E-Mails Show That Healthcare.gov Wasn’t Ready to Handle 500 Visitors in the Days Before Launch

Photo: Karen BleierKAREN BLEIER/AFP/GEtty Images2013 AFP

As part of its investigation into healthcare.gov's poorly rated debut, the House Energy and Commerce Committee released some e-mails sent by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services employees in the days leading up to its October 1 launch. Unsurprisingly, the documents indicate that the site was not at all prepared for the estimated 250,000 visitors it had on its first day. On September 26, one official warned that the results of three days of site tests with 2,000 users were "not good and not consistent at all." Here is his colleague's panicked response: "I DO NOT WANT A REPEAT OF WHAT HAPPENED NEAR THE END OF DECEMBER 2005 WHERE MEDICARE.GOV HAD A MELTDOWN (THIS IS TO GET YOUR ATTENTION IF I DIDN’T HAVE IT ALREADY)." Just a day later, another official offered an even grimmer progress report. "We have not been successful in moving beyond 500 concurrent users filling applications," wrote the CMS's David Nelson. "We must give ourselves the ability to work through these tuning issues." We assume you know what happened next.