KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

What’s The Healthcare.Gov Goal? 80 Percent Enrollment Success Rate

Obama administration officials are quietly hoping 80 percent of users will be able to enroll in health insurance plans on the federal health law's healthcare.gov website once it is fixed, The Washington Post reports. In the meantime, other website snags come to light -- a lack of Spanish-language materials and early alarm at some problems at rolling out the site.

The Washington Post: Healthcare.gov Goal Is For 80% Of Users To Be Able To Enroll For Insurance
The Obama administration will consider the new federal insurance marketplace a success if 80 percent of users can buy health-care plans online, according to government and industry officials familiar with the project. The goal for how many people should be able to make it through the insurance exchange is an internal target that administration officials have not made public. It acknowledges that as many as one in five Americans who try to use the Web site to buy insurance will be unable to do so (Goldstein and Eilperin, 11/16).

Los Angeles Times: Health Care Coverage Counselor Stymied By Website Problems 
Passport and tax records in hand, Nela Barboza fiddled nervously with a plastic folding fan as she approached Jessie Orozco's desk. "Buenas tardes," she said cordially. "I'm here to sign up for Obamacare." Orozco, a benefits counselor at St. John's Well Child & Family Center in South Los Angeles, was thrilled. ... The sense of anticipation quickly dissipated. Orozco encountered problems with the state website created for counselors like her. She couldn't find forms in Spanish, the language Barboza best understands. She had trouble estimating the costs Barboza would pay and confirming details of what would be covered (Brown, 11/16).

Los Angeles Times: Emails Show Officials Alarmed By Healthcare.gov Months Before Debut
As work on healthcare.gov -- the federal online portal to sign up for new health insurance plans -- backed up during the summer, employees of the agency responsible for it started to raise alarms. In emails, they listed problems that included "seriously substandard staffing," shoddy work and a lack of coordination between contractors (Tanfani, 11/15).

CBS News: How Will Democrats Deal With Obamacare's Political Fallout?
With the end-of-the-month deadline looming to fix HealthCare.gov, there is a growing realization among President Obama and his allies that they need a long-term strategy to mitigate the rocky rollout of the Affordable Care Act. What exactly that strategy is remains to be seen, but it is increasingly necessary as Democrats grow frustrated with the slow pace of repairs and how that will impact their own political futures (Kaplan, 11/18).

The Washington Post's The Fact Checker: False Claims About A Health-Care Memo Persist Even After Testimony
The committee's news release asserted that a Sept. 3, 2013, memo outlined "serious security vulnerabilities" in the exchange and quoted Chao, who had not seen it before being shown it by committee staff, as saying it "presented a significant risk to the system."  But it turned out that, upon close examination of the memo, it had nothing to do with the parts of the Web site that launched on Oct. 1. Instead, the memo dealt with modules of the Web site that would not be operational until spring of 2014 -- and even when these modules go online, they will not submit or share personally identifiable information (Kessler, 11/18).

Bloomberg: Obamacare Rollout-Rescue Model Seen In Romney's Massachusetts
The flaws plaguing the rollout of President Barack Obama's health-insurance exchanges may matter the least to those the president needs the most. If enrollment in the online marketplaces repeats the pattern set in the Massachusetts exchange that was the model for Obamacare, the young people vital to the plan's financial stability are paying little attention to the federal website's mishaps as they wait for the March 31 deadline to sign up (Dorning, 11/18).

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