Is the website fix too late to save ObamaCare?

Although the open enrollment period for the health-care exchanges has been extended until March 23, 2014, anyone who wants a policy that will be effective at the beginning of 2014 must enroll by December 23. The date is especially critical for those who had their existing health insurance policies canceled for being non-compliant with the Affordable Care Act, as well those who originally tried to enroll on the website in October but had little success in doing so.

For the reforms of Obamacare to work, the framework of the Affordable Care Act requires mass enrollment. The individual mandate was introduced precisely to reduce the uncertainty over enrollment numbers and use the premiums of otherwise healthy uninsured people to underwrite the cost of banning discrimination based on preexisting conditions. But the website shortcomings didn’t just slow the pace of enrollment, they undermined confidence in the entire program. After all, if the government can’t run simple HTML code, how can it be capable of handling the health-care industry? The test of the website in the coming weeks isn’t just whether it will work but whether its failures have already fatally undermined consumer confidence in Obamacare as a whole.