Ian Donnis/File Photo / RIPR

Pablo Rodriguez joins the Political Roundtable this week as we discuss the troubled rollout of Obamacare; back and forth over pensions; the merits of tax stabilization in Providence; and the Democratic race for lieutenant governor.

Flo Jonic / RIPR

Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange, HealthSource RI, said several hundred small businesses have started applications for health plans through the site. And there’s more new data about who is enrolling in plans on the exchange.

Hiccups in a federal database have caused some problems for Rhode Island’s own online health insurance marketplace, health-source RI. That database is working again now. But there are ongoing issues with verifying an applicant’s identity.

Here we go: after months (years?) of salivating by local political junkies, Rhode Island's 2014 race for governor is about to get real. Sure, most voters won't tune in until some time next year, but an announcement on Monday will mark a new phase in the contest. So thanks for stopping by, and as always, feel free to drop me a line at idonnis (at) dot (org) or to follow me on the twitters. Let's head in.

Ryan T. Conaty

Last night I attended one of what could be the first of 39 more public forums, put on by the state's health department, around Rhode Island. And it wasn't what I thought it would be.

That depends.

If you're uninsured or the health insurance your employer offers costs more than 9.5% of your income, you can now shop for a plan on Rhode Island's newly launched healthsourceri.com. That's the Ocean State's version of the online marketplaces now open for business across the country under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

It's day two for HealthSourceRI.com, Rhode Island's newly launched online marketplace for health insurance under Obamacare.

And while there's lots that looks good and seems quite intuitive, it's still a little glitchy. You might have some trouble actually completing the process to sign up for health insurance today if you go online. But you can still call or visit a walk-in center.

RI Health Exchange Gets Off to a Bumpy Start

Oct 1, 2013
Flo Jonic / RIPR

A crush of users caused the HealthSource RI website to temporarily crash Tuesday morning.  HealthSource RI, Rhode Island’s answer to Obamacare, is an online marketplace where uninsured people and small businesses can buy health insurance. 

HealthSource RI received 4,000 calls in the first hour of business.  During that same time frame, 6,000 people were checking out the HealthSource RI website every minute. It was too much for the system to take.

Catherine Welch / RIPR

HealthSource RI, the state’s health insurance exchange goes online Tuesday. The state is operating its own exchange, offering plans for both uninsured residents and small businesses. Enrollment starts today, with coverage kicking in January 1st. Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay sat down with the director of HealthSource RI, Christine Ferguson, about what Rhode Islanders can expect when they log on to the exchange.

RI's Congressional Delegation Slams Shutdown

Sep 30, 2013

Rhode Island’s congressional delegation is roundly criticizing House Republicans  over the budget impasse. Over the weekend Republican lawmakers agreed to continue funding the government beyond midnight Monday provided there’s a one year delay in the implementation of Obamacare; a proposal that’s dead on arrival in the Senate and the White House.

Congressman David Cicilline calls the House Republican caucus strategy the “height of irresponsibility” and he has harsh words for House Speaker John Boehner.

The director of Rhode Island’s health insurance exchange says the state is all ready for tomorrow’s rollout of HealthSource RI; the Rhode Island version of Obamacare.  Officials running the online exchange expect business to be relatively slow the first month.

HealthSource RI director Christy Ferguson says Rhode Island is one of only a handful of states in the country ready to enroll people in Obamacare.  Starting Tuesday, the HealthSource call center and online marketplace will be able to enroll people in health insurance policies, take premiums and answer questions.


Rhode Island’s experiment in crafting a 21st Century health care marketplace begins tomorrow.  Rhode Island Public Radio's political analyst Scott MacKay on why we should be rooting for success.

From the Williamette Valley to the Pawtuxet Valley, the debate over the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, rages among politicians and the media. Some congressional Tea Party conservatives are even threatening to shut down the federal government if Obamacare goes forward.

file / RIPR

The federal government is edging closer to a government shutdown. President Barack Obama said he'll veto legislation coming out of the House that delays much of the Affordable Care Act for a year.  Over in the Democratic-run Senate, it has passed legislation preventing the shutdown and leaving Obamacare untouched. Rhode Island Public Radio political analyst Scott MacKay sat down with Rhode Island’s senior senator Jack Reed to talk about what could be done to avoid a shutdown.

Reed Warns Against Government Shutdown

Sep 27, 2013

Senator Jack Reed took to the Senate floor Thursday to make an impassioned speech against shutting down the government. That’s a strategy backed by  House Republicans as a way of defunding Obamacare.  Rhode Island’s senior senator called a potential shutdown “unfortunate and inappropriate.”

This week marked the one-year point until Rhode Island's decisive 2014 primary. Welcome back to my Friday column. Feel free to drop me a line at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org and to stay posted via Twitter. Let's head in.