The dog appears to have eaten the Affordable Care Act's homework. It's looking increasingly unlikely that federal and state health officials will be able to set up the new health insurance exchanges—arguably the centerpieces of ObamaCare—in time for their scheduled October debut, the Wall Street Journal reports. Officials have already missed several intervening deadlines, according to two Government Accountability Office reports released today.
"Whether contingency planning will assure the timely and smooth implementation ... cannot yet be determined," the GAO wrote. The small-business exchanges are especially behind: Of the 17 states opting to run their own small-business exchange rather than leaving it up to the feds, some have had trouble finding multiple insurers to join them, and Washington state can't even find one. The report says the 17 are behind on an average of 44% of actions that were supposed to be completed by the end of Q1. But will anyone even notice if the exchanges are late? "We are at a place where … 78% of the uninsured aren't even aware of what's coming their way," says the head of Enroll America, a government-backed nonprofit that launched an awareness campaign yesterday. (Read more ObamaCare stories.)