Political war continues over Obamacare - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Political war rages over flawed Obamacare site as deadline approaches

Republicans claim the website is still vulnerable to hackers while Democrats ramp up a media campaign to attract enrollees. (Source: HealthCare.gov/MGN) Republicans claim the website is still vulnerable to hackers while Democrats ramp up a media campaign to attract enrollees. (Source: HealthCare.gov/MGN)
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(RNN) - Republicans and Democrats continue to squabble over how to handle the Affordable Care Act website, HealthCare.gov. As the March 31 signup deadline approaches, both sides are ramping up their tactics.

Republicans claim the site is vulnerable to cyber attack as Democrats are mounting an all-out advertising drive to attract enrollees.

Over the weekend, the Republican-led House of Representatives had three oversight meetings to address issues with the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. Two of those meetings were geared toward ongoing concerns that the website remains vulnerable to hackers.

During one of the Republican-led hearings, a cybersecurity professional warned that nearly three months after the disastrous rollout of the ACA website, the federal government has yet to implement the fixes necessary to protect the website from hackers.

"It seems to defy common sense that a website plagued with functional problems was, in fact, perfectly secure by design," said Darrell Issa, R-CA, in an interview with Reuters. Issa is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The Democrats meanwhile are staging an advertising blitz promoting Obamacare as the deadline nears.

On Thursday they released six hours worth of clips on YouTube, attempting to drive enrollment among 18- to 34-year-olds. The presentation was called "Tell a Friend - Get Covered" and included celebrity interviews and performances, all attempting to reach out a younger generation of enrollees.

The administration is also planning on airing a media campaign in the markets with the highest rates of uninsured during the upcoming Winter Olympics to promote the healthcare coverage under the ACA, according to CNN.

The federal government is hoping to have 2.5 million 18- to 34-year-olds signed up by the deadline, but the administration released figures in mid-January saying that only 24 percent of that number enrolled from October through December.

Younger, healthier enrollees are vital to the sustainability of Obamacare because they will offset the cost of the older, less healthy enrollees and prevent insurers from raising their rates.

If not enough young people enroll, insurance rates under Obamacare could shoot up in 2015.

Those who are uninsured must enroll by the deadline or they could face a penalty of $95, or 1 percent of their income - whichever is the highest.

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