Another ObamaCare Issue: Health Co-Ops Are Failing
And problems aren't helping
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2013 8:44 AM CDT
President Barack Obama pauses while speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, Monday, Oct. 21, 2013, on the initial rollout of the health care overhaul.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(Newser) – As the nation focuses on the many issues dogging the ObamaCare website, the Washington Post points out another big Affordable Care Act headache: The health co-ops—nonprofit insurance companies established by Congress to increase competition and lower insurance costs—are floundering. One has shut down entirely and at least 10 more are in trouble; just 24 have even started selling insurance on the exchanges. Their failure could be a big problem for taxpayers, with the Post projecting the co-ops could default on up to $1 billion in loans. The problem: Facing opposition from insurance industry lobbyists, Congress put all sorts of restrictions on the co-ops, among them tight loan repayment schedules, limitations on selling insurance to big companies, and a ban on using federal money for marketing purposes. Plus, funding was cut big-time. Oh, and those website problems? Those are also hurting co-ops, which depend on the new health care exchanges for business. More ObamaCare news:

  • Two of those problems will take even longer to fix than expected, the Obama administration said yesterday. The administration initially said people would be able to electronically enroll in Medicaid by Nov. 1; now officials won't predict when that feature will be available, the Washington Post reports. And the Spanish-language enrollment portion was supposed to work by this week; it's still not functioning.
  • The administration has enlisted Jeffrey Zients, the former acting director of the White House budget office, to oversee the website fixes, CBS News reports. He has experience in business management, and Jay Carney says better management is exactly what is needed.
  • Lawmakers are pushing the White House to delay the individual mandate until the website works, and though the administration is still determined not to do that, the Washington Times reports that they've left themselves "wiggle room" if a delay ends up being necessary. Carney wouldn't rule out a delay, and analysts say Kathleen Sebelius can waive fines and penalties with a "blanket exemption" as a last resort.
  • Meanwhile, the administration is appealing to its allies to keep supporting ObamaCare, the AP reports. Even supporters (think Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer) have complained about the website issues, and one Democratic senator is among those calling for a delay of the individual mandate.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Another ObamaCare Issue: Health Co-Ops Are Failing is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 159 comments
Oct 24, 2013 5:41 AM CDT
...and the chaos just keeps getting more chaotic with no end in sight...... Obama's ACA is bush's Iraq. lol
Oct 23, 2013 10:58 PM CDT
Obama' legacy!
Eric Daniels
Oct 23, 2013 9:39 PM CDT
I just wish everyone in congress would work across party lines more. It seems in winning against each other there victories aren't really victories for Americans but rather victories for there respective party and it's dividing the country in the process. I'm not a hater of Obama but it's the president's job to deal on both sides and Obama during the last shutdown made it clear he wasn't going to negotiate and guess what Democrats celebrated a victory but tell me did any Americans win? Sorry but there are two parties in congress for a reason and when either party takes a stand and refuses to talk or negotiate an agreement we end up with Obamacare which will cost Americans much more than anyone realizes, not to mention is any real work being done to jump start job growth or our economy? It's two powers in division against each other and there will be no winners until a president steps up and gets everyone discussing what is best for the American people. Democrats and Republicans both get sidetracked in there own beliefs instead of combining both sides ideas to reach an agreement that will benefit all parties involved. Bottom line this isn't a democrat country no more than it's a republican country, but rather it is a Democracy and anytime a single party thinks they can overrule another parties core values then we will be facing ongoing opposition from the other party to insist everyone has a say in the laws in which govern us as a society.