Is Obamacare a Huge Failure?

October 2nd, 2013
in econ_news, syndication

Econintersect:  A number of sources are telling us that Obamacare is a big failure.  They report that the system suffered a "near-total crash" on Launch Day.  Sources also say that system failure occurred at reported traffic loads that are smaller than those for a "decent commercial website".


Follow up:

Not surprisingly, a Republican site has one of the best compilations of software failures on launch day. From

Consumers Are Experiencing Long Wait Times And "Problems With The Application Process." "Early issues that some people are seeing include long wait times for accessing the site, problems with the application process and long waits to chat with customer service representatives online." (Jason Millman, "HHS: 'Aware' Of Issues," Politico, 10/1/13)

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser Headline: "Software Stymies Start Of Health Exchange."(Kristen Consillio, "Software Stymies Start Of Health Exchange," The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 10/1/13)

  • Hawaii's ObamaCare Exchange Did Not Open Today Due To Software Problems "That Will Prevent Consumers From Comparing The Various Plans." "The state's health insurance exchange, a key provision of the Affordable Care Act, will not be ready for consumers to shop and compare health plans at the start of open enrollment today. The online marketplace known as the Hawaii Health Connector is having software problems that will prevent consumers from comparing the various plans." (Kristen Consillio, "Software Stymies Start Of Health Exchange," The Honolulu Star-Advertiser , 10/1/13)

The Lexington Herald Leader Headline: "Glitches Hamper Access To Kentucky's ObamaCare Website." (Mary Meehan, "Glitches Hamper Access To Kentucky's ObamaCare Website,"The Lexington Herald Leader, 10/1/13)

  • Kentuckians Were Hampered By "Technical Glitches" When They Visited The State's ObamaCare Page. "The large number of people accessing the site caused 'a few technical glitches' at, but 1,000 applications had been processed by 9:30 a.m., according to Gwenda Bond, a spokeswoman for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services." (Mary Meehan, "Glitches Hamper Access To Kentucky's ObamaCare Website," The Lexington Herald Leader, 10/1/13 documents exchange site failures for other states including New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.

John Hayward at Human Events criticized the lack of information from the government about how many insurance policies applications were actually made:

So, how many people actually bought some of that spiffy new ObamaCare? Don't ask. "The White House claims not to have a number for folks enrolled," says Tapper. Um... but they know how many unique visitors they had? That's what we call a bald-faced lie where I come from. A multi-billion-dollar computer system that can't immediately tabulate the number of applications it received? If we took that seriously, it would be a good reason to bring the architects of ObamaCare up on charges, and ask them where all that time and money went. (Investigations into that delicate subject are already under way, with a billion-dollar ObamaCare contractor facing allegations of outright fraud in Britain. Our tax money is in the very best of hands!)

Naturally, if the number of people who signed up for ObamaCare was good news, it would get blasted from every TV screen immediately. In fact, if this Administration thought it could get away with lying about the number for a few days, it would do so, under the Benghazi Protocol: say whatever it takes to get through this news cycle, dismiss the whole thing as "old news" when people get wise.

Some traffic reports from Employee Benefit News:

New York: "2.5 million visitors in the first half hour"

California: "as many as 16,000 hits a second"

Federal website: "2.8 million visitors" Note: The same article says:

...the federal site, which serves 36 states, was inaccessible for much of the day, administrators “added capacity and made adjustments” to put it back into service by late afternoon...

Connecticut: "28,000 web hits as of 4 p.m. yesterday, only 167 people applied for coverage"

Kentucky: "1,235 people completed applications for insurance"

Minnesota: "100,000 visited the site by mid-afternoon"

Kalthleen Sebelius (on CNBC, 2pm est 02 October 2013) reported:

"4.7 million visitors on Federal website."

The 2.9 million visit number earlier was for the first 18 hours of 01 October and the 4.7 million was given almost 24 hours after the first.

According to Life health Pro the California exchange has had very heavy traffic with interspersed slow to load periods.  The California system was closed from 9 pm Tuesday to early Wednesday to "optimize performance".  California received 5 million hits on its exchange web site by 3 pm the first day and reported handling 17,000 phone calls.

Matt Yglesias said the the GOP preoccupation with the government shutdown took attention away from system failures at public exchange websites. He calls it a "GOP Obamacare IT bailout".

Progress website Media Matters said:

Right-wing media have used temporary technical glitches exacerbated by a flood of interest to demagogue against the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges. In reality, the technological issues are caused in part by high levels of traffic, which demonstrate that millions of Americans are signing up for the health care program.

As the ACA's new health insurance exchanges launched on October 1, millions of Americans visited health exchange websites, prompting an overload of Internet traffic that contributed to technical glitches. According to White House Deputy Senior Adviser David Simas, has logged 1 million visits in the past day, a rate that already dwarfs the number of visits ever received by

Econintersect comment: When the spinning stops we will hopefully see the writing on the ball.


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