Obamacare Website Crashes as Sebelius Watches

Wednesday, 20 Nov 2013 07:24 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Embattled Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius got an embarrassing first-hand look at the notorious Obamacare website glitches when HealthCare.gov crashed in front of her Wednesday.

During her visit to North Shore Hospital in Miami to meet with navigators who are helping Americans register and enroll in Obamacare, several residents were in the process of enrolling, The Miami Herald reported.

Sebastian and Yanette Castillon of Miami sat across a table from a navigator who spoke Spanish and helped them fill out and file their application to insure their four-member family.

But after they filed their application through the website, it seized up: "Sorry, our system is down," read the message, which advised them to try again in 30 minutes.

Sebelius nervously muttered "uh-oh," a CBS affiliate reported.

Sebelius, visiting Miami on Wednesday for the second time in three months to promote the Affordable Care Act, vowed to finish the job of repairing the federally run HealthCare.gov website, but also tried to refocus the discussion on Medicaid expansion.

She acknowledged the Obama administration's testing of the website in the months prior to the troubled launch "was not sufficient."

"It should have been a longer period of time," Sebelius said.

But she resisted answering any questions about whether she intended to step down, as Republican leaders have called for, sticking to her message: "The important thing is to finish the job that we started."

As for the Castillons, they were not discouraged by their hobbled first attempt at signing up, the Herald reported.

Sebastian Castillon, 51, said the family has been using a discount card he bought for $100 that entitles them to see a primary care physician for a co-payment of $20 per visit and specialists for $40 a visit for three months.

But he wants better coverage because his 19-year-old daughter sees a doctor every two months for a medical condition.

"I’d like to pay as little as possible because my resources are not many," he said.

Karen Egozi, director of the Doral, Fla.-based Epilepsy Foundation, said navigators enrolled two people for health insurance on Tuesday. She defined enrollment as selecting a plan and making the first month's payment.

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