Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
It turns out that the biggest problem with the Health Insurance Marketplaces in the first few days of operation is that there is so much public demand that the computer servers are overwhelmed, causing delays and error messages. That is the kind of problem any business would like to have. "Get me IT — add more server capacity, stat!"
Sarah Kliff writes, Obamacare’s biggest problem right now isn’t glitches. It’s traffic.
If you've been trying to buy health insurance coverage on the
Obamacare marketplace, you're probably quite familiar with the screen [below]. It asks potential shoppers to hang on a moment because there are
"a lot of visitors on the site."
This screen has been a big part of the Affordable Care Act's launch
so far: There are lots of people who, in Obamacare's first 36 hours,
have had trouble signing into the new marketplaces. And even if they've
gotten in, they've found it difficult to move past the first few screens
of the application, where drop-down menus for security questions
The wait times aren't ideal. Some people who wanted to sign up for
Obamacare on launch day couldn't. But though I spent most of Tuesday on
the phone with people who were struggling to use the Web site, I don't
tend to think these initial glitches will have a significant impact on
the law's success.
Everyone I spoke with, even those who couldn't sign up, took nearly
the same attitude: I guess I'll come back and try again later.
The White House says that most of the delays have been a
product of overwhelming traffic. The main Web site for the federal
marketplace, HealthCare.Gov, has tallied more than 4.7 million visits in
the first 24 hours of open enrollment.
Some of the Web developers I've spoken with who have walked
me through some of the back-end error messages on the site generally
agree that system overload is the big problem for those trying to sign
up right now.
"My opinion is that its probably 99 percent capacity right
now and not glitches," Dan Katz, vice president for technology at
contracting firm Inadev, and a former lead web developer at CareFirst
BlueCross BlueShield. "Typically when you're doing capacity you're
basing models on previous usage data. For the health insurance exchange,
that doesn't exist."
* * *
The federal government says it's fixing this problem,
adding more capacity for HealthCare.Gov by the hour. Outside experts
estimate that increasing capacity for a project like this should take
hours or days, but not necessarily weeks. If we get into mid-October and
this slowdown is still a problem, that could spell trouble for the
Affordable Care Act.
Other glitches will likely start showing up, too. Some
health plan officials told me Wednesday that the federal marketplace is
still having trouble calculating the premium tax credits that low- and
middle income Americans could receive. Though, right now, a lot of
people aren't even getting that far in the process to notice the issue.
This kind of thing happens all the time with web sites. Be patient. What this demonstrates is that the public will participate in "ObamaCare" despite the attempts by far-right organizations to sabotage public participation.