NBC's Nightly News reported on the disastrous rollout of Obamacare Thursday night, with correspondent Tom Costello calling the website "the focus of ridicule" and quoting experts who could hardly fathom a "worse launch of a nationwide site."
Anchor Brian Williams introducded the segment by acknowledging Obamacare's problems would be receiving more media attention if not for the government shutdown.
"If it weren't for the shutdown dominating the news, we admittedly would be hearing and covering a lot more about how things are going for these new health care exchanges, which were rolled out ten days ago," Williams said. "Millions of uninsured Americans are being encouraged to go to healthcare.gov to sign up for coverage but it's been a very rocky start."
"By most accounts the website has been a complete mess, locking up, crashing and kicking off potential customers," Costello said. "Of the 260 people who tried to sign up at this Miami clinic in the first week, only a single person got through."
"One, from 260 attempts," applications counselor Cristina Marrero said, laughing.
In online discussion groups, computer experts talk of major coding and software problems that could take weeks or months to fix, with one telling CNN it hardly functions at even the most basic level, and Costello reported another said it's "tough to have a worse launch of a nationwide site."
"I think everybody is shocked who's been watching this from the inside at how bad it is, and how bad the computer programming and software and code and architecture is," said Robert Laszewski of Health Policy and Strategy Associates.
Costello ended his report saying the White House will not reveal how many people managed to enroll.
"Industry sources tell NBC News the numbers could be embarrassingly low," Costello said.