The website also has been a frequent target for late-night television. “Saturday Night Live” in late October opened a show with a parody of Sebelius talking about the website’s problems, saying that despite millions of interested consumers, “the site was only designed to handle six users at a time, so if you’re in a rush, consider using our low-res website.” The character clicks to reveal a low-quality page that features neon letters “U WANT DOCTR?” with “yes” and “no” buttons.
“It’s been a particularly negative past several weeks, so I think there is a concern that people aren’t going to find out the basic facts of what’s in it, because there’s so much attention lately to the problems with the website,” said Daniel Zingale, senior vice president at California Endowment, which has been promoting Obamacare.
The string of jokes stands in contrast with the crush of celebrities eager to encourage enrollment in the Affordable Care Act when the exchanges launched Oct. 1. Singer and actress Jennifer Hudson and actress Elizabeth Banks starred in viral videos on the website Funny or Die promoting the law. Dozens of celebrities tweeted with the #GetCovered hashtag, including “Vampire Diaries” star Nina Dobrev posting a picture of herself topless with a cardboard #GetCovered sign across her chest.