Every day, usually around 2 p.m. or so, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services hosts a half-hour-long call on the status of the insurance marketplace. Now, every day, we here at Wonkblog will update you on what the federal government told us about how Obamacare is going. Without further ado, here is what we learned today!
There was no CMS update Tuesday! Sad, we know, but Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius did host a call with local elected officials on the state of the health-care law that us reporters got to listen in on. Here's what we learned.
"Don't hesitate to recommend people go to HealthCare.gov and sign up." This was a pretty strong statement from Sebelius encouraging people doing state-level outreach to direct the shoppers to the federal exchange. At the same time, there are some reports that, privately, the White House is encouraging outreach groups to push for a gradual return to the HealthCare.gov Web site. But, going on a national conference call and encouraging local officials across the country to direct shoppers to the Web site seems to be a pretty strong vote of confidence from the Obama administration that HealthCare.gov should be working reasonably well by the end of the month.
Local officials aren't getting demographic information. A county executive from Milwaukee asked the secretary to provide demographic information about who is signing up for coverage, arguably a more important metric than the number of people enrolling.
"One of the things I've been curious about is any demographic information about who is and isn't signing up, so we can get a sense of how to best adjust and tailor our public efforts," Chris Abele asked.
No dice. "Chris, at this point we hope to add that to our statistics very soon but we don't have the breakdown by age and zip code and area," Sebelius responded. As to how to focus outreach efforts, Sebelius directed Abele to "focus on the general population in terms of likely uninsured but also young and healthy individuals."