Titus preaches patience with Obamacare rollout


WASHINGTON -- Like other supporters of the Affordable Care Act,  Rep. Dina Titus is holding out hope that the White House can work quickly to correct technical flaws in the enrollment process.

In the meantime her advice is patience.

“They’ve promised this will be fixed by the end of November. I’m confident that it will, but if it’s not that’s something to look at,” the Las Vegas Democrat said in an interview Wednesday on KNPR, the Las Vegas public radio station.

Titus dismissed complaints by Nevada insurance brokers who have described problems in the first month of open enrollment for the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange, Nevada’s component of Obamacare. 

Potential customers are encountering frequent error codes, frozen pages and unwieldy questionnaires, the brokers said, although two people who called into the KNPR talk show on Wednesday reported they got through the process and enrolled.

“I think that is an extreme,” Titus said of the criticism.

She said the Nevada exchange has had “glitches” but seems to be performing better than the federal system covering the 34 states that chose not to run their own insurance marketplaces.

“It does need to be fixed,” Titus said of the federal enrollment. “Let’s not lose sight of what the big picture is. These are computer problems you can deal with. You can bring the best and brightest whiz kids who know how computers work and you can fix that. The big thing is we are providing health insurance to people who never had it before.”

The deadline is now in March for people to enroll for coverage. Titus, a former UNLV political science professor who used to set deadlines for students to turn in term papers, said she is not in favor of extending it.

“I taught for many years and I know what whenever you set a date for when a paper is due, they are going to wait until the last three minutes, last three days, to write it.” she said. “So if you extend the deadline you’re just pushing off the problem because people will wait until that deadline.”

Titus wants to see someone take the hit for the blown rollout of Obamacare, but not just yet.

“Somebody should be held accountable,” she said. “But we have to focus first on fixing it and then on who’s going to get the ax.”