UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News) Shutdown or not, the White House warned there would be glitches on the first day that people could buy health insurance in the Obama-care exchanges. In Wisconsin, many who tried signing up online yesterday were greeted with a message that "The system is down at the moment." Those signing up by phone had long waits.
Jon Peacock of the Wisconsin Council on Children-and-Families said the glitches were disappointing, but not surprising for the first day. He hopes that it's not a sign of deeper problems with the system, and that the bugs will be worked out soon.
In Milwaukee the Progressive Community Health Centers planned to help 27 people buy coverage online yesterday. Two dozen others walked in for assistance -- and Sarah Bailey said the group could serve none of them. The Milwaukee Health Department had 40 people come in to sign up. They couldn't get through online, either. In Madison, only a dozen people sought help at the county's Job Center in the first three hours yesterday. They expected a lot more, as rows of computers sat empty. Marilyn Tavenner of the Centers for Medicare-and-Medicaid Services insisted that people signed up for the health exchanges online yesterday -- but she couldn't say how many.
Up to 700,000 Wisconsinites who don't have private coverage through employers are required to get insurance by December 15th through the federal government's exchange at Healthcare-Dot-Gov.