The Obama administration has two main pieces of spin on yesterday's widespread technical problems with the launch of Affordable Care Act websites. One is that new technical product launches are often glitchy and we should have faith that issues will be resolved quickly, and the other is that the technical problems are in part a reflection of the widespread public interest in the sites, which is fundamentally a bullish sign from the program.
Those are both decent pieces of spin, but they really are just spin. There isn't, as far as I can tell, hard evidence that unexpected traffic loads were the key to the problem. Nor is there hard evidence that these are problems that will be solved rapidly.
What HHS really has going for it is a weird bailout from House Republicans. Their anti-Obamacare zeal has shut down the government and is threatening a debt ceiling breach. That's drastically reducing the prominence of these issues in the media and gives HHS some extra time to work this stuff out. And if what they say is true and we're just a few revisions and extra tests away from a working system, then it'll all be great and nobody will remember the Great Security Question Dropdown Menu Snafu of 2013 in the history books.
But liberals shouldn't fool themselves. This was an embarassing failure. What's more, it's genuinely true that projects of this nature and scope are hard to pull off. That means errors are forgiveable but also that errors are potentially hard to fix. People who believe in the underlying goal here should be a bit nervous.
TODAY IN SLATE
Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case
The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race
How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster
The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented
Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada
You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney
Or at least trade it for something.
- Texas Lab Worker on Cruise Tests Negative for Ebola as Dallas Hospital Apologizes
- Police Use Tear Gas to Break Up College Pumpkin Festival Turned Violent
- Racist Rancher Cliven Bundy Challenges Eric Holder in Bizarre Campaign Ad
- Supreme Court Allows Texas Law That Accepts Handgun Permits but not College IDs to Vote
An All-Female Mission to Mars
As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.