(Photo: Reuters/Mike Segar)
The Obama administration's claim Sunday that they have achieved the goal of getting the HealthCare.gov site running smoothly apart from the need for a few more fixes, didn't cut ice with all insurers and states, some of which want to bypass the difficult-to-operate technology behind the "Obamacare."
"While we strive to innovate and improve our outreach and systems for reaching consumers, we believe we have met the goal of having a system that will work smoothly for the vast majority of users," said a progress report by the Health and Human Services Department released Sunday.
"The bottom line - HealthCare.gov on Dec. 1 is night and day from where it was on Oct. 1," said Jeff Zients, who was tasked by President Obama to fix the website, according to Reuters. "We've widened the system's on-ramp - it now has four lanes instead of one or two. We have a much more stable system that is reliably open for business."
The HHS claims that over 50,000 people will now be able to log on to the website at any given time, allowing more than 800,000 people to shop for insurance coverage every day.
The White House admitted that the new capacity is subject to peak traffic volumes as buyers rush to sign up with the Dec. 23 deadline approaching. Some visitors may continue to face problems even when traffic volumes are moderate, it said.
The White House plans to sponsor events this month to educate the public. On Wednesday, it is scheduled to host a national youth summit. "We aren't planning any major promotions to specifically drive traffic over the next few days, because we expect that it won't be necessary," a senior administration official was quoted as saying. "But whether or not we need to take steps to drive traffic is something we will be continually evaluating. So if traffic drops off, we will take steps to drive it."
However, many are not convinced.
Connecticut is seeking to end its reliance on the federal infrastructure for confirmation of residents' eligibility for federal tax credits, according to The Wall Street Journal. The state operates its own exchange.
The state is considering a new vendor support identity verification, apart from the existing federal vendor it has, James Wadleigh, chief information officer of Connecticut's exchange, told the Journal.
Wadleigh added that state databases, including those of the labor department, can be used for validating incomes. He is also looking at ways to confirm the legal status of residents without depending on U.S. data.
Wadleigh went on to say that Connecticut needs to be self-reliant and save its residents from troubles if the federal government were to take down parts of its technology for maintenance.
Other states might follow suit.
Robert Blendon, a Harvard expert on healthcare and public opinion, said the website repair is not likely to solve all of Obamacare's problems. "The issue is really the management capacity of the Obama administration," he was quoted as saying. "If the website really is still working a week from now, it'll make people feel at least they have the capacity to turn things around and move ahead."
"We all get calls from incredibly distressed citizens who've had their policies canceled, and yet are unable to enroll in a new plan. So I do hope that the efficacy of this is much better today and will improve," Republican Sen. Bob Corker from Tennessee told CBS.