For the reported millions who had hoped to sign up for an account at HealthCare.gov this week, hopefully one of the planned improvements to the site will be the ability to actually sign up for an account at HealthCare.gov. President Obama himself warned there would be glitches, citing Apple’s (relatively seamless) rollout of iOS 7 as an example. “Hopefully you’ll give us the same slack you give Apple,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. But as Washington Post editor Ezra Klein noted, there really was no comparison.
But the Obama administration doesn’t have a basically working product that would be improved by a software update. They have a Web site that almost nobody has been able to successfully use. If Apple launched a major new product that functioned as badly as Obamacare’s online insurance marketplace, the tech world would be calling for Tim Cook’s head.
Yes, the overwhelming crush of traffic is behind many of the Web site’s failures. But the Web site was clearly far, far from prepared for traffic at anywhere near these levels. That’s a planning flaw: The Obama administration badly underestimated the level of interest. The fact that the traffic is good news for the law doesn’t obviate the fact that the site’s inability to absorb that traffic is bad news for the law.
And so, HealthCare.gov goes back into the shop this weekend for what hopefully is a major overhaul during off-peak hours — apparently you’re still welcome to roll the dice during peak hours, when the site is almost certain not to work.
The site was only launched this week. If these are “further” improvements, we must have missed the original batch of improvements.
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Tara McGuinness, a White House senior communications advisor, is pushing back hard against claims that the site is or will be “down.”
The site will still be there, it’s just that you won’t be able to use it to apply for health insurance after 1 a.m.