CNNInside Politics: D-Day for Obamacare
Posted by CNN's Z. Byron Wolf
March 31st, 2014
It’s Monday, March 31. Obamacare D-Day.
If you have procrastinated over the past six months and haven’t tried to log on to get insurance before today, you might encounter some hiccups.
The healthcare.gov website had been functioning smoothly of late, but Monday morning, some users encountered a message that read, “The system isn’t available at the moment. We're currently performing maintenance. Please try again later.”
There’s not too much “later” left. CNN's Jim Acosta reported Monday morning the site was unavailable in the early morning hours when a scheduled maintenance ran too long. It appeared by 8:30 that the site was again functioning, but a queuing system was in place so that some visitors had to wait to proceed to their state’s enrollment section. Ifyou don’t have health insurance by today - and you haven’t started the process to get it - there’s a good chance you’ll have to pay a fine during tax time next year.
Website issues on Obamacare deadline day
Consumers who attempt to sign up on the final day of enrollment but experience technical problems will be given a few additional days to complete the process, and administration official told CNN's Acosta.
There are two issues to chart on Obamacare: the policy and the politics. And they seem to run at crosscurrents.Obamacare Policy
From a policy standpoint, millions of people have signed up, which would seem to make the program viable in the short term. But the success of the law will be charted in the coming years as insurance companies reconfigure premiums and respond to the ratio of healthy to sick enrollees in their broad new insurance pools. Only then will we know if this grand experiment will do anything to control the cost of health care and come closer to achieving universal coverage.
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the government agency in charge of implementing the law, announced Sunday that weekend traffic to the federal healthcare.gov site had spiked with more than 2 million visits. A call center had received more than 2.5 million calls over the past week.
More than 6 million enrollments reported by the administration last week won’t be enough for the people who oppose the law on principle. One Republican senator, John Barrasso of Wyoming, himself a doctor, said he doesn’t believe the 6 million figure anyway.
"I don't think it means anything. … I think they're cooking the books on this," he said on "Fox News Sunday.”
Cooking the books is quite an allegation, and there’s no evidence to suggest that exactly. But it is true the administration hasn’t given out all of the Obamacare enrollment data it surely must have.
The other policy element to watch is how Obamacare works in different states. Enrollment has been much higher - predominantly in blue states - where governors and legislatures set up their own exchanges. It could end up being a bigger policy success in these places than in places - many of them red states - where governors continue to fight the law and the exchanges are run by the federal government.'
* * *Read more ...