New health insurance exchanges being set up by the federal government in more than 30 states under President Barack Obama's 2010 healthcare overhaul could miss an October 1 deadline for open enrollment, a government report said on Wednesday. The launch of the exchanges, or marketplaces, which are expected to provide federally subsidized health coverage for 7 million people in 2014 and 22 million by 2016, could determine whether Obama's signature domestic policy achievement succeeds. The administration will operate exchanges in 34 states, while the remainder operate their own markets. The report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) said U.S. officials have missed deadlines and remain behind schedule on key parts including those that involve consumer eligibility for federal subsidies, the certification of health plans to be sold on the exchanges and the hiring and training of special "navigators" to guide people through the enrollment process.
So they've missed deadlines on...virtually every significant step of proper implementation. Things aren't looking much better at the state level, and the discrete small business exchange is lagging behind schedule, too:
GAO found that states have also failed to complete many of the tasks assigned for implementation and that the administration has conducted only initial testing of the computerized system that will link the exchanges with states and federal agencies including the Internal Revenue Service. A separate GAO report found that the exchanges for small businesses that are also being created under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are behind schedule, with about 44 percent of the key activities targeted for completion by March 31.
"If you still don't think Americans are able to understand a law you passed more than three years ago, then there's something wrong with the law -- not with the American people."
I'll leave you with this piece from Investor's Business Daily, outlining how it's not just medium-sized and large businesses who are reducing employees' hours to avoid Obamacare's costly mandates -- local governments are doing the same. And the lowest-paid workers are hardest hit, which has become a recurring theme lately. Thanks, Obamacare.