Sebelius: Obamacare Glitches a ‘Great Problem to Have’

Obamacare error messages latest in series of technical glitches

• October 1, 2013 2:44 pm


Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius claimed the online glitches some users are reporting in the new Obamacare health insurance exchanges are based on the "volume" of interest Tuesday on MSNBC:

ANDREA MITCHELL: […] And [the president said] "there have been glitches but Apple has glitches." What is your response to the Republicans and other critics that say it's not going to work and there are too many problems and it needs to be fixed, delayed until it's fixed?

KATHLEEN: SEBELIUS: […] So we have had a few slowdowns, a few glitches, but it's sort of a great problem to have. It's based on the fact that the volume has been so high and the interest is so high. We're working quickly to fix that.

The error message has precluded some enrollment centers from signing anyone up at all on day one of the Obamacare rollout.

Fears of that technical glitches may derail Obamacare enrollment are not new.

As recently as two weeks ago the government's health insurance software still could not produce reliable online quotes for consumers, the Wall Street Journal reports:

Less than two weeks before the launch of insurance marketplaces created by the federal health overhaul, the government’s software can’t reliably determine how much people need to pay for coverage, according to insurance executives and people familiar with the program.

Government officials and insurers were scrambling to iron out the pricing quirks quickly, according to the people, to avoid alienating the initial wave of consumers.

A failure by consumers to sign up online in the hotly anticipated early days of the "exchanges" is worrisome to insurers, which are counting on enrollees for growth, and to the Obama administration, which made the exchanges a centerpiece of its sweeping health-care legislation.

If not resolved by the Oct. 1 launch date, the problems could affect consumers in 36 states where the federal government is running all or part of the exchanges. About 32 million uninsured people live in those states, but only a fraction of them are expected to sign up in the next year.

Published under: Kathleen Sebelius, Obamacare