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After a rocky start; If I read one more article about HealthCare.gov that starts with the phrase, "after a rocky start", I'm going to throw up all over my rocky computer!  As a former software developer, I was extremely critical of the procurement process and the incompetent company that was awarded the contract.  But when the administration announced the "tech surge", I was also extremely hopeful that progress could be made on the mess the contractor had created, IF the right people took control.

On Nov. 5 I wrote a diary, Did HealthCare.gov Just Get A Lot Better?, when I believed the website had turned a major corner.  I am extremely impressed that the tech people could make so much progress so quickly.

Yesterday, Secretary Sebelius gave a major hint, Healthcare.gov ‘Significantly Different’ for Nov. 30 Deadline that the website has already met the Presidents goal of working for the majority of people by Nov. 30.  Make no mistake, the site isn't going to work perfectly, and since changes will be constant as they learn more, it may never be a perfect site, but what site is?

Below the fold for some media comments:

...
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius assured state and local elected officials Tuesday that the troubled Obamacare website is “definitely on track” to improve by the end of November.

“We are definitely on track to have a significantly different user experience by the end of this month,” Sebelius said in a conference call with state and local officials Tuesday.

...

Sebelius told lawmakers Tuesday they should encourage their constituents to sign up for coverage on Healthcare.gov as the administration continues to make improvements to the site.

“I would urge you and your folks on the ground to not hesitate to recommend that people go to Healthcare.gov and get signed up because that experience is currently working much better and it will continue to work much better,” Sebelius said.

from More fixes to HealthCare.gov as Nov. 30 deadline looms
The government announced Monday it added yet more capacity and made more fixes, including hardware updates, to HealthCare.gov over the weekend, working toward its goal of a "smoothly operating" website by a self-imposed Saturday deadline.

"The system will not work perfectly on Dec. 1, but it will operate much better than it did in October," said Julie Bataille, the director of the office of communications at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

...

To that end, Friday HHS announced that the site would be able to handle 50,000 people at once, as originally planned, by Nov. 30. That means 800,000 people will be able to access the site every day, she said.

I was really shocked about a week ago to hear that the site could handle 50,000 people at once.  That is a really huge number and means the site can probably handle everyone who wants to visit the site.  Of course the emphasis from the press has been that the site has only reached half its goal of handling about 100K people at once.  Who the hell cares if can handle 100K or 1M, as long as it can handle the vast majority of people trying to get on, and it can do that right now!

Krugman sees in, The Obamacare Worm Turns,  a backlash happening as the site starts signing up 100s of thousands of people, but I'm not so sure.

Conservatives are operating on the assumption that it’s an irredeemable disaster that they can ride all the way to 2016; but the facts on the ground are getting better by the day, and Obamacare will turn into a Benghazi-type affair where Republicans are screaming about a scandal nobody else cares about.
Unfortunately, I don't believe for a moment that the media will give the same coverage of the remarkable recovery of HealthCare.gov, as they did to the problems.  Even now, the stories tend to be, HealthCare.gov is making progress, BUT there's this problem and that problem and ...

Eventually, with our assistance of criticism of stories that emphasize the problems over the successes, the stories will have to turn to the successes.  But I think the Administration is making a big mistake by not releasing some of the big numbers that must be happening right now.  At least leak the numbers to stop these "broken Obamacare" stories from being forever locked in the minds of the uninformed voters.

So congratulations to the tech team that has made remarkable progress on a really big mess, and get on your Facebook and twitter accounts and push the media to report the remarkable turnaround with the same vigor they reported the problems!

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Comment Preferences

  •  the whole issue is overblown (10+ / 0-)


    and I was frankly shocked that there were so many public apologies over it.  I signed on and registered, and went all the way up to selecting a plan about about a week and a half after the site opened, and had no more than minor issues.  Anyone who is bellyaching about it probably hasn't actually tried to register yet.  And yes - I am talking about the national site: I am in Virginia, we have no state exchange.

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 06:47:36 AM PST

    •  Hard to "overblow" this issue. (0+ / 0-)

      Healthcare reform was, by far, the administration's top domestic priority.  Obama was willing to risk his entire Presidency and the jobs of many elected Democrats to get the ACA passed.  It passed, but the political price for passage was steep.  It was thus absolutely essential for the administration to do everything in its power to make the ACA work.  Yet, the website was an abject and embarrassing failure.  Almost 2 months later, the website still doesn't work (much of this damage would have been contained if the site was fixed within 3-4 weeks).  The ACA is now in serious jeopardy and the administration has created an enduring case for limited government.   Democrats are now on their heels for 2014 and 2016.  

      It's hard to "overblow" what has happened here.  In pure political terms, this is Katrina X10.  Moreover, it's getting worse each day that goes by and that damn website isn't working properly.

      Trust-Fund Kids of America Unite... save the Bush tax cuts!

      by JCPOK on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 07:11:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  which brings me to my point (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FiredUpInCA, tgrshark13


        Have you registered? what issues have you had that you can claim "abject and embarrassing failure"? My point is that there were minor functionality issues on the website that did NOT keep me from registering.  Yes - the whole issue is overblown.

        "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

        by louisev on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 07:13:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What We Know. (0+ / 0-)

          The Site was supposed to handle up to 50,000 simultaneous users and effectuate the registration of up to 15,000 ACA participants each day.  The minimum aggregate goal for ACA registrations through the website and other exchanges was 500,000 per month.

          By all accounts, the Site was almost entirely dysfunctional for the first 2 weeks following release and was only able to handle a few thousands users at a time for most of October and early November.  Less than 100,000 users were able to register through the site in October.  The Site still cannot handle high user loads.  Combined registrations through the site for October and November will likely be less than 200,000.

          We need to be realistic here and understand what has happened, both in political and social-welfare terms.  There has been a tremendous amount of damage.  I think that responsible parties must be held accountable for this disaster.  We must govern responsibly and that is the only way to do it.

          Trust-Fund Kids of America Unite... save the Bush tax cuts!

          by JCPOK on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 07:41:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The webiste does indeed work! (5+ / 0-)

        I'm not sure where you get the impression that the site isn't working, but it is incorrect.  Almost every report I've seen over the past week is that the site is working for the vast majority of users.  There are even reports that as of last week the site had already signed up twice as many people as it signed up in all of Oct., and I'm sure it is doing much better today.

      •  You're probably a bit hysterical, but I tend (0+ / 0-)

        to share your concerns.  I think we'll never know "objectively" what happened as to the website rollout problems but there's something that isn't adding up, in the sense that there must have been reasons for the poor build.  I actually think the contractor they picked CGI, is probably very very good, etc.  I don't know if the constant sniping and uncertainty over whether the law would be repealed with a possible President Romney made a difference, etc.

        I would say that I think the ACA is not in serious jeopardy for at least 3 full years, which is an eternity in politics.  If the Republicans are in a position to repeal the law in January/Feb of 2017 and it's still terribly unpopular and my compatriots wanted it repealed, I'd have very little negative to say about a repeal.

        From Neocon to sane- thanks to Obama- and Kos.

        by satrap on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 07:22:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Let us fervently hope it would not be repealed (0+ / 0-)

          In three years millions would have seen doctors and been diagnosed with conditions that would instantly become "preexisting" upon repeal. They would lose the ability to buy health insurance even if they could afford it. What a disaster.

      •  Katrina x10??????? (12+ / 0-)

        I'd like you to defend that it's even close to Katrina x 1.

        How many people died or lost their homes from the website crashes????  

        I've heard of hyperbole, but this is ridiculous.

        Especially when people who haven't even looked at Obamacare or the exchange websites listen to reports saying stuff like this and without checking keep repeating this to their friends until this is the normal way of thinking about the situation.

        I had exactly two problems at the website.  None was of Katrina proportion.
        1. The first time, I got into a loop filling out the questionnaire when I was trying to correct an older page.  I called the number for support and within a few minutes, they had completed the questionnaire and I was back in.
        2. After I succeeded in getting an amazing medical plan for my daughter that saved her about $550/months in premiums, I saw a link that said "Click here to see adult dental plans".  I thought I'd better first print out the confirmation page instead, so I clicked "Print" instead.  Once the printing completed, I went back to the confirmation page, and the "click for dental plans" was no longer there, and I wasn't able to find out how to get to it.

        If you think that this is comparable to people being killed and flooded out while the government was doing nothing about it, I don't know how to argue this.

        You're qualification "in purely political terms" sounds like some code for "not really".

      •  Bull (4+ / 0-)
        In pure political terms, this is Katrina X10.
        Hard to "overblow" this issue?  I think you did just that quite ridiculously.

        In the time it took Adam Lanza to reload, eleven children escaped. What if...

        by Sixty Something on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 09:00:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  this just is not true (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dragonlady, pollwatcher
        Almost 2 months later, the website still doesn't work
        People who had accounts from Oct and early Nov are still having problems but when they create a new account with a new username, new password, and new email address they are successful in enrolling.  
    •  I'm in Virginia too (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      satrap, scamperdo, Mr Robert

      I also signed on, registered, and went all the way to selecting a plan. That's where I am stuck. I know what plan I want, I have been approved for a subsidy, I'm ready to buy. I've tried online, I called five separate times, two of which were multi-hour attempts, and Monday I drove to where the navigator was. For some reason no one can help me complete the final step, which is buying the actual policy.
           I'm fighting frustration and feelings of incompetence. I keep hearing how everyone else is succeeding. No idea why I am not. I now have an appointment with the navigator's supervisor on Dec 12. That is the earliest she could see me.
           The good news is I have found a policy that I think will be good coverage for a fraction of what I am paying on the open market. I have been working for and waiting for this for many years and am looking forward to that big sigh of relief I'm going to breathe when i finally have affordable coverage.

      To keep our faces turned toward change, and behave as free spirits in the presence of fate--that is strength undefeatable. (Helen Keller)

      by kareylou on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 08:00:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why can't they help you, in (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kareylou

        your estimation, with the final step?

        From Neocon to sane- thanks to Obama- and Kos.

        by satrap on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 08:13:21 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  No idea. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rsmpdx

          They are doing on their computer exactly what I did on my computer and getting the same result, which is getting locked out on the final step. I have sent for a mail-in application but have already been told that they will just enter the information on that application in the computer so they will probably get the same result once again. I am going to try setting up a different account. i don't want to fool around too much and further bollix things up because I really don't know what is wrong. That's why I made the in-person appointment.  

          To keep our faces turned toward change, and behave as free spirits in the presence of fate--that is strength undefeatable. (Helen Keller)

          by kareylou on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 10:31:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'm glad (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher, antboy

    they're not releasing data piecemeal. I'd rather they wait till the next scheduled reporting period, and then post a crazy large number no one's expecting. That would be a great way to get the media's attention and could change the narrative, almost overnight.

    •  That means 2 -3 weeks of more bad stories (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib

      A big surprise might very well have a big impact on people, but it will come in the middle of X-mas shopping season when people aren't really paying a lot of attention and when the budget battle will be in the news.

      Remember how the Obama reelection people were hammering Romney all summer long before the election?  Once people get an idea in their heads, it's really hard to get them to change, no matter how many facts you show them.

      So, I'm worried that if the Administration doesn't fight this bogus idea that the website is permanently broken, it'll be really hard to get people to realize it's working pretty good right now.

      •  I disagree, b/c people aren't really watching now (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pollwatcher, itskevin

        A few small numbers that add up to big numbers won't break through the mindset that has already set in that the website is a mess. You need a splash to change people's frame of reference about this. Most folks nowadays don't follow the news enough to catch some smaller numbers that might add up to something big anyway, Christmas or not. There's just too high a percentage of the population that are not political junkies and also not following the news. But a big number would be more likely to leak out and also get people talking to each other about the comeback, so that the news would spread to those who don't pay attention.

        I'm assuming they can get a big enough number to make a splash though. That could be an issue if the numbers still aren't adding up much.

        •  1 million will impress a lot of people (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          itskevin

          If they can hit a million by mid Dec., although still below their target, I think that's going to sound like a really big number to most of the people who don't pay attention.  Of course the media will emphasize how far below their target it is.

        •  Let us hope that somebody thinks to frame (0+ / 0-)

          the next set of numbers as Christmas come early for a multitude of the previously uninsured. What a gift that will be!

          Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

          by Mokurai on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 04:13:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Different Story in NYT Article (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DB55, Mr Robert

    NYT article this morning paints a decidedly different picture - the site will not be ready for heavy traffic by the end of the month.  In fact, the article cites various efforts from the administration to direct traffic away from the site over the next few weeks.

    Trust-Fund Kids of America Unite... save the Bush tax cuts!

    by JCPOK on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 06:52:15 AM PST

    •  It doesn't need to be ready for those big numbers (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      satrap, Involuntary Exile

      50K people at the same time is big enough to handle almost everyone even if it isn't their goal of 100K.

      I think they're being too cautious here.  There isn't going to be a huge surge like at the rollout, and they've got a way to continuously process the visitors while putting the rest on hold.  If they sign up 800K people a day, 8 times what they signed up in the entire month of Oct. that'll be big news.

    •  Actually, the story is nearly exactly (4+ / 0-)

      the same, the NYT just noting that the website could be overwhelmed if enormous numbers sought to use it at once.

      From Neocon to sane- thanks to Obama- and Kos.

      by satrap on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 07:03:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's great if the site is working (0+ / 0-)

    adequately. But it is still not working for all users at all times, and the error rate is still 5%. Even if it works perfectly now though, millions of people already have had frustrating experiences with the site. Sebelius should be more humbled by the failures up to this point, and not make statements like "bring em on". Bush was an arrogant ass to use that phrase, and Democrats should not be imitating him by using it.

    •  I don't think she used the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pollwatcher, PorridgeGun

      phrase; it was just an exhortation by the diarist.

      From Neocon to sane- thanks to Obama- and Kos.

      by satrap on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 07:00:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That was my statement not hers (0+ / 0-)

      I didn't quote the bring em on, a touch of drama on my part, but I believe that was the jist of her comment:

      “I would urge you and your folks on the ground to not hesitate to recommend that people go to Healthcare.gov and get signed up because that experience is currently working much better and it will continue to work much better,
    •  You wrote "error rate is still 5%." Incorrect. (5+ / 0-)

      Got a source?

      Julie Bataille, Director of Communications, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reported Friday, November 22, 2013:

      In terms of the site’s error rate, last week we reported it was 1percent. This week, we’ve driven it down to .75 percent. As a reminder, a few weeks ago the error rate was 6 percent.

      I can't help it. I love the state of Texas. It's a harmless perversion. - Molly Ivins

      by rsmpdx on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 08:06:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for those numbers (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        satrap, rsmpdx

        Of course it's difficult to even define what is considered an "error", but if the errors had an impact on performance, it would be really difficult to envision having the capability of handling 50,000 simultaneous connections with a 5% error rate.

        •  In a way, it's cool to see the admin (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pollwatcher

          having to battle on this, finally, from a position of strength i.e. with the ability of the GOP limited to taking verbal potshots.    I think the speed of improvement has been cool to watch, if not stressful.

          From Neocon to sane- thanks to Obama- and Kos.

          by satrap on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 08:23:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Washington (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rsmpdx
        •  Thank you, useful clarification (0+ / 0-)
          "The site is still sending incorrect or incomplete information to insurance companies about the people who choose a plan, and industry officials are afraid the administration is about to flood them with more bad data than they can manage...Bob Laszewski, a health care consultant who works closely with insurers, estimated that the site's back-end error rate is 5 percent. It needs to be lower than 1 percent for the site to be considered fixed, he said."
          The HHS site is reporting the front-end error rate on web pages, i.e., what the user sees rather than what the insurance companies see.

          I can't help it. I love the state of Texas. It's a harmless perversion. - Molly Ivins

          by rsmpdx on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 08:39:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Back end errors are worse, IMO. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            rsmpdx, Mr Robert

            The user thinks everything is A-okay, but in reality they were misquoted their terms, and someone is going to have to go back to them and fix it.

            •  Both numbers are important and (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              doc2

              together they give us a better-rounded picture of the state of the technology.

              Clearly, 5% error rate is too high for the back end.

              But getting the front-end error rate down to a usable level has also been critical.

              I can't help it. I love the state of Texas. It's a harmless perversion. - Molly Ivins

              by rsmpdx on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 09:23:46 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Be careful of quoting Robert Laszewski (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          glynis

          He's the one who made the 5% error comment.  On Nov.13.

          This program is in grave danger of collapsing if the administration cannot dramatically grow the size of the risk pool and attract healthy people to it.

          The Obama administration doesn't have a hill to climb, it has Mt. McKinley to climb.

          He is an industry spokesperson who has not been friendly to the entire ACA.  Just 2 weeks later, things are dramatically different.
  •  I'm actually quite upbeat after a period (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher, FiredUpInCA

    of frustrated despondency over this.  It's just been hard to see all of the hard work by the rank and file progressives go partially up in smoke over the problems with the rollout.  

    From Neocon to sane- thanks to Obama- and Kos.

    by satrap on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 06:59:43 AM PST

    •  The turnaround has been very impresive (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Involuntary Exile, FiredUpInCA

      That first week was pretty darn scary.  I couldn't believe anything that bad could be released to the public, but I also had no doubts it could be fixed.  This tech team has done a great job at getting this thing working as well as it is in such a short time.  The only question is, is it in time to turn around the media's constant criticism.

  •  The object is to get free media coverage. (3+ / 0-)

    Free media feast on disasters. So, we give them a disaster.
    Obama loves him a kerfuffle. Remember Rev. Wright? Remember the beer summit? Remember the veggies on the White House lawn? Remember the death panels? While the Tea Partiers were knocking themselves out on that one, the ACA got passed and then the Patient Protection Act and then Dodd-Franks, the knock-out punch. Nobody's talking about it, but Dodd-Frank isn't just about banks. It sets up a review of insurance companies, not just health insurance, and looks to coordinating with European countries.

    Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

    by hannah on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 07:14:45 AM PST

  •  technical problems on websites? (9+ / 0-)

    My husband has been unable to access our account with the gas company for two days now. He gave up and used the telephone; got stuck on one of those voice recognition software thingies that keeps misunderstanding what you're saying and giving you the wrong option.

    Target won't let me log in to my account and cancel shipment of an item that is backordered. They keep sending me emails with a link to cancel, but the link never works. "Order information not available" is all I ever get.

    These are private companies, though. I guess we're somehow supposed to expect better service from a government website than we get from the private sector, eh?

    •  And then there's Yahoo (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Involuntary Exile, elmo

      I've had my email account and some other things with Yahoo since they first started up.  They made some major changes in the past month and now I consider them a mess.  Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't.  Their email is now a lot like Gmail, which now makes Yahoo mail a confusing mess.

      It's the nature of the web.  Things will continuously change as technology and managers change, and things will break and get fixed.

      •  Odd. I switched from my Yahoo account to (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        glynis

        gmail and find it much easier to use.  

        In the time it took Adam Lanza to reload, eleven children escaped. What if...

        by Sixty Something on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 09:16:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm just accustomed to yahoo (0+ / 0-)

          I've had that email so long, my email address is my first initial followed by my last name.  That's been almost impossible to get an email address like that for over a decade.

          They went through several changes to their email, which I had no problem with, but the last change not only has technical problems, the look and feel is so different that it's hard to navigate if your'e used to the old one.

          •  I left because of the advertising. (0+ / 0-)

            It became overwhelming.  When I was an ATT internet dial-up customer, they switched to partnering with Yahoo.  It was down hill from there.

            Left and never looked back, just like I left IE.  Google Chrome works so much better and faster for me.

            In the time it took Adam Lanza to reload, eleven children escaped. What if...

            by Sixty Something on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 03:17:23 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  That is frustrating (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FiredUpInCA, elmo

      Somehow a huge entity like the government is supposed to operate completely free of errors, and all mistakes or evidence of lazy work gets amplified as evidence for why private solutions are always better. And yet private companies of any size also make big mistakes, have lazy workers and plenty of waste, but that's ignored for some reason when making comparisons.

      I would say I don't get it, but that's not true. It all traces back to the anti-government movement on the right (some knowingly favoring the rich and some duped) and their enablers in the corporate media who actively push their memes.

    •  What's one's recourse when the Federal Government (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      satrap

      fouls up? Who would you rather deal with to resolve a dispute, the HHS bureaucracy or Target customer service?

    •  Yes this is correct (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elmo
      I guess we're somehow supposed to expect better service from a government website than we get from the private sector, eh?
      Perfect real-world example:

      Healthcare.gov launched on October 1.

      Media reaction: 'Healthcare.gov Has Launched And Has Caused A Katrina-Like Apocalyptic Disaster, With Millions of Americans Experiencing an Unheard Of Phenomenon Known as "Error Messages," Proving Once Again That Democrats Should Have Listened to the GOP and Never Should Have Tried to Expand Affordable Healthcare Coverage.'

      Meanwhile the extremely popular, highly-anticipated, private sector-created video game, Grand Theft Auto, launched online that same morning, on October 1 and this happened:

      Grand Theft Auto Online launch hit by server woes

      The launch of Grand Theft Auto Online has hit substantial teething problems, as the anticipated flood of players has stretched Rockstar Games's servers to breaking point.

      Players have faced multiple error messages such as: "Rockstar cloud servers unavailable," as well as screen freezing and slow loading problems.

      One message says: "Mission failed," as soon as a mission begins.

      Rockstar said it was "working round the clock" to resolve the issues.

      "We apologise for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience while we work to resolve this," the company said on its website.

      http://news.cnet.com/...
      The long-awaited online version of Grand Theft Auto Online was released on Tuesday, replete with the much-anticipated connectivity problems that had long been feared.

      Rockstar's problems echo those felt by the release of Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo 3 and Maxis's Sim City, which were overwhelmed on their launch days.

      Maxis's network collapsed when the newest edition of SimCity launched in March 2013, and the hashtag #error37 started trending in May 2012 when Diablo 3 customers faced that error message and were unable to play the game.

      The media and Darrell Issa's reaction to the private sector's 'disastrous rollout' and subsequent apology?

      Shrug.

      Even though the company knew they were going to give user's a terrible, disastrous, apocalyptic experience replete with error messages as several other private companies had.

      The mystery to me is, why our side buys in to any of this hyperventilating, particularly when you can pick up a phone and ignore the website; and particularly when we know there are folks working round-the-clock to ensure that it does not work and then complaining about it not working.

      "I am not interested in picking up crumbs of compassion thrown from the table of someone who considers himself my master. I want the full menu of rights." (From "You Said a Mouthful" by Bishop Desmond Tutu - South African bishop & activist, b.1931)

      by FiredUpInCA on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 09:12:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  ACA Thanksgiving (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pollwatcher, rsmpdx, dragonlady

    I think things are looking better now.  The last ACAsignups.net update had over 220,000 enrollments based on incomplete reporting from the states and the numbers from the federal exchange through the end of October.  Wonkblog discussed the fact that through the first half of November, the federal exchange had enrolled another 50,000.  It's not unreasonable to think it will beat that in the second half of November. California is reported to be enrolling 2500 a day.  A pilot program has been started in Texas, Ohio, and Florida to allow insurers in those states to do direct enrollments, to include qualifying people for subsidies. I think it is possible that the total enrollments from Oct. 1 through Nov. 30 could hit 400,000 or more.  

    It would be easier to follow if they just put an enrollment counter on the Healthcare.gov home page.   But I can see some merit to the view that there will be more of a publicity splash if they delay and announce a surprisingly large number.

    Another factor that has yet to come into play is the work being done to allow online health insurance brokers, like ehealthinsurance.com, to do direct enrollments including qualification for subsidies.  I'm not sure how far away that is, but once that kicks in, there will be another large jump in capacity (to the extent people are willing to use such brokers).

    Medicaid signups are going to continue to be impressive.  From what I have read, a significant percentage of the Medicaid signups are in states that have not yet agreed to expand Medicaid.  In other words, people who were already eligible for Medicaid are signing up for it.  It will be interesting to see the states who opted out of the ACA money for expanded Medicaid wake up and realize that their Medicaid rolls are rapidly expanding anyway, while at the same time alternative funding for Medicaid (other than the ACA) is being phased out.  

    In Massachusetts, before they enacted Romneycare, the state government studied the uninsured population, and found that 1/3 were people who were eligible for government programs but hadn't signed up; 1/3 were people who were not eligible for government programs and couldn't afford health insurance; and 1/3 were people who could afford health insurance but chose not to buy it.  

    If you extrapolate that same breakdown nationally, to the 50 million uninsured, there could be 16.7 million people who were already eligible for programs like Medicaid but had not signed up.  Go to the ACAsignups.net chart and you can see the breakdown of the uninsured population state by state.  For each state, one-third of the uninsured are probably eligible for Medicaid or other programs right now.  States like Texas and Virginia are really going to feel this.  

  •  Sebelius wouldn't encourage use unless she has (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    satrap, pollwatcher

    Some great numbers to pop on us soon.  But my preference would be a weekly, if not daily update.  Every day more people sign up then the more people will believe it is working and give it a try.

    •  I agree, any number now will be big (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      satrap, Denver11

      compared to the numbers from Oct.  Most of the public would consider thousands a day signing up as very impressive, even though it may not be.  The media would simply have to report these numbers and the quicker you get rid of the impression that the site is broke, the better for the Administration and ALL the Dems.

  •  Enrolling by phone works great (5+ / 0-)

    I was able to start and finish the entire enrollment process by phone last week. The phone rep took care of everything and answered all of my questions. I researched the policies ahead of time, so I knew which one I wanted. The very next morning I got a phone call from the insurance company welcoming me.

    BCBSTX and Humana are running TV commercials promoting their exchange policies, so things must be working a lot better now.

    •  Good to hear, the total (0+ / 0-)

      enrollment reported so far in Tx is under 3,000, which is pathetic, considering an uninsured population of 6M.

      Hope we see some good numbers reported out of the state on the next round.

      I also hope those numbers include my sister in Houston, who needs insurance after being without for many years.

      I can't help it. I love the state of Texas. It's a harmless perversion. - Molly Ivins

      by rsmpdx on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 10:07:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We also need the media in TX (5+ / 0-)

        or somewhere to tally up the obstructions to the ACA from Republicans, starting with refusing to create a state exchange or expand Medicaid, and then adding in legal and procedural obstacles to the program, obstacles for insurance companies that want to participate, Navigators, and anything else anybody knows about, and set that alongside the numbers of people trying to enroll, companies impeded, Navigators impeded, and so on.

        Can we talk about government impeding business through unnecessary red tape, and then point and laugh at the Republicans?

        Then do the same thing for Indiana, where I cannot get any useful information whatsoever out of my state, and every other state putting roadblocks in the way.

        Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

        by Mokurai on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 07:12:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  50K capacity could be stretched (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FiredUpInCA

    I know it sounds like a lot, but the administration is clearly taking steps to prevent it from being a bottleneck as more people go to the site:

    Dylan Scott, TPM:

    Julie Bataille, spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees the site's operations, told reporters Monday that the website's capacity would be doubled from 25,000 users at a time to 50,000 by next week. At that level, the site will be able to handle the load and perform well, she said. But above that level, there will presumably be a higher risk of crashes.

    The fear of too much traffic is real for the White House. According to the senior administration official, the site sometimes saw as many as 250,000 people at the same time in October. Plus, the administration has very publicly pledged to have the site working by the end of November, and there is an expectation that traffic could spike as people come back following the Thanksgiving holiday after having a chance to talk about health insurance with their families. Those two factors could combine to send people in droves to the site starting Monday.

    I can't help it. I love the state of Texas. It's a harmless perversion. - Molly Ivins

    by rsmpdx on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 10:12:51 AM PST

    •  The correct spin on this is: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FiredUpInCA, rsmpdx
      Too much traffic is a good problem to have.

      Ask any video game company. Ask anybody who ever got Slashdotted. I've been there, and we didn't complain about the traffic.

      Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

      by Mokurai on Wed Nov 27, 2013 at 07:17:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Good spin, but keep in mind (0+ / 0-)

        the point is not to have a good spin, but to get a lot of people enrolled. If people shopping or trying to enroll are frustrated by an online traffic jam, it'll look almost as bad as October did.

        I can't help it. I love the state of Texas. It's a harmless perversion. - Molly Ivins

        by rsmpdx on Thu Nov 28, 2013 at 07:54:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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