The Obama administration admitted Tuesday that two major parts of Obamacare's website will take longer than expected to fix, with Medicaid recipients and Spanish-speakers remaining locked out of applying for coverage online.
According to The Washington Post
, Marilyn Tavenner, director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency overseeing the exchange, said the Healthcare.gov site is unable to accommodate electronic applications for low-income Americans eligible to enroll in Medicaid, and she could not predict when that function on the site would be ready.
As it stands, applicants are told by the website whether they may be eligible for subsidized coverage, and are then advised to contact their state's Medicaid agencies to sign up, according to the Post.
The problems could affect roughly 16 million people who under the new healthcare law, are expected to be covered through the state-federal health program for the poor and the disabled.
Meanwhile, officials at the Health and Human Services Department confirmed that the Spanish-language version of the online exchange was not working, and a spokesman urged Spanish speakers to call a toll-free number to enroll.
The news comes as Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the administration is stepping up its efforts to resolve the problems with the website.
Sebelius announced the appointment of Jeffrey Zients
as White House chief performance officer tasked with overseeing the effort to fix the website's problems. Zients was previously employed at the Office of Management and Budget and helped with the improvement of a number of federal programs.
The administration is also bringing in more computer experts, including veterans of top Silicon Valley companies, the Post reports.
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