Heavy traffic on the Obamacare website | Arkansas Blog

Monday, December 2, 2013

Heavy traffic on the Obamacare website

Posted By on Mon, Dec 2, 2013 at 4:58 PM


We reported yesterday on significant improvements in the federal portal used by 36 states, including Arkansas, for electronic enrollment in private plans on the newly created Health Insurance Marketplaces.

After the Obama administration released its progress report yesterday, traffic surged today. The site is far from perfect, but for the most part, people are able to use healthcare.gov to shop for insurance online, which simply wasn't true two months ago. That doesn't change the fact that sticky questions about bad data going to insurance companies on the back end remain. Officials from the federal Department of Health and Human Services told reporters today that 80 percent of the back-end problems came from one bug, which has now been repaired. However, officials declined to comment on how many errors have gone out. Sarah Kliff has more

The Washington Post's Greg Sargent zooms out

But the big picture is that far more people who need health insurance — whether they were bumped from plans or whether they were previously uninsured — will now be mostly able to go online, do some shopping, and buy health insurance. Before, they couldn’t.

This isn’t as good a story as the website’s implosion was, and if the site continues to function as expected, it will mostly stop getting media coverage. The press will move on to the next Obamacare disaster story, should it materialize: The “keep your doctor” saga, coming soon via Republican press release directly to reporters’ inboxes.

But the current fix has mostly tamped down concerns among Democratic lawmakers, and barring some truly catastrophic change, they just aren’t going to abandon the law in any meaningful sense. Meanwhile, demand looks likely to continue, even as insurance companies redouble their efforts to entice people on to the exchanges, which means enrollment will continue piling up, too.

Will it be enough? It’s too soon to say. Republican lawmakers and their voters have been 100 percent certain for some time now that Obamacare has already collapsed, but for everyone else, the law’s long term prospects will turn mostly on what that enrollment looks like over time. And for that, we’ll just have to wait.

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