Healthcare.gov is on the honor system thanks to a data center failure

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In what is becoming an epic string of poor planning and bad luck, the new Affordable Care Act website may soon have to run on the honor system. Thanks to a data center failure on Sunday, those trying to sign up for coverage at healthcare.gov were unable to complete the process because the site could not verify their identity.

According to Reuters, one of Verizon’s Terremark critical data centers has gone down. The center is a hub where a number of federal agencies connect to “verify people’s identity, citizenship, and other facts.” Without access to this information, healthcare.gov can’t determine if people are who they say they are, or if they are eligible for tax credits, both of which are very important pieces of information for a site designed to make healthcare coverage more affordable.

“We are working with Terremark to get their timeline for addressing the issue,” Health and Human Services Department spokeswoman Joanne Peters said in an email to Reuters. “We understand that this issue is affecting other customers in addition to HealthCare.gov, and Terremark is working (to) resolve the issue as quickly as possible.”

Healthcare.gov came online Oct. 1. While interest in the Affordable Care Act seems high,  it has experienced a multitude of bugs, glitches, malfunctions, and failures. Its even become fodder for Saturday Night Live, which has made fun of it twice, including a particularly funny cold open last week. You can take a look at it below. 

If the site still isn’t loading for you, or won’t verify your identity, there is now a number you can call to talk to a real person. But hey, why should any of this work? It was a bargain. The US government only spent $500 million to make the site.

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