Obamacare has a new antagonist: The Obamacare sign-up website.
Over the weekend, healthcare.gov was pulled down for maintenance at off-peak hours because of persistent glitches people encountered once the site went, er, “live” on Tuesday.
The computer snafu was like a gift to Republicans, who have suffered in the polls since precipitating a partial-government shutdown over Obamacare that happened to coincide with the website’s launch.
With each reported website woe, it’s easier for Republicans to draw a line between a possible computer programming failure and a government program failure. Unlike the government shutdown, Republicans bear no discernable blame for the online shutdown.
In damage control, President Barack Obama and his administration urged patience and understanding. They’ve released web-traffic numbers, but refuse to disclose enrollment figures.
“Folks are working around the clock and have been systematically reducing the wait times,” Obama said. “But we are confident that over the course of the six months — because it's important to remember people have six months to sign up — that we are going to probably exceed what anybody expected in terms of the amount of interest that people have."
How could the Obama Administration not design a system to handle demand from the start? Isn’t that a raison d'être of the Affordable Care Act — that there’s demand or need from up to 48 million uninsured Americans (about 3.8 million in Florida, the second-least insured state behind Texas)?
And is this really a case of a great online product suffering from being too desirable?
Computer experts have their doubts.