The Quiet Success Of The State-Run Insurance Exchanges

While HealthCare.Gov continues to be plagued with critical problems, most of the state-run insurance exchanges are running smoothly. Imagine that.

Obamacare HealthCare.Gov Site Insurance Exchange

This site is inexcusably being poorly run...

Let us not mince any words whatsoever:  HealthCare.Gov is a catastrophe, regardless of what political stance you may have towards the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.  That it is even possible that the site could be fixed in time to offer insurance to Americans seems a preposterous possibility.  The reasons why HealthCare.Gov failed, though, could have something to do with states refusing to run their exchanges out of political spite: With one glaring exception and a few bugs here and there, the 14 state-run insurance exchanges have been running pretty smoothly.  Imagine if even 10 or so more states had swallowed their pride a bit and ran their own insurance exchanges.  The story would be quite a bit different today.

Kynect Obamacare Insurance Exchange Site

...While this one is being run smoothly.  Maybe this should have been the plan all along.

In Kentucky, the state's Kynect has become one of the major success stories in the state-run insurance exchanges.  Being run in a conservative state, the enrollment rates for Kynect remain low, but the reasons have less to do with the website, which is running swimmingly, and more to do with people's trust with the system.  But the fact that Kynect is running well is significant in and of itself.  Despite a slowdown on the first day — something to be expected of any hyped site launch — there have been only slightly minor problems.

Other states have been chugging along just as well.  New York, Vermont, California, and Colorado all have been running successfully.  Massachusetts also has been moving along, but that is to be expected, given its prior success with Romneycare (also known as Obamacare with a different name), and offers dental plans as well.  DC residents, too have been working with their exchange, Health Link, with minimal fuss.

There are, of course, some exceptions to the rule.  The big glaring exception is Cover Oregon, which, as we reported on Day 1, did not have its site ready to accept online applications, asking people to resort to paper applications.  As of press time, it still does not have its site ready, and may not have it ready until December.  Oregonians are expected to sign up by paper at the moment, a process which currently takes 45 days to complete.  Some have called it even worse than HealthCare.Gov, and we may consider changing our own rating.  Washington State, while having a functional site, suffered a major bug that gave incorrect tax credits to several thousand applicants.

Bugs are to be expected with any site launch.  That the Obama administration allowed this cock-up to occur deserves some criticism and blame for their part, especially since they knew this was the most important aspect of the President's career.  But imagine if, rather than 13 states and the District of Columbia, double that number of states were running their own insurance exchanges.  Would there have been as many problems for Americans in total?  Possibly, but unlikely.  This is not to say that HealthCare.Gov would have fared any better.  But far more people would be signed up for insurance to balance that out, and that, in the end, is what matters with Obamacare.

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