Obamacare officially launched this morning, but good luck accessing it. As previously reported on Gateway Pundit, the glitch-filled website is shut down across the country, blocking off access to millions of frustrated Americans encouraged to sign up. Not a good start to an already unpopular program. The former head of the Massachusetts state health exchange warns of the consequences to the Democrats if it continues to be screwed up.
According to Reuters,
(Reuters) – The U.S. government launched the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare reform on Tuesday, opening online insurance marketplaces across the country for millions of uninsured Americans, but technical glitches prevented early access for many.
The first day of the six-month open enrollment period on the state marketplaces, or exchanges, went ahead despite a partial federal government shutdown precipitated by Republican opposition to the healthcare law that deadlocked a spending bill in Congress.
According to early checks, the rollout of the most ambitious U.S. social program in five decades had a rocky start. A federally-run exchange for consumers in 36 states began posting error messages for at least 25 of them soon after the system opened for enrollment at 8 a.m. EDT, citing online traffic as a reason for the difficulties.
An Obama administration official said experts were aware of the issue and were working on it. The Department of Health and Human Services directed consumers to call centers and local community organizers to seek information.
The administration had predicted hitches early on because of the challenge of building a massive technology infrastructure in a short time. The problems could last weeks. Even before Tuesday’s launch, officials last week announced delays for exchanges geared toward Spanish speakers and small businesses.
The snags are expected to contribute to a slow start to enrollment and will be a focus of the political debate over whether the 2010 Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, will succeed.
Frustrated customers are likely to fuel opposition to the healthcare law from Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, who have voted more than 40 times to repeal or delay it.
“It’s very significant for the political campaign but not for the enrollment campaign,” said Jon Kingsdale, the former head of the Massachusetts state health exchange, which opened in 2006 and became the model for Obamacare.
“I don’t know if it’s two weeks or five weeks, but I don’t think we’re talking just days,” Kingsdale said. He said if the problems persist until November, “that is really a big problem.”