The prolonged glitches with the ObamaCare website are frustrating many of the president’s most high-valued customers -- the young, tech-savvy generation that helped him win two terms and whose participation is critical to the success of the health care exchanges.
“You see this situation especially with college students,” Michael Cipriano, a student at American University told FoxNews.com on Friday. “They get frustrated, which creates a disincentive to sign up."
President Obama is depending on young people being the backbone of his signature, 2010 health care law. Typically among the mostly healthy Americans, their premiums were supposed to help finance coverage for the elderly, poor and others with long-term illnesses and more frequent emergency-care visits.
However, the glitches and other problems that have plagued the exchanges since they went online Oct. 1 could put the plan in jeopardy. The administration runs healthcare.gov for the 36 states that chose not to have their own sites. The 14 other states and the District of Columbia run their own site but are still part of ObamaCare.
“Based on what I’ve seen, people were really excited at first, then turned away,” said Cipriano, who tried successfully to navigate the site and is a junior who writes for the conservative-leaning, online college publication The College Fix.
He and other critics point to a recent study by Kantar US Insights, based on the findings of the Millward Brown Digital research firm, that shows site visitor-ship dropped by 88 percent over roughly the first 13 days.
Administration officials say they're working "24/7" to correct the problems. And the Department of Health and Human Services still has four months to fix the glitches before most Americans will be required to get health insurance or pay a fine.
Problems with the site -- and the high cost of premiums in some states -- could also politically backfire for the Democratic Party, which has dominated the youth vote since 2004 and whose well-executed use of social media in 2008 attracted legions of young voters who helped Obama become president. He won 66 percent of the vote in 2008 and 67 percent of the vote in 2013, according exit poll analysis.
“The president should be careful what he wishes for,” said Brent Healy, the president of the John K. MacIver Institute for Public Policy. “While he counted on young people to win his presidency, many are now experiencing ObamaCare sticker shock.”
Still, others say the so-called millenials’ penchant for abandoning inferior software, computers and other high-tech gadgetry for the next best thing might not apply in this situation -- considering healthcare.gov is essentially a monopoly.
David Lipscomb, 29, points out how young people jumped from the photo-sharing site Instagram to Vine when it became the first to allow users to post short videos.
“With every new service there is typically some variety so people use whatever service is most convenient or perhaps is used by their social circle,” he said. “But the ObamaCare website is not susceptible to that. It’s a monopoly.”
The District of Columbia resident also suggests young, tech-savvy people are already familiar with sites beings so popular that they crash, pointing out that online ticket agencies' servers were overwhelmed in the early stages.