The Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare, has hit several snags as it continues to be implemented.
The White House said March 5 that customers will be able to keep health plans that don't comply with the new health law requirements as long as they're issued by Oct. 1, 2016. The decision will help avoid political backlash for Democrats during midterm elections this year.
"It's not likely to affect a large number of people but it certainly avoids difficult anecdotes about people having their policies canceled. I think it's a small and dwindling number of people who are affected." Larry Levitt, nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation
President Obama said Feb. 25 that more than four million people nationwide had signed up for healthcare through Obamacare. The Obama administration had set a goal of 4.4 million signups by the end of January.
The Obama administration on Feb. 10 granted businesses with 50 to 99 employees an additional year--until Jan. 1, 2016--to provide health insurance for their workers. The administration also said companies won't be fined if they offer coverage to 70% of full-time employees by 2015, expanded to 95% by 2016.
The CBO's annual outlook projects that by 2024, Obamacare will lead to workers reducing their hours or leaving the workforce resulting in the equivalent of about 2.5 million jobs lost. The report ties the reduction in labor participation to people who will want to continue qualifying for Medicaid and federal subsidies.
"This is a common-sense clarification of the law. For the limited number of consumers whose plans have been canceled and are seeking coverage, this is one more option." Joanne Peters, spokeswoman for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
Emails from late Sept. 2013, just before the Healthcare.gov launch on Oct. 1, 2013, showed that testing of the site could not consistently handle 500 users at once and failed with 2,000 users in a three-day period. The emails were exchanged among people working on the site as well as a top technology adviser to President Obama.
The Obama administration said in Dec. 2013, that it had met its goal to address stability issues with the Healthcare.gov website. Officials said the website was capable of handling a surge of 50,000 simultaneous users, and could manage at least 800,000 users per day. They released this detailed report on progress made.
Consulting company Accenture, which replaced CGI Group in the heat of Healthcare.gov's early stumbles, took over maintenance and development of the troubled government healthcare website. The company signed a one-year, $45 million contract that begins in March 2014.
The Government Accountability Office on March 5 said it will begin investigating money spent on state health exchanges at the request of Republican congress members, the AP reports. 14 states and Washington, DC, used federal funding to start their own exchanges.
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