White House Touts Upgrades To Obamacare Portal

Posted by Forbes Magazine

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Following the passing of a self-imposed deadline to fix the troubled website, the administration claims it has improved site stability and increased capacity to allow 50,000 concurrent users. 

While acknowledging “more work to be done to continue to improve and enhance” the troubledhealthcare.gov website, the Obama administration said upgrades and fixes to the online marketplace have allowed for “50,000 concurrent users” and 800,000 users a day.

Since its launch October 1, the website has been dogged by errors, delays, system crashes and the general inability of millions of Americans to signup for coverage. It has also fueled calls by Republican political opponents of President Obama to repeal or delay implementation of the law, which was passed in 2010 when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress.

But Zients said Americans can now shop, choose a plan and enroll. The marketplace for the federally run web site, which is how Americans sign up for coverage in 36 states, allows consumers to choose plans sold by an array of health insurance companies, including Aetna AET +0.09% (AET), Humana HUM +0.2% (HUM), UnitedHealth Group UNH +0.16% (UNH), Cigna (CI) and most Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. The other two dozen states are operating their own sites and have been signing up uninsured Americans at a much faster rate and without the major problems that have plagued HealthCare.gov. ”The team has knocked more than 400 bug fixes and software improvements off the punch list,” the administration said in its report.

But the road to getting the fixes was long, Zients acknowledged.

“The team identified the problems and necessary fixes and determined that healthcare.gov was fixable, but only with significant changes to the management approach and a relentless focus on execution,” the progress and performance report said.