Whitney Horton of Enroll America Georgia, in her office in NW Atlanta, Thursday, October 24, 2013
ATLANTA -- The Obamacare website, healthcare.gov, will not be fully functional for weeks, at least.
Why, then, are supporters of Obamacare still planning to fan out across Atlanta and many other cities this weekend to urge people to go to the website to sign up?
There are several outreaches planned for this weekend (see below), and people will be passing out flyers and brochures promoting Obamacare and the website.
In an office near Georgia Tech in NW Atlanta, Whitney Horton is organizing the outreach in Metro Atlanta.
She works in the Georgia office of Enroll America, the non-profit organization with ties to the Obama Administration and the healthcare industry.
Horton is passionate about health care, she believes in helping the uninsured get insured, and she is undeterred by the failure of the website, so far.
11Alive's Jon Shirek asked her, "You know of all the problems that the website's been having, so how are you telling people to go to the website when it's next to impossible for people to sign up on the website right now?"
"They can still go, even if they can't sign up, they can still look at options on the website," Horton said. "And they can still call the 1-800 number (1-800-318-2596)."
Shirek: "People who call the 1-800 number are saying they're on hold for hours and can't sign up. You've heard those complaints, right?"
Horton: "Actually, not in the field. Because we've even had someone who actually signed up via the phone, via the 1-800 number, last week."
Shirek: "You understand how difficult it is for people to sign up, right now."
Horton: "I understand, but there's no need for frustration, this is not a sprint. You will be able to enroll until March 31st of next year. And there are multiple ways to sign up. So don't feel as though, if you can't sign up the first week or first month, that you're out of luck or that it's not going to work for you. Take your time, learn your options, and then go from there."
This weekend, people can ask the Enroll America staffers and volunteers themselves about all of this, and engage them one-on-one about what's going on with the website and the sign-up and the plans, at a half-dozen events.
This is the schedule, copied from an email sent Thursday by Enroll America to 11Alive News:
Oct 26 - C4 Atlanta will be hosting a community healthcare forum where you can learn about the new health insurance options now available through the Healthcare Marketplace. Get Covered America will be presenting on the Affordable Care Act and hold a Q&A session. Certified Navigators and Application Counselors will be in attendance. Start time: 10a - 1p/115 Martin Luther King Dr. SW, Atlanta, GA
Oct 26 - Join Enroll America GA at our "Treat Yourself to Coverage" volunteer introduction and block party at CETPA where the community will meet our team and learn everything they need to know to become a volunteer. Start time: 8a - 11:30a/4650 Jimmy Carter Blvd. Norcross, GA
Oct 26 - Enjoy meet & greet opportunities with Enroll America at the annual American Cancer Society breast cancer walk. Enroll America will join this major event , family attraction, and will be clip boarding and canvassing the crowd to discuss the 'Get Covered America', the Affordable Care Act and Healthcare Marketplace benefits in GA. 8a - 12p/Centennial Olympic Park
Oct 26 - Enroll America GA will host an "Understanding the New Healthcare Law" seminar at the Roswell Library. Connecting with young moms and families during high traffic hours, EA will help raise awareness of the ACA and Marketplace Exchange facts. 10a - 2p/115 Norcross St., Roswell, GA
Oct 26 - Get Covered America Block Party at the Lang Carson Community Center 100 Flat Shoals Avenue, Atlanta, GA. 2p - 5p
Oct 27 - GCA-GA will host a Q&A Forum for the members of New Life Covenant Worldwide church in Lithonia, GA to raise awareness about the new healthcare marketplace and what it means for them. 724 Rock Chapel Road, Lithonia, GA 4p - 8p.