Disappointing First Month for New Online Healthcare Marketplace
After years of debate over the radical changes to the national healthcare system instituted by President Barack Obama, the controversial online health insurance marketplace stumbled and bumbled through the starting blocks in October, the first month Americans were able to access the new sites to purchase healthcare insurance for 2014.
Following months of setbacks and controversy, the final tally for the opening month was barely 20% of the half-million Americans the Obama Administration estimated would sign up. Only 26,794 people purchased health insurance through the Federal website, healthcare.gov, while an additional 79,000 enrolled through the 14 states that have chosen to run their own state health insurance exchanges. In total, only 106,000 of the estimated 48 million uninsured Americans bought health insurance in the opening month, around .002%. In other words, score one for the GOP, who smell blood in the water and are pushing harder than ever for a repeal.
One of the major issues with the federal site concerns the millions of Americans who are receiving cancellation notices from their previous plan. President Obama had promised that Americans who liked their old plan would be allowed to keep them, yet millions are finding out that this is not the case. While the President has vowed to fix this glitch in the system, this fatal flaw is causing many Democrats to reconsider the controversial system.
Still, White House and congressional Democratic officials expressed confidence that the system will pick up steam over the following months, and asked for patience, promising that the federal website would be fully operational by the end of November. If the online marketplaces do continue to struggle, the issue could offer a big push to Republicans in the upcoming mid-term elections. With the tax code crisis in gridlock, healthcare becomes the critical issue to swing voters.