Spin, baby, spin! Obama official blames healthcare.gov suckage on strong demand

According to USA Today, the Obama administration is continuing to deny that coding problems have anything to do with the luck of functioanlity at the Obamacare health insurance exchange website, healthcare.gov:

U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park said the government expected HealthCare.gov to draw 50,000 to 60,000 simultaneous users, but instead it has drawn as many as 250,000 at a time since it launched Oct. 1.

Park’s comments are the administration’s most detailed explanation for the glitches that have frustrated millions of consumers who have tried to enter the site or complete applications for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

“These bugs were functions of volume,” Park said. “Take away the volume and it works.”

In other words, the website is malfunctioning because Obamacare is just so popular.

The response on Twitter was about what you’d expect…

Even the liberal bloggers at the Washington Post’s Wonkblog seem to get it:

[Washington Post blogger Sarah Kilff]: The Obama administration has said that all these problems are happening because of overwhelming traffic. How good of an explanation is that?

[Software expert Jyoti Bansal]: That seems like not a very good excuse to me. In sites like these there’s a very standard approach to capacity planning. You start with some basic math. Like, in this case, you look at all the federal states and how many uninsured people they have. Out of those you think, maybe 10 percent would log in in the first day. But you model for the worst case, and that’s how you come up with your peak of how many people could try to do the same thing at the same time.

Before you launch you run a lot of load testing with twice the load of the peak , so you can go through and remove glitches. I’m a very very big supporter of the health-care act, but I don’t buy the argument that the load was too unexpected.

Memo to the White House: When you’ve Wonkblog, it’s not a good sign.

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with an additional tweet.

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