The Corner

Day Before Launch, Could Handle Just 1,100 Simultaneous Users

The day before it went live, the federal health-care website could handle just 1,100 simultaneous users, before users began encountering sluggish response times and other problems, according to a document released on Wednesday by a congressional committee. 

The “ACA testing bulletin” contains notes on the results of tests run on the site between September 30, the day before the site launched, and October 4. The note for September 30, entered by the federal contractor Quality Software Services Inc., reads, “Currently we are able to reach 1,100 users before response time gets to high. CGI is making changes to configuration.” Between October 1 and October 4, the contractors at work on the site were aiming to “reach targets of up to 10,000 concurrent users in the next few days,” but even that was woefully inadequate.

The document goes a long way in explaining the problems the website has had on the front end. The country’s chief technology officer, Todd Park, told USA Today that federal officials were unprepared for the traffic the website drew: While they expected between 50,000 and 60,000 simultaneous users when the site launched, they instead where inundated with up to 250,000 visitors at a time. 

The site’s problems are not only on the front end, though. They’re also popping up in the heart of the system, where the federal data hub is supposed to tell consumers what their insurance options are and what subsidies they are eligible for, and on the back end, where consumer information is not being communicated properly to insurance companies. 

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