

CNN: Deadline Day: Will Obamacare Website Work?
Another stumble now, after recent revelations of policy cancellations and premium increases for some under the reforms known as Obamacare, would further weaken public trust in the administration's ability to implement the 2010 Affordable Care Act intended to help millions of uninsured Americans get coverage. Continued problems also would provide more ammunition for fierce attacks led by conservative Republicans seeking to dismantle a law they consider unworkable and the ultimate example of big government run (Cohen, 11/30).

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