The Obama administration has met its self-imposed goal to have the online federal insurance exchange working smoothly for most people who use it, according to a government report today.
The site, healthcare.gov, has been plagued by errors and bugs for two months, opening a new onslaught by Republican congressman opposed to the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The problems with the exchange have hurt President Barack Obama in the polls and prevented many Americans from enrolling in new insurance plans.
A repair effort launched in mid-October has cut the rate of error messages to less than 1 percent per page from about 6 percent in October, according to the report today by the Department of Health and Human Services. After faltering with little more than 1,000 simultaneous users at the start of October, the site can now handle 50,000 at a time, or about 800,000 per day, the report said. The repair effort continued into the evening yesterday, officials said.
“Dramatic progress has been made on improving healthcare.gov,” the administration said in the eight-page report. “There is more work to be done to continue to improve and enhance the website and continue to improve the consumer experience in the weeks and months ahead.”
Over the last two weeks, navigators who help people use the site have said the site was getting easier to use, though the progress was slow and there were frequent outages. Today’s report said the administration would continue working to improve healthcare.gov moving forward.
The goal of having the site “work smoothly for the vast majority of users” was set by Jeffrey Zients, the management consultant President Barack Obama assigned to supervise repairs after its calamitous Oct. 1 debut.
Technicians supervised by Zients fixed or improved more than 400 items on a “punch list” that grew quickly starting the week of Nov. 9, according to the report.
Uninsured Americans, or those losing coverage at the end of this month, have until Dec. 23 to sign up for plans effective Jan. 1. The federal website serves 36 states, including Texas, Florida, Illinois and Pennsylvania, while 14 states including New York and California run their own.
The state sites for the most part have not encountered the technical problems of healthcare.gov.
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