Problems in the rollout of the federal health-care system extend well beyond “glitches” with the website.
In many states, the primary portal for the public’s access to health-care coverage through the Affordable Care Act — healthcare.gov — has been effectively inaccessible. In North Dakota, enrollment has averaged less than one person per day since the exchanges opened for business Oct. 1. Large insurance companies are reporting as few as 20 or 30 new enrollees nationwide each day.
So, exactly how troubled is the nation’s new health-insurance system?
Good question. The Obama administration has been shockingly unforthcoming with details about the rollout issues. Not only has the administration been tight-lipped, but insurers are reporting that the White House is pressuring them to stop releasing sign-up numbers.
That is not acceptable behavior for any administration.
Today, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is visiting a call center in Phoenix, part of a new administration strategy to redirect potential customers away from the problem-plagued website by getting them to sign up by phone or in person.
The fact that the administration is relying on last-century technology like telephone sign-ups and snail mail is disquieting enough.
But far worse is the reticence of the administration to square with the public about the depth of the problems.
Sebelius and President Barack Obama need to ditch the happy-talk nonsense about “glitches” in the system and start giving real numbers about who is successfully acquiring insurance coverage, what kind and at what price.