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Computer problems plague exchange roll-outs

As more computer problems surface in the nationwide roll-out of Obamacare, Republicans have demanded that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius testify on October 24 before an oversight panel about the president's signature healthcare program. According to reports, a letter was sent from members of the committee inviting Sebelius to appear at the hearing. Wednesday they found out she had declined and no other Obama administration official had agree to attend.

The Department of Health and Human Services spokesman, Joanne Peters, however, has claimed that they are in “close communication with the committee and have expressed our desire to be responsive to their request."

For months the Obama administration claimed they were ready for the roll-out of Obamacare, but the technological failures and computer problems have been overwhelming. No one is quite sure if the administration was simply not up to the job or they needed more time for a smooth roll-out. Either way, Republicans now argue it is time for the administration to be “transparent with the American people.”

What will Obamacare do?

In case you missed the report, Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is expected to provide private health coverage to an estimated 7 million uninsured Americans. The rollout of the online “marketplaces” was supposed to open in all 50 states on October 1, 2013, but many exchanges were not ready and the administration's online portal for consumers in 36 states, was plagued by technical issues and computer problems.

According to press reports, computer problems included, “error messages, garbled text and delays loading pages.” The administration would not admit that they were not ready, but instead, blamed the computer problems on the unexpected number of visitors. Unfortunately, the cost to implement this convoluted mess has topped nearly $400 million, according to a report by the watchdog Government Accountability Office.

MSN Money Reports Flawed data and computer problems are straining system

In more news today, MSN Money reports that logging into the online exchanges is just one of the many computer problems. Flawed data is going to be another issue for IT specialist. According to reports, insurers say the federal health-care marketplace is generating flawed data that is straining their ability to handle even the trickle of enrollees.

What type of data is flawed?

The list of data fields which are incorrect or missing includes duplicate enrollments, spouses reported as children, missing data fields and suspect eligibility determinations. Some insurance companies have had to contact the enrollees directly by phone to discuss the computer problems and data discrepancies. Insurance executives fear that many customers will be deterred from signing up, or may think they have signed up when they have not. Several customers even managed to sign up for three different plans.

Experts, however, note that even with the prevalent computer problems Obamacare may be here to stay. It will cost millions of dollars to fix the computer problems and confusion will rule the day, but hopefully, the oversight committee can get some answers to their questions and give transparency to the American public. If not, it might be time to put the adults in charge.

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