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Posts Tagged ‘healthcare reform’

It’s Damage Control Time for the ObamaCare Launch

HHS_HealthCare_MOBILE_BILLBOARDYou might have missed this story amidst the embarrassing failure of the “destroy the government” movement, but there have been quite a few technical glitches related to Healthcare.gov, the homepage of the only government program that could ever possibly be “worse than slavery” (these folks with their messaging). So yesterday the team that created the very thing those guys hate most decided to start cleaning up after their own embarrassing failure.

A report from the Washington Times asserts that, among other things, federal officials only tested the site for four to six days when they should have done so for four to six months—and that organizational failures left many anxious Americans unable to register for insurance on Healthcare.gov.

In a formal blog post, the Department of Health and Human Services responded by admitting that “The initial consumer experience of HealthCare.gov has not lived up to the expectations of the American people” thanks to error messages, slow-loading pages, and all the things that you’d expect from a dial-up Yahoo account circa 1998. The post highlights elements of the “product” that are working, notes improvements and promises that a coming “tech surge” will help everyone use that site as it was meant to be used.

Obama probably could have written the post himself if he weren’t busy giving a speech to the press today in order to defend and explain his signature project for the millionth time: he said that there’s “no sugar-coating“ the “unacceptable” tech issues, so someone’s been listening. Then this happened:

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Update: Weber Shandwick to Promote Federal Insurance Exchanges

Earlier this week we posted on the deal that Ogilvy PR Worldwide signed to promote the new health insurance law in the state of California.

Now we have a piece of follow-up news: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has hired Weber Shandwick to “raise awareness” about the other state-based healthcare insurance exchanges–those that will be managed by the federal government.

Here’s the lowdown: these exchanges are essentially virtual marketplaces enabling citizens to compare and choose between competing providers’ plans, and they’re one of the central components of The Affordable Care Act, which requires states to create them by January 2013. In states that do not set up exchanges by that date, the federal government will create its own “federally facilitated” exchanges by default—and these are the exchanges to be promoted by Weber Shandwick.

Here’s the challenge: To date, only 13 states and the District of Columbia have agreed to manage their own exchanges.

This is a particularly big get for Shandwick, which was recently named PR News’s “Digital Firm of the Year” just after winning the title of “Global PR Firm of the Year” via The Holmes Report.

The future of the insurance exchange project will be interesting to say the least.