I don’t know people appreciate the sheer size of the failure that is the Affordable Care Act (ACA) online marketplace. The website cost somewhere between $170 million and $292 million and the only thing the government has to show for it is proof that simply throwing money at a development team doesn’t result in a quality product. On the website’s first day there were only six people able to sign up for an ACA insurance plan:
Just six people were able to successfully enroll in health insurance through Healthcare.gov, the government’s online marketplace, during the first 24 hours it was live. Just 242 people were able to enroll on the second day.
That’s according to new documents released by the House Oversight Committee, which is investigating the website’s bumpy launch. Slow loading times, bugs, and errors prevented an unknown number of Americans from shopping for health insurance. The website had 4.7 million visits in the first 24 hours, the administration says.
Only six people out of 4.7 million visitors were able to sign up. That’s an approximate success rate of 0.0001 percent. From a purely technical standpoint this kind of failure is hard to quantify as far as scale. Spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a website should get you sometime like Google or Amazon, both of which provide almost 24/7 up time while servicing more customer in a day than Healthcare.gov is likely to see in its lifetime.
Were Healthcare.gov a private sector website this failure would have likely resulted in a flurry of firings and lawsuits. But since it’s a government website the only thing we’re going to see is even more money dumped into it.