How Obamacare uncertainty is hurting US economy

Teresa Tanoos's picture
Corporate costs are top concern with Obamacare for CEOs
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President Obama's health insurance program and other regulations have unknown corporate costs that are hurting the economy and employment in the U.S., said business leaders on Wednesday.

According to a survey released by the Business Roundtable, the primary concern for approximately 39 percent of company CEOs in America is regulatory costs over the next six months.

The survey comes on the heels of Obama’s renewed push for his health insurance program on Tuesday, when he told Americans he’s going to make certain that the federal health care law works, even if even if has to spend the rest of his second term doing so.

As for all the problems that have plagued the website at HealthCare.gov, the president characterized them as typical for any kind of new start-up, shifting the focus quickly to health reform and the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

According to a report released Tuesday from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which runs the Obamacare website, over 1.46 million Americans have learned they are eligible for Medicaid since the disastrous launch of the site and its online marketplaces on Oct. 1.

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A blog post from the Department of Health and Human Services is reporting that, “In October, states that are fully participating in the expansion of Medicaid coverage made possible by the law, we’ve seen a more than 15 percent jump in applications compared to the average monthly enrollment in July through September.”

The post goes on to say that, “This shows a real need and desire for coverage for low income Americans."

Nevertheless, the launch of the online marketplaces at HealthCare.gov has been a disaster that has attracted plenty of criticism from Republicans and others who are against Obamacare. Same goes for some Democrats, as well as some Americans who initially embraced the federal health act, but have since soured after a series of serious problems erupted when the website debuted on Oct. 1.

To compound matters, the CMS reported for the first time on Tuesday that a single “bug”, which they said has been fixed, was behind many of the glitches, but an insurance industry source told CNBC that software-data errors at HealthCare.gov will likely affect people who have already enrolled for a plan, which could delay the coverage they signed up for from going into effect in a timely fashion.

In the meantime, the White House administration is saying that the Obamacare website received one million visitors on Monday, but despite their claims that the site was now working for most people and could deal with up to 50,000 visitors at once, problems continued, with technicians having to take the site down when 30,000 visitors apparently caused the site to stagger.

Visitors to the site also complained about experiencing more of the same problems they previously had, such as error pages, slow loading of pages and other glitches that prevented them from accessing and signing up for a health plan at HealthCare.gov. There were also continuing problems with the crucial last step of enrollment – paying for the plans in order to get health insurance coverage.

SOURCES:
1. Business Roundtable survey, Dec. 4, 2013;
2. Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), Department of Health and Human Services, HealthCare.gov Progress and Performance Report, Dec. 1, 2013

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