WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - You might think a website that was needed to help 40-plus million of people would be ready to accommodate 40-plus millions of people. But, apparently, it's a little more complicated than you might think at first glance.
Think about this: There are 48 million uninsured people who are potential customers for Healthcare.gov, plus hundreds of millions who have insurance but might be interested in checking out what sounds like a more affordable option.
That's a potential audience of 316 million people. Now, think about this: Did you log on to Facebook today? If so, you're one in a billion-plus. So, why does the site with more traffic work more smoothly than the one with less?
El Mehdi Marhoum, is a Senior Software Engineer at Avectra-Abila, a technology company, in McLean, Va. He pointed out, "We should not forget that, first of all, Facebook when it launched, it launched with few hundred people. It was limited."
He says the biggest bug with Healthcare.gov is instead of trickling in, the doors were wide open.
"Picture it like a building, that has a lot of entrances at the same time, a lot of people trying to get into the building at the same time," he said. "And once they get to, let's say, the elevators to go upstairs...are full to capacity. The application has a lot of integration with health care providers as well. When they flipped on the switch, everybody went in at the same time."
Richard Pollack of the Washington Examiner has been investigating Affordable Care Act glitches since they began. After the press conference where President Obama asked America to call or stop in, he called.
"When I called today, it sent me to the healthcare.gov website, the troubled website. So this is just a sort of a situation where it felt very much like keystone cops," he said.
One change is already in the works is that users will be able to view plans without first having to fill out applications with huge amount of personal information.