05-20-2018  8:35 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

3 high school seniors die in crash weeks before graduation

YONCALLA, Ore. (AP) — School officials say three senior girls were killed in a car crash on Interstate 5 in western Oregon, just weeks before graduation.Eagle Point High School said on its Facebook page that Luciana Tellez, Giselle Montano and Esmeralda Nava died Saturday night after their...

The Latest: Cougar that attacked cyclists was underweight

SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on a cougar attack that killed one mountain biker and wounded another outside Seattle (all times local):4:10 p.m.Authorities say the cougar that attacked two cyclists east of Seattle, killing one of them, appears to have been emaciated.Washington Department of Fish...

Cyclists tried to scare cougar but it attacked, killing 1

SEATTLE (AP) — The two mountain bikers did what they were supposed to do when they noticed a mountain lion tailing them on a trail east of Seattle.They got off their bikes. They faced the beast, shouted and tried to spook it. After it charged, one even smacked the cougar with his bike, and...

The Latest: Cougar that attacked cyclists was underweight

SEATTLE (AP) — The Latest on a cougar attack that killed one mountain biker and wounded another outside Seattle (all times local):4:10 p.m.Authorities say the cougar that attacked two cyclists east of Seattle, killing one of them, appears to have been emaciated.Washington Department of Fish...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

The Latest: Janet Jackson honored at Billboard Awards

The Latest on the Billboard Music Awards (all times local):7:18 p.m.The youngest of the legendary Jackson musical family, Janet Jackson gave her first televised performance in nine years at the Billboard Music Awards.She was honored as the first black woman to receive the Billboard Icon Award on...

Principal apologizes for 'insensitive' prom tickets language

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (AP) — The principal of a New Jersey high school has apologized for what he called "insensitive" language on tickets for the upcoming senior prom.The Courier Post reported the Cherry Hill High School East senior prom tickets urged students to "party like it's 1776" during...

2018 midterms: An early heat for 2020 Democrats?

ATLANTA (AP) — Look closely enough at the 2018 midterm campaign and you'll see the stirrings of a Democratic scramble to reclaim the White House from President Donald Trump.The leading players — from established national figures such as former Vice President Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders...

ENTERTAINMENT

School victims honored at Billboard Awards; Janet, BTS shine

The 2018 Billboard Music Awards paid tribute to the students and teachers affected by recent deadly shootings in Texas and Florida, while the night also featured show-stopping performances by iconic singer Janet Jackson and K-pop group BTS.A tearful and emotional Kelly Clarkson, who hosted the...

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend reveal name of newborn son

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chrissy Teigen and John Legend now have a baby boy to go with their toddler girl.The 32-year-old model and 39-year-old singer, whose real name is John Roger Stephens, introduced Miles Theodore Stephens to the world on Sunday.Teigen had been hinting to her millions of...

'Deadpool 2' ends Avengers' box-office reign, rakes in 5M

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Deadpool and his foul-mouthed crew of misfits and malcontents have taken down the Avengers.Fox's "Deadpool 2" brought in 5 million this weekend, giving it the second-highest opening ever for an R-rated movie and ending the three-week reign of Disney's "Avengers:...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Curry comes alive to score 35, Warriors rout Rockets by 41

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry got his groove back to score 35 points with five 3-pointers, shooting...

School victims honored at Billboard Awards; Janet, BTS shine

The 2018 Billboard Music Awards paid tribute to the students and teachers affected by recent deadly shootings in...

In North Korea nuke site closing, spectacle trumps substance

TOKYO (AP) — Foreign journalists will be allowed to journey deep into the mountains of North Korea this...

Pope Francis to invest 14 new cardinals in June

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Sunday revealed his latest picks to be cardinals in the Catholic...

Britain basks in royal wedding afterglow; grave gets bouquet

LONDON (AP) — Unwilling to kiss Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding goodbye just yet, Britain basked...

Kerry says civil discourse is under threat around the world

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday warned that...

By Z. Byron Wolf CNN

President Barack Obama and supporters of Obamacare have encouraged Americans frustrated by the glitchy HealthCare.gov website to apply for coverage over the phone. But according to meeting notes released Monday by Republican investigators on Capitol Hill, it turns out the phone operators rely on the website to push through transactions.

Meanwhile, performance has improved, but problems with the website continue as open enrollment for Obamacare enters the second of a planned six months. A notice at the top of HealthCare.gov explains the website will be out of order between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., ET, every night as contractors work to improve its performance.

Back in October, officials quietly encouraged the use of paper applications instead of the website in part to make people obtaining insurance "feel like they were moving forward," according to the documents, which the House Committee on Government Reform obtained as part of an ongoing investigation into the botched rollout of healthcare.gov.

"The same portal is used to determine eligibility no matter how the application is submitted (paper, online), so improving that experience for everyone matters and there is coordination to improve that experience," according to the documents dated Oct. 11.

The notes, dated from four different meetings throughout October, appear to be notes from meetings conducted by the Center for Consumer Information & Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), the Heath and Human Services Department charged with coordinating rollout of the state and federal healthcare marketplaces that are a cornerstone of the Affordable Care Act. It is not clear who is the author.

They list issues reported by various computer contractors, by officials dealing with phone operators and by people apparently in contact with the health reform "navigators," specially trained individuals hired by the government to help uninsured Americans obtain coverage through the marketplace exchanges.

But these navigators apparently expressed grave concern about the broken website.

"Navigators are seeing people very frustrated and walking away so they are turning to paper applications to protect their reputations as people in the communities who can help, even though paper applications will not have a quicker result necessarily."

The government has still not released official data on how many Americans have been able to purchase insurance over the exchanges. But there are clues in the CIIO notes released Monday.

The Oct. 11 document describes issues with the website's data hub that "about 1000 of the transactions did not make it; that's about 15 percent of the transactions early on."

It's not clear exactly what the timeframe for those 1,000 transactions was, although it was certainly less than 11 days from the Oct. 1 launch, or if they referred to transactions other than people actually trying to purchase insurance.

The Oct. 11 set of notes also suggests that at that time, phone operators were receiving approximately 30,000 requests for paper applications each day.

Several days later, one contractor, Serco, reported, "at about 1,000 paper applications; volume up at the end of last week."

Serco is a contractor charged with helping process paper applications.

There are also clues about other unexpected problems. Data, presumably from the Veterans Affairs administration, appeared to be flawed.

"The Veterans Affairs data issue (75 percent of their pings coming back as deceased) is still being investigated," according to the notes.

 

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