Boehner initially unable to sign up for D.C. health-care exchange

November 21, 2013

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) visits the D.C. HealthLink Web site from his office computer  Thursday. (Office of House Speaker John A. Boehner)

Update 5:50 p.m.: An update on Boehner's blog says that "after re-starting the process on the website two more times" he is now enrolled in the D.C. exchange.

“The Speaker got a confirmation email about 45 minutes after that blog-post went out.  Quite a coincidence," Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in an e-mail.

Original post:

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said that he tried and failed to sign up for health care on the District's health-care exchange Web site Thursday afternoon.

Photographs and screengrabs released by the speaker's office document what they said was his attempt to sign up for health-care coverage on the Web site for D.C. Health Link, the health-care marketplace available to small businesses in the District. As required by the Affordable Care Act, lawmakers must enroll for health-care coverage through new government exchanges.

"Despite multiple attempts, I was unable to get past that point and sign up for a health plan," Boehner wrote on his official blog Thursday afternoon.  "We've got a call into the help desk.  Guess I'll just have to keep trying."

Here is a screen grab provided by his office:


A screen grab, provided by the office of House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio), documents his troubles enrolling on the D.C. health-care exchange site.

Officials have insisted that after struggling with initial problems, the District's exchange is working well.

Other states, including California, Connecticut and Kentucky, have had relatively smooth starts, while Maryland and Oregon have suffered technological troubles.

A spokesman for the Health Link site said he would have a comment later Thursday.

News of Boehner's travails comes just days after the New York Times documented a wide array of perks available to lawmakers and their staffs as they try to sort out their new coverage. Lawmakers and their employees will receive health-care beginning next year through Health Link, which some lawmakers have noted is deploying staff to Capitol Hill to assist with any questions.

Asked whether Boehner had the help of any of those staffers, a spokesman said: "It wouldn’t have helped.  He entered everything fine – the Web site just failed."

Ed O’Keefe is a congressional reporter with The Washington Post and covered the 2008 and 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
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