Obamacare Hits Snag in States

INN Breaking News, December 27, 2013

Alex Nussbaum and Alex Wayne

The problem states have had more success with Medicaid, the government program for the poor that is also expanding under Obamacare. Almost 40,000 people were deemed eligible through November, according to a Dec. 11 HHS report.

Even Massachusetts, whose 2007 exchange was a model for the Affordable Care Act, has struggled to switch to the new system. The state had enrolled 1,100 people through November and a Dec. 12 state report found “overall system performance is far from where it needs to be.”

Some of the states’ missteps mirror that of the federal government’s website. Like healthcare.gov, Oregon built its exchange without hiring an outside information-technology firm, known as a systems integrator, to organize the project.

“You really had to have somebody who understood large- scale implementation of an IT project,” Daniel Mendelson, chief executive officer at Avalere Health, a Washington-based consultancy, said in a phone interview. “Many states gave their exchange to really outstanding policy people as opposed to IT people. That’s not good. It will really not result in the desired outcome.”

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