KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Exchanges Grapple With Software, Server Issues

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Obama administration acknowledged Sunday that it needs to make design, as well as capacity, fixes to the website set up to help consumers shop for health coverage. Other news outlets examined the capacity challenges faced both by the federal and state exchanges and the adjustments made over the weekend.

The Wall Street Journal: Software, Design Defects Cripple Health-Care Website
The Obama administration said last week that an unanticipated surge of Web traffic caused most of the problems and was a sign of high demand by people seeking to buy coverage under the new law. But federal officials said Sunday the online marketplace needed design changes, as well as more server capacity to improve efficiency on the federally run exchange that serves 36 states (Weaver, Ovide and Radnofsky, 10/6).

Earlier, related KHN story: Experts Suggest Software Problems, Not Just Demand, May Be Behind Marketplace Glitches (Hancock and Galewitz, 10/4).

The Associated Press: Health Care Website Gets Down Time For Repairs
The enrollment function was back online at little before 8 a.m. EDT Saturday, but was working slowly because of heavy traffic. ... Credit card companies, banks and other online service providers regularly take down websites for repairs. That may also become a feature of the new insurance program
(Alonso-Zaldivar, 10/5).

Los Angeles Times: Flood Of Consumer Inquiries Could Make – Or Break – Obama Health Law
By the end the week, more than 16,000 Kentucky individuals and families had begun online applications to get health coverage next year. It has been a similar story across the country. Since the new marketplaces opened Tuesday, millions of Americans have flooded websites, call centers and insurance offices seeking information about health coverage offered through the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare (Levey and Terhune, 10/5).

USA Today: Obama Adviser: Demand Overwhelmed
The government website launched this week to sell health insurance was overwhelmed by up to five times as many users as it was designed to handle, President Obama's top technology adviser said Saturday in an exclusive interview with USA TODAY. U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park said the government expected to draw 50,000 to 60,000 simultaneous users, but instead it has drawn as many as 250,000 at a time since it launched Oct. 1. Park's comments are the administration's most detailed explanation for the glitches that have frustrated millions of consumers who have tried to enter the site or complete applications for health insurance (Mullaney, 10/6).

Politico: Lew Says Obamacare Website Issues 'Not Uniques'
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said on Sunday he didn’t have an exact number of people who signed up for Obamacare and dodged questions about the issues with the signup website. “What happened this week is we saw 7 million people rush to go on to the webpage to find out, what are their choices in this new marketplace to buy affordable health care,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.” “You know, they have six months to sign up. This is a big decision" (Parti, 10/6).

Politico: Obamacare Glitches Give Paper Applications New Life
Obamacare is supposed to be a 21st-century shopping experience, but the health law can’t escape living in an older paper world. One of President Barack Obama’s favorite claims about his health law is that finding coverage is as easy as going online to buy a plane ticket. That’s always been an overstatement, even before the online insurance marketplaces’ glitch-filled launch (Millman, 10/7).

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