For two weeks, the government shutdown overshadowed the technical hangups plaguing HealthCare.gov, the website where Americans can search for health care options available under the Affordable Care Act.
Now that the shutdown is over, federal employees are back at work, and the U.S. Health and Human Services Department is outlining how it will fix the site’s problems.
In a Sunday blog post
, the department acknowledged that “the experience on HealthCare.gov has been frustrating for many Americans” and “has not lived up to the expectations of the American people.” The site has simply been overloaded, it says, with 19 million unique visits since the site opened Oct. 1.
The post continues:
Since launch, when we first recognized these issues, we have been working around the clock to make improvements. We have updated the site several times with new code that includes bug fixes that have greatly improved the HealthCare.gov experience. The initial wave of interest stressed the account service, resulting in many consumers experiencing trouble signing up, while those that were able to sign up sometimes had problems logging in.
HHS’ mea culpa
was mixed with a bit of back-patting, too. For instance, the blog post notes that the HealthCare.gov site’s “data hub” feature, which helps determine eligibility for particular health plans, has been working.
The department has promised to bring in “some of the best and brightest” to make improvements to the site. It also asked for feedback via a page
that bundles all the HealthCare.gov social media accounts.
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Feedback to HealthCare.gov’s Twitter account reflects people’s frustrations with the website:
Further proof of HealthCare.gov's reputation as a website with massive technical problems: It became something of a touch point for people looking to joke about a Monday morning Facebook bug that was preventing users from posting new status updates.