Obamacare Glitches Force Website Weekend Shutdown for Repairs

Image: Obamacare Glitches Force Website Weekend Shutdown for Repairs

Monday, 07 Oct 2013 09:23 AM

By Michael Mullins

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Obamacare glitches have accompanied the roll out of President Barack Obama's signature legislation last week, creating an embarassment for the administration. The glitches were so severe that the website was forced to shut down over the weekend, as a technical team attempts to fix the kinks that have plagued it.

Few Americans have reportedly signed up for the coverage.

"Whether you are for or against Obamacare, everyone seems to agree the government really dropped the ball on this rollout," independent technology analyst Jeff Kagan told the AFP. "Why didn’t the government ask for corporate help before the train wreck?"

Editor's Note: ObamaCare Is Here. Are You Prepared?

Website visitors were met with error messages that read: "We have a lot of visitors on our site right now and we’re working to make your experience here better."

Even insurance agents reported having problems using the website to get information to their customers.

"I am president of the National Association of Health Underwriters, and I could not get on the Web site," Thomas M. Harte, a New Hampshire insurance broker told The New York Times. "I have tried more than a dozen times, in the middle of the day and the middle of the night."

In an interview with the Associated Press last week, Obama weighed into the glitches on the Affordable Care Act's website.

"The website got overwhelmed by volume [and] the insurance doesn’t start until January. So they’ll have plenty of time," he said.

According to The Times, as of Friday, 8.6 million people visited the website, while another 406,000 contacted the telephone call center.

Opponents of the program were quick to pounce, with House Speaker John Boehner on Friday claiming the glitches symbolized major flaws with Obamacare.

"The news that [the] enrollment system is already going offline confirms that the launch of the president’s healthcare law has been an unmitigated disaster," Boehner said in a statement Friday. "How can this administration tax individuals for not purchasing a product from a website that doesn’t even work?"

In response to the criticism, Obama and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius both compared the rollout of the Affordable Care Act to Apple introducing new technology to the market, in which a few glitches is expected.

"A couple of weeks ago, Apple rolled out a new mobile operating system, and within days, they found a glitch, so they fixed it," Obama said. "I don’t remember anybody suggesting Apple should stop selling iPhones or iPads."

Editor's Note: Do You Support Obamacare? Vote in Urgent National Poll

Reacting to the president's comparison, The Washington Post's tech experts via its Wonkblog noted, "But the Obama administration doesn't have a basically working product that would be improved by a software update. They have a Web site that almost nobody has been able to successfully use."

"If Apple launched a major new product that functioned as badly as Obamacare's online insurance marketplace, the tech world would be calling for Tim Cook's head," the tech experts added.

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