The logjams were so bad that officials asked applicants to re-apply directly through the states, where workers often sorted the information by hand. That created duplicate applications for as many as half of prospective Medicaid enrollees in Idaho and Louisiana. Other states disagreed with federal eligibility decisions: Indiana approved only 5 percent of the healthcare.gov applications, Texas approved 17 percent and North Carolina approved 19 percent.
States that ran their own websites, including California and Illinois, also experienced troubles. The new California computer system has technical glitches, including difficulty sending information to counties that help process applications. Because California had a massive campaign urging people to enroll, workers were swamped.
“It’s a very big deal because millions of people are waiting for health care, and these people can’t afford health care,” said Rosenbaum.
Cynthia Carmona, the director of government and external affairs at the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County, said that the group has “been having a hard time getting good answers from the state.” She said that some people who applied in October still haven’t heard whether they are enrolled.
“We’re disappointed,” Carmona said. “We’re trying to give them room to fix the issue but this can’t go on forever. We need resolution.”
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.