Feds say healthcare.gov making strides 

Posted: 4:10 pm Sunday, December 1st, 2013

By Jamie Dupree

The Obama Administration on Sunday declared that it had addressed broad problems with the rollout of the healthcare.gov website, as officials said over 400 software fixes and other hardware changes had made it much easier for consumers to sign up for health insurance plans.

“The bottom line is that healthcare.gov on December 1st is night and day from where it was October 1st,” said Jeffrey Zients, the official in charge of fixing the website.

The announcement that the feds had achieved their goal was fully expected, and came after weeks of work by technical experts to address a very troubled rollout of the main internet portal for the Obama health law.

In a conference call with reporters, Zients said the work would result in a “vastly improved web experience” for consumers, arguing healthcare.gov is now “stable” and that “substantial progress” has been made addressing bugs that crippled the web signup process from the start.

Zients said the website could now handle 50,000 simultaneous users, and up to 800,000 in a day.

Whether it would hold up as additional Americans tried to signup for insurance – that’s the unknown issue for the weeks ahead.

At one point on Sunday morning, reporters on CNN showed their were receiving error messages as they tried to navigate through the healthcare.gov website – not exactly the kind of results the feds are looking for.

The update from officials came a few days after the feds had announced yet another delay in part of the Obama health law, as the Obama Administration decided not to go forward with plans to have small businesses sign up for health insurance through the troubled healthcare.gov website.

The pre-Thanksgiving announcement was much like one made just before July 4, when officials announced a one year delay in the employer mandate.  Republicans though made clear the timing was not going to somehow stop GOP oversight of the health law.

“The president bit off more than he can chew with this health care law,” said House Speaker John Boehner, as GOP leaders kept up their drumbeat of criticism against the law, which will continue this week with more hearings in the House – four different committees will hold a hearing on Wednesday.

As for the website, a report issued to reporters said that average response time is now less than one second for each web page, that error rates are down, and that “dramatic progress” has been made to improve healthcare.gov.

You can download the report here.