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President Obama said to be frustrated by roll out of health care reform

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 20th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Here's what's called a conundrum: Administration officials say about 476,000 health insurance applications have been filed through federal and state exchanges. However - these same officials refuse to say how many people have actually enrolled in the insurance markets. Devoid of accurate enrollment figures, it's not yet known if health care reform, aka "Obamacare" is on its way to enroll the seven million people projected.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - There's word that .S. President Barack Obama, for whom health care reform is considered the cornerstone of his presidency, is frustrated by the flawed roll out. The president told advisers assembled in the Oval Office last week that the administration had to finally admit there was no excuse for not having the Web site ready to operate at its scheduled time.

The Congressional Budget Office had projected that seven million people were to gain coverage during the six-month sign-up period. 

Obama is expected to address the problems this week during a health care event at the White House. Administration officials will also be traveling around the U.S. in the coming weeks to encourage sign-ups.

In the first three weeks of sign-ups, there has been an avalanche of computer problems. The administration says it is working hard to correct. The roll out thus far has been an embarrassment for Obama, who invested significant time and political capital in getting the law passed during his first term.

Technology experts are set to work on the glitches, although officials say they did not say how many workers were being added. These officials did admit that staffing has been increased at call centers by about 50 percent. As problems persist on the federally run Web site, the administration is encouraging more people to sign up for insurance over the phone.

The Obama administration has yet to cogently explain what went wrong with the online system consumers were supposed to use to sign up for coverage.

Officials at first blamed a high volume of interest for the frozen screens that many people encountered. The administration has since acknowledged unspecified problems with software and some elements of the system's design.

Interest in the insurance markets appears to continue to be high. Officials said about 19 million people had visited HealthCare.gov as of late last week.

People seeking insurance must fill out applications before selecting specific plans. The applications include personal information, including income figures that are used to calculate any subsidies the applicant may qualify for. More than one person can be included on an application.

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