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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Washington (AFP) – A key stage of President Barack Obama’s health care reform law hit a stumbling block Tuesday when millions of people flocked to browse online insurance but were frustrated by technical glitches.

The launch of went ahead despite a U.S. government shutdown incited by Republicans opposed to the law, and Obama vowed that six in 10 people could find insurance there for less than $100 per month.

But many of the 2.8 million users the government reported having counted for the day were blocked from entering the site due to heavy traffic.

“With any new product launch, there are going to be glitches as things unfold,” said Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

“We certainly had a high volume of consumers creating accounts this morning,” she told reporters. “We added capacity, and made some adjustments to the system to handle that.”

She declined to specify how many people had signed up on the first day of what is to be a six month process, saying only: “We can confirm that people have enrolled.”

Known widely as “Obamacare,” the Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress and signed by Obama in 2010, with a promise to help over 30 million uninsured people get health care coverage.

Despite its ambitions to revolutionize American health care, the plan is not free, and will not be able to cover tens of millions of people in America who lack full insurance.

Advocates have touted it as a major step toward universal health care, while opponents like Republican House speaker John Boehner have insisted the law “is not ready for prime-time.”

Indeed, for much of Tuesday, the new health insurance exchanges that were to begin enrolling people via the website were jammed.

Frustrated users flocked to Twitter to complain that and others linked to the exchanges were not working.

An attempt by an AFP reporter to check prices offered in Virginia resulted in the message: “Important: Your account couldnt [sic] be created at this time. The system is unavailable.”

The NY State of Health site said that “overwhelming interest” had led to two million visits in the first two hours of the launch, and asked people to come back later if they had been unable to log in.

“Today is launch day for Obamacare and so far it’s like a giant online traffic jam on the first day of summer vacation,” said independent technology analyst Jeff Kagan. “No one knew what to expect, but chaos is what we have.”

Obama said the main website had been slowed because more than one million people visited before 7:00 am alone.

“There were five times more users in the marketplace this morning than have ever been on at one time. That gives you a sense of how important this is,” Obama said outside the White House, flanked by a handful of citizens who would benefit from the reform.

“We are going to be speeding things up in the next few hours to handle this demand that exceeds anything we expected,” the President added.

About seven million Americans are expected to seek coverage by 2014, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The policies available on the health exchanges range in price according to a person’s income, location, family size and the level of coverage desired on a scale of bronze, silver, gold or platinum.

All Americans must sign up for some kind of health insurance by January 1 or face a fine.

The government said there would be an average of 53 plans to choose from in the federally-facilitated marketplace.

Most Americans have health insurance — 82.6 percent according a July report from the Department of Commerce based on data from the 2010 Census.

About half get it through their employer, and about 30 percent are enrolled in government programs like Medicare, mainly for seniors, and Medicaid, which covers the poor and disabled.

That leaves 17.4 percent of Americans with no health insurance whatsoever, or about 53 million people.

An analysis in the journal Health Affairs earlier this year projected that around 30 million Americans will still not get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

Those gaps are due in part to the Supreme Court’s decision to allow some states to opt out of expanding Medicaid programs, coupled with a cut in funding to safety-net hospitals.

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • sigrid28

    I was able to access the website at 4am CST without any trouble. It’s “problem” is the program’s enormous popularity.

    An hour later, the hosts of Fox News were very deeply “concerned” about the difficulties of accessing the Spanish language website–what were Republican Latino constituents to do, if they could not sign up for Obamacare the first day since the House had failed to delay the individual mandate for a YEAR. All of this concern, I tell you, very deep concern, was evident on the faces of well-coifed Fox News hosts at 5am CST.

    Next, I turned to “Morning Joe,” where Joe Scarborough, also well-coifed, was whining about how, eventually, no businesses would offer employee benefits with health insurance, ever ever again, destroying families, blah, blah, blah. To which one of his braver breakfast buddies replied, “Well, perhaps they could purchase health care coverage for less through the PPACA.”

    No matter how hard they try, Republicans cannot dress up the fact that they bear a grudge against those for whom the ACA is a life-saving opportunity, they hate President Obama, and they have not come to terms with the fact that they lost the 2012 election.

  • NCSteve

    God, what a predictably empty-headed MSM moron take.

    Right now, Republicans in Congress are insisting they have a mandate to shut down Obamacare because The American People just hate it, hate it, hate it and would rather see the government blown up than endure its implementation. And yet here we are, with attempts to access the exchanges so wildly exceeding the expectations of the system designers–not to mention the naysayers and the cranks–that the servers are crashing. So, of course, This is Terrible News!!!! for Obama!!!!

    This is like saying “so many people tried to buy Springsteen tickets online that they crashed the Ticket Master server and that’s terrible news for the Boss!”

    Millions of people jumped on to the exchanges on the very first day. By next week, millions will be on the path to being insured through the ACA. The apathy didn’t happen, the supposed confusion didn’t stop people from trying to sign up, none of the people signing up are complaining about the cost. The demand just cut the legs out from under the Republicans trying to kill the law but, of course, the brain dead MSM CW wrote this story before it happened, so endure it we must.

    • Commie Dearest

      I think the MSM didn’t write the story, they took GOP press releases and published them.

    • clarenceswinney

      Never forget—For decades the polls were 70% that we Must Reform Health Care to reduce the costs

  • elw

    Well, that story made little sense. However, you want to look at it, the truth is the over 2 million people trying to get into the National exchange is a good sign not a bad one. Yes the site crashed, but that is called a glitch not a disaster. Those people who jumped at the chance to get health coverage will be back, they know what they need and want. There is no mandate for the opponents of ACA/Obamacare, but a greater need by close to 60 million Americans who do not have access to medical care. The biggest fear that the naysayer have is that all their predictions of disaster will not come true, I hope they will survive having to face their biggest fears; I really want to be able to watch their faces when they finally know they have lost.

  • clarenceswinney

    We polled 70% ,consistently, for decades to Reform Expensive Health Care as is done by all other industrialized nations. Had Hillary a Democratic Congress in 1995 We would be talking Hilcare not Obamacare.
    We are not giving the AHC a fair chance to work. It is not Health Care it is Powerfare.
    The Tea Party was and is financed by Koch to cut taxes, cut spending, do less policing of the environment.
    Give it a chance. Stop charging $500 for a $32 hand held Breathalyzer, $600 for $10 worth of cloth gauze, $6000 for a night in a bed hooked to a blood pressure monitor, $4400 for 5 hours on a sleep monitor.
    Those are personal examples that show why we spend 20% of our Individual Income on Health Care
    And rank 37th in World Health Forum for effectiveness.
    Where do we get out health insurance? 78% via employer, Medicare, and Medicaid.
    48% via employer—15% by Medicare and 15% by Medicaid.
    Give AHC a Fair Chance. It will not be fully operational for another year.