In case you haven’t heard, the signature component of the Affordable Care Act, the health insurance marketplace (or “exchange”), hasn’t exactly rolled out as planned since it opened for business (er, was supposed to open for business) on October 1st.
The federal government is operating (or jointly operating) the marketplaces in 34 states; the remaining 16 states and Washington, DC are operating state-based marketplaces. With the majority of the country using the federal site to purchase insurance to meet the individual mandate, the inoperability of the federal site has become a big, big issue. (To be fair, implementation of the state-based marketplaces has been a mixed bag as well.)
As I write this post, I’m listening to the Department of Health & Human Services’ Secretary Kathleen Sebelius’ testimony to lawmakers about the litany of glitches with the Affordable Care Act’s implementation. Secretary Sebelius, former two-term governor of Kansas, faces a tough job (if she can keep her job) of assuring the American people that the admnistration will “get it right” (as she just stated in her testimony). In the meantime, she assured lawmakers that the federal site–Healthcare.gov–will be “optimally operational” by November 30th. So, if you’re among the 15.4% of Americans without insurance, hang tight a little longer. Regardless of your insurance status, hold on to your seats. This is history in the making, folks.