HealthCare.gov had 3.7 million visitors last week in 4 and a half days!
"This week, the site remained stable and experienced no unscheduled downtimes. The average error rate was 0.77% and response time averaged well under 1 second"The queuing system was deployed only twice, once Monday when response times slowed and error messages rose, and once proactively on Tuesday ahead of the President’s remarks on health care. During these two periods more than 16,000 consumers--out of 3.7 million visitors over the 4 and a half day period-- were put into the new queuing system to request an email notification on when to come back. Over 93% of those who got the email to come back did so and had high levels of engagement across the site, browsing 30% more pages and spending 15% longer on the site.
I am no expert but I think that 7 million enrollments is coming, maybe not by March 31, but maybe even by then. 3.7 million visitors shows that there is a tremendous thirst for health insurance--and that the healthcare.gov site could handle that number.
Greg Sargent at the Washington Post said in his Plum Line blog that the insurance companies have budgeted one billion dollars to push people toward the ACA website, and that they have not started the ads yet. I imagine they do not want to trigger a flood of faulty 834s. But my guess is that they will start their advertising onslaught within a week or two. Needless to say, the insurance companies will be targeting young and healthies very aggressively.
Also see this Huffington Post article on the administration and allied organizations' push to get people enrolled:
I believe that the 834 problems are in the process of being fixed. This can hardly be rocket science as so many companies have figured out how to send 834s. It will be a painstaking process of going through code and going through forms to seek out errors, but it will be fixed.
I have not seen any specified argument as to why the 834s can not be fixed, and the administration says that errors are now below 10 percent. Bugs can be debugged. It is a race between debugging the 834s and the rise in enrollments that this high traffic tells me is coming.
I think that large enrollment through the ACA has the capacity to create a major shift in the political landscape -- one highly unfavorable to Republicans. It may be Democrats who are running on the ACA in 2014.