There is no better proof that the ill-fated Obamacare website will not be ready by the November 30th deadline is the White House announcement that they are delaying a “sign up for Obamacare” marketing program scheduled for December and have asked others to delay theirs as well.
As reported in The NY Times,
White House officials, fearful that the federal health care website may again be overwhelmed this weekend, have urged their allies to hold back enrollment efforts so the insurance marketplace does not collapse under a crush of new users.
At the same time, administration officials said Tuesday that they had decided not to inaugurate a big health care marketing campaign planned for December out of concern that it might drive too many people to the still-fragile HealthCare.gov.
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Notice, they are not just worried about traffic the initial weekend or the first few days, they are moving marketing/promotional efforts back at least a month, indicating that they will not be confident about the site until at least January. But the problem is consumers must sign up by Dec. 23 to obtain coverage that takes effect on Jan. 1. So those five million people who have lost their plans will really need to get into the site before then.
“We are definitely on track to have a significantly different user experience by the end of this month,” Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services, said Tuesday. “That was our commitment.”
Perhaps Ms Sebelius is suffering from some sort of dementia because that wasn’t the commitment. America was promised the site would be fixed.
Officials said the website was now able to handle 50,000 users at a time, providing enough capacity on a daily basis to enroll millions of people in the next four months.
But those charged with fixing the site worry that 250,000 people might try to use the site simultaneously at times on Saturday and in the days ahead. They say that pent-up demand for insurance in the federal marketplace, combined with a surge of interest among people merely curious about whether it is working, could bring the website to a crawl.
On Monday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) spokeswoman Julie Bataille made a similar warning, saying errors that persist past this weekend would be “intermittent” and, in line with a promise made by the White House, would not affect the vast majority of the site’s users.
On the other hand Ms. Bataille said that some would still experience “periods of suboptimal performance” by the system due to either heavy traffic or technical issues that are still being addressed.
“The system will not work perfectly on Dec. 1, but it will work much better than it did in October.”
Gee that sounds awfully like “Other than that how was the play Mrs. Lincoln?”
In an effort to ease pressure on the website, officials have created what they call a waiting room for times when the site is operating slowly. People can ask the government to notify them by email of a better time to use the site, and they will then go to the front of the line, officials said.
There is a rumor that for consumers in the “waiting room” Healthcare.gov will not be playing muzak, but instead will be streaming some of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s most entertaining cell phone calls courtesy of the NSA.
In the end it may be just that the Administration is being cautious–we will know for sure in a few days.