90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Obamacare’s Rocky Rollout: What Happens Now?

A terrible rollout of the sign-up system for the Affordable Care Act. We’ll ask why, and what it’s going to take to fix it.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius arrives before President Barack Obama speaks during an event in the Rose Garden of the White House on the initial rollout of the health care overhaul on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 in Washington. (AP)

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius arrives before President Barack Obama speaks during an event in the Rose Garden of the White House on the initial rollout of the health care overhaul on Monday, Oct. 21, 2013 in Washington. (AP)

Go to HealthCare.gov today, and the home page pops right up.  The photos are great.  The message is very appealing:  Affordable health care coverage available here!  Come and get it!  But dig on in and you will very likely hit the wall and the snags that have snarled and stymied sign-up for Affordable Care Act coverage – Obamacare – since the day the exchanges opened, October 1.  It’s has been a mess on the federal site.  Botched.  Now there’s a “tech surge” on to fix it, we’re told.  There had better be.  The stakes are over the moon.  Up next On Point:  Obamacare’s rugged rollout, and where it goes.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Jenny Gold, healthcare reporter for Kaiser Health News. (@JennyAGold)

Jonathan Cohn, senior editor at The New Republic, covering public policy and politics. Author of “Sick: The Untold Story of America’s Health Care Crisis — And The People Who Pay the Price.” (@CitizenCohn)

Armando Fox, professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley.

Gene Cronin, vice president of marketing at Priority Health of Michigan. (@PriorityHealth)

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal: Health Website Woes Widen As Insurers Get Wrong Data — “Emerging errors include duplicate enrollments, spouses reported as children, missing data fields and suspect eligibility determinations, say executives at more than a dozen health plans. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Nebraska said it had to hire temporary workers to contact new customers directly to resolve inaccuracies in submissions. Medical Mutual of Ohio said one customer had successfully signed up for three of its plans.”

The New Republic: The Truth About the Obamacare Rollout — “HHS is working feverishly to make improvements and the system’s performance has improved incrementally. But people are still getting hung up at the initial stages, which means they never get the chance to apply for financial assistance and shop for plans. A study following web traffic showed a sharp drop-off in users at each successive stage of the online application process, which suggests the system was stopping a lot of people from moving forward. And that’s just the part of the system visible to consumers. Insurers say that the system is producing some incorrect information about the few people who make it through the process—a fixable problem, for sure, but a warning that other flaws may yet lurk undetected.”

Washington Post: We know 476,000 Obamacare applications have started. We don’t know how many will finish shopping — “Measuring enrollment is a difficult proposition. Most health insurance plans don’t count shoppers as enrolled until they’ve actually submitted a check for their first month’s premium. That means they’re entitled to start using the benefits of that health plan come Jan. 1, when any coverage purchased on the marketplace right now starts.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Jan 28, 2015
Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Pellissippi State Community College Friday, Jan. 9, 2015, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP)

The promise of free community college. What it might mean for our economy and our fraying social contract.

Jan 28, 2015
tasty

Did our sense of taste make us human? From evolution to culture, a new book explores the science and perception of flavor.

RECENT
SHOWS
Jan 27, 2015
As any ant knows, building a reliable team can be hard. (Flickr / Guildmn20)

From Silicon Valley to your office, some teams work better – and smarter – than others. We’ll look at the surprising reasons why.

 
Jan 27, 2015
Leader of Syriza left-wing party Alexis Tsipras speaks to his supporters outside Athens University Headquarters, Sunday, Jan. 25, 2015. A triumphant Alexis Tsipras told Greeks that his radical left Syriza party's win in Sunday's early general election meant an end to austerity and humiliation and that the country's regular and often fraught debt inspections were a thing of the past. (AP)

A leftist victory in Greece, and anti-austerity pushback across Europe. We’ll ask where this goes.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: January 23, 2015
Friday, Jan 23, 2015

New thoughts on Facebook, new analysis of State of the Union twitter activity and new weekend excitement. New! And exciting!

More »
Comment
 
Meet On Point’s Interns: Spring 2015
Friday, Jan 23, 2015

Good news! We have interns, and they are wonderful, and here they are for the spring term. Meet them digitally, right here.

More »
2 Comments
 
Caller To Author Ron Rash: ‘You Cared About People Like Me’
Thursday, Jan 22, 2015

An unexpected caller from South Carolina brings back guest Ron Rash’s years as a community college professor in a movingly real way.

More »
1 Comment