HHS Secretary Highlights Obamacare ‘Data Hub’
(WASHINGTON) — Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius called attention to the Affordable Care Act’s online Data Services Hub on Saturday amid criticisms and issues with the website’s services.
In a blog post titled “What’s Working in the Marketplace: The Data Services Hub,” Sebelius released statistics on the number of Americans who have used the site to highlight its success since the roll out. As of Friday, the post says, nearly 700,000 Americans completed an application through the Marketplace.
The website allows those uninsured to enroll in health insurance plans, though many complained of glitches and errors since its public introduction on Oct. 1.
The hub connects to the Social Security Administration and Internal Revenue Service to verify applicant’s identity and income. Showcasing its efficiency, Sebelius boasted that the hub obtains eligibility determinations in less than 1.2 seconds, but she also stressed the system does not store information.
Sebelius also reported 4.2 million transactions from the Social Security Administration for those looking to set up an account, and the IRS responded to more than 1.3 hub requests
States like Kentucky are reporting a 92% success rate for applicants, while others like Connecticut reported few problems, according to Sebelius.
The website faces criticism from users and politicians alike, with Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wy. even calling for Sebelius’ resignation.
“She’s already, as of Saturday Night Live last night, the laughing stock of America,” Barrasso said Sunday on ABC’s This Week. “She’s lost considerable credibility.”
Sebelius was parodied in the opening segment of SNL on Saturday, poking fun at the failures of the Healthcare.gov website.
“The website was supposed to be the easy part of this,” Barasso said. “This is just the tip of the iceberg of problems, with bigger problems to come.”
Others, like Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., acknowledged that it was a mistake to go forward with the launch on Oct. 1, but didn’t agree that Sebelius’ resignation should be a part of the solution.
The HHS secretary will testify on Capitol Hill on Wednesday in an investigation by the House Energy and Commerce Committee regarding the site’s technical problems.
The White House is promising all glitches will be fixed by the end of November.
“We’ll continue to monitor and optimize its performance,” Sebelius said in her post. “And we won’t stop working 24/7 until the doors of HealthCare.gov are wide open.”
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