Illinois officials are emailing and calling thousands of people, advising them to start over on their health insurance applications if they believe the federal government mistakenly referred them to Medicaid. The latest wrinkle in the troubled enrollment process for the nation's new health insurance system was announced Wednesday, just days ahead of a key enrollment deadline. The federal HealthCare.gov website received more than 30,000 applications from Illinoisans who may be eligible for Medicaid, the government health program for the poor. That federal site has been plagued by glitches that now are mostly fixed. Those 30,000 applications are the ones in question. Some Illinois residents who were referred to Medicaid believe they were incorrectly denied private health coverage, said Illinois Department of Insurance spokesman Mike Claffey...Illinois officials said anyone who believes they were referred to Medicaid by mistake should start again at the Get Covered Illinois online screening tool.
The deadline to have selected a plan in order to guarantee coverage in January is this coming Monday. The AP asserts that Healthcare.gov is "mostly fixed," but that isn't true of the back end of the site -- elements of which are still under construction -- nor is it accurate for various private exchanges and the routinely delayed small business exchanges. The extent of the dysfunction and chaos won't be known until early 2014. And there's another wrench that could be tossed into the enrollment gears at the tail end of Obamacare's current open enrollment period. Tech experts pronounce themselves "perplexed" by this decision:
Some technical experts are perplexed at the U.S. government's plan to switch web hosts for its new health insurance portal, HealthCare.gov, in the midst of an expected last-minute rush to beat a March 31 enrollment deadline for 2014 coverage. Switching hosts is not in and of itself a huge risk if it is done carefully and with lots of preparation, according to technical experts interviewed by Reuters. It is the timing of the highly complex maneuver that is risky. If there are problems, the website could become sluggish or even unusable for anyone trying to enroll. The government is tempting fate, they said...The Obama administration says Terremark's contract expires on March 30, the day before the 2014 enrollment deadline. It is not clear why the Obama administration chose to end the contract during the enrollment period.
How much do Americans dislike the Obamacare individual mandate? In NYT poll, 68% disapprove… http://t.co/b8eqtmvER4— Byron York (@ByronYork) December 19, 2013
As for Scott's second question, Allahpundit highlights another outcome from the NYT/CBS survey mentioned in York's tweet:
The sexy number there is 58 percent claiming that, despite two and half months of publicity and an enrollment deadline that’s now just four days away, nearly 60 percent haven’t even paid attention to O-Care. I think the 32 percent figure is just as revealing, though. Roughly 40 percent of Americans without insurance did indeed look into signing up — and more than three-quarters of them decided to pass after they did? Good lord. What lesson about supposedly affordable care should we draw from that?
The lesson is simple and predictable: The 'Affordable' Care Act is too expensive for many people -- including a large chunk of the group it was ostensibly passed to help. On that point, I'll leave you with another observation from Byron York. Democrats uprooted our entire system and spent $2 trillion we don't have to address this "crisis:"
In poll, 15% say they have no health insurance. Three percent of that 15% say it's because health condition kept them from getting coverage.— Byron York (@ByronYork) December 19, 2013
UPDATE - A similar problem has arisen in Iowa.