White House: Federal Exchange Website Won’t Be Ready By December 1st

Healthhcaredotgov

The White House is using the opportunity of a slow news week when many people are already beginning their Thanksgiving holiday to announce that they Federal Obamacare Exchange won’t be completely ready by November 30th as previously promised:

Obama administration officials said Monday that some visitors to HealthCare.gov will experience outages, slow response times or try-again-later messages in December.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) delivered the message in the latest attempt to downplay expectations for Nov. 30, the administration’s self-imposed deadline for fixing ObamaCare’s federal enrollment site.

CMS spokeswoman Julie Bataille said errors that persist past this weekend would be “intermittent” and, in line with a promise made by the White House, would not affect the vast majority of the site’s users.

But Bataille acknowledged that some would still experience “periods of suboptimal performance” by the system due to either heavy traffic or technical issues that are still being addressed.

“The system will not work perfectly on Dec. 1, but it will work much better than it did in October,” Bataille said.

The comments came after HealthCare.gov experienced an unscheduled outage on Monday for one hour. The CMS had recently touted the site for not randomly crashing. Bataille said the problem was remedied quickly by the site’s tech team.

Administration officials are facing a challenge in how to describe the system’s status.

It’s clear from user reports that HealthCare.gov has improved substantially in the last month, and the administration is eager to tout their progress amid anecdotes about persistent errors.

But the site is still far from perfect and could remain problematic on and off for the foreseeable future.

The White House said Monday the repair effort is “on track” to meet the Saturday deadline thanks to steady technical improvements.

Seeking to strike a balance, spokesman Josh Earnest said the site remains a “work in progress” but touted metrics showing that its error rate and page load times are now far below where they started.

The big test, of course, is likely to come next week after people are back from Thanksgiving break and begin trying to access the website ahead of the December 15th deadline for coverage that would start on January 1st.  If things go smoothly, then perhaps they’ll be able to weather the criticism. If, however, there is another round of reports similar to those we saw early in October, then it’s going to be another political firestorm for an Administration, and a health care law, that has already spent almost two months under fire for what everyone agrees has been an abysmal roll out in nearly all respects.

FILED UNDER: Health Care, Quick Takes, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. Dave Schuler says:

    Limiting expectations. Always a good sign.

  2. C. Clavin says:

    I’m just curious about what you will be obsessing over when the website is working.

  3. Pinky says:

    To be fair, it isn’t like they chose the week of the announcement.

  4. edmondo says:

    LOL!

  5. David M says:

    Reports are that the federal exchange is much more usable, so they just need to keep making progress.

  6. edmondo says:

    I’m just curious about what you will be obsessing over when the website is working.

    The tax on middle class health insurance plans? There’s a winning argument for the Democrats!

  7. 11B40 says:

    Greetings:

    Isn’t it about time that the “White House” start including a year in these make-believe dates ???

  8. JKB says:

    Has anybody told Obama? Or is he still expecting unicorns and rainbows?

    Of course the real question is how long can the insurance companies run while the government “check” is in the mail?

  9. @edmondo: Remember when edmondo was a progressive liberal Democrat? Sheesh, what a troll.

  10. edmondo says:

    Remember when edmondo was a progressive liberal Democrat?

    I still am. It’s you guys who changed. When the GOP offered Obamacare as a health care plan in 1996, you thought it sucked.

  11. David M says:

    @edmondo:

    And yet it’s still better than your plan of doing absolutely nothing.

  12. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: I’m just curious about what you will be obsessing over when the website is working.

    Oh, there will be plenty of more things. Obama’s ability to eff up almost anything he touches guarantees it.

    Obama should be grateful that the web site is so screwed up. Once the system starts working as designed, then we’ll really start feeling the pains.

  13. wr says:

    @Timothy Watson: “Remember when edmondo was a progressive liberal Democrat? Sheesh, what a troll. ”

    If you flip over to the most recent ACA thread, he’s back to pretending to be a progressive thoroughly disappointed in the Obama he had so much faith in.

    He’s not just a troll, he’s a lazy troll. He can’t be bothered to remember the persona that goes with the name.

  14. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “Once the system starts working as designed, then we’ll really start feeling the pains. ”

    That’s right. People like you will have to actually pay their hospital bills, rather than sticking taxpayers when you skip out.

    I can see why you’re opposed to the plan.

  15. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @wr: Do you even recall the last time you said something on topic, and not just stupid insults?

    Me, neither.

  16. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The guy who fell in love with the thug George Zimmerman and obsessed over Benghazi and obsessively changes the subject to either A or B doesn’t get to call anyone else off-topic.

  17. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @michael reynolds: So says the sociopath who says that no one should ever have the ability to defend themselves.

    And Zimmerman was boring. What was really fascinating was the endless stream of lies, falsehoods, and myths cooked up by you and the rest of the lynch mob.

    But back on topic… what about the deadlines for people to get coverage or pay the fine? I guess we just need Obama to once again declare that the law means whatever He says it means, and waive His divine hand and extend the deadlines once again. No need to actually change the law itself, just what He says it means. Until He decides it means something else, of course.

  18. michael reynolds says:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/11/26/wonkbook-is-obamacare-turning-the-corner/

    A spin through HealthCare.Gov this morning went smoothly. The site loaded quickly. The process progressed easily. There were no error messages or endless hangs. I didn’t complete the final step of purchasing insurance but, until then, the site worked — or at least appeared to work — exactly as intended.

    My experience isn’t rare. There are increasing reports that HealthCare.Gov is working better — perhaps much better — for consumers than it was a few short weeks ago. “Consumer advocates say it is becoming easier for people to sign up for coverage,” report Sandhya Somashekhar and Amy Goldstein in the Washington Post. “The truth is, the system is getting stronger as it recovers from its disastrous launch,” writes Sam Baker in the National Journal. Applying “was no problem at all, with no delays,” says Paul Krugman.

  19. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Perfect Jenos moment:

    Jenos says to WR: Do you even recall the last time you said something on topic, and not just stupid insults?

    And 17 minutes later. . .

    Jenos says to me: So says the sociopath who says that no one should ever have the ability to defend themselves.

    You do exactly what you accuse WR of doing and do it within minutes. Entirely setting aside your sad dishonest efforts to distance yourself from your Zimmerman bromance.

    You’re so much dumber than you think you are. But just as dumb as everyone else thinks you are.

  20. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @michael reynolds: And once it starts working, then we’ll really see the fun start. How the “navigators” are not being subjected to criminal background checks, but will be collecting people’s personal information. How the security of the site is still woefully inadequate. How there’s no verification of any of the information put in, essentially inviting people to lie about their income to get better subsidies. How groups are already lining up to use the databases to facilitate voter fraud.

    That the site so far has been a failure is actually the best thing for all concerned.

  21. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    There about a million people in this country and abroad collecting data that aren’t background checked. Is that really the latest Fox News talking point? That is genuinely stupid. No, really, even you can’t be that dumb.

  22. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @michael reynolds: The difference, you imbecile, is that these “navigators” are on the public payroll and Americans are being legally required to provide highly sensitive personal information to these “navigators.” And this will be enforced by the IRS.

    I don’t think you’re so stupid as to not see this point. I think you’re just that dishonest.

  23. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You must be young enough to be part of the generation that grew up believing everyone deserved a prize and everyone was special, right? The disconnect between your apparent self-image and reality is like the Grand Canyon. You’re just helpless.

  24. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @michael reynolds: I am so disappointed. You were actually mixing in relevant comments with the personal insults. I guess when you ran out of facts, you had to go the wr route.

    I will give you credit, though — you are better at it than he is. Not that that’s much praise, but it’s something.

  25. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Oh, well if it’s a government employee as opposed to a credit card employee in fwcking Bangalore, yeah, that’s a totally different thing then. Totally, absolutely different. Because. . . Um. . . Because data in the possession of a USG employee is extra. . . what, dangerous? As opposed to data in the hands of a call center employee not even subject to US law?

    What?

    Hello? Anyone home in that empty little noggin of yours?

  26. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @michael reynolds: Do I really need to repeat that if you don’t provide the information, the IRS will be after your ass? I know you read it, but you need to pretend I didn’t say it so you can continue your inane tirades.

  27. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    That pjmedia “article” was great. No way to top that satire. Thanks for the laugh.

  28. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:
    And too dumb to know how dumb he is.

  29. stonetools says:

    A study in misleading headlines:
    Doug’s headline:
    Federal Exchange Website Won’t Be Ready By December 1st

    Doug’s label for the link to the article commented on:
    Federal Obamacare Exchange won’t be completely ready by November 30th as previously promised:

    The actual headline of the article linked to:

    Healthcare website won’t be perfect on Dec. 1, administration says

    Now I thought only children, princesses, and imbeciles believed that there are an anything perfect in this life. I will now add conservative concern trolls to the list.
    All this feigned concern for the heath care needs of the poor and uninsured would be more convincing if the conservatives could propose any alternative to the ACA other than “Nothing.” Unfortunately, they can’t. They don’t ever bother to disguise their pitiless indifference to the health care needs of the poor and the uninsured any longer. About all they do now for is root for the failure of the ACA.

  30. C. Clavin says:

    @stonetools:
    No…I think Doug is a Princess…enamored with Unicorns and other imaginary things…as are all Libertarians.

  31. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    who says that no one should ever have the ability to defend themselves.

    Please direct me to the comment(s) where he called for the outlawing of martial arts schools.