Don’t even bother trying to buy health insurance through the new online exchanges today – many of them simply don’t work.
The primary Web portal, Healthcare.gov, as well as numerous state-run exchanges that launched at 12am this morning as a major component of the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) have suffered significant down time throughout the day, apparently due to a deluge of traffic that overwhelmed servers, and left those in need of healthcare coverage twiddling their thumbs.
Launch of online healthcare exchanges, which allow U.S. citizens to shop for health insurance, comes amidst a partial shutdown of the federal government caused by a political standoff in Congress over Obamacare and other partisan issues that has left the government without a working budget.
The shutdown has required many “non-essential” federal agencies to furlough much of their workforce without pay. NASA, which celebrates its 55th anniversary today, is one of the most hard-hit agencies, with some 97-percent of its staff on unpaid leave, and all of the space agency’s websites and social media accounts offline. In addition, the Washington Post reports that, thanks to the shutdown, some federal workers are forbidden from checking their email.
The healthcare exchanges, however, are not affected by the shutdown. Instead, they are simply malfunctioning – a problem Obama says could last for up to a month. Spanish language speakers are in for a wait as well, as those sites are weeks away from even launching.
Of course, it is no surprise that the launch of a major Web property comes with its fair share of problems. As Forbes contributor Tim Worstall points out, the new GTA 5 Online multiplayer network, which also went live today, likewise suffered snags due to heavy traffic.
Unlike GTA 5 Online, however, today’s problems with the Obamacare exchanges have led some to argue that the entire system is broken. In response to critics, Obama argued that early-onset hiccups are inherent in any new system – just look at Apple’s new iOS 7.
“Consider that just a couple of weeks ago, Apple rolled out a new mobile operating system, and within days, they found a glitch, so they fixed it,” said Obama during remarks made earlier today. “I don’t remember anybody suggesting Apple should stop selling iPhones or iPads or threatening to shut down the company if they didn’t.
“That’s not how we do things in America,” he added. “We don’t actively root for failure. We get to work, we make things happen, we make them better, we keep going.”