The delays are caused by technological snags with enrollment websites, bureaucratic tangles at state Medicaid programs and the surge of applicants which supposedly ended two months ago.
As a result, some low-income people are being prevented from accessing benefits they are legally entitled to receive. Those who face delays may instead put off doctors appointments and lose access to their medicines, complicating their medical conditions and increasing the eventual cost to U.S. taxpayers.
Democratic lawmakers who have promoted the law’s historic coverage expansion are wary of acknowledging problems that hand opponents of the Affordable Care Act another rhetorical weapon, said Robert Blendon, a professor at Harvard University School of Public Health and Kennedy School of Government.
In other words, the Democrats are refusing to be honest with America because they are afraid of the political implications.
Forty-one states as of May 29 responded to requests from CQ Roll Call about the number of pending Medicaid applications, the number of individuals covered in the applications and processing times. The remainder, including Missouri and New Mexico, didn’t respond to CQ Roll Call’s emails and phone calls for enrollment data.
The problems are most acute in three states — California, Illinois and North Carolina — where almost 1.5 million Medicaid applicants remain in limbo. Though all three are experiencing high volumes of enrollment, problems vary from California’s balky electronic sign-up system to Illinois’ inability to predict a surge of applications.
Part of the reason for the problems is the screwed up launch of the Obamacare website healthcare.com. States such as Alaska, Kansas, Maine and Michigan are still are unable to receive their State’s applications which were completed through the federal website. Georgia first received applications submitted last fall, in May.
The problem goes beyond the families who have applied, health providers who have given care to people who are awaiting their medicare cards, don’t even know if they will be reimbursed for the services they already performed.
The delays are caused by a mix of technical problems and a surge of applications, especially in states that cajoled their residents to sign up for newly expanded benefits. More than 900,000 Californians are waiting for their benefit cards or denial letters, say state officials. In Illinois, another 330,000 people are in limbo. In North Carolina, it’s 285,884, plus another 12,956 applications that may include more than one person.
States are supposed to process Medicaid applications within 45 days. Several reported that they are largely meeting those guidelines. But they cannot process applications they do not receive.
Here’s the bottom line, the government is not set up to run a business just look at the VA.
If Medicaid was a for profit operation there would be more attention to the smooth running of the process. A company that ran their operations as bad as the Obamacare disaster would have fired/replaced the people responsible a long time ago, or the company would be in Chapter 7. But as long as our Obamacare healthcare system is reliant on job-protected bureaucrats rather than a profit motive, the President’s signature program will be a disaster.