The economy may be currently shut down, but for day one of Obamacare it was mostly smooth sailing—sans a few first-day glitches.
On Tuesday, the much-discussed health insurance exchanges made their official debut. Bringing in tremendous traffic to the main site, Healthcare.gov, the launch was met with much interest. Government officials said that the site received higher-than-anticipated traffic numbers, reeling in 4.7 million unique visitors in the first 24 hours.
At the same time, users across the country reported glitches and bugs while trying to access the site. As CNN Money reports, many logging on hoping to shop for health plans were instead greeted with this message:
“We have a lot of visitors on the site right now. Please stay on this page. We’re working to make the experience better, and we don’t want you to lose your place in line. We’ll send you to the login page as soon as we can. Thanks for your patience!”
Government groups and health care “navigators” (officials tasked with helping consumers use the site) found that few users were actually able to shop for plans, or even establish accounts, on the first day, The New York Times reports.
Supporters of Obamacare pointed to the glitches as a result of the high traffic—and thus, the pent-up demand of Americans for health insurance. On the other side, some pegged the problems as indicative of the program’s potential challenges.
Federal officials assured users that the kinks would soon be worked out over the coming days. “This is day one of a six-month process,” Marilyn Tavenner, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services told the New York Times. “We’re in day one of a marathon, not a sprint.”