Consumer Reports says media outlets and politicians have misinterpreted its position on the Affordable Care Act.
In a online blog post dated October 21, the organization says suggestions that Consumer Reports is turning its back on the federal healthcare website are untrue.
The flap was triggered by news reports Monday and Tuesday that the non-profit consumer advocacy group was urging people to avoid using the federal website, www.healthcare.gov, for 30 days, because of all the computer glitches that have plagued the system.
The reports were based on a quote from a daily blog by Consumer Reports' insurance expert Nancy Metcalf. Metcalf's October 16 entry featured advice from a software tester on how to register amid all the glitches, including ways to avoid the roablocks in creating a user name, how to deal with failed logins, and how to clear cookies -- the data files implanted in your browser that can result in blank pages while you're trying to register.
In her final paragraph Metcalf writes, " If all this is too much for you to absorb, follow our previous advice: Stay away from Healthcare.gov for at least another month if you can. Hopefully that will be long enough for its software vendors to clean up the mess they've made. "
The blog goes on to point out that coverage under the marketplaces won't be available until January 1st at the earliest, and the deadline to register isn't until December 15. Consumer Reports says Metcalf's point was that there is no rush to signing up, and you'll have time and the quote from the blog was taken out of context.
In response to internet and cable network reports, Metcalf fired back with the blog headline: "Obamacare opponents have misrepresented Consumer Reports' position. HealthCare.gov problems do not negate benefits of new health law."
Metcalf goes on to write that "Consistent with our mission to inform and protect consumers, particularly in this complicated health care market, our advice remains the same: The best place to buy coverage on your own is through the Health Insurance Marketplace in your state. That guarantees you will get comprehensive coverage, and it's the only way you can lower the cost of your premiums and possibly even your deductibles and copayments."