The HeatlhCare.gov website is still missing critical pieces beneath its surface, and the longer the problems aren't corrected, the more likely they will lead to higher healthcare costs for Americans, experts say.
The site's back end contains several workarounds that help move taxpayers' dollars and premiums between the government and insurers, reports Politico
“It seems like the insurers’ experience with Obamacare is a lot like that of far too many Americans: broken promises, frequent delays, and constantly shifting rules of the road,” said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “It seems like there’s a lot more to the story than what the administration says in their pep rallies.”
Since the operational system isn't complete, it is impossible for federal officials to know how many of the 8 million people who have signed up for healthcare coverage have paid their premiums, or how many enrollments were attempted but never completed.
The delays could result in a revision of the numbers of people who have signed up.
The Obama administration had initially intended to have the website's back end working when it launched in October, but the deadline passed as officials concentrated on the part of the website being seen by the public, and then dropped even further behind when then the site's front end failed after it was unveiled.
Officials had said they hoped to have the entire website completely operational by summer, but even that date is now in question, and now the Obama administration is refusing to give an update on how much of the site's back end remains incomplete.
While the backend work is continuing, the Obama administration said insurers will be paid through an "interim" process
until September, meaning that when the payment system goes completely live, there could be a correction that may lead to sticker shock for insurers and taxpayers.
"We have the mother of all reconciliations coming,” said insurance industry consultant Robert Laszewski. “It may be that the administration will not be able to give us a credible enrollment number until then because we really need a reconciliation to accomplish that.”
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