It’s hard to understand, given the information that has come out during the last couple of days, how the White House could possibly have argued just after the Obamacare exchange website launched that what was happening resulted from high traffic volume.
First of all, while the website took a sizable hit the first day, it was evident even before the site got flooded that it wasn’t going to work.
From today’s Washington Post:
Days before the launch of President Obama’s online health insurance marketplace, government officials and contractors tested a key part of the Web site to see whether it could handle tens of thousands of consumers at the same time. It crashed after a simulation in which just a few hundred people tried to log on simultaneously.
Despite the failed test, federal health officials plowed ahead.
When the Web site went live Oct. 1, it locked up shortly after midnight as about 2,000 users attempted to complete the first step, according to two people familiar with the project.
And yet, here is what White House Press Secretary Jay Carney claimed october 2:
There’s no question that the volume was so high and continues to be so high that that has caused some delays, but it is related to — those delays are, in our view, related to the high volume.
It is, as I mentioned, a good problem to have that interest in these first two days exceeds what we anticipated. And we have an extremely competent team that developed a very user-friendly website and they are working on these problems every day, and the process gets improved every day.
Well, it was not a good problem to be having, because it was already clear to the administration that the website’s difficulties were structural and that it couldn’t even take a small load of traffic. It wasn’t, as Obama’s spin team tried to suggest, a decent technical effort that merely ran into heavier than expected interest.
Either the White House was deceiving the public about what was going on, or HHS, which runs the website, kept the White House in the dark about the problems plaguing the site. In which case President Obama is an incompetent chief executive, because he has not ensured a proper flow of information to his inbox.
Obamacare is the signature initiative of Obama’s presidency. No CEO could survive such a catastrophic product launch. Obama has tenure until January 2017, but HHS Director Sebelius should be ordered to click her heels and return to Kansas without delay.