WaPo: Traffic plunges 88% at Healthcare.gov since launch

posted at 9:21 am on October 16, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

To paraphrase one of the more memorable lines of American cinema: If you build it badly, they’ll stop coming.  Every private-sector firm operating in the on-line market discovered that in 1995 or so, but the Obama administration only just started to learn it after spending hundreds of millions of dollars on the world’s worst web portal.  And now consumers are staying away in droves, according to the Washington Post:

The number of visitors to the federal government’s HealthCare.gov Web site plummeted 88 percent between Oct. 1 and Oct. 13, according to a new analysis of America’s online use, while less than half of 1 percent of the site’s visitors successfully enrolled for health insurance the first week. …

Based on a sample of two million users — or 1 percent of all online users in the U.S. — which Millward Brown Digital has permission to track, it suggests that the rush of traffic administration officials cited as the cause of the site’s problems trailed off within a matter of days.

Of the 9.4 million unique visitors to the site during the launch’s first week, according to the analysis, roughly a third attempted to register, and a third of that number — 1.01 million — completed registration. Ultimately, roughly 36,000 Americans signed up for an insurance plan online, the report said.

The Post shares a graphic that was making the rounds yesterday to show just how poorly the web portal functions:


If any commercial web portal only ended up with a 0.384% success rate in its first week of operation followed by an 88% plunge in traffic, the project team would find itself out on the street.  If it happened to a publicly-traded company that sunk hundreds of millions of dollars into the project, the CEO and the executive management team would be joining them on the sidewalk.  But this is the Obama administration, where accountability is just a term they like to use about their opponents:

The White House stood by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Tuesday, as Republicans called for her resignation over the botched rollout of ObamaCare.

The primary website for consumers to sign up for insurance is still not functioning as promised, two weeks since its launch.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that President Obama still trusts Sebelius’s stewardship of his signature legislative achievement.

“The secretary does have the full confidence of the president,” Carney said during his daily press briefing.

That speaks volumes about the President, doesn’t it?  And about the central legislative achievement of his term in office, too.

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Bmore on October 16, 2013 at 11:48 AM


Bmore on October 16, 2013 at 11:48 AM

All by design, welcome to single payer

John the Libertarian on October 16, 2013 at 12:35 PM

“The secretary does have the full confidence of the president,” Carney said

Isn’t this pretty close to what is said about every single baseball manager or football coach by their GM/AD the day before they are fired?

Adjoran on October 16, 2013 at 12:58 PM

Is Sebelius Obama’s Mike Brown? (Mike Brown was head of FEMA during Katrina.)

blink on October 16, 2013 at 12:26 PM

No, Eric Holder has that distinction.

Or is it (former) IRS Commissioner Shulman? Or Lisa Jackson? OR…

So many Obama seems to have full confidence in.

taznar on October 16, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Great. Since all the website problems were traffic related, it should be running smoothly now. Right? It is, isn’t it?

boone on October 16, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Carney is ducking the web traffic question.

Ronnie on October 16, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Will someone wake me when conservatives commit to a winnable strategy to take back this country?
That being an all-out war on the Media.

AmeriCuda on October 16, 2013 at 1:24 PM

The below link contains a GAO Report (Jun 2013) with list of the contractors on the CMS FFE Contract, starting on Page 35. Aquilent (Private Company) from Laurel, MD appears to be the Web Portal developer @ $5.2M

GAO Report: Status of CMS Efforts to Establish Federally Facilitated Health Insurance Exchanges. (PDF)

luckybogey on October 16, 2013 at 11:17 PM

I have a few thoughts on this:

I wonder if the data we had on the uninsured was wrong or unknown.

As you recall there was no clamor for government health insurance

before Nancy Pelosi order up this bill.

Surely it is correct that a number of people “did not have health

insurance,” but the federal marketplace is targeted for people who specifically

want subsidized insurance, and to direct people who are qualified

for Medicaid in their state to the program; The federal exchange is

operating in states that don’t want to expand Medicaid, so those people are not signing up.

Low income people who don’t need to use the exchange because they don’t get a subisdy, currently will have to buy insurance and may use the exchange or find more choice on the private side at regular insurance companies. Or skip it.

But, they don’t need to use the exchange, they can just

go to an insurance company, and have more choices than

silver-bronze-platinum-gold. IF they were to log in, I doubt they

would be coerced quickly into plunking their money into an exchange


So, “Who are the uninsured?” might hold a key to the underenrollment

in the program, those who thought they would get something free and

are not eligible need not linger; those who see the numbers and can’t afford

it will not buy it for now, putting it off until the last possible minute;

and those who don’t get a subsidy don’t

need to use Madame Secretary’s plans. They can buy some other

qualifying plan out in the regular capitalist (ACA approved, of


You can find out if your family gets a subsidy on any number of

calculators on the internet. A rule of thumb, if you did not get

anything on the FAFSA website for your kids college, don’t bother

with the federal exchange, just use a subsidy calculator, and you

never have to fill in your private info for the navigators to see.

Middle class couples with no children in their home will not be

getting any subsidy, they don’t need to go near the healthcare.gov


If you can think of other groups that don’t need to use

healthcare.gov, please add them for me, I think the demographics

are not there, because in some states, most people earning the kind

of money that would get a subsidy, currently get insurance from

their employer.

Fleuries on October 17, 2013 at 2:19 PM