On Friday night, the eve of the self-imposed Nov. 30 deadline to get the federal Obamacare portal working smoothly, the agency in charge of the effort announced that the application and enrollment systems would be taken offline for 11 hours for extended maintenance. And instead of a reporters’ briefing on Saturday – as was pledged earlier this week, ostensibly to announce whether the performance target was met – the update would come on Sunday.
The pivot, though slight in terms of time, is noteworthy because of the administration’s many pronouncements leading up to Saturday.
In late October, tech surge czar Jeff Zients promised that the website “will work smoothly for the vast majority of users” by the end of November — a goal that he and other administration officials have repeatedly echoed since.
Last week, after tracking error messages and page-load rates, officials publicly identified a couple new metrics. Zients said that hardware additions and software fixes continuing through this weekend would double the site’s capacity to 50,000 users at a time and 800,000 visitors per day. Those numbers are what the site was intended to accommodate when it launched Oct. 1.
On Wednesday, during the last CMS update, agency spokeswoman Julie Bataille again said that the site would be working smoothly by the end of the month. She blurred the line slightly on traffic volume, however, saying the site would be able to handle the higher numbers by Dec. 1. (Continues)