President Obama and his minions have vowed to achieve the healing of Healthcare.gov in some form by its deadline today. In the words of the Van Morrison song: Did ye get healed? It depends on what you mean by “healed.” The answer looks to be undecided to negative, though the administration is claiming success (as modified).
McClatchy takes the administration’s claim of pending success (as modified) at face value in “White House confident it’s met deadline to fix Healthcare.gov for most.” Anita Kuman reports:
They expect the site to be able to handle 50,000 simultaneous users and 800,000 daily visitors. If too many people try to access the website at the same time, some will be put in a queue to wait until the volume has decreased.
“We think we have the capacity to handle the demand,” said Jeffrey Zients, an administration official who served as the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget and is overseeing the site repair efforts. “That said, there could be moments in the middle of the day . . . where capacity goes beyond that current user level, at which point there will be a customer-friendly queuing system which would notify you when to come back to the site and sort of be first in line.”
Zients said that when he agreed to manage the improvement to HealthCare.gov he realized the site was fixable but that it needed a fresh set of eyes, additional expertise and what he calls “private-sector speed” and “ruthless prioritization.”
Juliet Eilperin and Amy Goldstein report for the Washington Post:
Administration officials are preparing to announce Sunday that they have met their Saturday deadline for improving HealthCare.gov, according to government officials, in part by expanding the site’s capacity so that it can handle 50,000 users at once. But they have yet to meet all their internal goals for repairing the federal health-care site, and it will not become clear how many consumers it can accommodate until more people try to use it.
As of Friday night, federal officials and contractors had achieved two goals, according to government officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss ongoing operations. They had increased the system’s capacity and reduced errors. On the other hand, the site’s pages do not load as fast as they want, officials said, and they are working to ensure that large numbers of consumers can enter the site.
Louise Radnofsky and Spencer Ante report for the Wall Street Journal:
Despite recent progress at HealthCare.gov, a raft of problems will remain beyond the Obama administration’s Saturday deadline to make the troubled federal insurance website work.
The news isn’t all bad: Users say the site looks better, pages load faster, and more people are getting through to sign up for health plans.
But technical problems still affect HealthCare.gov’s ability to verify users’ identities and transmit accurate enrollment data to insurers, officials say. The data center that supports the site faces continuing challenges, and tools for processing payments to insurers haven’t been built.
Sharon LaFreniere, Eric Lipton and Ian Austen report for the New York Times:
As the Obama administration’s weekend deadline for a smoothly functioning online marketplace for health insurance arrives, more than a month of frantic repair work is paying off with fewer crashes and error messages and speedier loading of pages, according to government officials, groups that help people enroll and experts involved in the project.
But specialists said weeks of additional work lie ahead, including a major reconfiguration of the computer hardware, if the $630 million site, Healthcare.gov, is to accommodate the expected flood of people seeking to buy health insurance. Without the additional changes, experts predict, the website may continue to crash during periods of peak use.
Beyond the prospect of potential delays for consumers, insurers warn that problems remain in the invisible “back end” that transmits enrollment information to them. That data has been plagued by inaccuracies, insurers say. Administration officials have been unwilling to disclose the error rate.
When those of our fellow Americans who are relegated to Healthcare.gov succeed in getting through, in the words of the Elvis Presley song: that’s when you heartaches begin. We will be paying more for less, courtesy of the triumph of the will of Barakck Obama and the Democratic Party. The Wall Street Journal’s terrific reported editorial simply states “Obamacare’s plans are worse.” The Journal’s editors are right on:
Even as President Obama reluctantly granted Americans thrown off their health plans quasi-permission to possibly keep them, he called them “the folks who, over time, I think, are going to find that the marketplaces are better.” He means the ObamaCare exchanges that are replacing the private insurance market, adding that “it’s important that we don’t pretend that somehow that’s a place worth going back to.”
Easy for him to say. The reason this furor will continue even if the website is fixed is that the public is learning that ObamaCare’s insurance costs more in return for worse coverage.
There is much more (all of it must reading) here.
UPDATE: The New York Post reports the action overnight in “The Obamacare Web site shuts down for repairs.”