Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

IRRITATION RISES: Jammed phone lines, crashed Web sites cooling enthusiasm for health care reform

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 3rd, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The frustration is mounting. In the scramble to sign up for "Obamacare," or health care reform, the American public is being greeted by crashed Web sites, jammed phone lines and harried civil servants. While this shows a widespread interest in becoming part of this new plan, it is painting an unflattering picture of an administration that wants sweeping reforms - but is unable to attend to the needs of its citizens.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The federal government as well as the U.S. states running their own insurance exchanges to fix the problems  have been hard hit by a strong demand for private insurance plans.

"I think I'm through with Hawaii Health Connector," said Richard Gamberg of Honolulu says. "They've got ads in the newspaper, they've got ads on the TV - it just flabbergasts me."

Hawaiian residents are still unable to buy insurance policies online, which has forced many to turn directly to insurance companies to examine their options.

In another instance, a faulty online calculator in Oregon will not be operable until later this month.

"It's day two of health care reform, and we have yet to have someone successfully register on the marketplace," Matt Hadzick, manager of a Highmark retail insurance store in Pennsylvania says. "The registration process is very slow, and at one point it just shuts down."

The Affordable Care Act ostensibly includes federal subsidies to make insurance more affordable for low-income consumers and preventing health insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

In the state of California, where 15 percent of the nation's uninsured reside, officials have taken down the enrollment portion of the Covered California website for emergency upgrades.

California is an exception; one of a minority of mostly Democratic states, California has opted to set up their own exchanges rather than let the federal government do it for them. In the 36 states being operated by the federal Department of Health and Human Services, consumer patience is running thin.

Agency spokeswoman Joanne Peters said many Americans successfully enrolled on the first day, citing delays due to "overwhelming interest" and high volume.

Bill Curtis, chief scientist at CAST, a software quality analysis firm, says that the ragged debut has the earmarks of a technology project that may have rushed to meet the October 1 deadline, said, which develops standards.

"It almost reminded me of going online and trying to buy Springsteen tickets," Sharon Schorr of suburban Cleveland says. She finally gave up after eight hours of trying to use the exchange's Web site.

With Web sites crashing, those who have been trained to explain the benefits under the federal law were trying to reach out to those who could be helped by the exchanges, handing out information at public transit hubs and holding town hall meetings in smaller communities.

Click here to learn about our Saint Michael the Archangel conference this Nov 1-3!

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)