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ObamaCare website could only handle 1,100 users a day before launch, docs show

 

The problem-plagued ObamaCare website was only equipped to handle 1,100 users a day before it was launched, documents released by the House Oversight and Reform Committee reveal.

The Obama administration has repeatedly insisted that the website’s repeated crashes were due to unexpectedly high traffic. U.S. Chief Technology Officer Todd Park said on Oct. 6 that the website was expected to draw around 60,000 simultaneous users but instead drew many more, around 250,000.

However, a Healthcare.gov testing bulletin from Sept. 30, the day before the site’s launch, states that the website began to run into trouble with far fewer users.

“Currently we are able to reach 1,100 users before response time gets too high,” the bulletin states.

The bulletin says that the goal moving forward was to “conduct more thorough testing with (the Federally Facilitated Marketplace) to reach targets of up to 10,000 concurrent users in the next few days.”

The document’s release follows testimony by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Wednesday, in which she acknowledged that the early enrollment figures for ObamaCare scheduled to be released next week will be “very low” due to the website’s problems.

During her opening statement Sebelius said, “a number of fixes have already been completed” to the glitch-ridden website.

“Two weeks ago, the tech team put into place enhanced monitoring tools for HealthCare.gov, enabling us to get a high-level picture of the marketplace application responding, and to measure how changes improve user experience on the site,” she said.

Meanwhile, during a speech at a synagogue in Dallas on Wednesday, President Obama said he was the first to admit he was unhappy with the rocky first month since new insurance exchanges went live. He implored volunteers and guides who are working to help consumers to stick with it, casting it as an effort that would, eventually, be well worth the trouble.

"As challenging as this may seem sometimes, as frustrating as healthcare.gov may be sometimes, we are going to get his done," Obama said.

Later, at one of two fundraisers, he said: "It is fair to say that right now I'm not happy with some IT people in Washington."

Highlighting the law's benefits at Dallas Temple Emanu-El, Obama encouraged participation in the marketplaces set up by the law. He said nothing drives him crazier than knowing there's good insurance available - if only the website would work properly.

This is like having a really good product in a store, and the cash registers don't work, and there aren't enough parking spots," Obama said.

"I know that sometimes this task is especially challenging here in the great Lone Star State," Obama said to laughter. "But I think all of you understand that there's no state that actually needs this more than Texas." 

Perry shot back, accusing Obama in a statement of trying to "salvage his ill-conceived and unpopular program from a Titanic fate."

"Texans aren't the reason Obamacare is crumbling," Perry said. "Obamacare is the reason Obamacare is crumbling."

Texas also is among the 36 states not providing their own insurance marketplaces, which means residents there must sign up through the federal website that stumbled badly upon its launch Oct. 1. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.