In spite of 16 attempts to hack the web-site, including a dangerous denial-of-service-attack (video below) and numerous attempts by republicans to sabotage the Affordable Care Act (ACA) itself, the program is already a success in some areas of the country. Not surprisingly, those areas are governed by legislatures who made a reasonable effort to work with the law.
Despite an early bad start, the Health and Human Services Department reports that 26,876,527 separate individuals have visited healthcare.gov, since the web-site opened on October 1, 2013. An additional 3,158,527 people have called the Affordable Care Act call center helpline, over the same period of time.
The good news is that on November 12, after weeks of delay, the Obama administration announced that it was able to put in place the technical fixes needed to get the web-site up and running smoothly. Beginning on the same day, the Center for Medicaid and Medicare began sending out letters to those individuals who had attempted to create accounts on the site early on, but were unable due to those technical issues. People who experienced difficulty creating an account shortly after the web-site opened on October 1, should be receiving a letter inviting them back, now that the problems have been resolved.
Even with the difficulty experienced on the national web-site, the Affordable Care Act has been a success in some states like California and New York. In fact, almost 70 percent of Californians who used the web-site to enroll in healthcare under the new law, reported that the site was easy to use and 88 percent said that they were able to find the information needed to help them choose a healthcare plan. Under the Affordable Care Act, California has enrolled more than 60,000 people under the ACA.
While the healthcare.gov web-site did receive at least 16 major threat level hacking attempts, it appears that no data was compromised. According to officials with the Department of Health and Human Services, attempts to sabotage the new healthcare web-site did not have any significant effect on the system.
Republican sabotage of the Affordable Care Act, on the other hand, has had some devastating effects. Those effects will be experienced by consumers living in states where republican governors refused to expand medicaid and rejected the provision to establish their own web-sites. In essence, when states refused to create their own web-sites, they placed a greater burden on the single healthcare.gov site. The National Memo explains it like this: “By opting out, states made the success of the president’s signature legislative accomplishment dependent on one single portal that needed to reach its tentacles into three dozen complex insurance markets at one time.”
In doing this, Republicans not only sabotaged the President, but they made it more difficult for people who need healthcare to be able to access it. The effects were not merely accidental. Instead, they were deliberate and well planned. The original plot was hatched inside the Libertarian Cato Institute, by a man named Michael Cannon. Cannon, an adversary of the Affordable Care Act from the beginning, convinced republican officials that by refusing to create their own web-sites, they could bring the Affordable Care Act to a halt. And for a while, they did.
Yet, as he has done many times in the past, the president has found ways to overcome his political enemies and to continue to work for the good of the American people. While it is clear that republicans did their best to prevent the residents of the United States from having affordable healthcare, their efforts toward that end will ultimately bring about their downfall, as more people begin to realize the benefits of the Affordable Care Act, in spite of their efforts to obstruct and sabotage.
Video: Denial of service attack (DDoS) on healthcare.gov confirmed. Representative Michael McCaul (R-Texas), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, questions witnesses at a hearing entitled “Cyber Side-Effects