reportedly warned its supporters to urge users NOT to try and use healthcare.gov this weekend, when the much-maligned, dysfunctional health insurance site is supposed to finally be fixed. The NY Times reported yesterday:
“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.”
Saying things should be much better than before, White House officials nevertheless urged caution, because apparently any interest much above the nominal 50,000 users at one time rate, is still expected to crash the fragile system.
User rates of as high as 250,000 at one time might occur this weekend, as curiosity about the site, including about whether the site can withstand much traffic, may drive a surplus of visitors to healthcare.gov.
The request that people hold off on “swamping” the website—by using it—seems to belie the claim the White House made a few weeks ago that the Obamacare federal website would be working by November 30. Over the days since that announcement, the White House commitment to the fix has been modified to allow that as many as 80% of visitors should be able to use the site.
Obviously, being unable to provide service to 20% of the people visiting a website does not qualify as a “fix” to a major inaccessibility problem. But the site, and the underlying architecture, including all the linked databases and processes of these to enable insurance shopping and purchases, and assessments of shoppers’ income eligibility for insurance purchase subsidies (lowering the cost for low-income buyers), was constructed without proper oversight and testing, and cannot be fixed easily or quickly, according to tek experts.
However, the longer people are forced to wait to even try to shop for insurance on the website, the less time they will have to meet a number of deadlines coming up, and the more pressure Obama and the Democrats will be under to change those deadlines.
In fact, a number of Congressional Democrats have previously expressed the view that any failure of healthcare.gov to properly function by this weekend will be a greenlight to advance legislation pushing back or even eliminating for this year items such as the individual mandate.