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MSNBC Anchor, W.H. Advisor Try to Justify Obamacare Glitches

• October 2, 2013 12:56 pm

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White House deputy senior advisor David Simas tried to spin the glitch-ridden rollout of Obamacare with some assistance from MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts Wednesday on MSNBC Live.

Roberts attempted to prop up the numbers of people "able to get through and succeed" on the first day, including a whopping 167 in Connecticut, which has an estimated 345,000 uninsured residents. Simas blamed the problems as a "function of volume."

President Obama told Americans Tuesday to expect glitches and he was right on in that assessment. Users of the online exchange systems on its opening day were treated to all sorts of error messages and delays.

Roberts' own colleague, MSNBC anchor Mara Schiavocampo, gave up signing up for Obamacare Tuesday morning after 35 minutes of errors and waiting on the phone, and glitches and technical problems have been widely reported around the country for frustrated Americans:

THOMAS ROBERTS: David, we know that thousands across the country, they were able to apply and get through and succeed on their first day. More than 2,900 in Kentucky, 1,100 in Illinois, nearly 170 in Connecticut. Explain to all of us, though, how close are the tech geniuses to resolving some of these issues? And do you feel that the technical delays are going to turn people off? Again, yesterday just being day one, people have until the end of the year and January 1 to where this all kicks in.

DAVID SIMAS: That's right. It's important, first of all, to understand why there have been the issues that there have been. It has been a function of volume for comparison. The 4.7 million unique visitors in a 24-hour period is seven times, seven times as many as as ever went to Medicare.gov, and Medicare is wildly popular, in any one single given day. So what the team has been working on is ramping up the response, making sure that we're ready for these big influxes of folks so that the process will get easier. Here's what we know already. Wait times on the phone are better. The initial piece of creating an account is improving. And bottom line is tomorrow is going to be better. The day after is going to be better, and there is still an additional 180 days for folks to apply. And so this is day two of a six-month process. To your question about whether or not people will come back, yeah, they're going to come back. The reason they're going to come back is because for many folks, they have been denied for years and have been waiting for this opportunity to finally get some coverage that gives them peace of mind, and that's why they're coming.

Published under: Obamacare, Thomas Roberts