Policy: Technology

White House: President believes healthcare.gov 'significantly improved'

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Politics,White House,Barack Obama,Obamacare,President,Health and Human Services,Health Care,PennAve,Meghashyam Mali,Jay Carney,Healthcare.gov,Technology

The White House on Monday said President Obama believes that the healthcare.gov website has been “significantly improved” but understands work remains to fix the online insurance marketplaces.

“The president believes the site has been significantly improved and the teams in place have worked 24-7 for weeks to make those improvements,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney.

But Carney cautioned that “the work is not done,” saying that the administration had acknowledged that “there would be continuing issues that we needed to address.”

“This website is and will function for the vast majority of users,” said Carney. “Each day, we will continue to take steps to make further improvements so that experience is enhanced for users each day.”

Carney’s comments came a day after the administration touted the “dramatic progress” they had made in fixing healthcare.gov, saying that they had “met the goal” of a website that allowed the “vast majority” of users to register for insurance.

“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 report from the Department of Health and Human Services, detailing the “tech surge” to repair the Obamacare website.

Former Office of Management and Budget Director Jeffrey Zients, who was tapped to oversee the “tech surge” to fix the website, said that it could now handle 50,000 users at one time, and would be able to support 800,000 visits a day.

But the website still experienced trouble on Monday, with some visitors receiving busy messages.

Carney said the website had experienced high volume, with 375,000 visits by noon today and touted a new “queueing” system which told consumers when the site had reached capacity and invited them to return later at specific times when they could more quickly register.

Insurers also said there were lingering issues on the back-end with the website still failing to provide them with the data needed to correct sign up consumers.

Carney said the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is “having daily conversations with issuers to get feedback from them.”

“We believe the information now provided to insurers to be vastly improved,” he said, adding that the administration would ensure “remaining problems are addressed and fixed.”

The White House also said that CMS and insurers would make a “joint effort” to ensure that those who had successfully signed up for Obamacare plans would start making their premium payments in time to have their insurance kick in Jan. 1.

“CMS is reaching out to those who have enrolled to make sure they know the steps they need to take to make sure coverage kicks in,” said Carney.

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