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Fed, state officials cautiously optimistic about exchange improvements

With just one month to go until the start of Obamacare’s second open enrollment period, state and federal officials are being cautiously optimistic about their health exchange websites—assuring the public that there won’t be a repeat of last year’s technological nightmare (Source: “Will Obamacare’s State Exchanges Be Ready for Round 2?” Fiscal Times, Oct. 15, 2014)

Speaking to health reporters earlier this month, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell touted the newly revamped Healthcare.gov as a vast improvement over last year’s website—which was plagued with technical glitches. But when asked about how some of state exchanges that had trouble last year are shaping up, Burwell hesitated and said HHS is monitoring them on a state-by-state basis.

Last year, 14 states and the District of Columbia decided to create their own exchanges. Of those, at least four states--Massachusetts, Maryland, Oregon and Nevada—had websites that suffered from serious technical troubles. Still, officials from all four states say their websites will be ready for the second enrollment period—after going through lengthy and expensive repair efforts.