Sebelius on HealthCare.gov Fix: 'This Isn't a Magic Turn On The On-Switch'

November 27, 2013 - 6:03 AM

APTOPIX Health Overhaul Florida Sebelius

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in Miami on Nov. 19, 2013.  (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

(CNSNews.com) - Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Tuesday thanked local elected officials for their efforts to promote Obamacare in their states and communities.

"We are now eight weeks into open enrollment. I can tell you two things, that we are definitely on track to gave a significantly different user experience by the end of this month," Sebelius said on a conference call. "But just so you all know, this isn't a magic turn on the on-switch. The experience is vastly improved each and every day.

"We are seeing more and more enrollment each and every day, very different kind of user issues. So we've added hardware. We've added software. We're continuing to work on the parts of the website that were too confusing to people. And well beyond December 1st those improvements will continue.

"We get feedback on a regular basis from user experiences. We want to continue to update this. But I would urge you and your folks on the ground to not hesitate to recommend that people go to healthcare.gov and get signed up because that experience is currently working much better, and it will continue to work much better."

In response to a question (she took only three), Sebelius said she doesn't have demographic information about who is -- and who isn't -- signing up.

"We hope to add this to our statistics very soon, but we really don't have the breakdown by age and ZIP code and area. I could tell you that the outreach efforts need to be focused on general populations in terms of likely uninsured and -- but young and healthy individuals who are in that uninsured category sometimes take the most work to get their attention and get their focus."

Sebelius thanked another state lawmaker for pushing Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania:

"And I just want to also use this as an opportunity to remind people that that -- while we look for opportunities to enroll and involve people in the marketplaces, we are not giving up at all the push to convince governors and state legislators who have not yet taken up the offer for Medicaid expansion to move in that direction.

"With state reconvening their legislative bodies in January, I think that that needs to be an ongoing effort because there will be millions of people without any coverage options whatsoever unless we get all the states to look at Medicaid expansion."

Sebelius said so far, 30 governors "have endorsed Medicaid expansion" and she thinks "about 25 are actively moving forward" to get legislative approval.