Carney: "There Will Always Be" Technical Difficulties With Obamacare


QUESTION: On the 80 percent functionality of the website. Is that just the November 30th date or is that something you're outlined as a rough ratio, let's say, for the whole first year of the Affordable Care Act? Is it something that was built into your, sort of, assumptions about the Affordable Care Act and it's usability in the first year, or is it simply a metric that you've come up with since the website did not roll out as effectively as you thought it would?

JAY CARNEY: Let me start out by saying that in their regular briefings, CMS and HHS can add more details in responses to these kinds of questions. What I can describe for you is that the eight-out-of-ten, two-out-of-ten structure relates to an expectation of what, broadly speaking, Americans would experience in a world where the website is functioning effectively for the vast majority of users, so that means that there would be still some small percentage, hopefully who are not getting through because they experienced some technical difficulties. And as I discussed last week, the president discussed last week, we will not have a perfect website, there will be, as is the case with all complex websites, individuals who experience some technical difficulty, somewhere and for some reason.

The way to measure those, again, goes into those categories of error messages, delayed response times, and stability issues with the site. But there are other -- again, and in that two-out-of-ten pot you have two other categories. One, and this is just roughly speaking, one: those who have, as I described before--

QUESTION: They'll be there always?

CARNEY: Well, I think yes. That's certainly the case, that there will always-- It was never going to be a -- that given with an error free, perfectly functioning website that suddenly every American and potential purchaser of insurance in the marketplace would make that purchase online. And that's why there are call-in centers, that's why there are in-person navigators. To assist Americans who would rather do it, if you will, the old fashioned way. Also, you can do this by mail. An even more old fashioned way.

The-- So that's just to say that, there's always going to be a universe of people who, you know, they may go online, but they may not go through the entire process, not because there's a technical problem with the site, but for other reasons. Complexities of their own situation, of which there are going to be some percentage of families.

So that's the-- I'm trying to give a little context to how these are viewed. More details are probably available at CMS, but that's the broad.

QUESTION: So that's not a ratio just for the website, that's for the entire experience?

CARNEY: Again, as I understand it, this is for people who use the website, but may not follow it through to the end, i.e. enroll. And either they have a technical problem or they find that they're one somebody in these other two categories.

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