In nearly two weeks, the federal ObamaCare exchange did not produce a single enrollment in a health insurance plan in Alaska, according to state officials overseeing the program, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) is demanding answers from the Obama Administration:
No one from Alaska has enrolled in the new health care exchange, and a U.S. senator wants weekly updates on future enrollments.
In a letter Monday to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said no one in Alaska has been able to sign up.
“This system that cost more than $400 million, took three years to build, and was billed as a one-stop shop for individuals seeking health insurance is not working as advertised,” Murkowski wrote. “In its first two weeks of operation, I am told that no one was able to enroll in the Alaska Exchange.”
Enroll Alaska chief operating officer Tyann Boling confirmed that no one has enrolled as of late last week.
Officials in the state are blaming the widely reported glitches and errors that users have experienced across the country. Navigators in the state, those tasked with assisting people in signing up for coverage, have told frustrated users to wait until all the bugs and problems with the federal ObamaCare exchange website are worked out.
Alaska has one of the largest percentages of uninsured residents in the country — tied for 10th, according to data complied by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The state is also expected to see some of ObamaCare’s most expensive insurance premiums.
“Alaska’s surprisingly one of the richest states in the U.S.: The state’s GDP per capita is the third-highest in the U.S. But residents will be using that wealth to pay heavily for Obamacare’s premiums on even the lowest-cost bronze plan,” wrote Dan Carrol at The Motley Fool, an investment publication. “Expect to pay even more if you’re in the market for better coverage, with the state’s cheapest silver plan costing a whopping $89 more at $474 per month.
There are subsidies available for many who will be purchasing coverage on the exchange. But the a sizable chunk of Alaskans, roughly 42%, won’t have access to the subsidies because they make too much money. They’ll be bearing the full brunt of the costs, thanks to ObamaCare.
This could pose a problem for Sen. Mark Begich (D-AK), who is up for re-election next year. The Alaska senator voted for ObamaCare and subsequent attempts to repeal it, the most recent of which occurred in March, and promised “aggressive outreach” to Alaskans.
Polling conducted at the end of September, before the government shutdown, indicates that Begich was in big trouble, running neck-and-neck with two of his potential Republican opponents. The vulnerable Democrat led Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell, 43/42, and Natural Resource Commissioner Dan Sullivan, 43/41. But both leads are statistically insignificant, as they are in the poll’s 3.62% margin of error.
Begich is going to have a tough time explaining how ObamaCare wasn’t a complete trainwreck for his state.