Opinion Web Exclusive

Amid government shutdown, Obamacare website shuts down

As we all know, there’s really nothing that exudes confidence in one’s principles quite like hiding behind the nearest floor-length curtain when you’re given the opportunity to show what you’ve got — especially in a time that couldn’t be more critical to the survival of those principles.

The Internet, being that sardonic best friend that’s always there to humble those living in delusion, recently claimed none other than President Barack Obama as its latest victim. This morning, healthcare.gov (also known as the motherboard for citizen access to information on Obamacare) was unresponsive and inaccessible.

The site was only down temporarily, yes. However, it’s worth noting that this happened just hours after the incumbent himself tweeted this out to his legions: “The Affordable Care Act is moving forward. You can’t shut it down.”

Soon after, access to The Affordable Care Act was shut down. Unreachable. The thing that our lovable, never-polarizing teddy bear of a President said couldn’t be shut down, shut down. It was completely inaccessible for the millions of Americans who tried accessing it this morning, realized it was down and then hastily checked their temperature and their grocery’s expiration dates to make sure they weren’t going to need a doctor anytime soon.

Oh, the irony. Everybody knows it’s best served palpable.

With all the debate circling around Obamacare, this crash couldn’t have served as a better form of fuel for its opponents. Frankly, it mirrors a concern that’s been largely fictionalized but never realistically approached.

If Obamacare is going to become a provider for millions of Americans, it’s best that it gets its start by proving to us that it’s got a significant foothold on its duties, which would roughly involve the website not crashing in the first moments of its availability.

Opinion columnist Cara Smith is a communications junior and may be reached at [email protected]


  • President Obama never said that the website would never crash, just that the Affordable Care Act can’t be shut down. The Chicago Tribune reported that 5x as many people tried to access the Healthcare.gov website as ever tried to access the Medicare website at one time, reflecting the large pent up demand of Americans seeking health care. That is the real story, not the fact that the website temporarily went down.

  • Kathleen Sebelius was cautioning us in our local market to be patient, that there would be “bumps.” The site being temporarily down is pretty inconsequential and has nothing to do with congress shutting down the ACA. Did you read about some insurance companies in Oregon lowering their rates because they discovered that they were not at all competitive with some others. And how easy it is to compare companies plans because they are set plans. A big plus for insurance market shoppers and would make a lot more informative story for your column.

  • The real purpose of the ACA is its failure in the next few years.. Once it occurs, it’ll be too late to go back and we’ll be stuck with whatever healthcare our Govt. “decides” we need.

    I’m young and healthy, the odds are in my favor. Why would I pay >$1K a year today for the bare bones health insurance, with high co-pay’s, when I’m now “guaranteed” to be able to obtain it if I ever get REALLY sick (pre-existing condition)?

  • This is such a ridiculous opinion piece. For a website to shut down temporarily because thousands are anxious to access it is a testament to its popularity. It happens all the time on the internet. The president does not have magical powers to control that. If this is the best “form of fuel for its opponents” I’d say they don’t understand modern technology very well.

  • Even the most well-intentioned entitlement – and that’s what this is – will only encourage bad behavior. It always has, and it always will. The crash of the website is a harbinger of things to come. People don’t understand it, we don’t know how we’re going to pay for it, and it doesn’t address the underlying real problems with the delivery of healthcare in this country….waste! 5x the expected demand could reflect the pent up demand for people wanting something for free, or trying to understand what the hell they are getting into, or opposition trying to crash the system. Ms. Civitelli doesn’t know what motivated the high user activity…but I can guarantee you with 100% accuracy, if you keep giving stuff to folks that don’t contribute their fair share at the expense of others (which is a mathematical certainty), those that are over-contributing will find a way to contribute less. We need to get our government out of the “charity” business and rely on each other to help our fellow citizens in need. Americans should demand that we fund charity hospitals (of our choice), not bloated, wasteful, politically-motivated federal agencies. Geeeeez

    • I agree. In 35 of the 50 states I can make more money in Govt. benefits (food stamps, housing, medicaid, EIC, etc) sitting on my keester not working than if I was to work a full time job 40 hr/wk at minimum wage. In many states I’ll make more than as an entry level teacher. For example, in CA I would rcv an equivalence of $18/hr, OR $17/hr, HI $30/hr, DC $25/hr. “Going Galt” and moving to Hawaii, with its great weather/environment/surf and ~$60K/yr in welfare, is sounding like a good option after graduation in our current economy.

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