Is the glass half full or 99-percent empty? Although the rush to the web to sign up for insurance spells success for Obamacare, the inability to handle the demand so far is has the government scrambling for fixes.
Figures are all over the map. But according to CNBC, as few as 1 percent of applications made it through the system as of Friday, meaning 99 percent of applicants could not successfully enroll in an insurance plan. Software issues were mainly to blame.
"It is extraordinary that these systems weren't ready," said Sumit Nijhawan, CEO of Infogix, a company that manages data integrity for large insurance providers. “It could be public relations nightmare.”
This is the lowest figure gathered, and another insurance source reported that about half of the applications are going through. Not impressive, but better.
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"We're getting incomplete data — about half of the applications we haven't been able to process," the insurer’s source told CNBC.
President Obama acknowledged the possibility of technical problems in an earlier interview with NPR, saying, "In the first week, first month, first three months, I would suspect that there will be glitches. This is 50 states, a lot of people, signing up for something. And there are gonna be problems."
Glitches or not, the problems do appear fixable, according to the Huffington Post. This is good news for proponents of Obamacare, because enrollment over the next few weeks could determine the success of the program come January 1, when coverage will officially begin.
Michael Leavitt, President George W. Bush's top health official, told HuffPo, "There wasn't enough time for testing, so the dress rehearsal became opening night.”
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Mark McClellan, who ran Medicare when the prescription program began in 2006, had a message for citizens: "Take a deep breath. If you are interested in this program, you do not need to make a decision this week, or even this month. You should make a decision by November. Given the issues a lot of people are having, that's probably a good reason to wait."
The Medicare prescription program also had a rocky start, but is now a popular part of the system.