Obamacare Federal Website: STILL IN BETA!

The happy, smiling, face of a friendly model greets you at healthcare.gov. Fortunately, for this happy young lady, she didn't have to use the terrible healthcare.gov website to sign up for Obamacare's expensive, crappy, health care insurance.
I don't know how the experience of using Obamacare, with its huge defects (such as mandatory crappy insurance with big deductibles) is going to be, but I can speak directly to the experience of trying to sign up for Obamacare.

In short, it sucks completely. If I were to judge the program on the ability of government techs to produce a reliable web experience, I would say:


Of course, after yesterday's widespread problems, ACA supporters tried to spin the mess with the encouraging view that ACA websites being overwhelmed with visitors was actually a positive sign—because lots of people apparently were showing up to sign up.

But, many of those were confronted with long waits to get to the signup page, and then problems even completing that process.

Well, I thought, surely by the second day a lot of technical problems will be worked out.

So, today I gave the federal website a try. I have to use the fed page for ACA because the state I live in decided not to set up its own Obamacare insurance exchanges. But hey, if it's the feds, instead of some lowly state government running it, then it should work even better, right?

Not so much.

All three of my attempts to sign up crashed and burned at the same point—the security question portion, where for whatever reason, the ACA server refused to supply the questions, and the pull-down menu for them wouldn't budge. Without the ability to choose the questions, even if you supplied answers, the whole signup canceled, and you had to start over.

Obamacare website informs me that there is nobody to chat with me to help me figure out why the ACA is not working for me—and lots of other Americans.
I tried this twice with Safari, which did advance me to the signup quickly, and then thinking maybe the glitch was just the browser, I switched over to my new copy of Opera (allegedly, a better-than-Chrome-even browser), with the same result. Also, with Opera, I got queued into a long wait to even get to the signup page. Took about ten minutes.

I looked around at comments concerning people's experiences, and found the security-question failure was a common complaint. And now it is into the second day with no fix for this. So, some portion of the alleged millions of people coming to the ACA website are not even making it past the signup, assuming they feel like waiting (for ten minutes or so) to get to that page.

Will they ever come back? Maybe. But if the whole idea of your political messaging is that people will in fact love the green eggs and ham, if they will just try it, and then when they try to try it, you give them a big plate of oopsy-empty, that's pretty weak.

UPDATE—New York Times confirms this evening what I have reported in the above article, AND reports that it is NOT caused by too much traffic to the federal site:
Federal officials would not say how many people successfully enrolled in health plans on Tuesday through the federal site. They also conceded that factors beyond high use had contributed to the Internet delays. Throughout the day on Tuesday and into Wednesday, users had difficulty creating online accounts and therefore could not see their health plan options or premiums. Users were asked to provide answers to three “security questions,” but many could not choose or write in any security question. In a telephone conference call on Tuesday afternoon, Marilyn B. Tavenner, the administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said the problem was “corrected earlier today” on the federal Web site. But within 10 minutes, journalists informed Ms. Tavenner that the problem persisted, and she expressed surprise.
Now we have to ask the question: did the feds sign up ANYBODY yet at the federal Obamacare website?

UPDATE2—The above linked article no longer has the quoted text, though another, earlier, NY Times article references the security question issue. The above article does however mention the problems people are continuing to have even finishing registration. As for shopping for coverage? The feds refuse to discuss details of whether or not anybody has been able to achieve that end, and nor will the government discuss whether or not "they had found design flaws in their system." Certainly, users have found design flaws in their system.

Google News search shows article text before NYT changed it.