Millions Shop Online For Obamacare As the GOP Fights to Take It Away
On the first day people without health insurance could apply for Obamacare, the online healthcare exchange site received over 10 million unique hits, even though systemic glitches made access to the site impossible for many users. Here are some of the statistics broken down, courtesy of Business Insider:
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2.8 million visited healthcare.gov between midnight and 2:30 pm on Tuesday. New York state's health exchange received 7.5 million hits by Tuesday afternoon. Kentucky's exchange saw over 57,000 unique hits, with about 2,000 visitors starting online applications and staying an average of 11 minutes on the site. The Connecticut exchange received 28,200 unique visitors, and the call center received 1,930 phone calls during business hours at an average of nine minutes per call. Colorado's exchange had over 34,500 visitors, and more than 1,300 user accounts were created.
If the statistics are anything to go by, uninsured individuals are lining up to apply for government-sponsored healthcare plans, even with the shutdown going into effect. The GOP is using up almost all of its political capital on an issue on which it seems destined to be defeated. Despite Republican opposition to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), a new Quinnipiac poll released on Tuesday shows that the majority of Americans oppose the shutdown as a means of defunding Obamacare. Nearly three-quarters of those polled are against the government shutdown over the funding of Obamacare. However, despite the opposition to the shutdown, opinion on the healthcare law is split almost evenly, with 45% supporting and 47% opposing.
Insurance provided by the federal government will not be distributed until after Jan. 1, and by then the odds of the government still being in shutdown mode are slim, especially as new reports emerge that President Obama will meet with Republican and Democrat leaders from both chambers in order to bring the government back online. The longer the shutdown drags on, the more pressure the Republicans will face to back away from their demands.
Whether Obamacare will be a smashing success or a complete failure remains to be seen. Millions are clearly intrigued given the online traffic recorded on Tuesday, and that thousands have already signed up with the hopes of being able to obtain affordable health insurance. The shutdown isn't going to last forever, and congressional Republicans, to save face, will likely come to an agreement with the White House before federal health insurance is distributed after the new year.