Fox News reporter Ed Henry reacted skeptically to the Obama administration's contention that healthcare.gov has met its improvement deadline Monday in the White House press conference. The White House said on Sunday television the website now works for the "vast majority" of users.
Henry asked White House press secretary Jay Carney how he could argue the Obamacare website is working well given consumers now receive a queuing message indicating the Obamacare website is overloaded whenever traffic eclipses 50,000 users. "It doesn't sound like you met the deadline," Henry said.
Q: Thanks, Jay. Jay, I just want to go back to health care. It sounds like you didn't meet the deadline, and the more I listen to your answers — because, you know, Ezekiel Emanuel yesterday said the website is working, quote, "reasonably well." You say it's vastly improved, there's been significant progress, but not necessarily that it's working well and effectively for the vast majority of users, as you've acknowledged with Jim and Jon and Major and others who have said that people are going on — they're still getting the same error messages they got —
MR. CARNEY: I think you're confusing error messages with the queuing message, which is quite a different thing entirely. That is, there's — the queue message is a specific tool that was upgraded and improved and made to be more sophisticated so that when there were surges in traffic on the website and when the number of users reached a certain level, that people would get those messages, if they were placed in a queue, that if they wanted to enroll, there was a better time for them to come back.
Q: I understand —
MR. CARNEY: So we —
Q: They're still not enrolling. They're in a different line now, but they're not —
MR. CARNEY: Well, actually, Ed, I contest that, and I would ask you to find anywhere where I said that everybody would be able to enroll instantly on this day.
Q: Well, what's (the goal ?), then?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I —
Q: Just keep moving them into other lines? I mean, the goal is obviously to enroll more people, right?
MR. CARNEY: Absolutely, and those people who want to enroll —
Q: So if they're still waiting —
MR. CARNEY: Ed, I would point you to the fact that more people are visiting the site and are able to effectively go from beginning to end when it comes to enrolling than was the case in October and in November.
Significant improvements have been made, and the vast majority of users, we believe, are able to use the website and have it function effectively for them. That does not mean, and we never said it would mean, that there would be no problems moving forward, that there would never be an error message or a delayed response for a page to load.