The Obama administration says just about 100,000 people managed to choose health plans through the federal and state health exchanges during their first month of the program. Critics say that shows the law is failing. But most analysts say the first month's numbers wouldn't have meant very much, even if the federal website had been working properly.
On Sept. 28, just days before enrollment opened for coverage under the Affordable Care Act, this outreach event was hosted by Planned Parenthood for the Latino community in Los Angeles. But in the first month of the troubled HealthCare.gov website saw just a fraction of those expected to sign up had managed to do so.
As technical problems with the government's new health insurance marketplace slow the pace of sign-up, a variety of "fixes" have been proposed. But some of these would create their own challenges. In rough order from least to most disruptive, here are some of the ideas:
1) Fix the website on schedule This is everyone's favorite idea. The Obama administration says it hopes to have HealthCare.gov working smoothly for most users by the end of November, though it's not clear that target will be met.
Federal officials say 346 Oklahomans managed to enroll for health insurance last month by using the problem-filled federal website for President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.
The figures released Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services were even lower than recent estimates for the 36 states, including Oklahoma, that are using the federal insurance exchange.
At least 40 nonprofit or government-owned hospitals in Oklahoma spent less than 1 percent of their net patient revenues caring for those who couldn’t afford to pay their medical bills, records show.
The data, obtained by Oklahoma Watch and analyzed and reported with the Tulsa World, covers 2011 and 2012. Some hospitals reported spending below 1 percent during both years while only one year of data was available for others.
Most of the hospitals with charity care below 1 percent had negative operating margins but a few did not.
The Oklahoma Supreme Court says a 2011 state law restricting abortions effectively bans all drug-induced abortions, despite arguments that the state only wished to prohibit off-label uses of the drugs.
The Oklahoma court Tuesday answered questions posed by the U.S. Supreme Court, which asked the state court in June to clarify two issues before they consider an appeal from Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.
ByOklahoma Watch and Clifton Adcock and Tulsa World and Ziva Branstetter
A majority of small general hospitals in Oklahoma are losing money, and health care officials warn that some hospitals could close, be sold or cut services.
Federal financial reports for nearly every hospital in the state, obtained by Oklahoma Watch and analyzed and reported with the Tulsa World, show that in each year from 2009 to 2012, between half and three-fourths of general hospitals with fewer than 100 beds lost money. Most are in small cities or rural areas. More than half posted losses in multiple years.
Larger hospitals fared better. In each year during the four-year period, between 7 percent and 19 percent of general hospitals with 100 beds or more lost money.