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by
Bridget Johnson

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November 20, 2013 - 9:03 am

Democratic supporters of President Obama and his healthcare law are itching for the administration to step up enrollment efforts while the Obamacare exchange website is still not fully functional.

Maryland Sens. Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski fired off a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Monday asking that she immediately jump on the ball to expand and publicize alternate methods for people to enroll.

“As the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ work to repair the healthcare.gov website continues, we urge you to ensure that uninsured Americans are able to enroll in health plans through all available means” Cardin and Mikulski told Sebelius.

“Although we received repeated assurances from the Administration in the weeks before and since the healthcare.gov web site opened, previous targets set by the Administration for full operability of the web site have not been met,” the Dem senators write. “We are concerned that while the web site’s troubles remain unresolved, healthy individuals will abandon attempts to apply on line, and we want to ensure that they can learn about plans and apply for coverage. Further, if and when additional glitches in the web site arise, Americans should have additional easy-to navigate avenues to apply for coverage.”

They noted that Section 1411 of Obamacare provides Sebelius the flexibility to “modify the methods used under the program established by this section for the Exchange and verification of information if the Secretary determines such modifications would reduce the Administrative costs and burdens on the applicant, including allowing an applicant to request the Secretary of the Treasury to provide the information described in paragraph (3) [household income and family size] directly to the Exchange or to the Secretary.”

Cardin and Mikulski asked Sebelius to use her power “immediately” to take measures including:

(1)   Informing the public that individuals and families who do not qualify for tax credits can apply for coverage directly with participating insurance companies where they will receive the same comprehensive coverage and prices listed on the healthcare.gov web site;

(2)   Creating a mechanism through which individuals and families who qualify for tax credits can apply for coverage directly to insurance companies and authorize the companies to directly interface with the hub to verify income, family size, and citizenship;

(3)   Enabling navigators on the HHS toll-free line and in communities to access health plan information without having to rely on the healthcare.gov web site;

(4)   Making paper application forms and detailed information about coverage options widely available through a web page that is independent of the healthcare.gov web site;

(5)   Enabling individuals to complete the application form on line as taxpayers can file their income tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service; and

(6)   Ensuring that paper application forms and information about coverage options are available to the public at community health centers, hospitals, public libraries and other locations.

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (17)
All Comments   (17)
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my classmate's mother-in-law makes $71/hour on the laptop. She has been laid off for 5 months but last month her income was $16359 just working on the laptop for a few hours. check out this site

http://www.fly31.com
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
"By all available means?" - Something tells me a lot of dead people are suddenly going to have health care. Let's break out those Chicago voting lists.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
"healthy individuals will abandon attempts to apply on line." These healthy types are mostly in the on-line generation. They know no other way and won't bother with any other way. In fact, where is the mobile app for healthcare.gov? Many of these people live in a 4 inch diagonal world.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Automatically enroll everyone who has a soc sec# to the gold plan, then make the enrollees opt-out if they want something else. All their data will be kept by healthcare.gov. making it easier for the NSA to snoop, IRS to track political enemies, hackers to hack and identity thieves to steal.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Boost enrollments "by all means"?

How about lying?
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is just a typical DemoRATs strategy: throw in the kitchen sink and see if something will stick. These Desperate libtards will soon find out that they cannot fix those who are inept and stupid. And, Sebelius is one of those inept losers.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sebelius is the inept scapegoat designated to take flaks for the Liar-in-Chief. IRS's Lerner to take flaks for targeting Dear Leader's domestic enemies. Dear Leader is very comfortable leading from these women's behinds.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
The next time I have to go to the doctor I am just going to tell the office manager to put it on Obama's or Nanzi Pelosi's tab (then they can "deem" the bill paid and all will be well)!
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
By ALL means, get as many people as possible signed up for this crap! WHAT THE H*LL GOOD WILL IT DO TO SIGN THEM UP IF THE MECHANISM FOR RE-IMBURSING THE HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS IS NOT EVEN BUILT YET!

Anybody remember the old song from the sixties about "we were NECK DEEP in the big muddy and the DAMNED FOOL SAID TO PUSH ON"?
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, please force all Democrats into Obamacare. Starting with Democrat politicians. And fine/tax them if they don't comply. By all available means.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
Whew! For a minute, I was worried. I thought DHHS would be sending out press gangs into the community to forcibly sign up people for Obamacare.

After reading the article, it seems Cardin and Mikulski haven't been paying attention to the problems with the Obamacare website and have no clue how this whole program is structured. That's why their recommendations to Sebelius consist of doubling down on stupid.
40 weeks ago
40 weeks ago Link To Comment
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