Obamacare Sign Ups Continue as Blame Game Begins

House Energy and Commerce Committee Hearing

The sorry tale of the problems with Healthcare.gov continues even as hundreds of thousands actually break through the technical barriers. So here’s the good news first, and you might take this as an encouraging sign if you are considering signing up.  700,000 applications for Obamacare were completed and are in the pipeline according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Communications Director Julie Bataille.

In addition 1.6 million successfully got through to the call center — 1-800-318-2596 — where you can get help with applications and information. There is now apparently less than a minute’s wait for assistance.

On a conference call with reporters, Bataille admitted that the operating system for Healthcare.gov wasn’t adequately tested. She also admitted that  un-named administrators made a “business decision” to put the website together in-house rather than allowing outside contractors to integrate the parts that they were creating for the system.

Who is to blame, Bataille wouldn’t say and deflected direct questions. She also failed to answer questions about whether Health and Human Services  Secretary Kathleen Sebelius was aware of the problems with the site before it launched on October 1st.

In the meantime, on Capitol Hill contractors appeared before a house subcommittee and explained that their companies did small parts of the big website job. 55 contractors participated in the program and were involved with a number of federal agencies including Homeland Security and the IRS.

A Good Opportunity

While the finger pointing continues, we still think that Obamacare is a great way to buy affordable health insurance. Tech experts are working on Healthcare.gov. And even though the administration is using the weird phrase”Tech Surge” to describe the influx of smart tech people who’ve been brought in to straighten things out, the glitches and bugs are getting fixed and it’s easier to log on and complete an application without the error messages and white screens popping up.

You may also be able to apply in your state, and that might make things easier.


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Barbara Nevins Taylor

As the winner of 22 Emmy Awards and a slew of journalism honors and awards, I created ConsumerMojo.com to give you the straight story about complicated stuff. Tell us what you want to know and we'll get you the answers.